Two 007 facts amid the speculation

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

What follows are two 007-related facts. They don’t necessarily connect to one another.

On the other hand, you see so much on social media, we thought we’d mention them, for what they’re worth.

–It’s Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s choice, not Eon Productions’, what studio will distribute Bond 25.

That’s not this blog talking. It’s Michael G. Wilson, Eon’s co-boss. He gave an interview late last year portions of which are on YouTube.

“It’s not primarily our decision,” Wilson said. “MGM will…it’s their responsibility.” Wilson said, at the time. He also said that Eon had met with studios (he didn’t specify which ones) which were interested in releasing Bond 25 for MGM.

Sony Pictures has released the last four 007 films but its most recent two-picture deal expired with SPECTRE.

–Barbara Broccoli’s current non-Bond film has a relatively short filming schedule. 

According to the Screen Daily website, the Eon co-boss’ drama, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, is scheduled to wrap filming on Aug. 8. Principal photography began in late June and is based at stages that are part of an expansion at Pinewood Studios.

A producer’s job, of course, doesn’t end with filming. A producer oversees various post-production tasks — editing, sound work, music, etc.

Meanwhile, Screen Daily also refers to the movie as a “passion project” of Broccoli’s. The movie is based upon the memoirs of British actor Peter Turner, who had a relationship with American actress Gloria Grahame. Broccoli acquired the film rights more than 20 years ago, according to Screen Daily.

At the same time, Eon has various other pending non-007 projects. So, there’s no telling how many will take up Broccoli’s time before she turns her attention to Bond 25.

 

Tabloid says Broccoli in no rush to make Bond 25

Eon co-boss Barbara Broccoli and current 007 star Daniel Craig

Eon co-boss Barbara Broccoli and current 007 star Daniel Craig

The Sun, the U.K. tabloid, said in a gossip column that Eon Productions co-boss Barbara Broccoli isn’t hurrying to make Bond 25 and still hopes to convince Daniel Craig, 48, to return as James Bond.

The tabloid quotes a source it didn’t identify as saying the following: “Barbara is not going to be rushed into a Bond and wants to work on two other film projects next year. It will give her time to work out a script and try to convince Daniel to maybe return.”

The producer currently is overseeing a drama called Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.

Before we proceed further, here’s a caveat: The Sun has a trashy reputation.

But on at least one aspect, this story has the ring of truth. Barbara Broccoli has repeatedly made clear she wants to do things other than 007 films and wants more time between Bond movies.

Reminder No. 1: In November 2012, Broccoli made the following comment to the Los Angeles Times:

“Sometimes there are external pressures from a studio who want you to make it in a certain time frame or for their own benefit, and sometimes we’ve given into that,” Broccoli said. “But following what we hope will be a tremendous success with ‘Skyfall,’ we have to try to keep the deadlines within our own time limits and not cave in to external pressures.”

Reminder No. 2: Earlier in 2012, Broccoli and Craig, in an interview with the Collider website, publicly slapped down a Sony executive who had said Bond 24 would be out in 2014, two years after Skyfall:

Last week Rory (Bruer), the president of distribution of Sony, announced Bond 24 for I guess late 2014…

Broccoli: He was getting a little overexcited (laughs). We’re just actually focusing on this movie. One hopes that in the future we’ll be announcing other films, but no one’s officially announced it.

Craig: No one’s announced anything. He got a little ahead of himself (laughs). It’s very nice that he has the confidence to be able to do that, but we haven’t finished this movie yet.

One of the most repeated myths on 007-related message boards is that Eon held up Bond 24, later titled SPECTRE, an extra year to get Sam Mendes back as director. Barbara Broccoli has repeatedly made clear she doesn’t want to do Bond movies on an every-other-year basis.

The Sun’s gossip column says Bond 25 won’t come out until late 2018 at the earliest. That should be of absolutely no surprise to anybody who’s followed events of the past five years.

A few 007-related questions for this summer

Barbara Broccoli

Barbara Broccoli

Here are some questions 007 fans perhaps should follow for the rest of the summer.

Let’s begin with this: Barbara Broccoli’s newest non-007 film, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, has started filming at Pinewood Studios. That was disclosed in a Pinewood press release.

Why is that something to watch? It’s a test of the ability of the Eon Productions co-boss to multi-task.

In this case, can Broccoli simultaneously produce the drama and gear up Bond 25?

Why do you say that? Eon co-founder Harry Saltzman was able to produce the Harry Palmer film series and The Battle of Britain without affecting the 007 film schedule.

Albert R. Broccoli, Barbara Broccoli’s father and the other Eon co-founder, produced Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in between Bond films.

Both Broccoli and Saltzman were involved with Call Me Bwana inbetween Dr. No and From From Russia With Love.

In the 21st century, Kevin Feige runs Marvel Studios, which produces two movies a year, with Feige getting the credit as producer.

So what should we watch for? If there are significant Bond 25 developments (writers hired, a director hired, etc.) while production of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is underway, then it would seem the Eon co-boss can handle multi-tasking just fine.

To be fair, Eon may be somewhat limited by the fact there’s no distributor yet for Bond 25. 007’s home studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, isn’t big enough to release its own films.

But there are things Eon can do — especially lining up writers and a director — before MGM selects a distribution partner. Sony Pictures has released the last four 007 films but its contract expired with SPECTRE.

And if there isn’t major Bond 25 news during that time? Maybe, just maybe, there won’t be any major Bond 25 news until the last part of 2016, or perhaps early 2017.

 

Paul Greengrass says Broccoli talked to him about 007

Paul Greengrass

Paul Greengrass

In what should be a surprise to absolutely nobody, three-time Bourne film director Paul Greengrass says he was approached by Eon Productions co-boss Barbara Broccoli about directing a James Bond film, according to the LONDON EVENING STANDARD.

Greengrass has directed three Bourne films, including the newest, Jason Bourne, due out later this month. Here’s what he had to say on the matter.

When asked if he would consider taking on the project during an interview on Radio 4, Greengrass said:

“Honesty and truly no. I mean I know (Bond producer) Barbara Broccoli and we’ve discussed it.

“It’s a bit like your football team, you can’t… I’m a Bourne man, I like Bourne.

(snip)

“Speaking personally as a filmmaker I think encoded in Bond are a series of values about Britain, about the world, about masculinity, about power, about the empire that I don’t share,” he said.

“Quite the reverse. Whereas in Bourne I think encoded is much more scepticism. There’s an us and a them and Bourne is an us, whereas Bond is working for them.

Since at least the fall of 2005, it has been written that the Bond franchise was being affected by the success of Bourne films in the 2000s. The New York Times reported in October 2005 that the Bourne series was one factor in recasting the 007 role with Daniel Craig.

For both Ms. Broccoli and Sony, executives said, the model was Jason Bourne, the character Matt Damon successfully incarnated in two gritty spy movies for Universal Pictures, “The Bourne Identity” and “The Bourne Supremacy.”

After that story came out, another Bourne film, The Bourne Ultimatum, came out in 2007. The most Bourne-like 007 film, Quantum of Solace, was released in the fall of 2008. That film’s crew included a Bourne veteran, Dan Bradley as second unit director.

It should be noted that the Bourne folks don’t seem to be big 007 fans. Besides Greengrass, Bourne star Matt Damon has frequently criticized the Bond character.

A recent example occurred ahead of the newest Bourne film. Here’s what the 45-year-old actor told GQ Australia.

“I like Bourne better than Bond. Bourne has today’s values; Bond has the values of the 1960s. Daniel’s (Daniel Craig) Bond has upgraded him and brought him more into the present, but, classically, that character is a misogynist who likes swilling martinis and killing people and not giving a shit….And Bourne would obviously win in a fight.”

Over the past week, some Bond fans we know have been really annoyed about Damon’s recent remarks. But those comments are consistent (almost word-for-word) for what he said about 007 in the 2000s.

Here’s food for thought. Actors say all sorts of things while promoting their movies. What bears closer watching is how the trustees of the Bond franchise react.

For a time, Eon hired screenwriter Peter Morgan, who didn’t seem like he cared for 007, to write what would become Skyfall. Now, Paul Greengrass has verified Eon was interested in his services, even though he makes clear he’s not a “Bond guy.”

Eon shouldn’t necessarily hire fans. After all, hiring a non-fan could lead to a new perspective. But should they hire, or seek to recruit, people who don’t care for Bond?

Who knows? Something to think about.

Broccoli non-007 film first to shoot at Pinewood expansion

Pinewood Group PLC logo

Pinewood Group PLC logo

A Barbara Broccoli non-007 movie is the first film being made at a Pinewood Studios expansion, the company said in a press release today announcing financial results.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is “the first production to utilize the new facilities,” according to the Pinewood statement. The studio is the traditional home base for the Bond film franchise, supervised by Broccoli.

The Pinewood expansion added five stages, workshops and offices totaling more than 300,000 square feet. It became operational on June 30.

The studio also said it “already signed a contract for an additional major film production which will fully utilize these new facilities from August 2016.” No additional details were provided.

Pinewood, meanwhile, said little about its largest pending issue — whether it will be sold or not.

The company said in February it was conducting a “strategic review,” which could include a sale.

That review “is ongoing,” the company said in today’s statement. The company said only it will “update shareholders on its progress when there is further information to share.”

A few, large shareholders control 79 percent of Pinewood shares. The company has wanted to move to the main market of the London Stock Exchange. That requires at least 25 percent of a company’s shares be traded publicly. The review is intended to assess other ways to finance future expansion plans.

 

UK voters disregard Craig, 007 producers on Brexit vote

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

UK voters weren’t swayed by 007 (both the actor playing him and the producers employing him).

Britain voted Thursday to depart the European Union. Daniel Craig, who played James Bond for four movies, and Eon Productions co-bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were among celebrities and movie producers who had publicly urged voters to stay in the EU.

The Thursday vote is “a historic decision sure to reshape the nation’s place in the world, rattle the Continent and rock political establishments throughout the West,” Steven Erlanger wrote in a story in The New York Times.

Craig had been among celebrities, including former soccer star David Beckham, who came out in support of the UK staying in the EU. Other celebrities, such as actor Michael Caine and author Frederick Forsyth, urged the UK depart the EU.

Broccoli and Wilson were among about 20 movie producers who said the UK’s membership in the EU had provided funds to help the nation’s movie industry.

The vote is a huge story with worldwide implications. The 007 angle is only a small part of the story. Still, in this case, the 007 contingent didn’t convice the UK electorate.

 

Some questions about the future of 007 films

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

There’s still no news (at least officially announced news) on the James Bond movie front. But that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of questions. And so…

Is Daniel Craig coming back as 007 or not?

Over the weekend, 007 fan sites weighed in. Graham Rye’s 007 Magazine said the actor wasn’t and that Tom Hiddleston had been offered the job. The Book Bond site also said Craig wasn’t while adding “Eon (Productions) and Barbara Broccoli are the ones who are done with Craig.” James Bond Radio said on Facebook that “we’re confident it’s all BS and Hiddleston isn’t actually in the frame.”

All cited sources they had confidence in, but obviously there isn’t a unanimous picture from the three sites. (Thanks to The James Bond Dossier for its post on the subject.) With the lack of any official announcement, there’s no definitive answer to be had.

What do you think? 

Mixed. On the one hand, it has been almost a year since SPECTRE wrapped up filming. If he really wants to come back, does he need another year off to make up his mind?

In the meantime, his dance card for the upcoming year or so is starting to fill up. Currently on tap is a heist movie, a play and a limited-run TV series on Showtime.

On the other hand, few people know what he’s really thinking. And they’re not making public pronouncements. For now, much of this is a matter of faith, whether you want Craig back or want a new 007.

What happens next?

There are so many things that need to be settled. Among them: Which studio strikes a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to release Bond 25 and future 007 films? Who gets hired to write Bond 25’s script? If Craig really is gone (and we’re not saying he is), who gets the nod to replace him?

From a fan’s standpoint, this is the frustrating thing: Four years after Skyfall became a billion-dollar hit, 007’s film future is very unsettled.

James Bond will return, it says in the end titles of 007 films. But when and in what form are unsettled at this point.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 252 other followers