U.N.C.L.E. director says he sought ’60s look for film

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

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

Guy Ritchie, during a press junket in London this week for The Man From U.N.C.L.E., said he tried to give the movie a ’60s look and make it different visually from his previous projects.

“I’m quite well known for using slow-mo shots and we did none of those,” the director told ScreenSlam.com in a video interview the website uploaded to YouTube.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie was done as a period piece and is set in 1963.

“It was a constant process of using either old techniques such as split-screen or doing as much as we could in camera,” he said. “We tried to stick to a theme of ’60s filmmaking.”

The director also said U.N.C.L.E. wasn’t “going to compete with $200 million movies in terms of action for action’s sake.” The U.N.C.L.E. movie had a $75 million production budget.

The ScreenSlam.com video is below. Ritchie was interviewed along with Lionel Wigram. Both co-wrote the film’s script and are among the four producers of the movie. The film will be released in the United States on Aug. 14. Shoutout to @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter, who flagged the video.

007 Magazine examines SPECTRE’s script issues

SPECTRE LOGO

No spoilers in this post. You’re on your own if you click on the links.

Graham Rye’s 007 Magazine has posted A LENGTHY STORY about SPECTRE, including A PORTION about script issues involving the 24th James Bond film.

The story by Luke G. Williams is split into two parts. The first sums up production developments involved with SPECTRE. The second part delves into the hacking at Sony Pictures, which caused at least some SPECTRE script drafts and numerous executive memos about the film to become available.

Some of the information about the scripts has been written about by other outlets, but 007 Magazine goes into further details.

The movie’s initial writer was John Logan, who was brought in to rewrite the efforts of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade on Skyfall. With SPECTRE, Purvis and Wade were brought in to revamp Logan’s efforts.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE for part one, and CLICK HERE for part two. Spoilers are in part two.

Bond researcher analyzes new SPECTRE trailer

James Chapman as he appeared on the BBC

James Chapman as he appeared on the BBC

This week, the first regular trailer for SPECTRE came out. So, the U.K. MIRROR newspaper asked 007 researcher and academic author James Chapman to analyze it.

Chapman wrote Licence to Thrill, a 2000 book that analyzed the James Bond film series up until that time. It was deeply researched, with extensive footnotes that detail the sources of the information included. It’s one of the Spy Commander’s go-to sources for checking out 007 movies of the past.

Here’s a non-spoiler quote from Chapman from the Mirror story: “The Spectre trailer suggests that the film will combine aspects of the classic Bond movies of the 1960s with a modern twist.”

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE. There aren’t any serious spoilers, but the super spoiler adverse (such as those who consider movie trailers to be spoilers) should avoid.

SPECTRE will be released in October in the U.K. and Nov. 6 in the United States.

2015: a great time to be a spy fan

“Sorry Spy Commander, suck it up. Some of us have bigger fish to fry!”

It has been an embarrassment of riches for the Spy Commander these days.

“Mr. Warner” keeps putting out more promos for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie that the Spy Commander can keep up with. A new SPECTRE trailer is out, demonstrating the 24th James Bond movie will attempt to combine Daniel Craig style with “classic” Bond elements. Oh, yeah. A new Mission: Impossible movie is coming out next week.

On top of that, the Spy Commander has had an unexpected opportunity to delve into 007’s cinema past, thanks to copies of scripts from Bond collector Gary J. Firuta. (Bond and Scaramanga calling each other “punk”? PROSPECTIVE BUYER instead of J.W. Pepper?)

Occasionally, there’s the bitter with the sweet. This blog has never been “Rah! Rah!” Some readers don’t like that. Then again, if you send posts for public consumption, there are always going to be critics. That’s the way of the world.

As Napoleon Solo observes in the accompanying image, people have bigger fish to fry.

Despite arguments (“Why are they making an U.N.C.L.E. movie anyway?” or “That’s a spoiler!”), this is actually a great time to be a spy fan. We’ve already had new spy entertainment this year, and “The Year of the Spy” is now kicking into high gear.

So whatever happens in the next few days, weeks and months, remember to enjoy it. The Spy Commander intends to do so.

SPECTRE’s expanded official synopsis

SPECTRE LOGO
The lads at James Bond Radio pointed out that on THE OFFICIAL JAMES BOND WEBSITE there’s now an extended official plot line for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film.

Here’s the text from the website. The most spoiler sensitive 007 fans should stop reading now.

Here goes:

A new trailer for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond adventure, has been released today. A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE.

Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot.

As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz.

As a result, the official Bond website has confirmed a number of items (but certainly not all) that had been viewed as spoilers up until now.

1974: Maibaum’s 1st try at scripting a Moore 007 film

The Man With the Golden Gun poster

The Man With the Golden Gun poster

Richard Maibaum, the veteran 007 screenwriter, wasn’t involved with the launch of the Roger Moore era of James Bond films. He was off doing other things as Tom Mankiewicz scripted Moore’s debut in Live And Let Die.

Maibaum, though, was summoned to return to the fold with The Man With the Golden Gun. Mankiewicz bowed out after after the earlier drafts (he’d be back for later rewrites).

Producer Albert R. Broccoli, doing the heavy lifting for this film the way Harry Saltzman had for Live And Let Die, needed help. He turned to Maibaum, an old associate.

Bond collector Gary Firuta provided a copy of Maibaum’s initial effort, dated Jan. 7, 1974. The title page simply reads, “First draft screenplay by Richard Maibaum,” so there’s no way to tell what Mankiewicz ideas were carried over.

Still, reading the draft, there are significant differences compared with the finished film, which was released for 1974’s Christmas film season. Some of the ideas in Maibaum’s draft are arguably improvements from the final movie, but the draft has other issues.

For example, it seemed pretty much established that Major Boothroyd and Q were one and the same. Desmond Llewelyn, who made his debut in the Maibaum-scripted From Russia With Love, was identified as Boothroyd in that film and known as Q thereafter.

In Maibaum’s draft, after the pre-titles sequence (pretty similar to the final movie), there’s a scene in M’s office. With M are Chief of Staff Bill Tanner and “ballistics expert” Boothroyd.

That’s on page 7. But on page 18 (more in a moment about what happened inbetween), Bond meets with Boothroyd *and* Q. Based on the stage directions, It’s clear that Q, rather than Boothroyd, is the character normally played by Llewelyn. In the final movie, Colthorpe is the ballistics expert and Q is his usual self (after a one-movie hiatus, having not appeared in Live And Let Die).

As in the final film, MI6 has received what appears to be a threat — a golden bullet with 007 inscribed — against its prize agent. M relieves Bond off his current assignment of finding a missing solar energy expert until the matter can be resolved. So now Bond is on the trail of Francisco Scaramanga, the title character.

As in the final movie, Bond travels to Beirut, where double-O agent Bill Fairbanks was believed to have been killed by Scaramanga. The trail leads to a woman called Saida.
Except, in this draft, Saida is a prostitute as a bordello, not a dancer in a cabaret. Maibaum’s description:

BOND’S P.O.V. SAIDA

Recling (sic) on king-size bed, she wears thin Turkish trousers, a short velvet bedjacket, is excessively plump and over made up, but definitely not an old bag. Her eyes light up.

This version avoids a visual gag of the final film (Bond swallowing golden bullet after retrieving it from her belly button). There’s a fight, but the context is different. Afterward, Bond is with Saida once more. She has the mashed golden bullet that is hanging “on ribbon in her cleavage.”

SAIDA’S VOICE
My lucky charm.

SAIDA IN BED. CAMERA ON HER BACK
She holds out her arms. CAMERA IN on BOND’s reaction. Big “Things I do for England” sigh

BOND
Reluctantly starting to take off his jacket.

After some, eh, “bliss” with Saida, Bond has the bullet and takes it back to MI6.

For a while, things proceed much as the finished movie, including Bond roughing up Andrea, Scaramanga’s mistress and a number of other scenes. Scaramanga kills Gibson, the missing solar expert, we meet Hip, the MI6 operative in the area and Bond tries to get the mission back on track.

The trail leads to industrialist Hai Fat. There’s a scene in the draft not contained in the film where Q meets up with Bond, Hip and Mary Goodnight before they can fly to Bangkok. Q gives Bond a camera that do a number of tasks except take photographs. It’s in this scene that Bond asks Q to make a fake third nipple so 007 can pass for Scaramanga.

We eventually get to Bangkok to meet Hai Fat, “an impressive Chinaman in his late forties.” Interestingly, the part would be filled by character actor Richard Loo, who was in his early 70s.

Bond, posing as Scaramanga, manages to get invited by Hai Fat for dinner. As in the final movie, Hip drives him to Hai Fat’s residence, accompanied by his nieces, Cha and Nara.

Things don’t go well. Bond is caputred and ends up in a martial arts academy. There are some interesting differences from the movie.

For one thing, Bond has an exchange with the academy’s headmaster. “Good morning, Mr Bond,” he says. “On hehalf of my academy I accept your challenge.”

This scene is populated by a number of “BLACK BELTERS.” There are also SPECTATORS, a group that somehow includes Hip and his two nieces.

After some preliminaries, Bond faces off against prized pupil Chula. Things don’t look good for 007.

CHULA knocks him down again, then grasps BOND’s neck in a both-hand squeeze, a possibly fatal hold. ANGLE SUDDENLY WIDENS as CHA and NARA come to BOND’S aid. Actually, they are professional Thai girl kick-boxers. Gasp of amazement from CROWD as they go to work on CHULA with their fists, elbows, nkees feet, event butting with their heads. CHULA goes down.

So, if anything, Bond looks even more impotent in the sequence than in the final film, where at least Bond bested Chula before being shown up by the girls.

The ensuing chase plays out a bit differently than the movie. Nevertheless, there is an appearance by J.W. Pepper and his wife. Unlike the film, though, that’s all there is for the good sheriff (a creation of Tom Mankiewicz, after all). Pepper falls into the water, but isn’t pushed by an elephant.

Jumping forward, Andrea is revealed as having sent the golden bullet, wanting to get Bond to kill Scaramanga. When Bond is supposed to meet her, there’s an interesting change from the final film. The event that’s supposed to be the site of the meeting is a tournament of girl Thai kick boxers.

Scaramanga and Nick Nack get the drop on Bond. But Scaramanga, in this draft, provides an attempt of an Ian Fleming-type travelogue.

“You know why these girls aren’t phony?” Scaramanga says of the contestants. “They’re fighting for husbands. Come from the mountain villages up north. Chiang Mai. You need a dowry up there…Win a few fights and you can pick your husband.”

The next major change from the final movie comes in the chase sequence, where Goodnight is in the trunk of Scaramanga’s car while Bond tries to pursue.

Bond needs a car and goes to a Ford Motor Co. dealership (it was American Motors in the movie).

A would-be Thai buyer gets into the car. “Give me demonstration, please. How is pickup?”

This, of course, is where Bond gets into the car and steals it to chase Scaramanga. For the rest of the sequence, PROSPECTIVE BUYER (as he’s called in the script) displays “true Oriental unflappability, his face is expressionless.”

So, instead of a screaming, over-the-top J.W. Pepper, we have a cool, calm Asian man along for the ride with Bond, including the now-famous car jump. (“Nice family car,” Bond quips after the jump.) As in the film, Scaramanga gets away in a flying car.

As Bond and policemen watch the flying car gets away, Prospective Buyer says he “no care for that model,” referring to the departing car plane. Gesturing toward the Ford that Bond stole, he says, “I take that one.”

Eventually, Bond makes it to Scaramanga’s island. They discuss the solar power system made possible by the solex agitator. The stage directions for one of Bond’s lines says “usual expertise when needed.” One difference: when Scaramanga destroys Bond’s plane, 007 responds, “Thanks. A very convincing demonstration.”

Maibaum also comes up with an interesting line when Bond and Scaramanga verbally spar during lunch. Agent 007 says, “You’d kill a blind cripple for tuppence. When I have to kill it’s a kind of justice.”

This draft has a more elaborate duel sequence, which was filmed (some scenes are in the movie’s teaser trailer) but don’t show up in the final version. Some of the dialogue, though, is a little clunky:

BOND BEHIND ROCK

BOND
(shouting back)
That just pumps my adrenalin (sic) faster. You’re playing it close. Is that what they taught you when you were a KGB punk?

SCARMANGA

SCARAMANGA
You’re a limey punk yourself — and so far it looks like they didn’t teach you much.

There’s more, but overall the Maibaum draft is mostly what we’d see on screen. Whether the draft is actually better or not is in the eyes of the beholder.

SPECTRE unveils trailer emphasizing action

Added an update that some might consider a spoiler. Update is in the 7th paragraph below.

The first regular trailer for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, was unveiled today and it emphasized action.

The 2:30 trailer included scenes from the movie’s pre-titles sequence in Mexico City, a car chase filmed in Rome, and a sequence where an aircraft gets separated from its wings during another chase sequence.

The movie’s teaser trailer in March didn’t emphasize action, depicting a meeting between Bond (Daniel Craig) and Mr. White, last seen in 2008’s Quantum of Solace. White is back in this trailer, but only briefly.

Also featured in the new trailer: Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista) dispatching someone viciously, and Christoph Waltz’s Oberhauser proceeding over what appears to be some kind of SPECTRE meeting (the name is uttered at one point in the trailer by Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann).

There’s also a new sight for the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies, with 007 in a white dinner jacket. Besides Craig, we see brief bits from Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny, Ralph Fiennes’s M and Ben Whishaw’s Q.

Finally, around the 1:45 mark, there’s a John Barry musical piece from the past, a new rendition of the main theme from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

UPDATE: “Gustav Graves,” a member of the message boards of the MI6 James Bond site, spotted the following at 0:40 mark — a glimpse of the Aston Martin DB5. You can see it in the background behind Q’s left shoulder. The car had appeared to be destroyed in Skyfall. But photos of it emerged during filming of SPECTRE. Also, Sony Canada put out AN APRIL 2 TWEET that appeared to be confirm the DB5 was back. The trailer seems to confirm it also.

Take a look for yourself:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 192 other followers