Harris says she wants to remain as Moneypenny

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris, in an interview with Ain’t It Cool News primarily about the movie Moonlight, said she wants to remain as Moneypenny in the 007 film series.

Here’s an excerpt of the interview, conducted by Steve Prokopy, who posted at the website under the name of “Capone.” It concerns what happens to the supporting cast of Bond movies if there’s a change in lead actor.

Capone: Judi Dench certainly was able to work with multiple Bonds over the years, so I’m just wondering does everybody get to stay where they are if he doesn’t decide to go forward?

NH: I would imagine so. I can’t imagine that they’re going to get rid of all of us.

Capone: They’ve done such wonderful things, especially with your character compared to how she’s been portrayed in the past, and I’d hate for that to go away.

NH: Yeah, I know. And I’d hate to say goodbye to Moneypenny as well. I love playing her.

Earlier in the interview, Harris said she filmed her part for Moonlight over three days during a break in the SPECTRE publicity tour. “They were three consecutive days, but I was shooting out of sequence,” Harris told the interviewer.

Harris has previously said, such as in this BBC story, that she wants Daniel Craig to return as Bond.

To read the entire interview, CLICK HERE.

Bond fandom in the 21st and 20th centuries

A sample of Roger Deakins' photography in Skyfall

A sample of Roger Deakins’ photography in Skyfall

Perhaps nothing illustrates how Bond fandom has evolved in the 21st century than all of the attention being paid to how Skyfall’s director of photography, Roger Deakins, has said he won’t return for Bond 24 because “I don’t know what else I could do with it, really.”

The news has discussed and analyzed on fan message boards (CLICK HERE for one example and CLICK HERE for another). Websites such as Ain’t It Cool News declared the development to be a “little bit of a bummer.”

Deakins was nominated for an Oscar for his Skyfall efforts and got a lot of praise. Skyfall director Sam Mendes said Deakins’ opening shot was so special, he just couldn’t put the gunbarrel logo at the start of the film. So, fans are wondering how his absence will affect Bond 24, which will start filming later this year.

In the early years of the film 007, a director of photography didn’t get that kind of attention. Eon Productions had a kind of “in-house” DOP in Ted Moore. It’s not like Moore was a hack. He got AN OSCAR for photographing 1966’s A Man For All Seasons.

Moore was behind the camera for the first four Bond films and did other jobs inbetween. For the fifth 007 film, director Lewis Gilbert sought Freddie Young, who he described as “one of the great artists in British cinema.” But the center of fan discussion was Ken Adam’s volcano set or Sean Connery’s impending departure as Bond.

In 1974, Eon subbed one Oscar-winning director of photography for another when Oswald Morris took over after Ted Moore fell ill. But again, it wasn’t a major top of fan conversation.

Flash forward to 2014. Nobody’s pushing the panic button, but certainly many fans are disappointed Deakins isn’t coming back. Perhaps this reflects greater artistic expectations in the fan base. Perhaps it’s also concern about not breaking up a winning team after Skyfall. Perhaps it’s a lack of much else to talk about regarding Bond 24.

Things change. The attention given Deakins is an indicator how the 007 fan world has changed.

11 new questions about the U.N.C.L.E. movie

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin (Art by Paul Baack)

Henry Cavill, right, and Armie Hammer
(Art by Paul Baack)

The past month has seen a few disclosures about a planned movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to be directed by Guy Ritchie. But each new bit of information, well, just generates more questions.

In honor of Napoleon Solo’s No. 11 U.N.C.L.E. badge, here are 11 of them:

1. Like Dude, don’t some of Armie Hammer’s comments bother you? Hammer, while promoting The Lone Ranger movie, has made some comments that made long-time U.N.C.L.E. fans nervous. Hammer, who is to play Illya Kuryakin, has talked about how funny the script is. That makes fans who feel the movie might be a big-screen version of THE ORIGINAL SHOW’S THIRD SEASON where the delicate drama-humor balance got out of whack.

In the end, however, movies can only be judged by the final product. A certain James Bond actor is known for dropping f-bombs and telling off-color jokes in interviews involving grandmothers and oysters. That didn’t really affect Skyfall, the most recent 007 film.

2. What about what Henry Cavill has said about the U.N.C.L.E. movie? Cavill, slated to play Napoleon Solo, has been more circumspect. He has said the film will have “dry humor” but he’s not a slapstick guy. That tends to be reassuring to fans but the same thing applies — these are interviews and it remains to be seen what the movie will be like.

3. Who else is going to be in the movie? That’s one of the biggest unanswered questions. The only other name to surface is Alicia Vikander, a Swedish actress who’s supposed to play a British agent. One key role that hasn’t been talked about publicly is Alexander Waverly, the Number One of U.N.C.L.E.’s section, a sort of first-among-equals of the international’s brain trust. Leo G. Carroll had the role in the original 1964-68 series. Not having a Waverly would be like a James Bond movie without an M.

4. What will this movie have the original show didn’t have? Since it’s a period piece set in the ’60s, it’s likely to have multiple references to the Cold War.

5. But the original show was made in the ’60s. How could it not have such references? They were there but way toned down. Occasionally, David McCallum’s Kuryakin would say things like, “I suddenly feel very Russian,” when near rich capitalists (The Love Affair in the show’s FIRST SEASON.) In The Project Strigas Affair, that same season, Kuryakin wore a disguise that made him resemble a young Leon Trotsky.

Still, the whole idea of U.N.C.L.E. was that it was a multi-national organization that fought threats transcended political boundries. Also, NBC executives were always wary of being too controversial. So you didn’t get a lot of direct, “ripped from headlines” Cold War references.

6. Why do you think there will be all these Cold War references? Hammer, in some of his interviews, has described Kuryakin as “a KGB spy.” Cavill, in another, said the movie is about “the Cold War and how American and Russian super spies join teams to fight international terrorism.”

7. Any other speculation? Look for some kind of “origin” storyline. These kinds of movies often take that route. Michael G. Wilson wanted to do an “origin of James Bond” movie in the 1980s when Roger Moore left the role and was replaced by Timothy Dalton. Wilson’s stepfather, Albert R. Broccoli, vetoed that idea but Wilson got his wish with 2006’s Casino Royale.

Finally, Hammer said this in AN INTERVIEW AT AIN’T IT COOL NEWS:

Capone: Will there be some humor tucked away in there?

AH: It’s Guy Ritchie, so it’s going to have that great aspect to it of getting dark, but also “I like watching these two guys hate each other,” and “I like watching these two guys hang out.”

That suggests at least the possibility of the “heroes meet, heroes don’t initially like each other, heroes get over their differences” story construction.

8. What about the crew besides Guy Ritchie? Again, very little information. Hammer has said the movie starts filming in August, other reports have said September. But you’d think some announcements might have been made by now.

9. Any we should look for in particular? The composer. Music is always important for a movie. Unfortunately, Jerry Goldsmith, who wrote the show’s distinctive theme, died in 2004.

Goldsmith only did three scores for the series but his music was constantly recycled in first-season episodes without an original score. That season is viewed by many fans as the best of the four and so Goldsmith’s contributions take on a bigger role that you’d guess.

Also, in the fourth season, Goldsmith’s scores were re-recorded and used partially in about half of the episodes. One episode, The Deadly Quest Affair consisted of almost all re-recorded Goldsmith music. So Goldsmith created the U.N.C.L.E. sound even if he didn’t work that much on the show.

10. Any guesses on who the composer could be? One possibility: Hans Zimmer did the scores for the two Sherlock Holemes movies starring Robert Downey Jr. that Ritchie directed. Zimmer has been busy of late. He scored 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises and this year’s Man of Steel (starring Cavill) and The Lone Ranger (with Hammer playing the title character but playing second fiddle to Johnny Depp’s Tonto).

11. The big question — is this movie a good thing or a bad thing? For fans who don’t want a movie, nothing will convince them otherwise. For fans who are intrigued, or at least hoping for the best, it remains to be seen. From the selfish standpoint of the HMSS Weblog, it provides something to write about because it doesn’t look like Bond 24 will become reality anytime soon. Plus, Ian Fleming co-created Napoleon Solo with Norman Felton.

Is Agent 007 a hero or an anti-hero?

Hero? Anti-hero?

So is James Bond a hero or an antihero? If you think the answers is easy, think again. Not even the co-chiefs of Eon Productions, whose personal fortunes stem from 007, agree.

Michael G. Wilson, who has worked on the Bond film series longer than anyone, is in the anti-hero camp. In an INTERVIEW WITH USA TODAY EARLIER THIS YEAR Wilson said, “There are plenty of imitators, but Bond really is the first one that was an anti-hero.” He again calls Bond an anti-hero in the new Everything Or Nothing documentary.

Barbara Broccoli, Wilson’s half-sister and the other co-boss at Eon, did an interview published last week at AIN’T IT COOL NEWS. This was her take on Bond: “He’s a classical hero, but he’s very human.”

Back on Feb. 1 WE DID A POST about Wilson’s remarks. It got a mixed reaction. One respondent wrote, “Bond of the novels was definitely an anti-hero, in my opinion, as was the Connery Bond of the first two films.” This person posted a YouTube video of a clip from Dr. No where 007 shoots Professor Dent, Dr. No’s lackey, in cold blood. Another said Bond was an anti-hero because he smokes, kills and “uses women.” Others wrote that Wilson misunderstands the Bond character or that 007 is a hero, but “a Cold War hero.”

As we presented on Feb. 1, this is the definition of anti-hero, according to Dictionary.com:

noun, plural an·ti·he·roes.
a protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like.

A less-evil mobster

By that definition, you could argue the label is more befitting of, say, Michael Corleone in The Godfather. He’s less evil than the leaders of the other mobs because he doesn’t want to get into the drug business. But, arguably at least, he’s not really a heroic figure.

Some have argued Bond is a hero, but a tarnished one (he does kill after all). He’s a patriot who, when he kills, does so for what he believes is a higher cause. Then again, John Le Carre would disagree, as would followers such as Robert MacNeil, the former PBS newsman.

We suspect none of this will settle the issue. As we noted before, when the two co-chiefs of Eon come down on different sides, that suggests the matter is one people will disagree about.

Another Web site, Movieweb, says it knows Skyfall’s plot

SPOILER WARNING: Stop reading now if you don’t want to know.

Movieweb, saying it got the information from “an insider” at Eon Productions, says it knows at least part of the plot of Skyfall, the new James Bond film. You can read that story BY CLICKING HERE. The story quotes the Eon insider as saying Ralph Fiennes character will become the new M, replacing the character played by Judi Dench. Here’s how Movieweb quotes the Eon “insider”:

“Skyfall centers around M (Judi Dench) where her past forces her to leave as head of MI6, and find a new M. The board of MI6 then turns to a government agent (Ralph Fiennes) to take over. M (Dame Judi) is now forced to train the new head of MI6.”

This report comes after a Jan. 1 story in the U.K. Daily Record where Fiennes says “I’m allowed to say that I’m a government agent,” without providing any more details.

It also comes after after a short Jan. 1 story on Ain’t It Cool News saying the plot revolves around “a downed intel satellite and the scrambling of various government agencies to retrieve it.”

It remains to be seen how accurate either report is.

Ain’t It Cool News says it knows Skyfall’s plot

Ain’t It Cool News, a popular movie Web site, says it knows the plot of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film.

The only official details of the plot were in a November press release, which described it this way:

In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

SPOILER ALERT (so if you don’t want to know, exit now): AICN, in a post YOU CAN READ BY CLICK HERE: has this description:

The story – about a downed intel satellite and the scrambling of various government agencies to retrieve it – seems genuinely different than the plots we’re used to.

Inception’s homage to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Writer-director Christopher Nolan’s Inception is getting a lot of buzz. The movie, opening on July 16, concerns a thief who can take secrets from the subconscious mind. Nolan, who turns 40 later this month, is on a roll after The Dark Knight was a huge hit two years ago.

According to a review by “Mr. Beaks” at Ain’t It Cool News, 007 fans should have an additional incentive to check out the film.

For a film that’s clearly sprung from the deepest reaches of Nolan’s creative mind, INCEPTION is appropriately enhanced by his boyhood preoccupation with James Bond movies (he admitted as much in a recent interview). During the deliriously intricate set piece which encompasses a good deal of the second act and some of the third, Nolan gets to pay ecstatic homage to ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE – as Hans Zimmer’s score takes on lovely, invigorating John Barry dimensions.

You can read Mr. Beaks’ entire review (including some additional comments on the Bond-inspired sequence) by CLICKING RIGHT HERE. And here’s the trailer for the film: