Is Skyfall escapist or dark and gritty?


Eon Productions co-boss Michael G. Wilson caused a stir when he told the U.K. media outlet The People that he hoped Daniel Craig would do a total of eight 007 films. But there was something else he said that raises questions about Craig’s current Bond film, Skyfall.

Here’s the excerpt that caught out eye:

The 69-year-old New Yorker said: “The director Sam Mendes and Daniel are taking it back to a 60s feel – more Sean. I think that’s what the fans wanted. There’s a magical Goldfinger feel ­surrounding it all. It’s all very exciting. I can’t wait for people to see the movie because I think we’re making a very special Bond.”
(emphasis added)

Sean Connery, Shirley Eaton, and Ian Fleming on the set of GOLDFINGER


Goldfinger feel? That would indicate that Skyfall, scheduled to premier in the U.K. in October 2012 and in the U.S. the following month, would be somewhat escapist in tone; it is after all, hard to go more over the top than a plot involving smuggling an atomic bomb into Fort Knox. Diamonds Are Forever, released in 1971 and which attempted to emulate 1964’s Goldfinger, absolutely fell on the escapist side.

Wilson’s comment seems quite interesting, especially because, at a November press conference, Wilson indicated the opposite. “With Casino Royale, we started down a path, and we’re sticking with that path,” Wilson said at that time. That would indicate that Skyfall was doubling down on dark, gritty, not-your-father’s-James Bond movie of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

It’s also interesting to note that Wilson says Skyfall will be “more Sean.” Wilson’s half-sister and co-boss of Eon, Barbara Broccoli, is on record as saying Craig is the best Bond ever. If that’s the case, why would you want “more Sean”? Connery, the original film 007, must be inferior, based on her outlook. You can only have one “best” Bond.

Is this nitpicking? Perhaps. But the powers that be at Eon should realize it’s not 1965 anymore — it’s a lot easier to check how statements made one day check against comments made previously. A lot of this is public relations and marketing, obviously. Still, when you contradict yourself within weeks it tends to weaken the public relations and marketing message.

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Craig offered 007 extension, U.K.’s The People says

Daniel Craig may get the chance to wear his James Bond tuxedo for a long time.

Daniel Craig has been offered an extension of his 007 contract that would result in him playing James Bond for another five films, the U.K.-based The People says, quoting producer Michael G. Wilson in an interview.

If that happens, Craig would have been Bond for eight films, more than either Roger Moore (seven films in the series produced by Eon Productions) and Sean Connery (six Eon films and the non-series entry Never Say Never Again). He’s filming his third, Skyfall, now. Here’s an excerpt:

JAMES BOND actor Daniel Craig has been offered a multi-million pound deal to become the ­longest serving 007 of all time. (snip)

Legendary Bond producer Michael G Wilson said: “Daniel’s been a terrific Bond, a superb actor and a ­terrific man. The fans love him and I don’t think there’s a better actor to play the part…It’s certainly something we’ll be ­discussing with him once we finish shooting Skyfall…I’d love Daniel to surpass Roger’s record and do eight pictures.”

A few observations:

1) If Craig agrees to an extension, the actual number of movies will depend on whether Eon is ready to do the 007 pictures on an every-other-year basis. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, when it went through bankruptcy, said it planned to release Bond movies on such a schedule. But MGM and Eon share control of the franchise. MGM can’t release movies if Eon hasn’t made one.

2) Craig will be 44 when Skyfall is released. Another five movies on an every-other-year schedule, would put the actor at 54 when Bond 28 comes out in 2022. If the movies have a 3-year gap here and there, well, he’d be older than that after an eight-film run.

There’s only this quote from Wilson:

“The director Sam Mendes and Daniel are taking it back to a 60s feel – more Sean. I think that’s what the fans wanted. There’s a magical Goldfinger feel ­surrounding it all. It’s all very exciting. I can’t wait for people to see the movie because I think we’re making a very special Bond.”

Our No. 3 observation: The film will determine if that’s the case. For now, these are only words.

One factual error in the story: it refers to producer Barbara Broccoli as being Wilson’s “step-sister.” They are half siblings because they had the same mother, Dana Broccoli.