Our Bond 23 accuracy checklist

Over this year, James Bond fans have debated the accuracy of reports about Bond 23, which is gearing up production. Here’s a checklist of stories of the major disclosures to make it easier to determine who was right or not with the Bond 23 news conference scheduled for Nov. 3.

We’ve tried to track these down to the first media outlet to report, but if sharp-eyed readers can find earlier examples, let us know. (Also here’s a tip of the cap to the MI6 James Bond fan Web site. Its archive helped us track down some of the links.

Skyfall is the title: First reported by the Fusible Web site.

Ralph Fiennes is in the cast: reported in Variety on March 25, though that was a passing reference. This is almost virtually accepted by fans as fact, but still not officially confirmed. 007 actor Daniel Craig told MTV in September that he “hoped” Fiennes would be in the cast.

UPDATE: Actually credit would appear to go to the Daily Mail for Fiennes in a story published on Feb. 4. (Thanks to “Shrublands” on the Commander Bond message board.)

Albert Finney is in the cast: reported in the Daily Mail on Oct. 28.

Naomie Harris is in the cast: This has been around so long, it’s also accepted as virtual fact. It was first reported in June by the now-defunct News of the World (closed by parent company News Corp. because of the now-infamous hacking scandal). You can CLICK HERE to see a timeline. Eon confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that Harris was under consideration. But it has never been officially confirmed she’s in the movie. The Daily Mail upped the ante in July, reporting that Harris was negotiating to be the new Miss Moneypenny.

Berenice Marlohe is the cast: first reported by a Web site called Twitch.

Bond will have a beard during at least part of Bond 23: reported by the Sun newspaper in the U.K. on Oct. 21.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of previous media reports that have been confirmed:

Bond 23 will have November 2012 release date: Reported by Nikke Finke’s Deadline entertainment news Web site in late 2010. Confirmed in news release from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions in early 2011. Later release dated tweaked so that U.K. release will be in October 2012, while the November 2012 date still applies to the U.S.

Javier Bardem offered a role in Bond 23: First reported by by the Deadline Web site. Bardem later told ABC that he accepted the role.

Sam Mendes being considered to direct Bond 23: First reported (and this is sounding like a broken record) by the Deadline Web site in Janurary 2010. Mendes responds by claiming to the Wall Street Journal in mid-January 2010 that it was merely “speculation” he might direct Bond 23. He tells this tall tale DAYS after his publicist confirmed talks were underway. Oops. Ex-wife Kate Winslet said in a Dec. 3, 2010 Daily Mail interview that Mendes was directing Bond 23 and she was moving to London so the kids could have time with dad. MGM and Eon finally come clean in an early 2011 news release.

007’s new foe: social media

James Bond has a real-life opponent, it would seem, in Bond 23: the forces of social media.

Apparently, according to a short story ON THE MI6 JAMES BOND FAN WEB SITE, an actress named Lu Corfield DID SOME TWEETS while at Pinewood Studios while doing some work as an extra on the film. She reportedly deleted some of the tweets, including one that had a photo of a sign that began, “BOND 23 THIS IS A CLOSED SET.”

While it’s off her Twitter page, the image has made it around the Internet. You can CLICK HERE to see it, assuming it has been taken down by the time you try to view it. It’s not that great a picture, but judge for yourself.

Other of Ms. Cofirld’s Tweets remain, such as this one:

Lu Corfield

And the answer is, of course, that I’m at @PinewoodStudios – had a lovely afternoon, pretending to be a scary dead lady. #ilovemyjob

Meanwhile another extra named David Elliott, tweeted to a link of A PHOTO OF THE EXTERIOR OF PINEWOOD’S 007 STAGE.

None of what comes out is all that startling (or really show much to do with the upcoming production). Still, for Eon Productions, which hasn’t embraced social media for marketing purposes, it’s probably not that comfortable. We’re reminded of a line from, well, a James Bond movie: “It’s called the future, so get used to it.”

(For a different take, you can view a brief story at THE BOND 23.NET SITE

007 questions for Nov. 3 Bond 23 news conference

According to the MI6 James Bond fan Web site, Eon Productions will conduct a Nov. 3 news conference to discuss Bond 23. What follows are 007 questions that may not be asked.

001. Does Eon Productions have a succession plan? Michael G. Wilson, stepson of co-founder Cubby Broccoli, is in his late 60s. Since the late 1990s — more than a decade now — he has commented about how exhausted he is after the most recent 007 movie. Has succession planning started? That’s not the kind of thing entertainment reporters ask. The other co-boss of Eon, 51-year-old Barbara Broccoli is quite a bit younger. Still, many businesses do succession planning.

002. Are you prepared to have another Bond film out two years from now? Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, when it was in bankrutpcy court, said part of its plan to exit bankruptcy was to have Bond 24 out in 2014. Is Eon on board with that?

003. Do you take issue with any news media story about your film? Until now, there has been one, very short, official news release. It said Bond 23 would star Daniel Craig, would be produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, woulg be directed by Sam Mendes and be written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan. No mention of Judi Dench coming back (she announced that herself), no mention that Javier Bardem would play a villain (reported but only recently confirmed by the actor in an ABC interview) and no mention that the title woule be SkyFall (or Skyfall, depending on spelling), all of which have been reported by various media outlets.

004. Are you hoping to get an Oscar nomination? There have been reports, such as one in the U.K, newspaper The Express that the film creators of 007 want this movie to be “Oscar-friendly.” Is that the case?

005. Mr. Mendes, what James Bond movies have you actually watched? Star Daniel Craig, in interviews like this chat with his Cowboys And Aliens director Jon Favreau, has said repeatedly that bond 23 director Sam Mendes is a big 007 fan. Is this genuine or a PR talking point? It might be worth asking Mendes at the news conference but we won’t hold our breath.

006. Daniel, what do you mean by a “classic” Bond movie? Craig has thrown the “classic” Bond label quite a bit in recent months in describing Bond 23. So what is his actual definition of a “classic” 007 movie?

007. Is your budget significantly less than Quantum of Solace? If so, what will the effect be on Bond 23? There have been a number of reports that Bond 23’s budget will be much less than the reported $230 million budget for the 22nd James Bond film released in 2008. We suspect the entertainment reporters won’t touch the subject.

Daniel Craig shows up with beard for premier of Tintin

A few days ago, one U.K. newspaper, The Sun, said Daniel Craig was growing a beard for Bond 23. He did show up at the U.K. premier of The Adventures of Tintin sporting a beard, according to a report in another U.K. newspaper, the Daily Mail.

You can CLICK HERE to see pictures and read the Mail’s coverage of the premier. Filming on Bond 23 isn’t supposed to start until Nov. 7 (a date unconfirmed by Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or Sony Corp.’s Columbia Pictures). So this can’t be considered conclusive evidence The Sun was correct.

UPDATE: You can view additional pictures at THE HUFFINGTON POST.

Ian Fleming gets a named martini at Dukes London Bar

Dukes London Bar

The cocktail bar at Dukes London in the city’s St. James’s neighborhood recently joined in partnership with London-based fragrance maker Floris to introduce the Fleming ’89, a new martini crafted in honor of the author Ian Fleming – who, like his character, James Bond, knew a thing or two about martinis. A famously frequent patron, Fleming wrote chunks of his first novel, Casino Royaleat Dukes, and is said to have dreamed up the famous “shaken not stirred” line — as well as Bond’s classic Vesper Martini — in the renowned saloon.

He was also a frequent visitor at Floris, where his fragrance of choice was No. 89, named after the number of the shop on Jermyn Street.

Alessandro Palazzi

The new Fleming ’89 was created by Dukes Bar Manager Alessandro Palazzi, who was inspired by the ingredients written in the original 1951 Floris formula book for the No. 89 fragrance. After plenty of experimentation, Palazzi arrived at the final creation, which combines vodka infused with Tonka beans*, chocolate bitters, Dukes’ specially-made English Amber Vermouth, Stolichnaya ELIT vodka and rose liqueur.

The Fleming ’89 will run you £18.95 (about $21.75), and is only available at Dukes London Bar.  For more information, call + 800-381-4702 or visit their website.

Tell 'em HMSS sent ya!

* Sounds weird, we know. However, see this article in the Atlantic for an education as to this magical ingredient.

The Express speculates Bond 23 will be `Oscar-friendly’

The U.K. newspaper The Express, in a story by David Stepehenson, is speculating that Bond 23 director Sam Mendes wants to make Bond 23 “Oscar friendly.”

Here’s an excerpt of a story that doesn’t appear to contain a lot of lot hard facts:

Rumours are growing that new British director Sam Mendes is planning to ditch a host of stunts and action scenes from his first Bond film.

Insiders say the new film, expected to be called Skyfall, will be very different in tone as Mendes instead aims for “characterful performances” that will put his creation in the running for Oscar nominations.

That could put a lot of pressure on Daniel Craig, who will be making his third appearance as the British secret agent It will also provide a big opportunity for the 43-year-old who has said that he wanted to bring more “emotional depth” to the role.

One source said: “There are growing rumours Sam Mendes is cutting out the action scenes and making it Oscar-friendly.”

Let’s examine this passage carefully.

“Rumours are growing” (Translation: no actually reporting here, just passing along rumors.)

“Insiders say the new film…” Are these the producers? Associate producers? Actual crew members? Caterers? The Express doesn’t spell this out. You can protect the identity of a source while indicating whether that source actually knows something. (i.e., a person with direct knowledge would be the phrasing of a story based on someone with with actual, direct knowledge.) The Express doesn’t bother.

“That could put a lot of pressure on Daniel Craig…” Yes, it could. Or maybe not. The phrasing indicates the autor doesn’t actually KNOW. Put tactfully, the author is SPECULATING. Put less tactfully, he’s pulling it out of… well, never mind where.

To read the entire story in The Express, JUST CLICK HERE.

The Express may, or may not be, on to something. But its presentation leaves much to be desired, suggesting there’s at least some guess work. If you read the entire story on The Express’s Web site, you’ll see additional examples.

1966: Doris Day makes a spy movie

By 1966, anyone who could launch a spy project did. One of the more unusal such projects was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s The Glass Bottom Boat, a comedy starring Doris Day.

Subtle, it wasn’t. Much of the humor was slapstick and looks like a cartoon come to life. That wasn’t surprising because the film was directed by Frank Tashlin, who years earlier had directed cartoon shorts for Warner Bros. The film’s trailer (with Hank Simms, the leading announcer for titles of Quinn Martin television shows, handling those honors here) is pretty representative of the movie itself:

Doris becomes involved with Rod Taylor, playing a Tony Stark-type playboy/inventor. Foreign powers are after Taylor’s work. The cast is full of people (Arthur Godfrey, Dick Martin, Eric Fleming, John McGiver, Edward Andrews) who were mostly seen on television by this time while still popping up in the occasional film role.

It also had a very odd, Tashlin-staged cameo. MGM’s big television property at the time was The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Paul Lynde, as a bumbling security officer, disguises himself as a woman and ends up. briefly encountering U.N.C.L.E.’s Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn).

MSN Cars speculates Evoque to be in Bond 23

The MSN Cars Web site is speculating the Range Rover Evoque will be featured in Bond 23.

There’s not a lot of hard reporting (Woodwardd and Bernstein it is not). Judge for yourself in this excerpt:

MSN Cars’ insider sources tell us that an Evoque was delivered to Pinewood Studios this very morning. And given Pinewood is home to the Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage it doesn’t take much to put two and two together and get ‘kerching!’

While Land Rover is unwilling to confirm or deny at this moment, not only is the high-tech sleek and muscular look of the Evoque perfect for the world’s most famous super spy, the slinky SUV’s British brand credentials also fit very sweetly.

Last week, The Sun, the U.K. tabloid, said Bond 23 filming would begin involving a stunt
with a Land Rover and a Jaguar.. Meanwhile, to read the MSN Cars post (including a photo of the Evoque), JUST CLICK HERE.

Bradley Cooper offered lead in U.N.C.L.E. movie, Variety says

Bradley Cooper, star of The Hangover, is director Steven Soderbergh’s choice to play Napoleon Solo in a movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Variety reported.

Here’s an excerpt:

EXCLUSIVE: After a whirlwind casting search that has seen Matt Damon and Johnny Depp pass on the lead role vacated by George Clooney, Bradley Cooper has emerged as Steven Soderbergh’s choice to star in Warner Bros.’ spy pic “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

Cooper currently has an offer to play Napoleon Solo, and the opportunity to work with Soderbergh is one that Cooper is likely to accept, considering how hard his team at CAA worked to position him for the coveted part.

CAA stands for Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles. You can read the whole story BY CLICKING HERE. It has been previously reported that Soderbergh will start filming the U.N.C.L.E. movie in February. The movie will be set in the 1960s.

Robert Vaughn played Solo, a character originally created (without credit) by Norman Felton and Ian Fleming in the 1964-68 series. Cooper is 36 and will turn 37 by the time the movie goes into production. Vaughn turned 31 during the filming of the U.N.C.L.E. pilot, the same day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

No word on who will play Illya Kuryakin, the Russian U.N.C.L.E. agent portrayed by David McCallum in the show, which was developed by the late Sam Rolfe.

UPDATE: To read different takes on this development, you can look at HOLLYWOOD.COM’S POST (which approves of the potential casting); THE HUFFINGTON POST; and COMINGSOON.NET.

UPDATE II: Another Web site, WE GOT THIS COVERED, says Michael Fassbender considered the role but took a pass.

Bond 23 to have tighter budget, The Sun says

The Sun, the U.K. tabloid newspaper, says Bond 23 will be made on a tighter budget than previous entries in the series.

The story (which you can read BY CLICKING HERE) leads off by saying Daniel Craig will grow a beard for the movie. But this passage caught our eye:

The film is going to be made on a shoestring budget in comparison to the last few.

A source said: “They’ve really scaled back.

“The lavish production and locations have been cut.

“There is only a reduced cast and crew travelling to the few overseas destinations.”

The Sun gets no more specific than that, nor describes how the source came across the information. The paper also doesn’t provide a specific budget figure. (It also has a plot spoiler if you care to read the story).

This is the second report (at least indirectly) referring to a smaller budget for Bond 23. The Times of India, IN A STORY IN AUGUST said Bond 23’s budget was $135 million. That newspaper didn’t specify how it got that figure, not even attributing it to a source, just stating the number.

Quantum of Solace had a budget of $230 million, according to The Numbers.com Web site. As we’ve noted before, a reduced Bond 23 budget would make sense. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which controls half the 007 franchise, reorganized itself in bankruptcy court. Sony Corp., whose Columbia Pictures will distribute Bond 23, is having its own financial tough times. It’s up to MGM and Sony to finance Bond 23 and the world is a lot different in 2011 than it was in 2008.

UPDATE: The $135 million figure may have originated with a story in the Sunday Times of London earlier this year. You can read a version that ran on The Australian’s Web site by CLICKING HERE. That story said MGM and Sony intended to raise $45 million, or one-third of Bond 23’s production budget, through product placement deals.

Simple math — 45 multiplied by 3 — gives you $135 million.