Bond 26 questions: The how long (?) edition

Not coming to a theater near you anytime soon

So Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions, says (in remarks reported by Deadline) that James Bond is about to be reinvented and that filming of Bond 26 won’t take place for at least two years.

Also, she said, there’s no actor and no script. Neither will happen until the reinvention occurs.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

So when might Bond 26 come out? The MI6 James Bond website estimates “2025, possibly later.”

That makes sense. Two years from now is 2024. The film would then go into post-production and may not be out until 2025.

Are there potential complications? Amazon, the new owner of studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is yet to be heard from. Would Amazon try to pressure Eon to move faster? Or is the tech company satisfied with all the Bond programming Amazon Prime has?

Is this a surprise? No. Eon is not known for advanced planning.

Some Bond fans hoped it’d be different this time. No Time to Die completed filming in fall 2019. It then went on the shelf until fall 2021.

Eon had time to look to the future if it wanted to do so. But Barbara Broccoli said after No Time to Die came out she was celebrating the tenure of Daniel Craig as Bond. She didn’t sound as if she were in a hurry to deal with a post-Craig era.

What might take place because of this? No Time to Die stirred a strongly mixed reaction in the fanbase. For some, Craig/Bond’s death was a bold creative choice. Others strongly did not like it.

Now, that mixed atmosphere will linger, with at least a four-year gap between No Time to Die and Bond 26.

Anything else? It’s getting harder to imagine the likes of Idris Elba (who turns 50 in September), Henry Cavill, 39, or Tom Hardy (who turns 45 in September) being cast as Bond.

Yes, Roger Moore was in his mid-40s when he began his Bond run but that was a different era.

Yes, Craig was in his 50s when his run finally ended. But he’s a special case, given Broccoli’s strong admiration for the actor. She spoke more than once about being in denial that Craig’s time as Bond was ending.

Broccoli says Bond to be reinvented, Baz reports

Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions

Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli says Bond 26 will be “a reinvention of Bond,” Baz Bamigboye of Deadline: Hollywood reported.

Broccoli said it will be at least two years before Bond 26 starts filming, according to Bamigboye. The Eon chief said there is no script and a search for the next cinematic James Bond hasn’t begun.

Bamigboye formerly worked for the Daily Mail and scored some Bond scoops that proved correct.

Broccoli made the remarks “at a star-studded private event in central London to honor Broccoli and her brother Michael G. Wilson for their BFI Fellowships.”

Here’s an excerpt of the article:

“Nobody’s in the running,” she disclosed. “We’re working out where to go with him, we’re talking that through. There isn’t a script and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is and that takes time. I’d say that filming is at least two years away.”

Last year’s No Time to Die ended Daniel Craig’s five-film run as Bond. The movie ended with the Craig version of Bond being killed. The end titles still proclaimed, “James Bond Will Return.” Craig’s first Bond, Casino Royale, started the series over.

Much of the article is a description of the event, including former Bond composer David Arnold playing the piano.

Paul Haggis arrested on sexual assault charges

Paul Haggis, who worked on two James Bond films as a writer, has been arrested in Italy on sexual assault charges, Variety reported.

Haggis was a screenwriter on 2006’s Casino Royale and 2008’s Quantum of Solace.

Here is an excerpt from the Variety story:

According to multiple Italian press reports and a note from the public prosecutor of the nearby city of Brindisi, Haggis is charged with forcing a young “foreign” – meaning non-Italian – woman to undergo sexual intercourse over the course of two days in Ostuni, where he was scheduled to hold several master classes at the Allora Fest, a new film event being launched by Los Angeles-based Italian journalist Silvia Bizio and Spanish art critic Sol Costales Doulton that is set to run in Ostuni from June 21 to June 26.

When Casino Royale came out in 2006, Haggis got a lot of credit after taking over from Neal Purvis and Robert Wade in the scripting process.

Haggis’s pages referred to “James,” where most Bond scripts refer to Bond as “Bond.”

With Quantum’s final screenplay credit, Haggis got top billing over Purvis and Wade.

At one point, there were reports that Haggis supposedly contributed to the script of No Time to Die. The final credit went to Purvis and Wade, director Cary Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Haggis received no screenplay credit on No Time to Die.

NTTD’s reactions from its co-stars

No Time to Die poster

h/t to MI6.HQ.COM which compiled this.

Daniel Craig’s James Bond met his end in No Time to Die. If Craig’s co-stars are to be believed, they had no idea this was happening.

Lea Seydoux, Den of Geek: “I still can’t really believe that that’s what they decided, that he’s gone…It made me sad, actually, it made me really sad…But I hope they will find a new way to—you know they will find something else.”

Naomie Harris, Radio Times: “Because there’s so much secrecy around all of the Bond movies, I thought, ‘Is this a joke? Am I being sent, like, the wrong ending, and then they’re gonna send me a new one?’. I really thought that, because I just thought… this doesn’t happen. Bond doesn’t die. It’s sacred that Bond should never die.”

A reminder: No Time to Die’s script began development in 2017. That’s when Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine met his end in a film. Earlier, Craig and Jackman had appeared together in a play in New York.

Prior to No Time to Die, Craig’s Bond had unhappy endings. At the end of SPECTRE, he finally (or so it seemed) had a happy ending with Seydoux’s Madeline Swann. Instead, No Time to Die threw that out the window.

Observations of a No Time to Die rewatch Part II

No Time to Die poster

The family theme: James Bond traditionally wasn’t known as a family man. But No Time to Die makes a big deal about a family theme.

That’s not me talking. Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli played up that idea in a podcast interview with The Hollywood Reporter. She talked about Bond’s “MI6 family” and “his real family.”

Rewatching the movie, that comes through. Safin’s villainous scientist refers to Madeleine Swann and her daughter as “your family” to the villain. Bond (according to the closed captions for the movie) refers to them as his family.

Revisiting the SPECTRE scripts: There were some drafts of the script for SPECTRE (2015) where Bond shot Blofeld in the head. One draft (completed shortly before filming began) ended with Bond telling Madeline, “We have all the time in the world.”

Neither made it into the final film. But with No Time to Die, Eon doubled down.

In the pre-credit sequence of No Time to Die, Bond tells Madeline that, “We have all the time in the world.” Toward the end, just before Bond is blown to smithereens, Bond tells her, “You have all the time in the world.” And, of course, just before that, Bond blasts Safin away.

Scooby Gang gets to emote: It’s not just Bond (Daniel Craig) who gets a big death scene. Lea Seydoux as Madeline gets to emote. So do the Scooby Gang: Ralph Fiennes’ M, Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw’s Q, and Rory Kinnear’s Tanner.

“You promised”: Just before he dies, Bond tells Madeline he’s not going to make it. She replies: “You promised.”

At this point, Bond has apparently lost a fair amount of blood and isn’t moving around very well thanks to a few bullet wounds courtesy of Safin.

Did Bond really have to die? That’s almost irrelevant. The whole movie was designed to have Bond die. Quibbling about nanobots (couldn’t Bond’s EMP watch rid him of the nanobots?), etc., etc. doesn’t really matter. Bond was going to die. The question was how.

Observations of a No Time to Die rewatch Part I

One of the many No Time to Die posters

The movie has some nifty image composition/photography.

In the pre-titles sequence, Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux) writes a secret, burns it and sends the embers into the night air. The camera follows it until the Matera landscape turns to day. Very classy.

Bond isn’t very bright, is he?

Let’s face it, Bond has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer. In Dr. No, he has no real plan for when he gets to Crab Key. In From Russia With Love, he’s easily taken in by Grant’s less-than-sophisticated set up of Kerim and a Soviet agent supposedly killing each other. In the film, Kerim has a knife in his side, hardly the easiest way of killing oneself.

But in No Time to Die, Bond falls for Blofeld’s frame of Madeline. This propels the plot through much of the movie.

That curious music title card

“Music by Hans Zimmer, Score produced by Steve Mazzaro.”

Zimmer, on mulitiple occasions, said the score was a collaboration between himself and Mazzaro. One thinks the the title card should have had a footnote. “Sorry, Steve. We know you did half or so of the score. This is the best we could do.”

Bond knows his Jamaican home has been invaded. Does his outside shower and toothbrushing lead to Safin getting his DNA?

The scene around the 47:00 mark (the scientist who has been working for Safin) suggests so. Then against the scientist substitutes a sample of all the SPECTRE leadership. Hard to tell.

Which M made the bigger mistakes? Judi Dench in Skyfall or Ralph Fiennes in No Time to Die?

Judgment call.

“Come on, Felix. we’ve been in worse than this. Let’s go.”

How many times have Bond and Felix Leiter been in jeopardy *at the same time*? Not many in either the first 20 Eon films or the Craig era. Going back to Kevin McClory’s first Thunderball scripting efforts, there were more attempts to go give Felix more to do.

About getting around WGA writing credits

No Time to Die poster

No Time to Die already had four credited screenwriters. A fifth, Scott Z. Burns, didn’t get a credit despite a lot of publicity when he joined the project. A sixth, John Hodge was brought on during director Danny Boyle’s short-lived tenure.

And, less noticed, a seventh writer, Nick Cuse, got a “consultant” credit for No Time to Die.

Cuse had worked on projects with Boyle’s successor, Cary Joji Fukunaga. Cuse has since gone after Fukunaga on social media, claiming the director stole credit for Cuse’s work, although the scribe did NOT specify the project involved.

The Writers Guild of America is supposed to have the final say on writer credits on films and TV shows released in the U.S. But, on occasion, projects try to get around those rules.

Example: With the first two Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve, there were serious drafts (courtesy of Mario Puzo) and campy drafts (courtesy of David and Leslie Newman). Tom Mankiewicz was assigned the job of melding these, similar to how James Bond films balanced drama and humor.

For his work, Mankiewicz got a “creative consultant” credit (part of the main titles) but wasn’t part of the screenplay credit.

Another example: the 1990 Dick Tracy movie. When the film’s novelization by Max Allan Collins came out, the title page said it was based “on a screenplay by Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr. and Bo Goldman & Warren Beatty.”

The problem: The Cash-Epps writing team filed an arbitration with the WGA. They won. They got the sole writing credit on the finished film.

Beatty was already star, producer and director, so he was fine. But Beatty slipped in an alternative credit for Goldman in the end titles.

NTTD crew member criticizes Fukunaga, MI6 HQ reports

Cary Joji Fukunaga

Nick Cuse, a writer and producer who received a consultant credit on No Time to Die, has criticized the film’s director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, for stealing credit on projects, the MI6 James Bond website reported.

Cuse made a post on Instagram that included the following:

Cary Fukunaga is the worst human being I have ever met in my life. He didn’t groom me to fuck me but he did use a lot of the same tactics to get me to write his scripts for him. Which he would then put his name on. One time, after spending three weeks on a script, he made me open up the cover page and type his name under “Written By”. I had to literally type the stolen credit with my own fingers. 

The post doesn’t specify the project or projects involved. Cuse and Fukunaga worked on the television series Maniac. In addition to directing No Time to Die, Fukunaga was one of four credited screenwriters.

The Cuse criticism occurred after three actresses — Rachelle Vinberg and twins Hannah and Cailin Loesch — accused Fukunaga of predatory behavior. The accusations have been written about at sites such as The Wrap and Jezebel.

Danny Boyle talks about Bond 25

Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle, as part of an Esquire profile, said his version of Bond 25 would have been “all set in Russia, which is of course where Bond came from, out of the Cold War.

“It was set in present-day Russia and went back to his origins, and they just lost, what’s the word… they just lost confidence in it,” the director told Esquire.

This isn’t entirely surprising. Thanks to an interview that production designer Mark Tildesley did, it was known that a Russian gulag set was being constructed in Canada. Also, during the Boyle period of Bond 25, a replica rocket was built.

Boyle also said his screenwriter, John Hodge, also introduced a Bond’s child character.

“The idea that they used in a different way was the one of [James Bond’s] child, which [Hodge] introduced [and which] was wonderful,” Boyle told the magazine.

Boyle also expressed to Esquire a stronger misgiving about becoming involved in a franchise movie.

“I remember thinking, ‘Should I really get involved in franchises?’ Because they don’t really want something different,. They want you to freshen it up a bit, but not really challenge it, and we wanted to do something different with it.”

Bond 25 (eventually titled No Time to Die) began pre-production in 2017 with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade as writers. Then, Boyle and Hodge figuratively raised their hands with their idea. In May 2018, it was announced Boyle would direct from a Hodge script.

Before the end of the summer of 2018, Boyle and Hodge exited. Purvis and Wade returned, with Cary Fukunaga directing (and writing also). The switch helped delay the project by about six months. COVID-19 then caused additional delays. No Time to Die didn’t come out until fall 2021.

State of the Bond franchise: Spring 2022

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

The James Bond film franchise, consisting of the films made by Eon Productions, has reached 25 movies. What’s next?

The run with actor Daniel Craig is over with 2021’s No Time to Die. That run lasted more than 15 years, extended by financial problems at Bond’s home studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Eon boss Barbara Broccoli wants to celebrate Craig and No Time to Die. There’s no sign that celebration is over yet.

Since No Time to Die was made, MGM got a new owner in tech giant Amazon. This week, in the U.K., Eon’s 25-film Bond catalog became available via Amazon Prime. Also, Amazon announced a Bond-themed reality show featuring contestants racing around the globe.

But what is happening with the core of the franchise — future James Bond movies?

Is Barbara Broccoli really ready to move on from Daniel Craig? The actor was her choice. Previous Bond actors were chosen by her father, Albert R. Broccoli.

But again, what happens now?

After six decades, the movie business has changed immensely from Dr. No in 1962. Sean Connery’s original film Bond today is derided as “rapey.” Home video and technology changes have altered how viewers get their Bond entertainment.

Once again, Bond is in a state of flux. The character has entered and exited previous such states.

We’ll see how it goes this time.