William P. Cartlidge, crew member on 3 Bonds, dies

William P. Cartlidge (1942-2021)

William P. Cartlidge, a key crew member on three James Bond films directed by Lewis Gilbert, has died at 78, His death was noted by the “Sir Roger Moore (Legacy)” Twitter account maintained by the assistant of the late actor.

Cartlidge was assistant director on You Only Live Twice (1967) and associate producer on The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).

Cartlidge was an entertaining presence on the home video documentaries about the making of those Bond films. For example, he described how many cars were needed to make the submarine car sequence in The Spy Who Loved Me work. In some cases, one car was needed to capture just one shot.

Also, in another video, Cartlidge described how he attempted to talk down the price of the stunt crew. It didn’t work. In all of those videos, he tells his anecdotes in an entertaining way.

Titles on films and TV shows often don’t describe a crew member’s full contributions. In the case of three Bond films he worked, Cartlidge assisted sprawling productions get completed.

According to Cartlidge’s IMDB.COM ENTRY, his other credits included such diverse projects as the Gilbert-directed Educating Rita (as co-producer) and Not Quite Paradise (sharing the producer credit with Gilbert).

NTTD delayed to April 2021

One of the many No Time to Die posters

No Time to Die has been delayed again, this time to April 2021, the Eon Productions official James Bond website said.

The 25th James Bond film has had a series of release dates. At one point, it was to come out in April of this year. It got pushed back to November because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The movie is being released by United Artists Releasing, co-owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in the U.S., and Universal internationally.

MGM gets into PVOD via Bill & Ted 3

MGM’s Leo the Lion logo

It doesn’t get a lot of 007 fan discussion but Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, is dipping its toe in the premium video on demand water with Bill & Ted Face the Music. 

The third Bill & Ted movie is a project of Orion, a brand of MGM. It’s coming out on Aug. 28 “in traditional theatres, drive-ins and PVOD,” as noted by Exhibitor Relations Co. Essentially it’s being released by both traditional and PVOD means amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

To be clear there are a lot of differences between Bill & Ted 3 and No Time to Die. Bill & Ted is a smaller budgeted film. MGM’s Orion brand is set up to release less expensive movies.

Also, Bill & Ted 3 is a “an acquisition title” for Orion, The Hollywood Reporter noted in a July 23 story.

No Time to Die, meanwhile is part of MGM’s crown jewels, the Bond franchise. The 25th 007 film has a reported $250 million budget. The conventional wisdom is it needs a big theatrical release.

Walt Disney Co. earlier this week, opted to move one of its big projects, Mulan, to PVOD. It will be available for $29.99 to people who already subscribe to its Disney + streaming service.

How much does any of this have to do with No Time to Die? Maybe nothing. At the very least, MGM is getting a little experience with PVOD.

Billy Goldenberg, composer for famous TV shows, dies

Title card for the Columbo episode Murder by the Book

Billy Goldenberg, who scored a number of key television productions in the 1970s, died this week at 84, Variety reported.

Goldenberg composed the score for the 1971 TV movie Ransom for a Dead Man, which served as the second pilot for Columbo. The composer was brought back for a few episodes when Columbo went to series.

Perhaps his most famous Columbo effort was Murder by the Book, the first regular series installment.

The episode’s director (Steven Spielberg) and writer (Steven Bochco) would both become famous over long careers. But Goldenberg more than held his own with the score, which included sound effects similar to a typewriter.

In the episode, Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) plays his usual cat-and-mouse game with half of a famous writing team (Jack Cassidy) who has killed his partner (Martin Milner), who did all the work.

As it turned out, it wasn’t the first time Goldenberg did the music for a Spielberg-directed TV show.

Goldenberg also credited for providing the scores for LA 2017 (an episode of The Name of the Game directed by Spielberg); the 1969 pilot for Night Gallery, written by Rod Serling, which had a Spielberg-directed segment; and Duel, a 1971 TV movie starring Dennis Weaver and helmed by Spielberg.

Murder by the Book made Columbo a hit. It would run until 1977 on NBC. Columbo would then be revived on ABC from 1989 to 2003.

Goldenberg also scored the 1973 TV movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders. That led to the 1973-78 series Kojak with Telly Savalas. Goldenberg also provided the theme for the show’s first four seasons.

Official @007 Twitter feed publishes its wittiest post

Eon’s official @007 Twitter account went live in the fall of 2011. The blog has criticized it on occasion (including how long it took to acknowledge the existence of Eon co-founder Harry Saltzman).

However, the Twitter feed has shaped up recently. In particular, a tweet on June 17 had a little fun with the Daniel Craig era.

Without further ado, here it is, comparing images from Skyfall and Quantum of Solace. The tweet plays off the COVID-19 pandemic that’s still a major factor in life today.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Dear Facebook: Time to take down the NTTD ads

Image from a Facebook ad originally related to the (now-canceled) March 31 No Time to Die premiere

To: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
From: The Spy Command

You may wish to consider yanking and postponing sponsored Facebook posts related to the now-canceled March 31 premiere of No Time to Die.

If you click on the links, the ads themselves have been updated to note the movie won’t be out until November. But it’s pretty clear the sponsored posts were purchased when the movie was scheduled to be released in early April. They’ve been out for weeks.

At this point, nobody knows the new date for No Time to Die’s premiere except it will likely be sometime before Nov. 12 (the current U.K. release date).

The sponsored post apparently was purchased by Omaze, seeking donations for the Prince’s Trust and Red Nose Day USA.

Different contributing levels would give you entries for a contest where you could have flights, attend the premiere and go to an afterparty. Donate $10, you get 100 entries, donate $25 you get 250 entries, donate $50 and you get 1,000 entries.

Presumably, these are good causes. Presumably, a good chunk of the donations goes to the two causes. Whatever.

However, continuing to run these ads less than a week after the premiere was delayed is kind of in bad taste. What’s more, Facebook’s changing algorithms are messing with its users.

Case in point: A good friend of mine was lucky to survive an auto accident. He got out of it with broken ribs although his car was totaled. But his post about it didn’t show up in my news feed. But the tripe about the No Time to Die contest continues to clog up my news feed.

You might want to tell your advertising department to take notice of the news. And that means more than just updating the date of a movie premiere.

NTTD title song took a year to sell, co-writer says

Finneas O’Connell, older brother and writing collaborator of Billie Eilish

It took about a year to sell Eon Productions on the idea of a James Bond title song performed by Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell, who co-wrote the No Time to Die song with his sister, said in an interview with Billboard.

“We fought it out for a year,” O’Connell said in the interview. “We’ve always wanted to write a James Bond theme song. And you know, it’s a legendary franchise, so we had to convince a lot of people that we were the right choice.”

The interview was about O’Connell’s career with in general. But there were details about No Time to Die. O’Connor described the selection process.

“And then we had to write a song that everybody liked,” he said. “So it was a hard-won process. But everybody that we worked with on it, Barbara Broccoli, the producer of the Bond franchise (alongside Michael G. Wilson), we got to work with Hans Zimmer… it was a real joy.”

O’Connell reflected on the publicity about last week’s announcement concerning the No Time to Die title song.

“But uh, yeah, it’s so funny, ’cause some of the headlines have been like, ‘Billie Eilish and Finneas are writing the James Bond theme.’ And I’m so glad we’re no longer writing it — I’m so glad we wrote it a couple months ago, because, oh my god, if it was like, announced that we were doing it and we still had to write it, I would have such writer’s anxiety, you know?”

O’Connell described the ups and downs involved.

“It’s, in my experience, in my limited experience, as a songwriter and producer, it’s the hardest playing field I’ve never been on. … There were so many points where I was like, ‘I don’t know, maybe we don’t have this!’ (Laughs.) Like, it’s just like such a big deal. And you know … the whole pairing is very authentic to my and Billie’s relationship with those movies.”

The Playlist says Burns may go uncredited on NTTD

Scott Z. Burns

The Playlist, which originally reported that Scott Z. Burns was recruited to do a rewrite on No Time to Die, says in a Dec. 4 story that the scribe may, indeed, go uncredited.

Here’s an excerpt:

“True Detective” and “Beasts of No Nation” director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, is set to direct the film along with sharing co-writing duties with longtime Bond film screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, and recent Emmy winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Scott Z. Burns did a rewrite too, but with five writers originally credited, someones gotta go) (emphasis added)

The Writers Guild of America will have the ultimate say. However, there are a number of writers contending for a credit for a limited number of writing credit slots for the 25th James Bond film. The others include Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, director Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

The Playlist reported in February that Burns, a noted “script doctor” had been hired to work on No Time to Die.

We’ll see what the final writing credit is after an arbitration by the union.

About that 007 Stage incident

007 Stage after the June 4 incident.

An explosion (or explosions) on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios occurred on June 4. There have been wildly different reaction.

Tabloids such as The Sun and the Daily Mail have used the incident to proclaim that Bond 25 is cursed.

In reality, most “curses” are unrelated events except for a broad subject matter. There’s the “Superman Curse,” for example.

Except, Bud Collyer didn’t die at age 61 because he played Superman on the radio. George Reeves’ death was ruled a suicide, which is often the result of complicated events, but his death is blamed on him playing Superman on TV in the 1950s. Christopher Reeve didn’t break his neck because he played Superman in the movies. Kirk Allyn didn’t die in his late 80s because he played Superman in 1940s movie serials.

Put another way, calling something a curse papers over actual tragic events. Still, referring using the curse label makes a nice tale.

So it is with Bond 25, which has included a director who departed and a star (Daniel Craig) who injured himself.

At the same time, there’s a temptation to dismiss the Bond 25 explosion, and injury of a crew member as “stuff happens.” That’s bad in its own right.

Some crew members do have hazardous jobs — stunt performers especially.

Aerial cameraman John Jordan lost a foot as the result of an injury during filming of You Only Live Twice. Jordan lost his life during filming of 1970’s Catch 22.

More recently, a stunt performer was killed during production of For Your Eyes Only. Stunt man Martin Grace suffered a serious injury during filming of Octopussy.

With this week’s Bond 25 incident, we just know, via an Eon Productions tweet, that a crew member suffered a minor injury. No details on how minor or what the crew member’s job was.

Regardless, the incident was serious. You don’t poke holes in the side of a massive studio stage unless things got serious. There are various questions that may or may not get answered.

Will all this mean Bond 25 might get delayed? Honestly, I don’t care. I’m more concerned how glib some people are depicting all this.

Curse? No way. But “stuff happens”? Again, no way. This week was a serious incident and it should be viewed way.

McQuarrie talks about M:I 7-8

Poster for Mission: Impossible-Fallout, directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

Christopher McQuarrie, writer-director of the last two Mission: Impossible movies, was interviewed by Empire magazine, which published an excerpt.

Now, McQuarrie will be helming two M:I movies to be filmed back-to-back and released in 2021 and 2022. Cruise will be 60 when the latter comes out.

“I pitched the idea of making two movies, and now I have to justify why it’s two movies,” Empire quotes McQuarrie as saying. “You’ve got to earn that. You’ve got to make something that swallows the last three movies whole. I’m freaked out now. We’ve talked ourselves into something.”

The M:I film series began in 1996. It has had long gaps in between installments. But this decade, the series, produced by star Tom Cruise, has been accelerating its schedule. In the 2010s, it had movies come out in 2011, 2015 and 2018.

The 007 had entries in 2012 and 2015. Bond 25, now in production, is scheduled for release in April 2020.

McQuarrie also tweeted about the Empire interview.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js