Idris Elba praises Daniel Craig as 007

Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Ever since computer hacks at Sony Pictures turned up an executive’s memo saying Idris Elba should be the next film 007, the actor keeps getting asked about it. Elba keeps trying to play it down.

For example, there’s THIS JAN. 28 BLOOMBERG STORY, which contains this excerpt:

“It’s really just a rumor—and it’s not even my rumor!” he says via phone from Germany. He has called me, an auto journalist, because the luxury brand Jaguar recently hired him to drive from London to Berlin in its new XE diesel sedan, the one that gets 75 miles per gallon. He drove it to DJ a Jaguar-sponsored party the night of his arrival in Berlin.

It was a well-timed publicity stunt. While it is true that Elba has long followed car culture—his father worked for years at Ford, and Land Rovers and a Jaguar XJR are his current cars of choice—the drive comes right after revelations from the Sony hack revealed that Elba was being considered for the title role in the next 007 flick.

For the moment, Elba says he is focusing on his life as a DJ.

“I appreciate you saying that I’d be a good James Bond, but Daniel Craig is doing a great job with it right now,” he says. 
”I love working with music, making people dance.”

The Sony executive involved was Amy Pascal. “Idris should be the next bond (sic),” she wrote in a Jan. 4, 2014 email, reported by The Daily Beast website. She’s dealt with Bond since Sony released 2006’s Casino Royale. Sony’s current agreement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer expires after the release of SPECTRE, coming out this fall. Meanwhile, Craig is under contract through Bond 25.

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Our modest proposal for the title of the newest 007 novel

Jim Murray, ace Los Angeles Times columnist

Jim Murray, ace Los Angeles Times columnist

So, Anthony Horowitz, the author hired to write the newest James Bond continuation novel, let it be known this month he’s delivered his manuscript and he approves of the cover for the U.K. edition.

It’s probably too late to make this modest suggestion for the title. It’s based on the previously disclosed information the novel is based on an Ian Fleming idea for a never-made James Bond television series and it involves a setting in the world of auto racing.

The Fleming story idea was titled Death on Wheels, but Horowitz has previously said that won’t be the title of the novel.

But what would be a good title? Well, one of the best U.S. sports writers of the 20th century provides something worth considering.

“Gentlemen, start your coffins,” Jim Murray, sports columnist of the Los Angeles Times, wrote in a column about the Indianapolis 500 published in 1966.

At the time Murray penned those words, the Indy 500 was at its height as the pre-eminent auto race in the world. In the 1960s, the 500 was so big, the stars of Formula One and NASCAR came to Indianapolis to compete in the event. In 1965 and 1966, Formula One stars won the race.

But the 500 could also prove deadly. As late the as the 1980s, The Associated Press news service would send to member newspapers a list of all fatalities that occurred during the race over the years. Meanwhile, Murray’s line for his Indy 500 column was just one of many memorable comments he wrote over a long career. Murray died in 1998.

Raymond Benson observations on 007 and other topics

Raymond Benson's Die Another Day remains the most recent 007 film novelization. Photo copyright © Paul Baack

Raymond Benson, circa late 1990s. Photo by Paul Baack.

Raymond Benson, 007 scholar and one-time James Bond continuation novel author, granted an interview to the SIRENS OF SUSPENSE WEBSITE.

Here are a few of his observations.

About writing his 007 continuation novels and short stories:

“I grew up with Bond and (Ian) Fleming. I knew the universe inside-and-out…and I believe that’s why the people at the Fleming Estate hired me.”

On his favorite Bond actor:

Sean Connery will always be my favorite: he’s the iconic Bond, the guy against everyone else will be measured. That said, I feel the most accurate portrayal of Fleming’s literary Bond was that of Timothy Dalton.

On the chances Idris Elba will ever play 007:

As for the Elba discussion, it’s a moot point. Mr. Elba is a fine actor and could certainly do the role, but he’s aleady too old.

When the computers of Sony Pictures were hacked, one disclosure that emerged was that Sony executive Amy Pascal voiced a preference for Elba (born Sept. 6, 1972) to succeed Daniel Craig (b. 1968) in the role. Craig is currently filming SPECTRE, due for release in November and his contract calls for one more 007 film after that.

On whether Benson might every get the chance to do another 007 novel:

The Estate has never re-hired an author, just as the film producers are never going to re-hire Brosnan or Dalton.

Benson’s last Bond novel and 007 movie novelization were both published in 2002.

To view the entire interview, CLICK HERE.

‘Year of the Spy’ gets a shakeup: M:I 5 moved up 5 months

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

The “Year of the Spy” has just been shaken up. Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 5 has been moved up five months to July 31 from Dec. 25, according to the BOX OFFICE MOJO website.

The move gets M:I and its star-producer out of the busy Christmas season, which includes Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens on Dec. 18. Paramount, the studio behind the M:I movies, rescheduled a movie called Monster Trucks to Dec. 25 from May 29.

M:I’s new release date may also be bad news for Warner Bros. The studio has an action movie called Point Break due out on July 31 and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. two weeks later, on Aug. 14.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie was given the mid-August date after being rescheduled from Jan. 16. Warner Bros. ended up giving a wide release to American Sniper in mid-January, and it has been a big hit. The question now is whether Warner Bros. will be tempted to change U.N.C.L.E.’s release date again.

Of course, Cruise originally had been attached to the U.N.C.L.E. movie to play Napoleon Solo. He pulled out to concentrate on the new M:I movie, with Henry Cavill accepting the Solo role.

007 Tweets of note from Jeremy Duns, Anthony Horowitz

On Sunday, Jan. 25, two rather interesting posts on Twitter emerged related to the world of James Bond.

The first was from journalist and author Jeremy Duns. He came across a 1963 story in the Daily Express indicating that, at one time, Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman was interesting in having actor-playwright Robert Shaw script a 007 film.

Shaw, of course, played Red Grant in 1963’s From Russia With Love. There are no details about what Bond project this might have been for.

Generally speaking, screenwriter Richard Maibaum was close to Albert R. Broccoli, the other Bond co-producer. Saltzman was always on the lookout for other scribes, including Len Deighton (who did uncredited work on From Russia With Love), Paul Dehn (Goldfinger) and John Hopkins (Thunderball).

Duns previously has detailed the work screenwriter Ben Hecht did for producer Charles K. Feldman’s ill-fated 1967 Casino Royale film. Duns researched how Hecht had a more serious take in mind. Duns has a e-book on the subject, ROGUE ROYALE.

The other Tweet came from Anthony Horwitz, writer of the next James Bond continuation novel coming out this fall.

The author, as it turns out, was watching the 1974 movie on television. On Jan. 15, HE TWEETED he had delivered his Bond novel. On Jan. 22, HE TWEETED that he had seen the cover, calling it “perfect.”

UPDATE: Horowitz later engaged in a dialogue with other Twitter users.

One commented to Horowitz that the Golden Gun novel isn’t one of Fleming’s best novels. Horowitz’s reply: “True. But that rubber nipple? Oh dear.” In a separate response, he said of the 1974 movie’s car jump: “Great stunt. But the sound and the sheriff? Oh dear.”

He was then informed by freelance writer and author Jeffrey Westhoff, “Slide whistle was John Barry’s choice, which he later regretted. But director, etc. could have nixed it.” Horowitz’s reply: “That’s a very interest piece of movie trivia!”

SPECTRE silly season under way

SPECTRE LOGO

No question — we’re now well into what we’ll call the “silly season” for SPECTRE.

Production on the 24th James Bond film produced by Eon Productions has been underway since early December. There are fragmentary bits of information. Some photos of location shooting in Austria here (such as THIS IMAGE which has been seen various places including the BOND 24 WEBSITE). Some developments becoming public there.

For all that, there’s not enough information to really get a sense of how things are going or if the movie will be any good or not.

One of those fragments IS A STORY IN THE U.K. MIRROR TABLOID NEWSPAPER that says the production may have been thrown a major curve ball about a scheduled location in Rome. Here’s an excerpt.

Filming for the new James Bond movie has been thrown into chaos after a row over a historic site in Rome.

Producers had planned to shoot key scenes for Spectre on the 15th century Ponte Sisto bridge…But religious campaigners are furious as the bridge holds special significance, with links to Pope Innocent X — prompting protests to authorities in the Italian capital.

There are more details if you click on the link above. If you do, there is a bit of a spoiler about the planned sequence.

Anyway, this potential setback comes after officials in Rome vetoed a location for a car chase. (CLICK HERE to read a Jan. 9 story on the MI6 James Bond website.) Still, does this really amount to “chaos” the way the Mirror characterizes it?

For now, we’re mostly going to get teases from official 007 social media, like this Jan. 22 Tweet:

In other words, interesting visuals, not much context. The same applies to the periodic clapperboard shots.

Thanks to the Sony hacking, we know a more than usual compared with production of other 007 films. That information includes memos, draft scripts and the fact SPECTRE’s budget may exceed $300 million, making it one of the most expensive movies ever made. For context, thought, that won’t come until another day.

Cavill says U.N.C.L.E. role ‘different’

Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill

Actor Henry Cavill, in an interview with the B2B GIBRALTAR WEBSITE said Napoleon Solo is “a bit different to my other roles.”

The 31-year-old actor didn’t elaborate. Here’s pretty much the entire mention of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie in the Jan. 16 article on the Gibraltar business website:

Henry’s next box office blockbuster will see him take on the big-screen reboot of hit TV show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in another iconic role, this time recreating the character of Napoleon Solo made famous by Robert Vaughn. “It is very exciting and it is going to be a great movie, a bit different to my other roles there is even a comedic element to it,” Henry said. “We have already finished filming and it’s due to be released in August 2015.”

The interview was conducted in October when Cavill was at Gibraltar for a fundraiser run on behalf of the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund. At the time, Cavill was still filming Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice. Most of the interview concerns his Superman role.

Cavill has previously said there’s a comedic element to the story. The actor has also said he didn’t watch the original 1964-68 television series. He had avoided watching other actors play Superman prior to 2013’s Man of Steel film.

Shoutout to the Henry Cavill News site, which Tweeted about the Gibraltar interview.