Danny Boyle may direct Bond 25, Variety says

Director Danny Boyle, who helmed Slumdog Millionaire as well as directing a 007-themed sequence for the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies, may direct Bond 25, Variety reported.

Variety reporter Justin Kroll wrote that “no formal offer has yet been made.” At the same time, Variety said, Boyle is high on the list for both Eon Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which jointly control the 007 film franchise.

Boyle directed a segment for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, held in London, where Daniel Craig’s Bond escorts Queen Elizabeth to the games. Stunt doubles for Craig and the queen parachuted to the ceremonies.

“Boyle has keen interest in the project and has always wanted to direct a Bond film,” Kroll wrote. The Variety story says Annapurna Pictures “is expected to distribute.”

MGM and Annapurna announced in late October they formed a joint venture to release each other’s movies but said at that time that Bond 25 was not part of the deal.

UPDATE: Here’s the segment from the 2012 Olympics:

UPDATE II (Feb. 21): Variety later removed mention of Annapurna. It added this line: “UPDATED: Domestic distribution rights are currently held by MGM.”


Skyfall’s 5th anniversary: Brief return to Bondmania

Skyfall’s poster image

Five years ago, the James Bond film franchise reached a level — unadjusted, adjusted for inflation, or whatever measure you’d like — not achieved since the height of Bondmania in the 1960s.

That was Skyfall, the 50th anniversary 007 film. It was the first (and so far only) Bond film to reach and exceed the global $1 billion box office level.

Even taking into account ticket price inflation, the 2012 007 adventure is No. 3 in the U.S. in terms of number of tickets purchased. On that basis (or “bums in seats” as the British would say), Skyfall is  No. 3 in the U.S. market for Bond films, behind only Thunderball and Goldfinger.

Bringing the 23rd James Bond film to cinemas, however, was a more difficult undertaking than usual.


Initially, Eon Productions hired three writers: The team of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade as well as prestige film writer Peter Morgan. Morgan had been twice nominated for an Academy Award.

As it turned out, Morgan had deep doubts about the viability of the James Bond character, something he didn’t go public with until a 2010 interview. “I’m not sure it’s possible to do it,” Morgan said in 2010, after he had departed the project.

Still, Morgan’s main idea — the death of Judi Dench’s M — would be retained, even though the scribe received no screen credit.

But there was a bigger challenge. While the film was being developed, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the 007 franchise’s home studio, went into bankruptcy.


Eon Productions, on April 19, 2010, said Bond 23, as the yet-untitled film was known, had been indefinitely delayed.

MGM emerged from bankruptcy in December 2010. There was a cost, however. MGM, which had already shrunk from its glory days, was even smaller. It had no distribution operation of its own.

Skyfall teaser poster

Behind the scenes, things were happening. Eon was bringing director Sam Mendes on board. Initially, he was a “consultant” (for contract reasons). Eventually, Mendes got his preferred writer, John Logan, to rework the scripting that Purvis and Wade had performed.

Mendes also was granted his choice of composer, Thomas Newman. David Arnold’s streak of scoring five 007 films in a row was over. Roger Deakins, nominated for multiple Oscars and who had worked with Mendes before, came aboard as director of photography.


In January 2011, a short announcement was issued that Bond 23 was back on.

Mendes officially was now the director. Over the next several months, the casting of Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Berenice Marlohe leaked out, with Eon not confirming anything until a November 2011 press conference.

Even then, some specific character details remained unconfirmed. For example, Eon wouldn’t confirm that Whishaw was the new Q until July 2012, well after the actor had completed his work on the film.

Publicity surge

Regardless, Skyfall benefited from much hype. Being the 50th anniversary Bond film got the movie additional publicity.

What’s more, London hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics. A major part of the opening ceremonies was a Danny Boyle-directed sequence featuring Daniel Craig’s Bond and Queen Elizabeth supposedly parachuting to the festivities.

Mendes, a director of the auteur school, also imported his style into the movie itself. Various segments were intended to provide dramatic moments to the principal actors.

Among them: A shaky Craig/Bond seeking redemption; a theatrical entrance for Javier Bardem’s villain; a dramatic reading of a poem for Judi Dench’s M, who is under fire by U.K. politicians.

Behind the curtain

Not everything holds up to scrutiny if you think much about it.

–Bond deserted the service, apparently upset about being shot by fellow operative Naomie Harris, while MI6 doesn’t seem to mind that at all. This was based loosely on the You Only Live Twice novel, where Bond went missing because he had amnesia. That doesn’t appear to be the case in Skyfall.

–Bond has the Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 in storage, all gadgets still operational. Purvis and Wade originally wrote it as the left-hand drive DB5 that Bond won in Casino Royale in a high-stakes poker game. But Mendes insisted it be the Goldfinger car.

–M blathers on. She’s fully aware — because Rory Kinnear’s Tanner told her — that Bardem’s Silva has escaped.  But that’s secondary to the poem, which gives Silva and his thugs time to arrive and shoot up the place.

Unqualified success

None of this mattered much with movie audiences.

Every time the Spy Commander saw the movie at a theater, the audience reacted positively when the DB5 was revealed.

Some British fans rave to this day how wonderful the M poem scene is. Yet, when you break the sequence down, the doomed MI6 chief got numerous people killed by Bardem’s thugs by keeping them around instead of letting them disperse.

For all the trouble, for all the script issues, Skyfall was an unqualified hit. The movie’s release was the biggest Bond event since Thunderball’s release in 1965.

Oscar wins

Skyfall also broke a long Oscars losing streak for the 007 film series. The movie won two Oscars (for best song and sound editing). Both Newman and Deakins had been nominated but didn’t win.

Barbara Broccoli

Normally, a studio or a production company would want to strike while the iron was hot.

Not so in this case. Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli, in 2012 interviews, made clear she would not be hurried into the next 007 film adventure. There would be no quick attempt to follow up on Skyfall’s success.

At the same time, Mendes indicated he didn’t want to direct another Bond film. He relented and his hiring for the next Bond movie was announced in July 2013.

It’s possible a bit of hubris set in. You can imagine people saying something like this: “If this movie did $1 billion at the box office, the next 007 film will surely do $1.5 billion!” Or whatever. That’s human nature after all.

Instead, the next Bond outing would run into a new set of problems. Nevertheless, that should not distract from what Skyfall achieved (even for fans who didn’t enjoy the movie as much as others) five years ago.

NBC’s Skyfall commercial online, with glimpse of Bardem

Silva’s brief appearance in Skyfall spot

A 30-second Skyfall spot aired during NBC’s broadcast of the opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics and has been put up on the official 007.com Web site.

If you look really carefully, between the 21- and 22-second marks, there’s the barest glimpse of the face of Javier Bardem as Silva, the film’s villain, firing a weapon. It comes right after Daniel Craig as Bond says the line, “007 reporting for duty.” It appears Bardem is wearing the same blonde wig he was photographed in while shooting in London. In the teaser trailer released in May, only a silhouette of Bardem could be seen.

The shot may be included on the second Skyfall theatrical trailer, but we’ve only seen the now-removed bootleg copy on YouTube, so it’s hard to say. For all we know, it could have been up there when the mysterious “bearded guy” walked across the screen.


007 in the Olympics, reports proven (mostly) right

It won’t be shown for a few hours in the U.S., but Daniel Craig appeared in character as James Bond in the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics.

Daniel Craig and Queen Elizabeth in a short film that was part of the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. This image is from MGM, which uploaded an image from the BBC.

The New York Times is LIVE BLOGGING the event.

An excerpt:

A video is showing Daniel Craig (as James Bond) arriving at Buckingham Palace. And the queen is in it! The genuine queen, not some costumed performer. She just said, “Good afternoon, Mr. Bond.” What a trouper! They’re getting in a helicopter (on video). And now they are jumping out of the plane (through special effects). Cute.

This was originally reported in the U.K. press on April 1, but has proven not to be an April Fool’s joke.

UPDATE I: Here’s an account in The Huffington Post. An excerpt:

Army helicopters then flew over the Olympic Stadium with a stuntman who played “Bond.” He then parachuted into the stadium to the tune of the theme from the James Bond movies. The best part? A stunt Queen also dropped in, Union Jack parachute and all.

UPDATE II: One critical thing didn’t happen. The 007 character wasn’t “knighted” by Queen Elizabeth II as reported by the London Standard.

Some Bond fans, especially those who were big fans of Daniel Craig, had argued this would amount to a de facto knighting of Daniel Craig himself. But it didn’t happen, so it’s a moot point.

That isn’t a bad thing because Ian Fleming’s James Bond turned down a knighthood in the author’s final 007 novel, 1965’s The Man With the Golden Gun. Thus the Olympics, by intent or by luck, ended up staying true to Ian Fleming.

UPDATE III: The BBC’s Web site has a video, which you can check out CLICKING HERE. The Queen’s dogs upstaged 007.

UPDATE IV: The video is on YouTube. CLICK HERE to see it.

UPDATE V: The Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. has a story that notes the doubles for Daniel Craig and Elizabeth II didn’t actually parachute into the stadium.


How real life may intrude on 007’s Olympics debut

This week, James Bond makes his Olympics debut during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Games in London. But real life may intrude on Bond’s appearance, at least on the U.S. broadcast, in the form of a serious real-life Olympics anniversary.

Daniel Craig’s Olympics appearance as 007 may not be the highlight of U.S. broadcast of the opening ceremonies.

While it hasn’t been officially confirmed, it looks as if 007 will be part of the opening ceremonies on July 27. This first surfaced on April 1 in a story in the U.K. newspaper, The Sun. According to that story, current 007 star Daniel Craig will play Bond in a film where he’s “knighted” by Queen Elizabeth II and heads to the Olympics site by helicopter to help get the Games started.

There have been numerous stories since in places as varied as the MI6 007 fan Web site, the London Evening Standard, the Daily Beast Web site in the U.S. and The Times of Malta, not to mention NBC’s Olympics Web site. Also, MI6 noted filming in June that seemed to be related to the Olympics film.

This has psyched up many Bond fans, including some who argue this is a de facto knighthood for Craig himself (CLICK HERE for a thread on a message board which includes that viewpoint.)

Meanwhile, in the U.S., at least, one broadcaster wants to make note during the opening ceremonies of a more somber event — the 40th anniversary of the killing of Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

NBC’s Bob Costas, who will anchor his network’s coverage of the Olympics, intends to make note of the anniversary, including 60 seconds of silence, according to a July 18 story in the Hollywood Reporter.

An excerpt:

When the London games officially launch July 27, Bob Costas will stage his own protest of what he calls a “baffling” decision: the NBC sportscaster plans to call out the International Olympic Committee for denying Israel’s request for a moment of silence acknowledging the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Games.

“I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he tells THR. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.”

Assuming Costas follows through, it won’t be the first time he’s commented about the 1972 event. In the following video, there are two clips of him commenting on ABC’s Jim McKay, who announced the fate of the Israeli athletes in 1972:

Meanwhile, CLICK HERE for a short commentary in the July 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal that approves of the stand Costas is taking.



In the past few days, there have been reports from the British press that fictional spy James Bond (in the person of Daniel Craig, the current actor playing 007) will receive a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth as part of the opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in London.

A humble Scottish peasant? Or a knight of the realm?

Here’s an excerpt from a story in THE TELEGRAPH (which rewrote an article in the Evening Standard):

Daniel Craig, the 007 actor, is reported to have received the ceremonial tap on the shoulder at Buckingham Palace in scenes to be screened during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Games.

The Queen is said to have gamely agreed to take part in the action and makes a cameo appearance in the film, which will be beamed around the world.


Andrew Lycett, biographer of Bond author Ian Fleming, said a knighthood for the secret agent was long overdue.

“Bond did sterling work for Queen and country and deserves a gong,” he said.

Lycett probably read The Man With the Golden Gun, the last Fleming 007 novel, published in 1965 after the author’s death. Lycett delivered a good quote and it’s not surprising The Telegraph Evening Standard would use it.

Still, we’re reminded of the novel itself, where the literary Bond was offered a knighthood. He receives an “Eyes Only” cable from M. He dictates a response to Mary Goodnight:

(The Man With the Golden Gun, Chapter 17, “Endit”)

The Olympics, of course, is a worldwide sports and media show. It’s inconceivable that a 007 knighthood not be part of the opening ceremonies. Still, for those of us who’ve enjoyed the original Ian Fleming stories, there’s something comfortable with the notion of a British civil servant declining a knighthood.

UPDATE: Here’s a story in THE EVENING STANDARD that may have started this latest wave of publicity.

UPDATE II: One of Fleming’s nieces has Tweeted about how Bond turned down a knighthood in the novel. You can CLICK HERE to check it out.

UPDATE III: Just so we’re all clear, if the Evening Standard and the other publications that have picked up on the story are correct, it’s the *fictional character* of James Bond *as played by Daniel Craig* who will be knighted. And since Bond is a fictional character, it’s not really happening, it’s just part of a film for the Olympics’ opening ceremonies. We only mention it after seeing something on Facebook that may or may not be a joke but indicates someone thinks Craig is actually getting knighted.


If this is an April Fool’s gag, it’s a good one

Given this is April 1, 007 fans, like people generally, are taking a skeptical look at items they think may be April Fool’s gags. So it is with A STORY IN THE U.K. SUN NEWSPAPER saying that Daniel Craig filmed a scene in Buckingham Palace that will be part of the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

An excerpt:

JAMES Bond star Daniel Craig is to open the 2012 Olympic Games ceremony after a personal invitation from The Queen.

In the film, he arrives by Royal Appointment to be told his latest mission is to launch the Games.

Her Majesty may even make a cameo appearance but the Palace is keeping details a secret.

A billion people watching on TV around the world will see Bond getting his instructions before he is taken by helicopter to parachute into the Olympic stadium in Stratford, East London.

Daniel, 44, and a film crew headed by Trainspotting director Danny Boyle were given unprecedented access to The Queen’s private rooms on Tuesday.

The story was picked up on THE WEB SITE OF FOX SPORTS (both the Sun and Fox Sports are part of the Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp.); the WEB SITE OF PEOPLE MAGAZINE; and a number of NUMBER OF OTHER NEWS WEB SITES gleaned from typing in “Daniel Craig The Sun Buckingham Palace” into Google.

Meanwhile, also on April 1, another U.K. newspaper, the Express, reported that Craig had filmed at the palace for Skyfall, the 23rd 007 film.. Both the Sun and the Express used the same headline, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” (All capital letters for the Express, “secret service” not capitalized in the Sun).

(A tip of the cap to the MI6 James Bond fan Web site, which had THIS STORY about the dueling stories in the Sun and the Express.)