A James Bond musical?

Skyfall's poster image

Coming soon to a stage near you?

The website BROADWAY WORLD.COM said June 29 there’s a planned James Bond stage musical in the works and that a daughter of Eon Productions co-founder Harry Saltzman is involved.

The title is simply James Bond: The Musical and, according to the website the curtain may rise in 2017 on the production.

Here’s an excerpt with more details:

(Merry) Saltzman, daughter of legendary Bond film producer and impresario Harry Saltzman, said the world’s favorite spy will soon be singing, dancing, and laughing his way into audiences’ hearts in an original production with songs and lyrics by Jay Henry Weisz and a book by Dave Clarke.

The spelling of Merry Saltzman is correct. Documentaries about the making of James Bond movies included interviews of Saltzman children Steven and Hilary but Merry Saltzman didn’t participate. You can see Merry Saltzman referenced in THIS 1994 OBITUARY BY THE NEW YORK TIMES.

To read the entire Broadway World.com story, CLICK HERE.

In 1965, Mad magazine presented a parody of a 007 stage musical. Mad’s version, written by Frank Jacobs and drawn by Mort Drucker, had songs all sung to the tune of classic Rodgers and Hammerstein songs from Oklahoma! (“Ohhhhhhhhhhhh-07! Is the greatest spy there is today! Though the Empires’s gone, He keeps right on…So you’d better not get in his way!”)

To view that parody, CLICK HERE for a 2012 post by the James Bond 007 Dossier website. It has PDF images of the Jacobs-Drucker work.

Warner Bros. gives an early press screening of U.N.C.L.E.

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Warner Bros. has conducted an early media showing of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, according to the editor of an entertainment news website.

Steven Weintraub, editor in chief of Collider.com, took to Instagram and Twitter tonight to say he was attending.

“Going back to the 60s with Guy Ritchie tonight,” Weintraub wrote in a caption accompanying a photo he put on Instagram. “Seeing an early screening of THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Wb. must think they’ve got the goods to show us the film 6 weeks early.”

The movie, starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, doesn’t arrive in theaters until Aug. 14. Warners originally scheduled the Guy Ritchie-directed film for mid-January, usually seen as a studio dumping ground for movies.

Warners later switched U.N.C.L.E. to August and kept it there, even after Paramount moved up Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation to July 31 from Dec. 25. The M:I movie features star/producer Tom Cruise, who had been courted to play Napoleon Solo in U.N.C.L.E. but opted against it. That paved the way for Cavill’s selection.

UPDATE (June 30): A writer for the Reuters news service put out a tweet after the screening. No other details provided.

A cool U.N.C.L.E. publicity still (1965)

Toward the end of the first season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., David McCallum, playing Illya Kuryakin, posed for a series of publicity stills during production of The Girls of Nazarone Affair, the next-to-last episode of the show’s first season.

In this photo, he’s in a convertible with Sharon Tate, who had a small role in the episode. Tate, in this photograph, shows off her personality that made an impression on casting directors. She soon would soon get larger roles.

Looking at this image, you can understand why Dean Martin wanted Tate to return for a planned fifth Matt Helm movie, The Ravagers. Tate had been his co-star in The Wrecking Crew.

It wasn’t to be. Tragically, she would be murdered in 1969 by the Charles Manson family.

David McC, Sharon Tate

SPECTRE enters its final days of filming

SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, has been filming in Morocco as the production winds down.

The official 007 Twitter feed sent this tweet out on June 28. Not much explanation. There rarely is.

Lea Seydoux says SPECTRE’s theme is ‘family’

SPECTRE LOGO

Lea Seydoux, who plays Madeleine Swann in SPECTRE, says the theme of the 24th James Bond film is “family.”

Seydoux, who turns 30 on July 1, gave an interview to L’EXPRESS. It was published in French. She made this comment: “The theme of the family is central” in SPECTRE “and everyone will have to live” with the past. (Google Translate, for what it’s worth, changes “Spectre” to “Spectrum.”)

Seydoux’s remark is consistent with SPECTRE’s teaser trailer. Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny says to Daniel Craig’s James Bond that he’s hiding some kind of secret after a photo taken during Bond’s childhood was found in the ruins of Skyfall.

Assorted other comments by Seydoux:

–“I said yes to (SPECTRE director) Sam Mendes without even reading the script. I think all roles, whatever they are, are good to take. I never rewrite anything for me. In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen, I had a small role and it amused me to do something.”

–“I have no career plan, that’s why I do not like to talk about my work. To talk too much, you lose the magic.”

To view the entire interview, CLICK HERE.

007 veteran crew member talks to James Bond Radio

The Internet series James Bond Radio today debuted a new podcast featuring veteran James Bond crew member Terry Bamber.

Bamber worked on Bond films from The Man With The Golden Gun through Skyfall. He’s not involved with SPECTRE (though his wife is a crew member). He was also assistant director and production manager of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, which debuts Aug. 14.

Bamber’s father worked on the early 007 films. Given the family history, he makes some observations of note:

Favorite Bond movies: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (“fantastic film, fantastic film”), followed by Casino Royale and Diamonds Are Forever (“I could watch it over and over again.”) The Living Daylights is “in my top third” of Bond films.

First experience on a Bond set: Being taken by his father to the You Only Live Twice volcano set.

Favorite Bond: By “millimeters of a point,” Sean Connery.

Why he’s not working on SPECTRE: He says he got a phone call saying the production team decided “to go in a different direction.”

Bamber also makes some brief comments about his work on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, where he was assistant director and production manager on the second unit.

The interview lasts more than 90 minutes and covers more ground than this post can really cover. You can listen to the podcast below. The Terry Bamber interview starts around the 17:00 mark.

Patrick Macnee, an appreciation

Patrick Macnee's image in an end titles to an episode of The Avengers

Patrick Macnee’s image in a titles sequence of an episode of The Avengers

Patrick Macnee had a career that last decades. His acting credits in his IMDB.COM ENTRY begin in 1938 and run through 2003.

During that span, he didn’t get the role that defined his career — John Steed on The Avengers — until he was 39.

Even then, it took a while for The Avengers to become a worldwide phenomenon. Macnee’s Steed was the one consistent element in a show that changed cast members often.

It’s easy to see why. John Steed didn’t just know the right wines. He knew which end of the vineyard where the grapes had been grown. Steed could handle himself but — as the epitome of the English gentleman — he could adeptly out think his foes as well as out fight them.

It was all outrageous, of course. Steed and his various colleagues encountered robots, mad scientists, Soviet agents and all sorts of dangers. All were dispatched with a sense of style and elegance.

After that show ran its course, he seemed to transition effortlessly to an in-demand character actor. The captain of a cruise ship on Columbo. An alien menace on Battlestar Galactica. Dr. Watson in the made-for-TV movie Sherlock Holmes in New York.

All done with style, seemingly without effort. It seemed like he’d go on forever. He couldn’t, of course. He died today at 93.

Anytime it seems like a performance was effortless, chances are it wasn’t. To keep getting acting gigs is tough. However, watching Macnee it’s understandable why casting directors would keep turning to him.

Even with lesser material, he established a presence. For example, the 1983 TV movie The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. had an uneven script. Yet Macnee shined as new U.N.C.L.E. chief Sir John Raleigh. When performing great material — such an Avengers script by Brian Clemens or Philip Levene — Macnee made it even more special.

Part of it was his distinctive voice. In the 1990s, when documentaries were made about James Bond movies for home video releases, he was a natural to narrate them. (He didn’t narrate Inside A View to a Kill, presumably because he was in the cast of the 1985 007 movie.)

On social media today, fans all over the world expressed sadness. That’s very understandable. Macnee was so good, for so long, it was easy to take him for granted. Nobody is doing so today.

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