Bond and his (new) girls

Today’s James Bond SKYFALL press conference has our first look at 007’s new leading ladies, Bérénice Marlohe and Naomi Harris. The Daily Mail website features some photos of Daniel Craig with his costars. Although not in costume or character, this gives us a reasonable how-they-look-today picture of what we can expect on the big screen next year. Although Craig needs a shave — what male actor doesn’t these days? — rumors of a bearded Bond are, at this point, still just that.

So jump on over to Daniel Craig Looks like Spy Who Got Cream and check them out. As of today, the “silly season” is mostly over, with only small details left to speculate on. Is Lady Gaga really going to replace David Arnold?

Javier Bardem confirms to ABC he’s a villain in Bond 23

Javier Bardem, in a segment last week on ABC’s Nightline, confirmed he’s playing a villain in Bond 23. He said it will be “fun” while “I cannot tell you many details about that.”

If you CLICK HERE, go to “Javier Bardem’s Passionate Cause.” Most of the segment is about refugee camps in the western Sahara and how Bardem is working on a documentary about them.

Bond 23’s cast is coming together — or is it?

Supposedly, Bond 23’s casting is coming together. But if you to check out the source of this information, prepare to be a little frustrated.

A Web site called ScreenCrave says Javier Bardem and Ralph Finnes are definitely joining Bond 23’s cast. However, THE POST ON SCREENCRAVE doesn’t have any original reporting. Instead, it cites another Web site called A.V. Club.

However, THE A.V. CLUB POST doesn’t have any original reporting, either. Instead, it cites a Web site called /Film.

Well, as you have probably guessed by now, THE /FILM POST has no original reporting, either. Instead, it cites a story in the U.K. newspaper Daily Mail.

Now, THE DAILY MAIL STORY does claim to be in the know. The newspaper, though, doesn’t bother to tell the reader how it obtained the information. Here’s an excerpt:

Miss Moneypenny, 007’s tart-tongued, flirtatious foil, is returning to the James Bond movies in the shape of Naomie Harris.
(snip)
The actress is poised to appear alongside Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes and Judi Dench when filming begins later this year.

Not a hint whether the Daily Mail got this informtion from Eon Productions, which will produce Bond 23, or from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or Sony Corp.’s Columbia Pictures, which are co-financing it. No hint whether it came from anyone associated with the actors. In short, you got to take it on faith.

Maybe it will all come to pass. But so far, there’s been more pontificating than hard reporting.

UPDATE: The Daily Mail story has been updated to include this tidbit at the end:

A spokeswoman for Eon said that Naomie had met with producers but stressed it had not been confirmed she would be in the film.

It might help if the Daily Mail actually named the spokeswoman involved. Then again, if transparency isn’t important to the Daily Mail, why start now?

Is Ralph Fiennes a lock for Bond 23 villain?

Two publications, the U.K. Daily Mail newspaper and U.S. trade publication Variety, have stories that, in passing, say actor Ralph Fiennes will be in Bond 23 and the film will begin production in December.

The stories center on Fiennes’s participation in a stage production of Sheakespeare’s The Tempest, where he will play Prospero. To view the Daily Mail story, YOU CAN CLICK HERE. To read the Variety story, CLICK HERE.

The Daily Mail has this mention:

Almost as soon as he comes out of The Tempest, Fiennes will begin preparations for the new James Bond film, which begins shooting in December. This column was first to reveal that Fiennes had met with his old friend Sam Mendes, who is directing the latest 007 thriller (which has the working title Sam Mendes Bond 23), about starring with Daniel Craig in the picture.

Variety, meanwhile, has this passage (“the run” refers to Fienennes time on The Temptest):

Fiennes’s movie commitments mean the run will be strictly limited. He is skedded to start filming on the Sam Mendes helmed “Bond 23” In December. The latter is scripted by John Logan who also scripted Fiennes’s recent movie helming debut “Coriolanus.”

Again, both stories toss this news off as an aside. There have been almost no official casting announcements, other than Daniel Craig would return as Bond for his third 007 outing. Judi Dench said in interviews she’d return as M. And that’s been about it. If the Fiennes news is true, he’d almost have to be the villain because the biggest non-Bond male parts in 007 films are villains. We’ll see.

Stop the Presses — No Michael Sheen Blofeld for Bond 23!

Photo © Summit Entertainment

Photo © Summit Entertainment

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Twilight star Michael Sheen will not be playing Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the next (23rd) James Bond screen adventure.

Speculation about this non-casting news began when screenwriter Peter Morgan got the assignment of polishing up the Purvis & Wade screenplay. Morgan and Sheen have worked together on four previous projects, and the thought was that Morgan would drag his boy on board the Bond project.

“There is not truth to those rumors” Sheen said at the GQ Man of the Year awards (where he picked up an Actor of the Year prize). “I wish I could tell you different, but no”

Of course, knowledgeable James Bond fans around the world are shocked and dismayed at this news — they had assumed this had been forgotten about several months ago.

You can read more of the details on this nonstory RIGHT HERE. And be sure to keep watching this space for all your Bond 23 non-news!