IFP unveils 70th-anniversary logo

Ian Fleming Publications today introduced its 70th-anniversary logo for the literary James Bond.

The Bond character debuted with the novel Casino Royale, published in 1953. The book would be adapted in the fall of 1954 on CBS, with Barry Nelson as an American version of Bond.

The rights to Casino Royale weren’t available to Eon Productions when it started its Bond film series in 1962. The novel would be parodied in producer Charles K. Feldman’s 1967 spoof. Eon finally obtained the rights and its version was released in 2006, the first Eon production to star Daniel Craig.

This year, IFP has said it will publish new editions of Ian Fleming’s original Bond stories.

Here is IFP’s tweet with the 70th-anniversary logo.

Bond 26 questions: The Henry Cavill edition

Henry Cavill

It turns out that Henry Cavill isn’t playing Superman anymore. The actor has quit The Witcher streaming show on Netflix. So does Cavill re-enter the picture to play James Bond in Bond 26?

Naturally, the blog has questions.

Is Cavill back in the picture?

I wouldn’t go banco on that.

Much has been made how Cavill, now 39, was in contention to play Bond for Casino Royale back when he was in his early 20s.

However, we know that Eon boss Barbara Broccoli was always keen on Daniel Craig playing Bond. While there were screen tests of other actors (including Cavill), they were stalking horses to show Sony/Columbia (which would release Casino Royale) that it wasn’t a one-horse race. Except, it was a one-horse race from almost the beginning.

What about the Pierce Brosnan precedent? Eon *had* signed Brosnan in the 1980s to play Bond. But the actor’s ties to the Remington Steele TV show got in the way when NBC renewed the series at the last minute. Eon would bring Brosnan back to play Bond for GoldenEye (1995).

Eon *has never* shown that level of commitment to Cavill.

Are you skeptical that Cavill had a chance this time?

Yes.

A few years ago, the conventional wisdom was Eon wouldn’t go back to Cavill because he had played Superman and appeared in spy movies (The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in 2015 and Mission: Impossible Fallout in 2018).

Now, it could be updated by saying Cavill is damaged goods by Warner Bros. rejecting him participating in future Superman movies. And don’t forget The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie had modest box office.

Lately, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon have talked about how a future Bond actor should be younger. Then again, Daniel Craig was 37 when cast and his first Bond movie came out when he was 38.

As usual, we’ll see.

Cavill out as Superman, DC, actor announce

Henry Cavill leaves Superman role

Henry Cavill no longer is the Man of Steel, DC/Warner Bros. said, with the actor confirming the news.

James Gunn, co-head of Warner Bros. DC Films, said on Twitter that he’s writing a new Superman film “focusing on an earlier part of Superman’s life, so the character will not be played by Henry Cavill.”

Cavill, 39, had a cameo as Superman in the recent Black Adam movie and the actor then made a public announcement he was back.

Cavill said on Instagram he had been told by the studio to make the announcement in October. Then Gunn and his fellow co-head, Peter Safran, took command of DC Films effective Nov. 1. Cavill said he was told by Gunn and Safran a change was underway.

“The changing of the guard is something that happens,” Cavill said.

Gunn said in another tweet that he and Safran “had a great meeting with Henry and we’re big fans and we talked about a number of exciting possibilities to work together in the future.”

The Hollywood Reporter said earlier this month that Cavill’s return as Superman was in doubt. Gunn, who directed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies, and Safran are revamping the DC film universe.

Cavill ends his run as Superman with only one solo movie (Man of Steel in 2013) plus two other films (Batman v. Superman and Justice League) where he shared screen time with other characters. Cavill was passed over to play James Bond in the 2000s in favor of Daniel Craig for Casino Royale. And he recently quit The Witcher streaming TV show on Netflix.

About that Daniel Craig LAT interview

Daniel Craig’s 007

Daniel Craig, after a five-film run as James Bond, reflected on his 007 run (Casino Royale through No Time to Die) in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Whatever your feelings about those five movies, the LAT interview showed the 54-year-old actor has mixed feelings. An excerpt:

“It’s my fault because I kind of didn’t shut up about the fact that I had all these injuries. I’m pissed off at myself that I ever even spoke about them,” Craig said. “I put way more work into the creative side of those movies than I did into the physical side of those movies. The physical side of the movies was just the job. I had to do it. I trained, learned the fights, that’s kind of my brain not working. The rest of it, the look, the feel, the kind of the temperature of the movies, getting Sam Mendes in to direct ‘Skyfall,’ that’s where the hard work was. Going to the gym is hard work, but it’s not really brain hard work.”

Craig endured numerous injuries. He also had unprecedented input (compared to previous actors employed by Eon Productions) into the plot and other aspects of the movies.

The actor, a year after No Time to Die came out, claims it was his idea for his version of Bond to be killed.

“Two things, one for myself and one for the franchise,” Craig said. “One, for the franchise, was that resets start again, which [the franchise] did with me. And I was like, ‘Well, you need to reset again.’ So let’s kill my character off and go find another Bond and go find another story. Start at [age] 23, start at 25, start at 30.

To be sure, there’s a lot of after-the-fact story telling before and after a movie comes out. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” which is a line from 1962’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance. That’s still the case in the 21st century.

Quotes from Craig’s interviews have split Bond movie fans. Craig fans say that shows why he’s a great actor. Craig critics cite this why he’s selfish.

Whatever. It remains to be seen whether Eon gets on with the business of a post-Craig era.

RE-POST: What 007 and Batman have in common

Adapted from a 2012 post

When following debates among James Bond fans — whether on Internet bulletin boards, Facebook or in person — people sometimes say “try reading Fleming” (or a variation thereof) as if it were a trump card that shows they’re right and the other person is wrong.

Read Fleming. That shows Bond is supposed to be a “blunt instrument.” Therefore, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are really true to Fleming.

“Read Fleming!” = “I’m right, you’re wrong!”

Read Fleming. That shows Bond is a romantic hero, not a neurotic antihero, therefore, (INSERT BOND ACTOR HERE) was true to Fleming. Meanwhile, (INSERT BOND ACTOR HERE) meant the 007 film series had reached a nadir.

In reality, over a half-century, the Bond films have passed through multiple eras. To some, Connery can never be surpassed and Moore was a joke. Except, the Connery films have more humor than Fleming employed (on the “banned” Criterion laser disc commentaries, Terence Young chortles about how Fleming asking why the films had more humor than his novels). The Moore films, for all their humor, do have serious moments (Bond admitting to Anya he killed her KGB lover in The Spy Who Loved Me or Bond being hurt but not wanting to admit it after getting out of the centrifuge in Moonraker). Other comments heard frequently: Brosnan tried to split the difference between Connery and Moore, Craig plays the role seriously, the way it should be, etc., etc.

Lots of different opinions, all concerning the same character, dealing with different eras and the contributions of multiple directors and screenwriters. Which reminded of us another character, who’s been around even longer than the film 007: Batman, who made his debut in Detective Comics No. 27 in 1939.

Early Batman stories: definitely dark. “There is a sickening snap as the cossack’s neck breaks under the mighty pressure of the Batman’s foot,” reads a caption in Detective Comics No. 30.

Then, things lightened up after Batman picked up Robin as a sidekick. Eventually, there was Science Fiction Batman in the 1950s (during a period when superhero comics almost disappeared), followed by “New Look” Batman in 1964 (which could also be called Return of the Detective), followed by Campy Batman in 1966 (because of popularity of the Batman television show), followed by Classic Batman is Back, circa 1969 or ’70, etc., etc. All different interpretations of the same character.

In the 1990s, there was a Batman cartoon that captured all this. A group of kids are talking. Two claim to have seen Batman. The first provides a description and we see a sequence resembling Dick Sprang-drawn comics of the 1940s, with Gary Owens providing the voice of Batman. The second describes something much different, and the sequence is drawn to resemble Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic of the 1980s, with Michael Ironside voicing Batman.

Eventually, the group of kids gets into trouble and we see the 1990s cartoon Batman, voiced by Kevin Conroy, in a sequence that evokes elements of both visions.

With the Bond film series, something similar has occurred. In various media, you’ll see fans on different sides of an argument claiming Fleming as supporting their view. Search hard enough, and you can find bits of Fleming or Fleming-inspired elements in almost any Bond film. The thing is, the different eras aren’t the result of long-term planning. They’re based on choices, the best guess among filmmakers of what is popular at a given time, what makes a good Bond story, etc.

In effect, both the film 007 and the comic book Batman have had to adapt or die. Fans today can’t imagine a world without either character. But each has had crisis moments. For Bond, the Broccoli-Saltzman separation of the mid-1970s and the 1989-95 hiatus in Bond films raised major questions about 007’s future. Batman, meanwhile, faced the prospect of cancellation by DC Comics (one reason for the 1964 revamp that ended the science fiction era) but managed to avoid it.

None of this, of course, will stop the arguments. Truth be told, things might become dull if the debates ceased. Still things might go over better if participants looked at them as an opportunity. An opposing viewpoint that’s well argued keeps you sharp and might cause you to consider ideas you overlooked.

Haggis found liable in civil rape case, NYT says

Quantum of Solace’s soundtrack. The movie was co-scripted by Paul Haggis.

Paul Haggis, who co-scripted two James Bond films in the 2000s, has been found in a civil trial “liable for raping a former film industry publicist in his Manhattan apartment in 2013,” The New York Times reported on Nov. 10.

Haggis was ordered by a jury to pay the former publicist, Haleigh Breest, at least $7.5 million, the Times reported.

Haggis, 69, worked on 2006’s Casino Royale and 2008’s Quantum of Solace as a writer. The filmmaker also “wrote ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and co-wrote and directed ‘Crash,’ consecutive best picture winners,” the Times noted.

The newspaper said Haggis met Breest “while she worked at film premiere events in New York. In a lawsuit filed in the early months of the #MeToo movement, she alleged that after one such event, Mr. Haggis invited her to his loft in SoHo, where he forced her to give him oral sex, penetrated her digitally and proceeded to rape her.”

An excerpt from the story:

Mr. Haggis’s lead lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, said in a statement that the defense was “disappointed and shocked” by the verdict, accusing the plaintiff’s lawyers of portraying Mr. Haggis “as a monster” and lamenting the judge’s decision to allow testimony from four other women who have accused Mr. Haggis of sexual misconduct.

The $7.5 million figure is for compensatory damages. The jury is to return next week to consider punitive damages, the Times said.

Mendes, Arnold to participate in 007 music programs

Sam Mendes

This month, Royal Albert Hall in London will be the site of music programs for Casino Royale, Skyfall and SPECTRE. Composer David Arnold and director Sam Mendes are scheduled to participate.

Here are the descriptions

Casino Royale in Concert

Thu 17 Nov

Daniel Craig makes his debut as the one and only 007. Featuring an in-person introduction from Casino Royale composer David Arnold.

For more information: CLICK HERE.

Skyfall in Concert

Fri 18 Nov

Bond looks back to his family roots in this roaring espionage adventure. Featuring an in-person introduction from director Sam Mendes.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

SPECTRE in Concert

Sat 19 – Sun 20 Nov

Watch Bond infiltrate a mysterious criminal organization known as Spectre. Saturday’s evening performance will feature an in-person introduction by director Sam Mendes. For more information, CLICK HERE.

The programs feature the Hall Philharmonic Orchestra. The score for Casino Royale was composed by Arnold. Thomas Newman, Mendes’ choice for composer, worked on the scores for Skyfall and SPECTRE.

Just one more thing, as Lt. Columbo used to say, Daniel Craig was “the one and only 007”? I realize the hall needs to sell tickets, but really?

The celebration of the Daniel Craig era of Bond continues.

UPDATE: A reader suggests the Casino Royale event referring to “the one and only 007” means Bond the character rather than Craig the actor. Perhaps so. But Eon Productions, which makes the Bond films, has made clear Craig is the best film Bond.

Off-beat ideas for Bond 26 (and beyond)

One-time image for Eon’s official James Bond Twitter feed

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen various fan suggestions for Bond 26. Among the suggestions:

Bring Pierce Brosnan back for a proper farewell: Pierce Brosnan starred in four Bond movies produced by Eon Productions.

The relationship ended abruptly after 2002’s Die Another Day. Eon had gotten the film rights for Casino Royale, the first Bond novel by Ian Fleming. Brosnan was out, Daniel Craig was in, and he enjoyed (well maybe) a 15-year run.

Still, many Bond fans wonder what could have been. The argument goes that Brosnan, now 69, could come back for a one-off adventure featuring an older Bond.

Hey, what about Henry Cavill?!: Cavill, born 1983, was runner-up when Craig was cast in 2005.

In recent months, Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, have suggested they want an actor who could be in place for more than a decade. Wilson, in particular, has tossed out the idea that the next Bond actor should be in his early 30s.

Cavill now is 39. He may have aged out based on Eon’s recent comments.

Should Bond 26 be lighter? That’s a popular fan theory. And in many ways it makes sense. You’ve had five really, really serious Bond films with Craig as Bond. Maybe it’s time for a change in direction.

Personally, I wouldn’t go banco on that. Eon boss Barbara Broccoli seems pretty set in her ways. She has even suggested when Bond 26 gets to the scripting stage (whenever that happens) will begin with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

As usual, we’ll see.

Henry Cavill says he’s back as Superman

Henry Cavill as Superman in Batman v Superman

Henry Cavill, 39, says he is coming back as Superman after reports in 2018 he was being forced out of the role.

Here is an excerpt from an Oct. 24 story in Variety:

Henry Cavill posted to social media on Monday that he is “back as Superman” following his cameo in the post-credits scene of “Black Adam,” which opened on Friday to $140 million worldwide.

“I wanted to wait until the weekend was over before posting this because I wanted to give you all a chance to watch ‘Black Adam,’” Cavill said in a video posted to his Instagram feed. “But now that plenty of you have, I wanted to make it official: I am back as Superman.”

Cavill, once upon a time (circa 2005), was a contender to play James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale. He received a screen test before Daniel Craig was hired.

The actor has been favored by some Bond fans to succeed Craig. He played Napoleon Solo in a 2015 movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. as well as playing a villain in a 2018 Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible film.

Cavill probably is too old to be the new Bond. Also, Eon Productions (mostly) doesn’t like to cast actors associated with other franchises. Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan were the most obvious exceptions.

For a time, it seemed Cavill had lost the Superman gig — which included a 2013 solo Superman movie as well as 2016’s Batman vs. Superman and 2017’s Justice League.

Never say never, it would appear.

Some basic facts about Craig being cast as 007

Here is some basic math about the 2005 casting of Daniel Craig as James Bond.

Daniel Craig’s 007 enjoys a few (hic) Vespers.

Daniel Craig, born March 2, 1968, was cast as James Bond in October 2005. He was *37 years old* at the time. He was 38 when Casino came out in theaters.

Matthew Belloni, a former editor at the Hollywood Reporter and now at the online news outlet Puck, had this line this week concerning possible future Bond actors.

(Eon will) commission a script, decide on a filmmaker, and start meeting with actors, likely younger than even Craig was when he took over the role at 34.

Thirty-four? No.

Belloni’s story also had this passage:

(MGM owner) Amazon, which isn’t used to the lack of control over a major asset like this, would love to alter the relationship, to expand the franchise and better incorporate it into Prime Video, and there have been rumors that the company is prepared to write Barbara and Michael a massive check to make that happen. I’ll believe it when I see it. 

Meanwhile, I’ll believe it when hot-shot entertainment journalists can do basic fact-checking and basic math.