Financial help for Bond 23?

William Chase

William Chase

A little item in the June 12 UK Telegraph caught our eye. William Chase, who brought the world Tyrrells Potato Chips and the award-winning Chase Vodka, might be playing fairy godfather to the next James Bond movie.

Nobody at Eon Productions is confirming or denying, but the story is that Chase has approached Barbara Broccoli with some sort of offer of financial backing, for the indefinitely-stalled Bond 23. Our thought is that it isn’t Eon that needs help, it’s 007 co-owners MGM, which has been teetering on the brink of oblivion since the 1980s. Still, it’s a comforting thought to think that somebody with the wherewithal to help is stepping up to the plate.

Obviously, this is all in the rumor stage anyhow, but you can read Next Bond film could well have a Chase in it at the Telegraph’s website for yourself.

Telegraph prediction: 007 will defeat MGM

In a commentary on the Web site of The Telegraph, writer Simon Heffer says James Bond will eventually triumph over Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. The author was prompted by last week’s news that Bond 23 is being delayed until MGM sorts out its financial future.

However, while Heffer describes himself as a fan, he also raises questions about the film series, including Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

Still, it is hard to imagine even the bankruptcy of MGM killing off James Bond on celluloid, something the world’s leading villains have completely failed to do in nearly 50 years: he and his adventures are always going to be a most marketable asset for anyone strapped for cash. But perhaps the pause in normal service is an ideal moment for those who might shape the next Bond film to ponder on what it ought to be.

What I felt was missing from the last two Bond films – Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace – were jokes. Craig, as I have said, was believable as an MI6 agent; but that raised the question of how believable James Bond is supposed to be. He is a complete fantasy figure, and that is his appeal. In the real world, people do not jump out of aircraft at 30,000 feet, have a fight on the way down, and survive. They do not consume strong drink (and, in the old days, cigarettes) with the abandon that Bond does without ending up on a mortuary slab fairly early on. They do not drive performance cars round multi-storey car parks, while being shot at, using their mobile telephones to keep the thing on course. They don’t jump from one building to another and inevitably land safely. Also, when most villains tell someone that they are going to be killed, they normally get killed pretty sharpish, and not after a theatrical delay that allows them to overpower their captors and make an escape.

That’s just a taste. To read the entire commentary YOU CAN CLICK HERE.

Sam Mendes watch: from Bond 23 to Oz prequel?

With Bond 23 being put on the shelf for who knows how long, there are now reports of Sam Mendes, the reportedly Bond 23 director-in-waiting, looking at other projects.

IF YOU CLICK HERE, you can read a story about Mendes may be directing a Wizard of Oz prequel.

UPDATE: THIS ENTRY IN A LOS ANGELES TIMES BLOG may have been where the Sam Mendes/Robert Downey Jr./Wizard of Oz prequel story may have started. An excerpt:

Several weeks ago we wrote that Joe Roth was meeting with newly anointed Disney production president Sean Bailey on a “Wizard of Oz” prequel about the wizard before he came to Oz.

Now we’re hearing that those meetings went well, so well that the project is on a fast track of sorts. According to word in the development community, Robert Downey Jr. is talking to producers about starring as the wizard (hard not to lick your lips at that one).

Meanwhile, two directors are said to be considered top candidates to get behind the camera: “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes (who may have some time on his hands now that “Bond 23” is in trouble) and “Hairspray” and “Bedtime Stories” director Adam Shankman, who most recently pulled the strings from behind the curtain at the Oscars.

(Downey’s and Mendes’ potential involvement, incidentally, were also mentioned earlier today in a tweet from Production Weekly.)

Meanwhile, The Guardian paper in the U.K. HAS A STORY saying that Mendes will direct a stage production of King Lear in 2012. An excerpt:

One of the most admired and bankable pairings in British theatre, actor Simon Russell Beale and director Sam Mendes, will return to the National Theatre in two years’ time for a production of King Lear. It’s their first work at the National since 1998, and Mendes’s first entirely British production since he left the Donmar Warehouse, the tiny London theatre where he forged an international reputation, in 2002.

Appropriate caveats: Mendes was never officially announced as Bond 23’s director, despite the number of reports LIKE THIS ONE or SUCH AS THIS ONE that he was close to be signed or was working on the film as a consultant in preparation for directing.
But the prospect had some Bond fans excited prior to this week’s annoucement that Bond 23 was being indefinitely delayed because of uncertainty surrounding ownership of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which controls half the Bond franchise.

Bond 23 “delayed indefinitely”

This just in off the PR Newswire:

Bond 23 Delayed Indefinitely

2010-04-19 19:45:59.645 GMT

LONDON, April 19, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — 007 producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions, today announced they have suspended development on the next James Bond film previously scheduled for release 2011/2012.

“Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on BOND 23 indefinitely. We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of BOND 23,” stated Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli jointly.

EON Productions have produced twenty two James Bond films since 1962. In 1995, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli took over the 007 franchise from Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and are responsible for producing some of the most successful James Bond films ever, including CASINO ROYALE and more recently QUANTUM OF SOLACE. The James Bond franchise is the longest running in film history. EON Productions and Danjaq LLC are affiliate companies and control all worldwide merchandising for James Bond.

Copyright (c) 2002, PR Newswire Europe

Provider ID: 30005922

-0- Apr/19/2010 19:45 GMT

For the moment, we have no additional comments, other than to say that we are shocked but not surprised. Heartbreaking news, indeed.

UPDATE: Because of this development, we have updated this April 15 HMSS Weblog post handicapping the prospects for Bond 23 and three other spy movie projects.

Wall Street Journal interviews Sam Mendes

The Wall Street Journal, in its weekend edition, has an interview in Q-and-A format with director Sam Mendes, the would-be director of Bond 23. There’s not much 007 material.

Is it true that you are directing the next James Bond film?

It’s only speculation and, you know, at the moment there isn’t even a studio to make the James Bond movie, because MGM is for sale.

Of course, the fact that Mendes’ own publicist confirmed the director had been in discussions (with nothing finalized) may mean it’s stronger than just speculation.

Most of the Journal interview concerns a Shakespeare play Mendes is directing. To read the entire story, you can CLICK HERE.

No surprise: MGM wants to study bids

MGM received bids and, no surprise, wants to study them before proceeding. Here’s an exerpt from a story:

The company will start a second phase of its strategic review after evaluating the proposals, Los Angeles-based MGM said today in an e-mailed statement.

To look at the (short) story, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE: Here’s Nikki Finke’s take from the afternoon of Jan. 15, with a few, but not many, additional details.