Mendes will direct Heineken ad with Craig, Ad Age says

Sam Mendes, the director of Skyfall, will direct a Heineken ad featuring Daniel Craig as 007, Advertising Age reported in a story you can view BY CLICKING HERE.

Skyfall director Sam Mendes

Here’s an excerpt:

(James) Bond, played by Daniel Craig, will star in a Heineken ad. The spot, which will run globally, is by brand agency-of-record Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam, and directed by Sam Mendes, the film’s director. In the movie, Bond will swap his trademark martini for a sip of the brew — at least in one scene. The integration, which will include Bond images on packaging, marks the largest activation in the brand’s 15-year partnership with the 007 franchise, according to the brewer.

Bond is best known for vodka martinis, though in Ian Fleming’s novels he also consumed bourbon, whiskey and sodas., sake and all sorts of other alcohol beverages. Presumably, this is part of a deal Heinken announced in an awkwardly written press release.

Marlohe says her character includes a `dark side’

Berenice Marlohe, who plays a character named Severine in Skyfall, says, “The first you meet her, she has a dark side.”

That’s one of the few bits, along with a shot of her in character coming down an escalator, that’s in the videoblog that went up this morning at the official James Bond Web site. Like previous videos with Michael G. Wilson and Sam Mendes to promote the movie, this one is short (a little over a minute) and doesn’t go into a lot of details. But you can check it out yourself:

UPDATE: The official 007 page also put up a videoblog of Naomie Harris, essentially saying things she’s said before and shooting guns:

007 Facebook page hypes new videoblog with Bérénice Marlohe

Bérénice Marlohe jokes around during a recent public appearance.

The official James Bond Facebook page says another videoblog is coming up March 29:

Bond fans! It’s your first chance to see Bérénice Marlohe as the enigmatic Severine on the set of SKYFALL in an exclusive videoblog on tomorrow, 12:00 noon, GMT

So far, there have been two of these, one in December with Michael G. Wilson, co-boss of Eon Productions (where he said his stepfather, Albert R. Broccoli, “made Dr. No,” ignoring quite a few people who contributed mightily to the first 007 movie) and another in February where director Sam Mendes didn’t really say much.

The Facebook entry didn’t specify, but the Wilson and Mendes video were shown on the official 007 Web page, so that’s probably where the Marlohe video will appear.

The Wilson video was 45 seconds, the Mendes one 1:30. So we’re not expecting much detailed information. But fans will likely check it out, anyway.

Our modest proposal for Skyfall’s gunbarrel (if there is one)

There’s one thing Eon Productions could do for the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, that could be done for minimal cost, evoke the series’ long history and might get at least some fans pumped up.

Bob Simmons, subbing for Sean Connery, performing the gunbarrel sequence that would be used in Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger.

Film a gunbarrel sequence to start out the movie with Daniel Craig’s 007 wearing a hat.

You remember the hat, don’t you? In about 10 seconds, the gunbarrel sequence evokes danger as the audience views Bond from the vantage point of an assassin attempting to kill 007. Bond, aware of the peril, turns and fires, and we see what’s supposed to be blood come down from the top of the screen.

Bob Simmons, Sean Connery’s stunt double, subbed for the star after title designer Maurice Binder had devised the gunbarrel logo to start off Dr. No. We don’t know if Connery wasn’t available. Regardless, Simmons looked enough like Connery (certainly at a distance and wearing a hat) so nobody would notice it wasn’t the star of the movie who walked out and suddenly fired at the audience.

Thus, began a tradition, that lasted 20 movies, through, 2002’s Die Another Day, where the gunbarrel logo started off a 007 film with some variation of The James Bond Theme. The hat disappeared when Roger Moore assumed the role with 1973’s Live And Let Die; it’s our understanding a version with Moore wearing the hat was filmed but it obviously wasn’t used.

Starting in 2005, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to make the series theirs, in effect declaring their independence from Eon Productions late co-founder Albert R. Broccoli. (“We need to generate something new, for ourselves,” Wilson told The New York Times in 2005.)

So the traditional gunbarrel was scrapped, with a new one (without the Bond theme) featuring star Daniel Craig just before the main titles. Wilson said in 2008 that “We’ll probably go back to the traditional style,” for Quantum of Solace. It didn’t turn out that way. Craig’s second gunbarrel came at the end of the movie, just before the end titles although with a traditional James Bond theme arrangement.

Daniel Craig

We don’t take it for granted the gunbarrel will back in any way, shape or form. Wilson, Broccoli and director Sam Mendes may decide to dispense with a gunbarrel altogether as far as we know. But *IF* one is included, having Craig wear a hat would be (pun intended) a tip of the cap to the past that’s subtle. The series did a special gunbarrel with Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day, but it was hardly subtle. Brosnan “fired” a CGI bullet at the audience (and supposedly into the barrel of the assassin following Bond).

If Wilson is serious about Skyfall having “a magical Goldfinger feel,” then a traditional gunbarrel with Craig sporting a hat (as Simmons, Connery and George Lazenby did) would be a good place to start.

Quantum of Solace’s political point of view

Four years after it was released, Quantum of Solace can still stir up debate among 007 fans. One topic is whether the 22nd James Bond film had a political point of view. Director Marc Forster, in a November 2008 interivew with New York magazine, said it did.

Marc Forster while directing Quantum of Solace

Some excerpts:

“It’s like I worked under this political regime with extreme censorship,” Forster plainly admits, describing his arrangement with Bond’s producers, the infamously controlling Broccoli family. “I had to subversively inject my ideas to make the movie my own.”
“I question the role that these Secret Service agencies play today—is their role really to protect the country? Or the interest of a few?”
Most radical, Forster argues that “Bond isn’t a clear good guy—the villain and Bond overlap.” In fact, the director—never a Bond fanatic—is surprised that 007 has survived this long, “especially as a colonialist or imperialistic character. That’s why you have to put a dent in him, because those powers can’t survive. It’s the end of the American world power in the next few decades.”

Maybe the article was read by a lot of 007 fans at the time (we admit to missing it), but it doesn’t seem to be cited that often in all the message board debates. Anyway, to read the entire article, JUST CLICK HERE.

1976: ABC’s OHMSS showing provides 007 YouTube preview

Over on the discussion boards of the MI6 James Bond fan Web site, there’s A THREAD about the 1976 ABC showing of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where the U.S. television network did its own major re-working of the 007 film.

In this version, only shown once, right after the gunbarrel logo, the viewer is taken to the middle of the story. ABC hired an actor (who doesn’t particularly sound like George Lazenby, who played 007 in the original 1969 film) to perform a first-person narration by Bond. Well, see for yourself. Here’s a long YouTube video of that ABC broadcast:

We saw that original broadcast. ABC didn’t provide any warning it was reshaping the movie in such a dramatic way. The network’s first broadcast actually split Majesty’s into two 90-minute telecasts (including commercials, of course) over consecutive Monday nights. On the MI6 message board, there were a number of responses expressing shock that ABC had done this. And Bond fans certainly felt much the same way at the time.

But watching it again, got us to thinking: ABC, in a way, provided a preview of what YouTube users do routinely in the 21st Century.

Stop to think about it. How many 007 fans have checked out fan-edited new versions of old James Bond trailers using modern editing techniques. Like this one:

Nor do YouTube users stop at trailers. John Barry is the most famous Bond film composer. Ever wonder what one of the movies he didn’t score would look like with Barry music? Take a visit to YouTube and you’ll see videos like this one, where Barry scores from different 007 films is used for a Live And Let Die scene:

Most ambitiously, YouTube users like to do their own sequences, drawn upon a number of Bond films. For example, ever imagine what it’d be like if all the film Bonds got together to gamble together? Wonder no more:

What ABC did in 1976 went beyond all that. Bond fans tuned in, expecting to see the movie they remembered (minus cuts ABC made for language and other factors.).

They got more than they bargained for. Film directors complain that showing a movie on televison in the “pan and scan” format, rather than letterbox, is “re-directing” the movie. ABC, re-directed, rewrote and re-acted (via the Bond voiceover) Majesty’s. Still, in many ways, ABC was ahead of its time. Checking YouTube videos proves that.

For a more detailed article about the 1976 ABC broadcast of OHMSS, CLICK HERE to read an article on the Dr. Shatterhand’s Botanical Gardens Web site.

MI6 Confidential looks at The Living Daylights

MI6 Confidential has a new issue that includes a look at The Living Daylights, the 15th James Bond film produced by Eon Productions and Timothy Dalton debut as 007.

Articles include Dalton describing his take on the Bond role; a look back at The Living Daylight’s royal premier in 1987; an early look at Skyfall, the 23rd Bond film from Eon now in production; and directors of Bond films discussing their work.

For more information, CLICK HERE The price is 6 British pounds, $10 or 7 euros.

Ian who? Harry what?

OK, enough is enough. Clearly, if the OFFICIAL 007 TWITTER FEED IS ANY INDICATION, Eon Productions hasn’t the slightest intention of recognizing the contributions of Ian Fleming (who created James Bond) and Harry Saltzman (Eon’s co-founder).

ON THIS DAY IN BOND HISTORY: Some old dude none of us 007 Twitter writers recognize showed up on the Goldfinger set.

On March 23, the official 007 Twitter feed noted this:

ON THIS DAY IN BOND HISTORY: 1964, Guy Hamilton shot the GOLDFINGER scene in which Bond meets and seduces Jill Masterson. #007 #SKYFALL

There was something else, based on photographs taken at the time, going on: Ian Fleming showed up on the Goldfinger set to chat with star Sean Connery and supporting player Shirley Eaton. A photograph of the meeting was taken and it’s one of the most-reproduced images of the 007 author showing up during filming of Bond movies. If it’s not the last, it’s one of the last.

Evidently, the 007 Twitter writers (or writer) didn’t know that or have any idea who this Ian Fleming character was. Reader’s Digest version: He wrote some novels featuring a character named James Bond. Without the novels, there aren’t any James Bond movies.

This week the official 007 Twitter account filed its 142nd Tweet. Number of mentions of Ian Fleming? Zero. While we were at it, we checked (based on a tip from the James Bond Dossier) the number of mentions of Harry Saltzman, the partner of Albert R. Broccoli for the first nine Bond films. Number of Saltzman mentions? Also zero.

Put another way, if Albert R. Broccoli had never met Ian Fleming (who created the character) or Harry Saltzman (who actually held the option to buy the film rights), Broccoli would not have won the Irving Thalberg Award in 1982 (an honary Oscar given to a producer). Broccoli likely would not have gotten an obituary in The New York Times. (Albert R. Broccoli, Producer of Hell Below Zero, Dies at 87? Please.)

We’ve brought this up before, including THIS POST and THIS POST. We got feedback that Cubby Broccoli definitely appreciated Ian Fleming and his daughter, Barbara Broccoli, and stepson, Michael G. Wilson, do too. That, we’re told, also applies to Harry Saltzman.

Perhaps. Even if that’s the case, people in the employ of Wilson and Broccoli (whether they be direct employees or outside contractors) haven’t got a clue.

MGM watch: Craig’s `Dragon Tatoo’ loses money, LA Times says

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, trying to comeback from bankruptcy, had a setback, according to the Company Town blog of the Los Angeles Times: The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, starring Daniel Craig, ended up a money loser.

Here’s an excerpt:

Returns of $231 million in worldwide box office wasn’t enough to turn a profit on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer disclosed in financial results released this week that it is booking what Co-Chief Executive Gary Barber called a “modest loss” on the film. On a conference call with shareholders, he said the independent studio, which covered 20% of the approximately $100-million production budget for the movie co-financed and distributed by Sony Pictures, needed “Dragon Tattoo” to collect about 10% more revenue in order to break even.

You can read the entire story BY CLICKING HERE. According to the Los Angeles Times, MGM is in talks with Sony to reduce the budget for any future installments.

We reference this story for a couple of reasons: 1) MGM owns half of the James Bond franchise along with Eon Productions and “Dragon Tatoo” was one of its first big projects since exiting bankruptcy; 2) Daniel Craig, the current cinema 007, was the movie’s star. When MGM was coping with its financial ills, there was speculation whether Craig would cease playing 007 while starring in “Dragon Tatoo” sequels. Whether any such sequels materialize remains to be seen.

MGM and Sony, meanwhile, are co-financing Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film and the two have committed to collaborate on Bond 24. MGM, as part of its bankruptcy plan, said it wants to get Bond films back on an every-other-year schedule, with Bond 24 coming out in 2014. That, too, remains to be seen.

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times, in a SEPARATE STORY says MGM has regained control of the United Artists brand from Tom Cruise. UA, when it was actually a studio and not just a label, released the first dozen 007 films produced by Eon Productions. UA got absorbed by MGM after Transamerica Corp. dumped it. The UA name was last on a Bond film with 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies.

Homages in Skyfall and Five-0 to past 007 films? (spoiler)

Spoiler involved is fairly minor (especially since the horse is out of the barn) but stop reading if you want to remain spoiler-free.

After looking at images at the Facebook page of Bondklub Deutschland & Friends you have to wonder whether Skyfall, the 50th anniversary James Bond film,will have homages to past 007 movies.

Bond flies past a statue of a stag in Thunderball (left), a statue of a stag at 007's ancestral home in Skyfall as photographed by the Foraging Photographer. Coincidence?

Thanks to photos appearing on the Foraging Photographer blog, images of a set intended to pass for Bond’s ancestral home in Scotland show there’s a statue of a stag atop a gate post. In 1965’s Thunderball, Bond (Bill Suitor doubling for Sean Connery), using a jetpack, flies past a statue of a stag while getting away from some minor villains.

An homage? If so, it’s fairly subtle. Eon Productions pulled the same trick with 2002’s Die Another Day, the 40th anniversary 007 movie, which was packed with references to earlier Bond films. Many were pretty obvious, such as Q’s workshop filled with old gadgets, everything from what was supposed to be Thunderball’s jetpack to Rosa Klebb’s deadly shoe in From Russia With Love.

Separately, the March 19 installment of the new Hawaii Five-0 series had a “McGuffin” that would be familar to those who’ve seen Die Another Day. The plot centered around conflict diamonds, the same thing that caused Bond (Pierce Brosnan) to pursue Colonel Moon/Gustav Graves in the 2002 Bond film.

You could write that off to coincidence except the Nov. 21 episode of Five-0 also had things in common with Die Another Day, including a North Korean setting, the hero being tortured and dark, murky photography for scenes set in North Korea. Maybe the Five-0 writing staff liked the movie.