Bond 24 title is SPECTRE, cast includes Waltz, Bellucci

SPECTRE LOGO
Bond 24’s title is SPECTRE, director Sam Mendes announced this morning at Pinewood Studios.

The director also confirmed the casting of actors Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci, Dave Bautista, Lea Seydoux and Andrew Scott, all of which had been reported but not officially acknowledged until today. It was an announcement only, with no questions taken from reporters.

The title appears to indicate that villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld will return to the film series. Mendes, however, declined to comment on the significance of the title.

Blofeld and SPECTRE were part of several previous Bond films but haven’t been in Eon’s series for decades because of legal complications. Rights to the character were secured last year in a settlement with the Kevin McClory estate. Blofeld’s last film appearance was in Never Say Never Again, the 1983 non-Eon Bond film where McClory had the title of executive producer. The U.K. Mail on Sunday has reported that Waltz will play Blofeld in the film.

Scott will play a “member of the Whitehall family,” Mendes said. Batista will play Mr. Hinx. Mendes didn’t specify what Mr. Hinx does but it has been widely reported Batista would be the movie’s henchman.

Mendes and Barbara Broccoli began the announcement but the co-boss of Eon Productions let the director do all the talking.

Besides the actors, Mendes confirmed the return of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade to the writing team.

Mendes only said SPECTRE has the same writing team as Skyfall, with John Logan, Purvis and Wade. The Daily Mail in the U.K. reported over the summer that Purvis and Wade were summoned to rewrite Logan’s draft. Purvis and Wade will now get a sixth Bond movie scripting credit. Only Richard Maibaum, with 13, has more.

Also coming back is Mendes’ preferred composer, Thomas Newman. Newman becomes only the third composer, after John Barry and David Arnold, to score multiple Bond films.

Daniel Craig was introduced last, with Mendes saying the movie would be “built around” Bond as all 007 movies “should be.”

Mendes also disclosed Bond will drive a new Aston Martin DB10 in the film. SPECTRE will have a seven-month shooting schedule.

UPDATE: Scott Hand of the 007 Forever page on Facebook passed along a press release that includes a plot summary:

A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

UPDATE II: The Bond Lifestyle website has a copy of THE SPECTRE PRESS RELEASE.

Bond 24 announcement Dec. 4

Less than 24 hours before the announcement of Bond 24’s title and cast (and whatever tidbits may arise). You can view it here just before 11 a.m. London time, 6 a.m. New York time or 3 a.m. Los Angeles time on Dec. 4.

Bond 24 title and cast announcement coming Dec. 4

Bond 24 logo
An announcement about Bond 24 has been scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 4, according to the official 007 Twitter feed and official Facebook page.

The Hollywood News website published an excerpt from a press release saying the title and cast would be disclosed. That press release described the event as “a live announcement and photo call.” That raises the possibility there won’t be a press conference where questions are asked. That’s something this blog suggested IN A SEPTEMBER POST. We’ll see if that happens.

Also, the press release says Bond 24 will begin production on Monday, Nov. 8. Previously, The Daily Mail and the MI6 website said it would be Nov. 6.

The Deadline Hollywood website says the media event will be live streamed at 007.com at 11 a.m. London time, 6 a.m. New York time.

UPDATE: The CINEMA RETRO website has a post that includes a schedule indicating no questions from the press will be taken.

EVENT TIMINGS (all timings GMT)

10.50am         Introduction

11.00am         Live announcement commences

11.07am         Live announcement ends (approximate)

11.15am         Photo call with cast and director

The Bond 24 ‘hot stove league’

Daniel Craig during the filming of Skyfall

Daniel Craig during the filming of Skyfall

For those who follow baseball in the United States, there’s what’s known as the “hot stove league” — what happens during the off-season that will affect the following year’s games.

Right now, we’re in Bond 24’s “hot stove league” — filming won’t start until sometime this fall and the movie won’t be seen until fall 2015. As a result, people get excited about the smallest bit of information, even when it concerns A BOGUS TITLE.

Here’s how the Bond 24 “hot stove league” is shaping up on some key ingredients.

Bond 24’s title: The information will be available when Internet domain names get registered. In the case of Skyfall, the THE FUSIBLE WEBSITE sniffed out the domain registrations a month before the official announcement.

Casting: This is a little harder to pin down. With Skyfall, Naomie Harris’ casting was reported by the now-defunct News Of The World; Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney by the Daily Mail; Javier Bardem’s offer to be in the movie was reported by the Deadline entertainment news website and Bardem confirmed he’d been cast in an interview with ABC News; Ben Whishaw’s casting was disclosed by his agent, even though Eon Production denied it for months.

In other words, fans inclined to keep up with casting news should be on alert going forward.

Crew: Again, harder to pin down, but Skyfall’s history provides some guidance.

Roger Deakins confirmed in a 2011 post on his blog (later zapped) in spring 2011 that’d he be Skyfall’s director of photography. John Logan’s hiring as writer already was reported by the Daily Mail and Deadline in November 2012. It was initially denied by Eon Productions but confirmed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer a few days later.

While Deakins isn’t returning for Bond 24, he said recently that Skyfall director Sam Mendes, who is returning for Bond 24, has a “great idea for another film, which is really an extension [of ‘Skyfall’] but from my point, I don’t know what else I could do with it, really.”

If Skyfall is a guide, some of the crew appointments may get reported by mid- to late-spring.