Some unimportant questions about Bond 25

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Following this week’s announcement of a 2019 release date for Bond 25 here are some unimportant questions about 007’s next film adventure.

Why make this announcement now? The announcement came the Monday after last weekend’s San Diego Comic Con. That event saw November’s Thor: Ragnarok film, this November’s Justice League movie and next year’s Avengers: Infinity War film grab a lot of publicity. Perhaps it’s a chance to remind audiences that James Bond is yet to be heard from?

Why announce a release date without a star, distributor or a director? We don’t really know. See answer (such as it is) to the previous question for a possible explanation.

What do you mean by that? The San Diego Comic Con has become a publicity launching pad for movies and television shows. 007 has been mostly a no-show at the San Diego Con. Although, to be fair, there were some 007-licensed dolls that were part of this year’s comic con festivities.

Why not announce more? Short answer: The principals aren’t ready to say more right now.

Of course, the short announcement on Monday wasn’t the last word.

The New York Times reported the same day that Daniel Craig’s return as Bond was a “done deal.” Deadline: Hollywood said there were three finalists to direct. And Variety said one of said finalists, Frenchman Yann Demange, is the front runner.

Could it be this is part of a marketing master plan by Eon Productions?

Well, if:

–Eon and Craig got together as SPECTRE wrapped production in July 2015 and knowing Craig was scheduled to do some interviews which would be embargoed until October, Eon publicists encouraged Craig to say he’d rather slash his wrists than play Bond again.

–When the interviews came out in October, the plan was this would create some uncertainty whether Craig would and create extra buzz as SPECTRE was being released.

–That Eon’s Michael G. Wilson, in an interview in November 2015, would say Craig wasn’t signed to a contract, to deliberately further stoke up the uncertainty and buzz.

–That Eon (or Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) deliberately planted stories like a September 2016 one in Vanity Fair saying that MGM CEO Gary Barber contacted Craig “to express his frustration in no uncertain terms” with the actor because of the “slash my wrists” interviews.

So, if all that happened, then, yeah, events of the past two years may have been part of a well-oiled plan worthy of Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Or maybe not.

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Deadline says there are 3 finalists to direct Bond 25

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

The Deadline: Hollywood entertainment news website says there are three finalists to direct Bond 25.

The three are Frenchman Yann Demange, French Canadian Denis Villeneuve and Scot David Mackenzie, according to a story by Mike Fleming Jr.

“The three frontrunners have all had meetings, I am told,” Fleming wrote. Fleming didn’t specify who or how many people told him this or how well connected they are to the production.

Eon Productions, which produces the Bond movies, announced Monday that Bond 25 will be out Nov. 8, 2019.

But that short statement didn’t announce the cast, director or distributor. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 007’s home studio, doesn’t have a distribution operation and cuts deals with other studios to release its movies. Sony Pictures has released the last four Bond films.

Later on Monday, The New York Times reported it’s a “done deal” that Daniel Craig will return for his fifth outing as Bond.

“We’ve known for months that Daniel Craig was going to return and finish his run as 007 with the one film commitment he has left on his deal, so that is hardly a surprise,” Fleming wrote in his story today about the director finalists.

With the 2019 release date, Eon “will have to select a filmmaker quickly and I expect that to be completed by end of summer,” Fleming wrote.

The Villenuve-directed Blade Runner 2049 is scheduled to be released this fall.

UPDATE: A bit of background. Deadline, back when it was run by founder Nikki Finke scored some Bond scoops. Among them: A 2010 story saying Sam Mendes had been brought on as a consultant to what would become Skyfall with the intent he’d direct the film. Finke left the site some time ago in a dispute.

UPDATE II (4:25 p.m. New York time): Variety has come out with a story saying Demange is the frontrunner to direct Bond 25. Variety attributes that to “insiders.”

Variety also said “it is believed” that Warner Bros. will distribute Bond 25. Variety doesn’t specify who believes this and whether they actually know anything.

 

Le Carre to discuss new George Smiley novel

David Cornell, aka John Le Carre, circa 1964

John Le Carre is scheduled to make an appearance in London on Sept. 7 to discuss his new George Smiley novel, A Legacy of Spies, The Telegraph reported.

Le Carre will be at the Royal Festival Hall, according to the newspaper. He “will read from the book, reveal Smiley’s deepest secrets, and discuss the way his career has reflected world events,” The Telegraph said. “There will also be a rare question and answer session.”

The novel’s summary on Amazon.com reads in part:

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.

A Legacy of Spies is scheduled to be published Sept. 5, according to Amazon.