Our Bond 25 timeline debuts

The blog has compiled a timeline of significant (and some not-so-significant) for Bond 25.

The movie still is a long ways off. But the project has taken so many twists and turns, it’s hard to keep it all straight.

With that in mind, the timeline runs from May 2016 (when things began to intensify, at least at times) through the present.

The timeline doesn’t have every turn of the screw. It doesn’t include references to all those stories about U.K. bookies changing the odds for Bond actors, for example. It also left out a drama involving a helicopter that Eon Productions bought which, from all appearances, had nothing to do with Bond 25.

It does give you a flavor of some of the wildly different things that had been reported. I had forgotten, for example, there was a tabloid report that director Guy Ritchie supposedly was in the picture to direct Bond 25.

Anyway, to view the full timeline, CLICK HERE. Because of the length (which will grow as additional developments take place), it’s being housed at the blog’s sister site, The Spy Command Feature Story Index.

Advertisements

Eon website reflects how it’s more than just 007

Eon Productions logo

Eon Productions has a new or revamped website that reflects how the production company has a broader portfolio than the James Bond film series.

For example, the site’s film page has entries for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, The Silent Storm, Radiator and Nancy. The 24-film 007 series has a single entry with a link back to the official James Bond film website, 007.com.

The Eon film page does not include an entry for Call Me Bwana, the Bob Hope comedy that, for decades, was the company’s only non-007 film. An advertisement for that movie was included in From Russia With Love, replacing Niagara. An advertisement for that Marilyn Monroe movie was used in the Ian Fleming novel.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, produced by Eon co-founder Albert R. Broccoli with a number of 007 film veterans on the crew, was made by a separate production company, Warfield Productions. It’s not on the film page either.

Finally, the film page, for now, does not have an entry for The Rhythm Section, Eon’s non-007 spy film where production currently is suspended because of an injury to star Blake Lively.

The new Eon site also has a theater page, reflecting the company’s interest in stage productions.

It has entries for stage productions of Strangers on a Train, The Country Girls, Chariots of Fire, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Love Letters, Once, The Kid Stays in the Picture and Othello.

There is also a news section to the website. The most recent entry is a Jan. 29 story about Nancy winning the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Eon’s Rhythm Section May Resume Production in June

Barbara Broccoli

The Rhythm Section, Eon Productions non-007 spy film, may resume production in June, Deadline: Hollywood reported, citing “several sources.”

The movie, part of a diversifying portfolio of projects for Eon boss Barbara Broccoli, had shut down production following a hand injury to star Blake Lively in December. The movie was about half-filmed when the injury occurred, according to The Hollywood Reporter,which reported the production half late last month.

The suspension of production has not affected The Rhythm Section’s February 2019 release date, Deadline said in its story today. Eon is making the movie with financing from Global Road, formerly IM Global. Paramount will distribute the film.

It is unclear if Eon’s problems with The Rhythm Section will affect Bond 25. The movie has a release date of November 2019. At the moment, the project has no announced distributor. The last two Bond films, Skyfall and SPECTRE, began filming in, respectively, November 2011 and December 2014 and were released in fall 2012 and 2015.

h/t to @Bond25Film on Twitter for pointing out the Deadline story.

Eon’s Rhythm Section Shuts Down, THR Reports

Barbara Broccoli

The Rhythm Section, Eon Productions’ non-007 spy film, has shut down production after star Blake Lively suffered a hand injury in December, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The key detail from the story:

Lively sustained the injury while doing a stunt on the Dublin (Ireland) set in December. At the time, production was temporarily suspended while she took time to heal. However, sources close to the situation now tell THR that Lively’s initial hand surgery did not go as planned and the actress must undergo a second surgery and will need more time to recover.

It is currently unclear when filming will recommence. One insider said that just under half the movie had been shot while another source said it could be five months before the production resumes.

The Rhythm Section is part of Eon boss Barbara Broccoli’s growing portfolio of non-007 projects.

The project was announced in July. It’s based on a novel by Mark Burnell. It’s currently slated for a Feb. 22, 2019 release date via Paramount, though a lengthy shutdown may change that.

Bond 25, the next James Bond film, has announced a November 2019 release date in the United States, but has no announced distributor.

Broccoli has diversified from Bond, being involved with smaller-scale dramas, such as Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, as well as plays.

The Rhythm Section has a budget of about $50 million, financed by Global Road, formerly IM Global, THR said. That’s about 20 percent of the budget (after product placement deals) of 2015’s SPECTRE, the most recent Bond film.

“Hiatus on the production of The Rhythm Section has been extended due to an ongoing issue with Blake Lively’s hand injury sustained while filming an action sequence on the action thriller at the end of last year,” Eon said in a statement, according to THR.

Chill, 007 fans: This gentleman agent is used to criticism

“But let’s not forget that he’s actually a misogynist,” Daniel Craig said while promoting SPECTRE.

Recent stories on websites and British tabloid papers about how millennials are critical of old James Bond films has upset fans of the gentlemen agent.

On social media, that’s generated comments such as, “Bite my bum millenials,” and “I blame the parents……poor upbringing.”

The thing is, the criticisms mentioned in these stories aren’t new. They’ve been around pretty much as long as Bond has. Specifically, Bond is a womanizer, represents imperialism, has racial overtones, etc., etc.

One critique that sometimes is cited is an April 1958 review by Paul Johnson in the New Statesman of the novel Dr. No.

There are three basic ingredients in Dr No, all unhealthy, all thoroughly English: the sadism of a school boy bully, the mechanical two-dimensional sex-longings of a frustrated adolescent, and the crude, snob-cravings of a suburban adult. Mr Fleming has no literary skill…

(snip)
The plot can be briefly described. James Bond, an upper-class Secret Service Agent, is sent by his sadistic superior, M., to Jamaica, to investigate strange incidents on a nearby island.

This review was published almost 60 years ago, yet mirrors some of the criticisms contained in the recent “Millennials vs. James Bond” stories. Those stories rely heavily on Twitter posts. As the website Medium noted in a Jan. 28 story, not all of the tweets are even written by millennials.

On occasion, similar critiques were made when Bond went to the big screen.

In 1973, for example, Time magazine’s review for Live And Let Die declared Bond to be “a racist pig.”

Needless to say, Bond has survived all that — and not always with help from the principals of Eon Productions, which makes the 007 films.

First, consider what Eon’s Michael G. Wilson told USA Today in 2012. Bond is not even a hero, Wilson has said. “There are plenty of imitators, but Bond really is the first one that was an anti-hero,” Wilson told the newspaper.

An anti-hero is defined as “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.” (emphasis added)

In 2015, Bond star Daniel Craig said of 007: “But let’s not forget that he’s actually a misogynist. A lot of women are drawn to him chiefly because he embodies a certain kind of danger and never sticks around for too long,” (emphasis added)

A misogynist is defined as “a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts or mistreats women.” That’s harsher than the definition of a chauvinist, “a person who believes one gender is superior to the other.”

That gave an opening to writer Laurie Penny in an October 2015 commentary in the New Statesman.

“James Bond is a guilty pleasure but one in which the pleasure is increasingly overwhelmed by the guilt. Even Daniel Craig seems to know this,” Penny wrote.

Then, there’s Eon boss Barbara Broccoli, who told the Evening Standard in 2012, that women characters in Bond movies today are better than most of their earlier counterparts. “Fortunately, the days of Bond girls standing around with a clipboard are over,”

In the interview, Broccoli wasn’t specific about the “clipboard” women. She complimented the characters of Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) in Dr. No and Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) in Goldfiner. In Moonraker, Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) was holding a clipboard, but she was also a CIA agent and an astronaut.

Recently the website Haphazard Stuff did an in-depth review of 2012’s Skyfall. But it took the occasion to note all the times that women actors in Bond movies over the decades said their characters weren’t like the “empty-headed” Bond girl stereotype. It’s the video below, roughly from the 12:00 to 18:00 mark.

Remember, the actors said this as part of promoting the movies they were in. It’s almost as if running down its earlier product as part of promoting the current product is part of Eon’s standard operating procedure.

In any case, Bond fans should take a deep breath and move on. Millennials likely are no more critical of Bond novels and movies than previous generations. Bond has been fired at for a long time. But he’s still here.

Anatomy of crappy 007 journalism

Barbara Broccoli

In mid-December, The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast had a wide-ranging interview with Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli.

After almost an hour, there was this brief exchange:

SCOTT FEINBERG (Host): Would you ever hire a person of color or even a woman to play James Bond one day? Could it be Jamie Bond?

BARBARA BROCCOLI: Anything is possible. Right now it’s Daniel Craig and I’m very happy with Daniel Craig, but who knows what the future will bring? That’s what is so exciting about Bond.

OK. Almost two weeks later (Dec. 28, to be precise), the DAILY MAIL ran a story under the headline, “Next James Bond could be black or a woman, says 007 producer: Barbara Broccoli says ‘anything is possible’ once Daniel Craig walks away.”

That story says Broccoli “was asked if we could expect to see a female Bond or a black 007.” (emphasis added). The Broccoli quote: “Right now it’s Daniel Craig, and I’m very happy with Daniel Craig, but who knows what the future will bring?”

In other words, the Mail reproduced Broccoli’s comments. She was asked, but it appears she was not asked by the Daily Mail. Of course, to know that, you would have to listen to the original podcast (it’s around the 1:36:34 mark). Also, the Daily Mail has a reputation for ripping off other outlets, as detailed in a 2015 Gawker story.

Nevertheless, the Daily Mail story (such as it was), spurred other outlets to hammer the same idea.

ESQUIRE.COM (James Bond Producer Barbara Broccoli Says The Next 007 Could Be Female): Same Broccoli quotes, but attributed to the Daily Mail, not the original podcast.

SCREEN RANT (The Next James Bond Could Be a Woman or Person of Color): Same Broccoli quotes, but attributed to the Daily Mail, not the original podcast.

CINEMA BLEND (Will James Bond Continue To Be A Handsome White Dude After Daniel Craig Leaves?): You guessed it, same quotes but attributed to the Daily Mail.

MOVIE WEB (Earlier headline: Next James Bond Probably Won’t Be a Straight White Male): Once more with feeling — same quotes from the podcast, attributed to the Daily Mail. But, hey, at least the website’s headline took it even further. (HEADLINE CHANGED JAN. 4 TO Anything’s Possible When It Comes to Casting the Next James Bond. For more details, see update below).

OBSERVER (Will We Ever See a Non-White Male James Bond? It’s ‘Possible’): You guessed it. Same quotes as the podcast, attributed to the Daily Mail.

Just to be clear, this blog has never been mistaken as an extension of Eon’s PR operation. On occasion, the blog has noted when Broccoli denied things that turned out to be true (Ben Whishaw playing Q in Skyfall, John Logan being signed, initially, to write Bond 24 and 25).

But on this one, it’s pretty clear the Eon boss deflected the question. But that hasn’t stopped various entertainment outlets from running with it.

UPDATE (Jan. 4): Movie Web said today in two posts on Twitter that it changed its headline and is now crediting THR.

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

Broccoli says major B25 decisions to be made in 2018

Barbara Broccoli

Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli, in a long interview with the THR Awards Chatter podcast, said major Bond 25 decisions won’t occur until sometime in early 2018.

Given it’s mid-December of 2017, that’s not terribly surprising. But the podcast is a chance for fans to hear things for themselves.

Asked if “we know” Bond 25’s title or director, she replied: “I don’t. It’s still to be determined.”

Asked about who will distribute the movie, she said, “It’s exciting to be courted. We’ll hopefully be making that decision early next year.”

Gary Barber, CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, “is leading this whole crusade,” Broccoli said, referring to the distributor issue.

MGM is home studio to the Bond franchise. The last four 007 films were released by Sony Pictures. With Skyfall and SPECTRE, Sony also co-financed but only got 25 percent of the profits.

MGM is getting back into distribution seven years after exiting bankruptcy. It formed a joint venture with Annapurna Pictures to distribute each other’s movies. But, for now at least, that joint venture isn’t involved with Bond 25.

Broccoli was asked whether Bond 25’s distribution may be split between the U.S. and internationally. “That’s all to be decided in the future,” she said.

Writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are “busy working away, trying to come up with something fantastic.”

The producer went into more detail about how went to work for Eon, co-founded by her father, Albert R. Broccoli. Broccoli, 57, doesn’t do a lot of interviews and this one is longer than most. Among the highlights:

Working in her teens on The Spy Who Loved Me: “My job was captioning stills.” She had to do through a lot of film and “you’d have to come up with captions.

Working on Octopussy as an assistant director: “I was basically a runner. I was a third assistant (director).” One of her responsibilities was dealing with a large group of young actresses. “I was responsible for herding them and get them around.”

Associate producer Tom Pevsner was “a mentor to me.” Broccoli said she learned the art of production scheduling from Pevsner. “He taught me about breaking down scripts…He was an incredible man.”

Pevsner joined the series with 1981’s For Your Eyes Only. With 1987’s The Living Daylights and 1989’s Licence to Kill both Broccoli and Pevsner had the title of associate producer. Pevsner’s final Bond film was 1995’s GoldenEye, where he had the title of executive producer. Pevsner died in 2014.

On her working style with half-brother Michael G. Wilson: “Michael and I are very different. Strangely enough, when it comes to Bond, we always agree.”

On 007 actor Daniel Craig: “He brought humanity to the character…making Bond relevant to today.”

Broccoli said she first saw Craig in the 1998 film Elizabeth. “He has the most incredible presence on the screen,” she said of Craig. “He’s lit from within. I remember thinking, ‘What a force.’ I just watched everything he did.”

Craig announced in August he’d return for a fifth film as Bond. Before that announcement, Broccoli said, “My heart was breaking.”

To check out the podcast, CLICK HERE. The Broccoli interview begins at the 40:36 mark and lasts almost an hour. She also discusses her non-Bond movie, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, in detail as well as talking Bond.