About that No Time to Die release date Part II

No Time to Die poster

Almost two months ago, the blog raised the question of whether No Time to Die’s November release date is that secure.

Things haven’t firmed up since.

Here in the United States, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is worse than ever. Los Angeles, a major movie viewing market, is one of the hot spots. And the U.S. itself is the worst place on Earth for the virus, according to information tracked by Johns Hopkins University.

As a result, movie studios are still juggling release dates. Ask Warner Bros., which keeps changing the dates for movies such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984.

What’s more, non-movie venues are also in flux.

This week, the Geneva Motor Show, one of the leading global events in the auto industry, announced its 2021 edition, scheduled for March, was canceled. That’s an indication any event where crowds will gather is uncertain.

Again, turning to the U.S., Major League Baseball wants to attempt an abbreviated 60-game season starting in late July. But is that possible given the current COVID-19 situation? As things stand now, MLB games will be played in empty stadiums. Meanwhile minor league baseball has been canceled for 2020.

Granted, it’s a little more than four months before No Time to Die is due out. Things can change.

Also, should Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Bond’s home studio) and Universal (handling international distribution) write off the U.S. and release the 25th James Bond film in Europe and Asia where COVID-19 seems more under control while writing off the U.S.?

Who knows? Still, it’s not much of a reach to say No Time to Die’s current release date is as uncertain as ever.

Bond 25 questions: The score edition

New No Time to Die poster

It’s still a long way off before people can see No Time to Die. But thanks to an interview with Variety, composer Hans Zimmer has provided the blog with some questions to ask about the movie’s score.

Should the title card read, “Music by Steve Mazzaro and Hans Zimmer”?

Well if you take Zimmer at his word, maybe yes.

Steve should really be the top name on the Bond film,” Zimmer told Variety.

Mazzaro is one of the composers affiliated with Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions company. In the interview, Zimmer said he asked No Time to Die producer Barbara Broccoli “if it was okay that Steve Mazzaro, who is one of the most fabulous composers I know, could do it with me, because there was very little time.”

Was Zimmer perhaps just being polite?

Maybe yes, maybe no. One way Zimmer manages to do so many film scores is by enlisting the help of other composers.

On some films, Zimmer gets the primary “music by” credit while other Remote Control composers get secondary “additional music by” credits. Examples: Man of Steel, Dunkirk, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises.

On still other films, such as Batman v Superman and Blade Runner 2049, Zimmer actually shares the “music by” credit.

Regardless, in addition to Mazzaro, other Remote Control composers who’ve helped out Zimmer include Junkie XL and Lorne Balfe. The latter got the gig to score Mission: Impossible-Fallout and is slated to score the next two M:I movies.

Anything else in that interview catch your eye?

Zimmer’s quote about how “there was very little time” is worth noting. Eon was trying to meet an April release date before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down movie theaters.

Zimmer (and Mazzaro) replaced Dan Romer, who had worked with director Cary Fukunaga on other projects. Since Skyfall, Eon Productions has generally deferred the choice of composer to the directors of Bond films. No Time to Die initially seemed to continue that pattern until Romer’s departure.

A common fan theory is that Romer produced a score deemed too extreme. Meanwhile, Eon had worked with Zimmer and Mazzaro on The Rhythm Section (Mazzaro as composer, Zimmer as music producer, with the latter getting top billing on the music title card).

Zimmer suggests his NTTD co-composer did a lot of work

Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer, the lead composer on No Time to Die, suggests in a new interview with Variety that his assistant composer did a fair amount of work on the 25th James Bond film.

Zimmer told Variety of how he was approached by producer Barbara Broccoli about scoring the movie.

“And I asked her if it was okay that Steve Mazzaro, who is one of the most fabulous composers I know, could do it with me, because there was very little time,” Zimmer said. “And of course she said yes. Steve should really be the top name on the Bond film. I hope we’ve done it justice.” (emphasis added).

Mazzaro scored The Rhythm Section, the non-Bond spy film that Eon produced, which was released by Paramount in January. Zimmer was the producer of that movie’s soundtrack. Zimmer and Mazzaro shared the music title card, with Zimmer getting top billing.

Mazzaro also is one of the composers affiliated with Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions company.

In the Variety interview, Zimmer also discussed recruiting guitarist Johnny Marr to perform on No Time to Die.

Zimmer replaced Dan Romer as the composer for No Time to Die. Zimmer’s name is on No Time to Die posters that include credits but Mazzaro’s is not.

The article examines other movie projects Zimmer is working on. You can view it by CLICKING HERE.

About that No Time to Die spoiler

No Time to Die poster

In the past few days, there have been complaints about a No Time to Die spoiler.

As it turns out, that spoiler has been in public view since at least Sept. 26, 2019, when The Express did a story related to the movie’s shoot in Matera, Italy.

The spoiler was in the headline. In case you’re among those who aren’t aware of it, this post won’t describe it. But if you click on the link above, you can see for yourself.

Over the past several days, there have been calls for fan debates. Certain websites have been criticized for even writing about it. The thinking goes that those websites enabled the likes of the Daily Mail (followed by among others the New York Post and The Guardian) to their own stories.

As it turns out, this particular spoiler has been out there.

Perhaps it has been like a ticking time bomb (from the Bond fan perspective). But still it has been out there, nevertheless.

1977: Spoilers? What spoilers?

“Wet Nellie” from The Spy Who Loved Me

Over the past few days, there has been a lot of angst over the reveal of a spoiler from No Time to Die. But, a couple of generations ago, the James Bond film franchise was a lot looser when it came to potential spoilers.

There are multiple examples. Bond soundtracks often came out before the films did. Some tracks had titles like Death of Grant, Death of Goldfinger, Death of Fiona and Death of Aki. So those developments clearly weren’t dealt with as big secrets.

But 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me was perhaps the most cavalier in this regard. What’s a spoiler?

Instead of re-issuing the Ian Fleming novel The Spy Who Loved Me, a novelization written by co-screenwriter Christopher Wood reached book stores ahead of the movie (at least here in the U.S.).

On the very first page — before even the title page — there was an excerpt of Bond’s jump with the agent’s Union Jack parachute.

That was just for openers. Wet Nellie was the centerpiece of the Who-Cares-About-Spoilers marketing campaign.

Wet Nellie, of course, was the movie’s central gadget, the Lotus that could convert into a submarine. In reality, multiple cars were used but most Bond fans are familiar with the tale by now.

At the time, I had a mail subscription to the Los Angeles Times. I was studying journalism and the paper was at its peak of excellence and influence. Each day’s paper arrived four days after the publication date.

Anyway, weeks before the movie was out, the entertainment section of the LAT had a detailed story about Wet Nellie. It was the first time I even heard of the Wet Nellie nickname and how it was a takeoff of the Little Nellie name for Bond’s mini-helicopter in You Only Live Twice.

The story described how the version that actually traveled underwater worked, including how it was piloted by guys with scuba equipment. Moreover, the story clearly had been done with the cooperation of the filmmakers. They wanted to be sure everybody knew about Wet Nellie.

As a result, two of the biggest highlights of the movie were pretty common knowledge before its U.S. debut.

To a degree, that was understandable. Eon Productions and United Artists were betting big on Bond after the breakup between producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. The budget roughly doubled compared with the previous entry, The Man With the Golden Gun.

So there was a lot riding on the 1977 movie. If Bond went down, it wouldn’t be for lack of effort — and publicity about two of its biggest sequences.

That was then. This is now. Fan attitudes change. So do studio publicity strategies.

Spoilers catch up with No Time to Die (no spoilers)

“Spoilers? Again?”

To be clear, there are no spoilers in this post. The post is noting that the spoilers exist. But if that’s too much, move on, nothing to see here.

It was bound to happen. The delay of No Time to Die from an April release to November (assuming that holds) provided more opportunity for spoilers to emerge.

During filming, the production kept a fairly tight lid on things until filming in Matera, Italy, in August 2019. There, tourists with smartphones posted many videos of the filming involving Aston Martin DB5 replicas.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, leaned on some Bond-related websites to take down video floating around the internet. But major news services, such as Reuters, were also posting the videos and things cooled down.

After that, things remained quiet until recently.

Some No Time to Die call sheets were auctioned on eBay. The call sheets, in turn, provided clues about the movie’s plot.

The MI6 James Bond website posted a story on June 3, with a spoiler warning in red type at the start of the article. The headline was simply, “Spoiler Warning.”

This blog summarized the MI6 website post the same day. That post also had a spoiler warning: “Is this a spoiler? Only if it’s correct. Nevertheless, don’t read any further if that upsets you.”

However, the Mail on Sunday, the Sunday edition of the Daily Mail, came out with a story based on the call sheets the evening of June 6, New York time.

The Mail didn’t have a spoiler warning. In fact, the big spoiler was in the headline. So don’t click on the link above if you don’t want to know.

Since then, there has been a lot of fan complaints and criticism on social media.

It’s possible more of this may lay ahead. It’s still five months until No Time to Die’s current scheduled release date.

Does No Time to Die evoke one of Fleming’s last ideas?

New No Time to Die poster

Is this a spoiler? Only if it’s correct. Nevertheless, don’t read any further if that upsets you.

The MI6 James Bond website today published a story about No Time to Die spoilers based on call sheets issued during filming in Italy last year.

The article reveals a number of details. But one in particular would catch the attention of Bond fans who’ve read Ian Fleming’s original novels.

Specifically, such fans would note the end of the author’s You Only Live Twice novel.

Here’s an excerpt:

One of the final scenes to be shot Italy back in September was with Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and Madeliene (Lea Seydoux) on the coast near Maratea Port for scene #235. This location is doubling for Safin’s island. Local press caught shots of a rib boat with Nomi in combat gear and Madeline on a radio.

But there is a third character included in these late scenes, and it is not James Bond. Her name is Mathilde and she is 5 years old. She appears in scene #235: “Nomi pilots Madeliene and Mathilde to safety with island in the background.”

Could Mathilde be the daughter of Bond? That would be similar to the You Only Live Twice novel, where Bond, suffering from amnesia and thinking he’s a Japanese fisherman, travels off to the Soviet Union. He’s unaware that Kissy Suzuki is pregnant with his son.

The MI6 article adds this at the end:

Could James Bond become a parent? Regular Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have for years worked on including elements of unused Ian Fleming material, and aside from Bond’s brainwashed attempt to assassinate M in ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’, one of the most glaring omissions from the film series is how Bond leaves Kissy at the end of ‘You Only Live Twice’.

We’ll see. Eventually.

Footnote: Bond continuation novel author Raymond Benson ran with the idea at the beginning of his 1997-2002 run. James Suzuki, the daughter of Bond and Kissy, figures into the short story Blast From the Past. That story was first published in Playboy.

James Suzuki is killed, bringing Bond into conflict with another old enemy.

A suspicious IMDB cast listing for No Time to Die

UPDATE (May 31, 2020): Imagine that. *Alex A.J. Gardner* as “Young James Bond” has been stripped out of the IMDB.COM CAST LIST for No Time to Die. <sarcasm>Who would have thought?</sarcasm>

ORIGINAL POST (May 30, 2020): An oddity has shown up in the IMDB.COM CAST LIST for No Time to Die. It includes *Alex A.J. Gardner* as “Young James Bond.”

There are a number of reasons to be skeptical. Gardner, born in 2000, has a website. (“Currently available for auditions!”) It lists a South Carolina phone number.

Gardner also has an IMDB.COM ENTRY. That says he’s 6-foot-2. That’s four inches taller than Bond star Daniel Craig.

On top of that, he looks nothing like Craig. Unless the new Bond film decides to use a gene therapy plot device, a la Die Another Day, Gardner doesn’t seem an ideal choice to play the younger version of Craig/Bond.

My suspicion is an IMDB.com user was having some fun editing the No Time to Die entry. But we’ll see.

In any event, a screen capture (taken late May 29) is below.

Aston Martin replaces CEO

Daniel Craig and Aston Martin DB5 in a Skyfall publicity sill

Aston Martin, the British maker of luxury cars associated with James Bond films, said today it’s replacing its chief executive officer.

The new CEO will be Tobias Moers, 54, currently head of Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance arm. He will join Aston on Aug. 1.

Moers replaces Andy Palmer, who joined Aston as CEO in 2014 from Nissan Motor Co.

Keith Stanton, currently vice president and chief manufacturing operations officer, will serve as interim CEO until Moers’ arrival.

Aston has experienced a series of challenges, including losses and a plunging stock price.

Lawrence Stroll, a Canadian billionaire, was the lead investor in a financial rescue of Aston Martin that took place in January. Stroll is executive chairman of Aston.

Over the past several years, Aston has talked about the need to diversify and be more than James Bond’s favored ride. But the company still finds itself dependent on its association with Bond. Aston provided multiple vehicles for No Time to Die.

Palmer took to Twitter to say good-bye.

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Aston Martin to undergo management shakeup, FT says

Iconic publicity still for Goldfinger with Sean Connery leaning against the Aston Martin DB5.

Aston Martin, the British maker of luxury sports cars, will see a management shakeup, the Financial Times reported.

Current CEO Andy Palmer will depart the company and be replaced by Tobias Moers, the head of Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance arm, the FT said, citing two people familiar with the plans it didn’t identify.

Aston Martin was sold by Ford Motor Co. in 2007 and has run into a series of financial challenges since. The company is best known for its association with the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions.

The announcement of the change is scheduled for Tuesday, the FT said.

Peter Campbell, the FT writer who did the story, said on Twitter that Aston Martin later issued a statement that it “confirms that it is reviewing its management team and a further announcement will be made as and when appropriate”.”

Palmer joined Aston as CEO in 2014 from Nissan Motor Co. Earlier this year, Lawrence Stroll, described by the FT as “a Canadian billionaire with a background in motor racing and luxury fashion labels,” led a financial rescue of Aston Martin.

A variety of Aston Martin models, including replicas of the DB5, will appear in No Tie to Die. The company has been part of the Bond series since the original DB5 was in 1964’s Goldfinger.