Our updated SPECTRE accuracy checklist

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

With the Dec. 4 announcement that Bond 24 is now titled SPECTRE, along with disclosures of the cast, the accuracy of more reporting about the 24th James Bond movie produced by Eon Productions can be evaluated.

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, not originally part of the SPECTRE crew, returned as writers: Baz Bamigboye, of the U.K. Daily Mail, REPORTED IN LATE JUNE the scribes were summoned to revise John Logan’s script.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced in November 2012 that Logan had been hired to write Bond 24 and Bond 25. Purvis and Wade later said they weren’t returning to the 007 series. Never say never again, as it turns out. To quote the THE OFFICIAL SPECTRE PRESS RELEASE, the script was written “by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade.” Check.

David Bautista would play the movie’s henchman: First reported in LATINO REVIEW in October. The actor, who appeared in the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy, was announced this week as being in SPECTRE’s case. Check.

Hoyte van Hoytema would be the director of photography: This was reported on the evening of Sept. 16 ON THE HITFIX WEBSITE and the morning of Sept. 17 at JAMES BOND MAGASINET, a Norwegian 007 publication. Van Hoytema confirmed the news in various interviews and his position with SPECTRE was announced this week. Check.

Christoph Waltz was in the cast: Reported by the Daily Mail’s Bamigboye IN NOVEMBER This was confirmed in this week’s SPECTRE announcement. Check.

Waltz will play Blofeld: The Mail on Sunday, a sister publication to the Daily Mail, REPORTED LATER IN NOVEMBER that Waltz would play Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the new movie but be announced as portraying “an unknown character called Franz Oberhauser, son of the late Hans Oberhauser, a ski instructor who acted as a father figure to Bond.:

The official 007 Twitter feed said Waltz’s character IS NAMED OBERHASER. No additional details. Half right, so far. The other half remains to be seen.

Hilary Swank would be in the cast: The Independent, IN A NOVEMBER STORY, said, “Recently, the web has spawned wild rumours that she will be the next Bond girl, starring opposite Daniel Craig in the forthcoming Sam Mendes-directed 007 film.” Nothing was mentioned about Swank during this week’s announcement. Fail, at least for now, unless she pops up unexpectedly the way Matt Damon did in Interstellar.

Monica Bellucci would be in the cast: The possibility was mentioned in passing IN A DEC. 2 POST ON THE DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD WEBSITE. Bellucci’s participation in the movie was announced two days later. Check.

Examples from earlier posts (before the announcement of the SPECTRE title) follow.

Bond 24 and Bond 25 originally were to comprise a two-part story but the plan was jettisoned: The DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD site said in October 2012 that Bond 24 and Bond 25 were to be a two-movie story arc.

Then, BAZ BAMIGBOYE OF THE DAILY MAIL WROTE in February 2013 the plan was deep sixed and they’d be stand alone movies.

SPECTRE director Sam Mendes, in an April 10 interview on the PBS Charlie Rose show confirmed pretty much all of this. The move away from the two-part approach was part of the reason why the Skyfall director agreed to come back for Bond 24, he told the host starting around the 18:00 mark of the show.

Unfortunately, Mendes was in the middle of explaining that when Rose interrupted him with a question and no more was said on the subject. Check

John Logan hired to write both Bond 24 *and* Bond 25: Reported by the Deadline Hollywood Web site on OCT. 26, 2012.

WHAT HAPPENED? Barbara Broccoli in an interview on the Crave Online Web site published NOV. 12, 2012 denied it.

Congratulations on signing John Logan for two more scripts.

Barbara Broccoli: Well, we are working on another film in the future but we actually haven’t announced that we’re going to do two. We don’t know what we’re going to be doing.

Oh, so what was the news that he had a two-story arc?

Barbara Broccoli: That was a Hollywood announcement, not from us if you notice.

However, the same week, Gary Barber, the CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, said on a conference call with investors that Logan had been hired to write the next two Bond films. Check.

Sam Mendes, after saying he wouldn’t direct Bond 24, is considering doing just that: reported by Deadline Hollywood in a story on May 28, 2013.

WHAT HAPPENED. Mendes, in an interview on the Stage News Web site published June 12, 2013 confirms that’s happening.

Mendes, whose Bond debut as director of Skyfall last year turned out to the most commercially successful of all the 007 films, grossing more than £100 million at the domestic UK box office alone and over $1 billion globally, added that he is in discussions to direct the next Bond film.

“But nothing is going to be determined until Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [now previewing at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane] has opened,” he said. “I’m literally here from 8.30am to midnight every day, and it occupies every inch of my attention. So we’ll make decisions about that once Charlie has opened.”

Mendes ended up signing on for the project and an announcement of that, along with a fall 2015 release date for Bond 24 was announced last year. Check.

The Daily Mail was the first to report (also in a 2012 story linked above) that the writing team of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were departing the Bond film series. The writers confirmed that development with on Collider.com. Check.

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Some questions about SPECTRE

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

The world now knows the 24th movie in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions will be called SPECTRE. As usual, however, new information raises more questions. So here are a few.

Are we going to have more British political intrigue as in Skyfall? Looks like it.

Skyfall featured a sequence where M (Judi Dench) had to testify about problems at MI6. It ended with M reciting a poem to summarize her position, giving Dame Judi a dramatic moment.

In the PRESS RELEASE FOR SPECTRE, there’s a brief plot summary that says that Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the new M, “battles political forces to keep the secret service alive.”

Whether that means a similar sequence for Fiennes, or some other behind-the-scenes political intrigue, it appears SPECTRE will follow in Skyfall’s foot steps, at least to some degree.

So is Blofeld really coming back? For the record, director Sam Mendes wouldn’t say so. CLICK HERE for a BBC interview where he gives a brief interview where he specifically declines to confirm Blofeld is coming back and very specifically declines to say if actor Christoph Waltz is playing Blofeld.

Still, it seems if you’re going to bring SPECTRE back (after securing the rights last year from the Kevin McClory estate), SPECTRE leader Blofeld would be part of the package. That’s especially true after coming out with a teaser poster (see above) that evokes the old SPECTRE octopus logo. But we don’t know for sure at this point.

Is it spelled SPECTRE or Spectre? The press release spells it SPECTRE, but then again, the THE SKYFALL PRESS RELEASE spelled it SKYFALL, but that was just a matter of putting in all capital letters for emphasis.

For now, we’ll spell it SPECTRE. The original SPECTRE was an acronym. Whether that’s the case with the new SPECTRE remains to be seen.

How did the SPECTRE announcement (which didn’t include a press conference) compare with Skyfall’s media event? Better.

The SPECTRE announcement avoided cliches such as, “The money’s up on the screen,” and “I’d tell you but I’d have to kill you.” The SPECTRE announcement was more straight forward. Afterwards, Mendes as well as Daniel Craig and other members of the cast did some brief interviews that seemed more relaxed than the Skyfall press conference.

Admittedly, we may be prejudiced, given THIS SEPTEMBER POST where we suggested doing something similar.

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.

Bamigboye suggests Bellucci is in Bond 24

Baz Bamigboye of the U.K. Daily Mail put out a Tweet suggesting actress Monica Bellucci is in the cast of Bond 24.

Here’s the Tweet:

The possible casting of Bellucci was raised in a story on Dec. 2 on the DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD website. That story wasn’t definitive. Writer Nancy Tartaglione wrote, “I’ve also heard that Monica Bellucci may be in the mix” for the cast. That was the only mention of the actress in the story, which mostly centered on how the Bond 24 and cast is to be announced on Dec. 4.

Bamigboye has had a number of scoops about Skyfall and Bond 24 proven correct. But his Tweet is vague and doesn’t plainly say Bellucci is in Bond 24.

Pierce Brosnan has said Bellucci was screen tested for the part of Paris Carver in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies. The part, a woman from Bond’s past, went to Teri Hatcher.

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

What we may learn (or not) about Bond 24 this week

Bond 24 logo

Bond 24 is expected to formally begin production late this week. Assuming that’s indeed the case, here’s a quick look and what we may, or may not, learn about the 24th James Bond film this week.

Title: Often with Bond films, the title is known as filming begins. Die Another Day was an exception, where the title didn’t come out until after production was well underway.

With Skyfall, THE FUSIBLE WEBSITE sniffed out the title after checking domain registrations. But that trick hasn’t been duplicated so far this time out. ODDS: 3-2

Crew members: Some crew members, including director of photography Hoyte van Hoytema and special effects man Chris Corbould, have publicly confirmed their involvement. When THE NOVEMBER 2011 PRESS RELEASE for Skyfall was issued, many of crew were mentioned. One notable exception was composer Thomas Newman, who was announced later. ODDS: even money

Cast: The actors joining Daniel Craig for his fourth 007 film will likely be mentioned. Who they may play is another thing entirely. Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail reported that Christoph Waltz was joining the cast. Later, the Mail on Sunday, a sister publication, said Waltz would play a certain character. Bamigboye wasn’t involved with that story.

Possibility: Waltz is announced but his character isn’t. That’s what happened with actor Ben Whishaw, cast as the new Q in Skyfall. Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig denied as late as spring 2012 that Whishaw was playing Q.

Writers: The only official announcement concerning who would script Bond 24 came in November 2012. That’s when MGM, during an investor call, disclosed that John Logan would write Bond 24 and Bond 25. This summer, the Daily Mail’s Bamigboye reported that director Sam Mendes summoned Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who’d worked on five 007 scripts, to rework Logan’s Bond 24 draft.

Given Bamigboye’s record of 007 scoops being proven correct, it’s almost universally accepted this happened. But it hasn’t been confirmed officially. If a press release comes out this week, it will be interesting to see if a) Purvis and Wade are mentioned and b) if Logan’s name still is attached.

The guess here (and it’s only that) is a press release will say something like, “The screenplay is written by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade.” If Logan’s name isn’t included that would indicate the Purvis & Wade rewrite was extremely extensive to the point of throwing out almost all of Logan’s material. If Purvis and Wade aren’t listed, that would make it appear they did more of a polish. For the record, Bamigboye has reported the Purvis-Wade draft was “substantially different” from Logan’s. ODDS: 3-2.