007 new questions about Skyfall

Some questions answered about the next James Bond movie. But there are always more. For example:

001. Naomie Harris is playing an MI6 operative named Eve. Does that mean she won’t be the next Miss Moneypenny? One might think so. But there’s a possibility that Agent Eve may somehow morph, by film’s end, into a new incarnation of Miss Moneypenney. That would, at this date, be a cheap gag/in-joke. Perhaps she ends up being Skyfall’s “sacrificial lamb,” ala Quarrel in Dr. No, Kerim Bey in From Russia With Love, etc.

On the other hand, a story in the U.K. paper the Daily Mail has this passage:

No one from the production was giving anything away, but Eve will become the new Miss Moneypenny marking the first time the character has appeared in a Bond film since Samantha Bond in Die Another Day in 2002.

That sounds awfully lame. But the Mail, a U.K. tabloid, has been proven right on a number of Skyfall details. We’ll see.

002. So will Bond wear a beard during part of Spyfall? That was the thrust of a story in the U.K. newspaper The Sun. Actor Daniel Craig showed up at the Nov. 3 Skyfall press conference sporting a Jed Clampett-style beard (we’ll credit Dell Deaton for that observation) at the news conference. That’s not a confirmation but you have to wonder if The Sun was correct.

003. Will the next James Bond novel be Skyfall? We have to credit the THE BOOK BOND WEB SITE for first posing the question. But that Web site is on to something. In 2002, Ian Fleming Publications and 007 novel continuation author Raymond Benson were parting ways. Benson’s final 007 novel had been published. But Die Another Day was coming out late that year. Ian Fleming Publications controlled print versions of Bond. Benson, in what would be his final 007 job, did the novelization of Die Another Day.

With 2006’s Casino Royale and 2008’s Quantum of Solace, IFP put out new editions of Ian Fleming originals (even if the 2008 movie only used a Fleming short story title) But Skyfall has absolutely no connection to Fleming. And IFP has no established continuation author; 2008’s Devil May Care and 2011’s Carte Blanche were done as one-off jobs by Sebastian Faulks and Jeffery Deaver, respectively. It’d be in the best interest of IFP and Eon Productions for a novelization of Skyfall to be available in late 2012. Can the two entities come to an agreement?

004. Will David Arnold return as composer or be replaced? Arnold, on his Twitter feed, said he didn’t know and the Skyfall press release didn’t mention a composer choice. Music is very important to a movie so this perhaps is the biggest question to be answered.

005. Will Skyfall be yet another personal mission? Maybe. The official news release had this line: “In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.” Eon Productions has been hung up on the “personal” angle since 1989’s Licence to Kill. This may be more of the same. We’ll see.

006. Is this Judi Dench’s last 007 film as M? Dame Judi turns 77 in December. The plot hint of the Skyfall press release suggests her M will have a pivotal role. The Bond films may have reached a limit for screen time for M, so maybe this is the right time to cash out.

007. Will Skyfall be worth seeing or not? Too soon to tell. The “this time it’s personal!” hype continues (we were hoping the movie’s unofficial tagline would be, “This time it’s NOT personal!”). Albert R. Broccoli, the co-founder of Eon, famously was quoted as saying he wanted all the money spent on the film to be visible on the screen. His sucessors didn’t follow that dictum (Quantum of Solace had a reported $230 million budget, almost as much as a Harry Potter movie without nearly the production values). But a film can’t be critiqued until it’s made and screened, obviously. And Skyfall is only starting production.

6 Responses

  1. You share some of my worries about Skyfall. While I don’t object to a new Moneypenny, I don’t want to see her given more screen time or a back story; David Arnold is the sound of 21st century Bond, it would be a big mistake to let him go; and personal mission – not again!

    While Judi Dench is a great actor, she’s had WAY too much screen time in the last two films (why is the head of MI6 is the field so much anyway) and to expand her role even more is a big mistake. As I’ve said before, she should give Bond his mission and send him on his way; goodbye M.

    Good point about the novelization though, I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll just point out to IFP that I’m available if they need me 😉

  2. I watched the entire press conference on the BBC website, and Babs indeed says we will see all the money right up there on the screen this time. That would be a welcome change from the last film, which looked cheap. The overall production design of QOS reminded me of the early 70’s films, DAF, LALD and TMWTGG.

  3. @Mark: Barbara Broccoli used the same line about Quantum (it’s on the extras of the two-disk DVD set). It’s a line she trots out periodically.

  4. The Mail has a mixed track record on showbiz stories. They have one reporter who’s very ‘in’ with people in the business (who was addressed by name at the press conference), and a few others who aren’t. Regarding the Moneypenny role, I’d suggest that today’s announcement that Helen McCrory is joining the cast might indicate that the Mail, on this occasion, has got its wires crossed. We’ll see.

  5. Phil, you may be right.

  6. The plot I believe is more personal to M with Bond just doing his fob so I wouldnt worry about that too much. QOS didnt look cheap to me less prestine more realistic at times but not cheap. Big fan of Arnold but change is good now and then. Not surprised if this is Dame Judi Dench last film. Oh and Eve is Eve either first or second or good or bad….image a Fields retread minus the oil…but not sure why we would think she is Moneypenny now or try to make her Moneypenny after the press conference??

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