007 questions about Bond 23 oddities

For a movie that’s two months, or less, away from filming, there have been a number of odd things related to Bond 23, the James Bond movie due out in November 2012 in the U.S. Here’s a partial list:

001. Why hire a writer who doesn’t like James Bond to write a James Bond movie? In 007 fandom, this keeps getting swept under the rug, but on the surface it doesn’t make a lot of sense to hire a writer who has contempt for 007. Yet, Eon Productions did just that in 2009 when it hired Peter Morgan to do Bond 23’s screenplay *and put out a press release before he ever submitted a draft of a script*

Morgan, the writer of Frost/Nixon, said after he exited Bond 23 that “I’m not sure it’s possible to do it …I just personally struggle to believe a British secret agent is still saving the world.” OK, it’s easy to figure out why Morgan sought the Bond 23 gig. A paycheck is a paycheck. What’s more puzzling is why Eon Productions boss people Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli hired him in the first place. Unless, of course, they sought “prestige” from Morgan’s resume, even if he had contempt for the 007 character, which is Eon’s primary asset.

002. So why don’t fans ever metnion the Morgan hiring and how weird it was? Partially, they want to put the past behind them. Still, it’s worth remembering how on some message boards, fans were all gung-ho about the Morgan news, with comments tht he was a quality writer and a great choice.

003. Why are Bond 23 cast and crew announcements have been handled they way they’ve been? Good question. Eon put out one very short press release early this year. It said the U.S. release date would be in November 2012, that Daniel Craig would be the star, that Sam Mendes would be the director and that Neal Puris, Robert Wade and John Logan would be the screenwriters (the earlier Morgan announcement evidently having been forgotten).

Judi Dench returning as M? No mention. She’s made her own announcements in press interviews. Roger Deakins as director of photography? He put that out on his Web site.

004. What’s wrong with that? Well, it’s hard to tell whether all the self-announcements are legitmate. For example, Tariq Anwar told The Telegraph of Calcutta, India, that he’d be editing Bond 23, after being sought by director Mendes. Except, now there are reports (or rumors) that Stuart Baird has the editor’s job. Confusing? You bet. But when you lose control of the message, as Eon has evidently done, these things happen.

005. Do you want the face of the 007 franchise casually dropping f-bombs in interviews? Here’s star Daniel Craig discussing Bond 23 in an interview with Esquire:

“No-no-no, Sam’s gonna do it, Sam Mendes, and I’m really fucking really lookin’ forward to the fact that he’s gonna do it,” he says, snapping to. Mendes directed him in the gloomy thriller Road to Perdition in 2002. Craig tricks out a little smirk then. A concession, a comfort maybe.

“This has become my way, it’s as simple as that,” he says. “I mean, since I’ve just become James Bond. And I think, you know, that means being something that people feel they own. And all of the sudden I’m getting magazine covers, when I got nothing for ten years before that. I say it’s just pure luck. And doing covers, people interviewing me, and they want to know everything and I’m going, I’m not gonna fucking tell you!”

Ian Fleming, rather famously, initially disapproved of Sean Connery because he thought the Scot lacked Bond’s style. The 007 author later warmied to Connery. Still, one wonders what would Fleming think of the actor playing his creation dropping f-bombs in interviews.

To be fair, Craig doesn’t reserve f-bombs for his Bond movies. Also from the Esquire interview:

Listen to him speak on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: “It’s as adult as you can possibly make it. This is adult drama. I grew up, as we fucking all did, watching The Godfather and that, movies that were made for adults. And this is a $100 million R-rated movie. Nobody makes those anymore. And Fincher, he’s not holding back. They’ve given him free rein. He showed me some scenes recently, and my hand was over my mouth, going, Are you fucking serious?”


“We shot (Tintin) in mo-cap. Which is like: Fuck me, I’m literally in a leotard with a fucking helmet on, and a camera strapped to it. It’s Steven Spielberg, so every fucker in the world comes to visit. Fincher comes to visit. Clint fucking Eastwood comes to visit. It was just like, are you kidding me? I’m gonna meet these people dressed like this? Playing a pirate, wearing a leotard and a camera? Really?”

006. What’s the alternative? Studios begin to market other major movies long before they actually come out. The marketing starts out slowly, with little bits of information and gradually builds up. There are already teaser posters in movie theaters for 2012’s The Avengers, a film Marvel Studios has been building up to since Iron Man was release in 2008. Bond movies are still being marketed as if they’re the biggest thing in cinema, something that, truth be told, hasn’t been true since 1965. It might be time for Eon to update its marketing plans. At the very least, it might want to take back control of the marketing of Bond 23.

007. Isn’t it a little early to get worried? We’re not worried. We’d just like to see Bond being marketed in a more proactive manner. So far, most of the information about the film has been dispersed haphazardly. Or as Daniel Craig might say, “f***ing haphazardly.”