Name of No Time to Die’s villain revealed

Rami Malek

Yes, it’s a spoiler

The name of the villain played by Rami Malek in No Time to Die was revealed in an online story by Empire magazine.

Empire magazine put up a story that carried a Barbara Broccoli quote about the villain and said his name is Safin. The key excerpt:

“We’ve thrown the book at him on this one,” teases Barbara Broccoli in an exclusive report from Empire’s upcoming 2020 Preview Issue – and by ‘the book’, she means Rami Malek’s Safin. “He is really the supervillain. He’s the one that really gets under Bond’s skin. He’s a nasty piece of work.”

None of this is that revealing but the character name had been kept under wraps until now.

There has been fan speculation that Malek was playing a rebooted version of Dr. No.

In SPECTRE, Christoph Waltz was announced as playing a character called Oberhauser who turned out to be a rebooted Blofeld.

We’ll see if Safin is the real character name for No Time to Die or another case of misdirection.

Michael G. Wilson gets an honor

Michael G. Wilson

Michael G. Wilson, the longest-serving member of the James Bond film franchise, is receiving an honor from Pinewood Studios.

A road in an expansion area of Pinewood will be called Michael G. Wilson Road, Pinewood said in a tweet.

Wilson, 77, has worked for the franchise full-time since 1972 when he joined Danjaq/Eon as a lawyer. In that capacity, he was part of negotiations when co-founder Harry Saltzman sold off his interest in the franchise because of financial difficulties.

Wilson’s first on-screen credit in a Bond film was as special assistant to producer for The Spy Who Loved Me. He took on the title of executive producer for Moonraker through Octopussy. He then shared the producer title with his stepfather, Albert R. Broccoli for A View to a Kill through Licence to Kill.

Wilson has shared the producer’s title with his half-sister Barbara Broccoli since 1995’s GoldenEye.

Pinewood also said another street in the expansion area will be called Skyfall Avenue, named after the 23rd film in the Eon Bond series.

The announcement was part of James Bond Day (apparently a new name, shortened from Global James Bond Day). Here’s the Pinewood tweet.

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Repeat after me: Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond

No Time to Die logo

It’s pretty clear that one recurring theme of No Time to Die’s publicity campaign, such as it is to date, is that Daniel Craig is the favorite and/or best James Bond of principals associated with the movie.

Barbara Broccoli (Hollywood Reporter podcast, December 2017): Craig “brought humanity to the character…making Bond relevant to today….My heart was breaking” until Craig said he’d return for Bond 25/No Time to Die.

The interviewer, Scott Feinberg, asked if Craig was the best of the six actors employed by Eon Productions. “They’ve (Bond actors) all been incredible. But he (Craig) is particularly incredible.”

Host of April 2019 “reveal” event from Jamaica: Referring to Craig, introduces a montage of Bond films scenes that she says shows how Craig made Bond “his own.”

No Time to Die director Cary Fukunaga, during the “reveal” event: “Daniel is my favorite James Bond.”

Rami Malek on The Late Show (CBS), Oct. 2, 2019Craig “is my favorite Bond if I can say that.”

Is this a talking a point from the publicity department? Is it honest emotion from those concerned? You be the judge.

A year later, another Cavill-is-done-as-Superman story

Will play superheroes for food.

Talk about a slow-motion way to lose your job.

In September 2018, The Hollywood Reporter said Henry Cavill was out as Superman. Cavill’s agent tried to dispute that, but Warner Bros. only offered up a vague statement that didn’t say much.

Flash forward a year. A website called Cosmic Book News this week came out with a story saying Cavill is still out. It also adds a wrinkle that stems from more recent developments.

One change from a year ago is that Warner Bros. has secured the services of J.J. Abrams. One Abrams project may be jumpstarting the cinematic Superman and the director-producer likely wants his own choice in the role.

Something similar happened when director Matt Reeves was given the keys to the Batcave. Soon, incumbent Ben Affleck was out and Reeves cast Robert Pattinson as a younger Batman for a 2021 movie. That project reportedly may pick up the services of Jeffrey Wright as the new Commissioner Gordon. THR said this week the actor is in talks for the part. Wright currently is reprising the role of Felix Leiter in No Time to Die.

Nothing is official, of course. Still, it’s interesting to see how Cavill has been left hanging for so long.

There’s been no sign that “Mr. Warner” wants to proceed with Cavill. For example, this year’s Shazam! movie ended with a Superman cameo but it wasn’t with Cavill. It was a guy in a Superman uniform whose face the audience never sees.

Still, Cavill is not out officially, either. In comic books, kryptonite was Superman’s weakness. In real life, Cavill/Superman’s weakness is inertia.

Cavill, of course, has played one spy hero (Napoleon Solo in 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and one spy villain (Mission: Impossible-Fallout). He was tested in play Bond for 2006’s Casino Royale, but Daniel Craig got it, in large part because Eon boss Barbara Broccoli wanted him and wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

Cavill’s name still gets speculated about as the next cinematic James Bond. But given how more men have walked on the Moon (12) than have played Bond on-screen in the Eon series (six) that’s hardly a sure thing.  Besides, one suspects Barbara Broccoli will try to keep Craig in Bondage beyond No Time to Die.

Eon questions: The odds and ends edition

Eon Productions logo

Eon Productions has one spy film (No Time to Die) in production and another (The Rhythm Section) scheduled for a January release. As usual, the blog has a few questions.

When will the teaser trailer for No Time to Die come out?

A recent edition of the James Bond & Friends podcast indicated a rough cut existed. But since then, no word on when the final version will be out.

On Sept. 19, Paramount put out a first trailer for The Rhythm Section, Eon’s non-Bond spy film. So it makes sense not to put out a No Time to Die trailer out the same week. The question now is how quickly will the Bond teaser trailer go online.

Will we get an Eon Productions logo on the No Time to Die trailer?

It’s present on The Rhythm Section trailer. But, an Eon logo usually isn’t part of Bond trailers. For example, this SPECTRE trailer that had logos for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures’ Columbia brand.

Will No Time to Die change this? We’ll see.

Why no producer credits on The Rhythm Section Trailer?

While The Rhythm Section’s teaser trailer had the Eon Productions logo, there was no credit for Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. The teaser trailer only had screenplay and director credits. Presumably, there will be more crew credits in later trailers.

No Time to Die’s sudden switch

No Time to Die logo

No spoilers except in the most general sense.

So how did this happen?

Early in the filming of No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond film, there was mystery. There were some images available but enough you could really make out the plot. Then, the second unit went off to film action sequences while the first unit was behind the walls of Pinewood Studios.

However, since production moved to Matera, Italy, all that has changed.

Some of it reflects modern technology. People take video using their smartphones and upload it to social media. Initially, it was the second unit. Then, the first unit and actors Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux arrived. All of that has meant a lot of video and stills.

As a result, tabloids have stories seemingly daily. Daniel Craig does this. Daniel Craig does that. Oh look, there’s Daniel Craig with his stunt double. Oh, and here’s Lea Seydoux. She’s in this outfit. She’s in that outfit. Oh look, according to one Daily Mail caption, Daniel Craig is talking to a member of the crew. It turned out to be Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer moved to yank smartphone video posted by fan sites. Not too long after that, outlets such as Reuters and Sky News started tweeting out some of the same No Time to Die videos. The toothpaste was well out of the tube.

All of this is the way of the world, I guess. For me personally, it’s gotten exhausting. There’s enough out there you can put together a rough idea of how the movie may be structured (at least at the start) if you’re so inclined. There’s also enough out there to question some of the favorite fan theories of what will happen in the movie. We’ll see how it goes.

Bond 25 questions: The lead character edition

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

With less than nine months before the 25th installment of the James Bond film series, the blog had a few basic questions about James Bond, agent 007 (?, at least where Bond 25 is concerned).

Is Bond a hero or anti-hero?

This is a subject the blog has explored before and the answers remain murky.

Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions, maker of the Bond film series, said seven years ago that Bond was an antihero.

Barbara Broccoli, Wilson’s half-sister, said the same year that Bond is “a classical hero, but he’s very human.”

That makes for a split vote by the two principals of Eon.

An anti-hero is defined as “a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.”

Is Bond a misogynist or a male chauvinist?

A misogynist is defined as “a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.” Woman hater is a synonym.

A male chauvinist is defined as ” a male who patronizes, disparages, or otherwise denigrates females in the belief that they are inferior to males and thus deserving of less than equal treatment or benefit.”

Since 1995, the Bond film series has gone with misogynist. In Judi Dench’s debut as M in GoldenEye, she calls Bond (Pierce Brosnan) a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur.

Brosnan’s successor, Daniel Craig, said in 2015 that Bond is “actually a misogynist.”

Well, that would seem to settle the issue, wouldn’t it? If the guy who plays the character calls the character a misogynist that would seem to trump what a fan thinks.

How smart is Bond?

Bond doesn’t always show signs of being a strategic thinker.

In Dr. No, Bond (Sean Connery) brings Quarrel with him to Crab Key to see what happens. He brings along a Walther PPK.

In the novel From Russia With Love, Bond knows a trap has been set. But he decides to stay on the train to see what happens.

In The Man With the Golden Gun film, his plan (such as it is) is to fly to Scaramanga’s isolated island and see what happens.

In Quantum of Solace, he brings along his trusty Walther to take on Dominic Greene and his many thugs at the hotel powered by fuel cells (apparently filled with Explodium). He’ll see what happens.

In Skyfall, Bond takes M (Dench again) from London (where she has been guarded ineffectively) to stately Skyfall manor (which has no security, though Bond & Co. manage to cobble together some traps). Bond is able to kill Silva (Javier Bardem) moments before M dies.