Bond 25 director denies Sun story about video games

Cary Fukunaga, Bond 25’s director

Bond 25’s director, Cary Fukunaga, today denied a report by the tabloid Sun newspaper that he caused a delay in shooting by playing video games.

“There’s not a minute on this job that isn’t scheduled,” Fukunaga wrote in an Instagram post.

“So sure it’s hard, but it’s still the best job in the world and I’d never disrespect the hardest working cast and crew,” he wrote. “We’re all in this together.”

The post didn’t specifically mention The Sun. On Monday, the tabloid had a story saying Fukunaga was late for filming “due to his particularly intense video games session.”

“A large number of crew were waiting on location when he eventually turned up three hours after his anticipated arrival time,” the tabloid said. The paper also claimed crew members refused overtime to make up for the delay.

British tabloids typically swarm over 007 films during production. The Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun has been particularly aggressive with Bond 25.

The paper, for example, reported about the June 4 explosion at Pinewood Studios that resulted in some damage to the 007 Stage and a minor injury for a crew member. Eon Productions confirmed the explosion on social media.

The Sun has run multiple stories since, even referring to Bond 25 as “doomed” in the story on Monday.

Eon seeks to regain the B25 narrative with Craig photo

Eon’s Bond 25 logo

The official 007 Twitter account of Eon Productions today posted a photograph of Daniel Craig working out at the gym of Pinewood Studios.

“#007 Daniel Craig hitting the gym hard, prepping for shooting next week!” according to the caption that accompanied the photo.

When last seen out in public, the 51-year-old actor was on crutches and his left foot in a cast while at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. He had previously underwent surgery for an ankle injury suffered during Bond 25’s shoot in Jamaica.

It’s not much of a stretch to view the tweet (and new photo of Craig in the gym) as Eon trying to regain control of the Bond 25 narrative. The only sign of the actor’s injury is the cast he’s still wearing.

Besides Craig’s injury, a June 4 explosion damaged the 007 Stage, causing one minor injury. Both incidents have generated bad publicity for the film, with British tabloids, led by the Sun, generating multiple stories.

Also, this week, director Cary Fukunaga posted a photo on Instagram of a crew member with an over-sized clapperboard. The Eon 007 Twitter account also sent that out. The message: Production continues despite the problems.

Here’s the new Tweet from Eon:

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B25 director reminds everyone film is still underway

Eon’s Bond 25 logo

Director Cary Fukunaga took to Instagram to remind everyone that Bond 25 still is underway despite an injury to its star and a June 4 explosion that damaged the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios.

The director posted a photograph of a crew member (“A cam 1st Jorge Sanchez”) holding up an over-sized clapperboard representing how a scene was to be filmed in Imax.

The production hadn’t said much since the June 4 explosion, which resulted in a minor injury to a crew member outside the 007 Stage.

Since then, the Sun tabloid in the U.K, has had various stories, including a June 9 article saying star Daniel Craig won’t be able to film scenes together with actor Rami Malek because of Malek’s schedule and Craig’s recovery time from ankle surgery.

A number of outlets also ran photos of Craig on crutches and his left foot in a “boot” while at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

As a result, Fukunaga’s Instagram photo will likely catch attention. The official Eon Production James Bond Twitter account also ran the director’s photo.

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Bond 25 director says he wants to explore Swann character

Cary Joji Fukunaga, director 2.0 for Bond 25

Bond 25 director Cary Fukunaga, in an interview with Japanese outlet Cinema Today, said he wants to explore the character of Madeline Swann.

According to a translation of the interview, the director said “I just knew a little about her” in SPECTRE “and I thought I had something more to say about her.”

Lea Seydoux played Swann in the 2015 007 film. She initially dislikes Bond but rides off with him at the end of the movie. Seydoux is reprising the role in Bond 25.

Fukunaga also told Cinema Today he met with Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli in 2017 about the film. Danny Boyle was hired in 2018 to helm the movie. Fukunaga was then hired after Boyle departed over “creative differences.”

The director said in the interview he’s been working on Bond 25’s story “120 percent” since September.

“It’s a very hard job,” he told the Japanese outlet. “It’s an important piece for this franchise, and especially Daniel Craig, and people’s expectations because it’s five years since the previous release.”

Bond 25 questions: The script edition

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Bond 25 filming is underway. Work has wrapped up in Jamaica. Things should be moving along nicely, right?

Not according to tabloid newspapers, specifically The Sun and Daily Mail in the U.K. and the New York Post in the U.S. And a lot of the hubbub has to do with the film’s script.

Naturally, the blog has a few questions.

Is there really “no script”?

From the time the first draft is submitted, there’s a script. The question is whether there’s a script everyone is happy with.

Still, at any time, there’s a document that exceeds 100 pages and says “The End” at the end. The first draft is replaced by a second draft and so on and so forth.

Nevertheless, the tabloids say differently. The Post in an April 25 story quotes a person it didn’t identify as saying, “They don’t have a script.”

The Sun in an April 26 story said “there is no script.”

Not to be outdone, the Daily Mail began a May 9 story thusly: “The joke on the Bond 25 set is the script’s under wraps. And the response is: ‘What script?’” The story said the story is being rewritten “endlessly.”

So what’s really going on?

Clearly, a number of writers have worked on the project at one time or another. Among them: the team of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade; John Hodge when Danny Boyle was attached as director; and Scott Z. Burns and Phoebe Waller-Bridge since Cary Fukunaga (who also writes scripts) replaced Boyle.

In the past week, Waller-Bridge has gotten a lot of attention. She’s both a performer and writer and worked on various high-profile projects.

Waller-Bridge was interviewed on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast. That mostly concerned her career generally but included a few minutes about Bond 25 at the end. She was also the subject of a separate Daily Mail feature story.

In both instances, Waller-Bridge made it sound as if Bond 25’s scripting is under control.

“We have a script and we’re continuing to work on it, all of us floating ideas around and creating characters together,” she said in the Daily Mail story.

Anything else catch your eye?

The Daily Mail’s May 9 story about the “endless” rewriting of Bond 25’s script said it was being revised by Waller-Bridge, director Fukunaga and star Daniel Craig.

Back in 2011, Craig said how he and director Marc Forster supposedly rewrote Quantum of Solace on the set. “A writer I am not,” Craig said then.

If the Daily Mail is correct (something I am not assuming), did Craig change his mind?

Is there context we should keep in mind?

At various times in the 57-year history of the 007 film franchise, there’s been frantic rewriting: From Russia With Love, The Spy Who Loved Me and Tomorrow Never Dies come to mind. Things turned out well at the end.

Still, past performance isn’t a guarantee of future success. You can’t take success for granted.

That’s something to keep in mind. But not something to lose sleep over, at least not at this stage in the proceedings.

UPDATE: A Japanese outlet, Cinema Today, posted a story dated May 12 but is based on an April interview with Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. According to a translation, the duo say that director Cary Fukunaga recruited Scott Z. Burns as a writer while they brought in Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Wilson said work on the script “struggled for a while” but they have a story “with a lot of twists and surprises.”

Bond 25 script rewritten by committee, Baz says

“We can’t go yet, dear. I have to help out on the script rewrite.”

Bond 25’s script is being “endlessly” rewritten by a committee, the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye wrote in a story published Thursday night.

The committee consists of “director Cary Joji Fukunaga, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and 007 himself, Daniel Craig,” Bamigboye reported.

Bamigboye quoted a source he didn’t identify as saying Waller-Bridge is “writing a re-write of a re-write…‘They have an outline of plot, but dialogue is all last-minute. It’s not the way to make a movie.”

Efforts to devise a Bond 25 script began in 2017 when 007 film veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were hired. For a time, the production shifted to screenwriter John Hodge when Danny Boyle was hired as director in 2018.

A few months later, Boyle exited and Hodge followed him out the door. Fukunaga, who often writes his own scripts, was hired to replace Boyle. Scott Z. Burns and Waller-Bridge subsequently were hired to work on the Bond 25 story.

Bamigboye has a record of coming up with 007 film scoops that were later proven correct. Among them was the fact that Purvis and Wade were brought back to begin Bond 25’s scripting.

A Bond 25 sequence was filmed in Norway in March. Principal photography began late last month.

Family model (Eon) vs. corporate model (Marvel): Update

Avengers: Endgame poster

Chalk up one for the corporate side.

After less than two weeks, Avengers: Endgame has generated almost $2.2 billion in worldwide box office.

What’s more, the mammoth production wraps up story lines from more than 20 Marvel Studios movies going back to 2008.

The inter-connected extended fictional universe has affected how films — at least “popcorn,” escapist movies — are made.

Warner Bros., the studio that’s home to DC Comics characters, has tried to follow Marvel’s path. It has had mixed results.

Some were big successes (Wonder Woman, Aquaman). Others, such as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, had decent box office but didn’t match the success of Marvel’s four Avengers films.

Meanwhile, in Jamaica, the family-led Bond 25 began filming late last month. The franchise is coming off a hiatus. In the words of lead actor Daniel Craig in 2016 at an event sponsored by The New Yorker, “(E)verybody’s just a bit tired.”

By the time the untitled movie debuts in April 2020, more than four years will have passed since the last 007 entry, SPECTRE.

The series has embraced inter-connectivity that Marvel has popularized. Skyfall originally was to have nothing to do with Quantum, the villainous organization in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. “It’s its own story,” Skyfall director Sam Mendes said at a 2011 press conference. “It doesn’t connect with the last two movies.”

Never mind. When SPECTRE was made, that was “retconned” (retroactive change in continuity).

Quantum was now SPECTRE (after the Eon side got back the rights to the organization and its leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld in 2013). Silva (Skyfall’s villain played by Javier Bardem) became part of the conspiracy. The new Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) was now “the author of all your pain” for Daniel Craig’s 007.

Director Cary Fukunaga has said that Bond 25 will continue the character arc for Bond that began with Casino Royale. Lea Seydoux, who played Dr. Madeline Swann in SPECTRE, is back. So the inter-connectivity appears to be continuing.

As the blog has stated before, both the family and the corporate model can be successful. But both are different. As Marvel moves into a new era, we’ll see next spring how Eon has adapted.