No Time to Die’s sudden switch

No Time to Die logo

No spoilers except in the most general sense.

So how did this happen?

Early in the filming of No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond film, there was mystery. There were some images available but enough you could really make out the plot. Then, the second unit went off to film action sequences while the first unit was behind the walls of Pinewood Studios.

However, since production moved to Matera, Italy, all that has changed.

Some of it reflects modern technology. People take video using their smartphones and upload it to social media. Initially, it was the second unit. Then, the first unit and actors Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux arrived. All of that has meant a lot of video and stills.

As a result, tabloids have stories seemingly daily. Daniel Craig does this. Daniel Craig does that. Oh look, there’s Daniel Craig with his stunt double. Oh, and here’s Lea Seydoux. She’s in this outfit. She’s in that outfit. Oh look, according to one Daily Mail caption, Daniel Craig is talking to a member of the crew. It turned out to be Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer moved to yank smartphone video posted by fan sites. Not too long after that, outlets such as Reuters and Sky News started tweeting out some of the same No Time to Die videos. The toothpaste was well out of the tube.

All of this is the way of the world, I guess. For me personally, it’s gotten exhausting. There’s enough out there you can put together a rough idea of how the movie may be structured (at least at the start) if you’re so inclined. There’s also enough out there to question some of the favorite fan theories of what will happen in the movie. We’ll see how it goes.

Daily Mail commits a big oops on No Time to Die

No Time to Die logo

The Daily Mail, one of the British tabloids that can’t enough of James Bond, committed a faux pas in a one of its stories about the filming of No Time to Die in Matera, Italy.

The writer of a caption for a photo misidentified Barbara Broccoli, the boss of Eon Productions, as “a female assistant” to actor Daniel Craig.

The gaffe was spotted by Phil Nobile Jr., editor of Fangoria magazine. Nobile took to Twitter. His post included a screen grab of the original version. The caption read: “Craig was joined by a female assistant as he relaxed between takes on Tuesday.”

Here’s the tweet that Nobile sent out:

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Barbara Broccoli has been involved with the series going back to the 1970s. She told a Hollywood Reporter podcast in December 2017 that she captioned stills during production of The Spy Who Loved Me when she was in her teens. She received an onscreen credit in 1983’s Octopussy as “executive assistant.”

The Daily Mail caption was changed later in the day to read, “Craig was joined by Barbara Broccoli as he relaxed between takes on Tuesday.” Nevertheless, the original error enraged some fans. One example from the Thunderballs photo archive:

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Naomie Harris talks (a bit) about Bond 25

Naomie Harris

The Daily Mail published a July 26 feature story on Naomie Harris. It included some comments by Harris about Bond 25.

On the James Bond character:

‘We’re seeing a real evolution of his character. He’s now having equal relationships with the female characters and he’s emotionally attached, making real connections. There’s real respect for the women in his life.”

On the movie’s women characters:

“There are now four women in the script and they all have incredibly strong roles and play a huge part in driving the story forward and assisting Bond.”

On Moneypenny in Bond 25:

“I can’t say what she gets up to. It’s very secretive. The scripts don’t disintegrate after reading, but they get hand-delivered and you have to sign non-disclosures.”

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.

Bond 25 spoiler video emerges

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

No spoilers in the post. But don’t blame the blog if you click on the links.

After less than one week of shooting in Norway, stills and a video of what was being photographed is out in the open.

The Express had stills and the video. The Daily Mail got into the act with a story that had more stills. And don’t forget The Sun, Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid.

Meanwhile 007 film fans, many of whom like to complain about spoilers, weren’t shy about the spreading the various images as well as the video. Example: THIS TWEET from a leading fan site that embeds the video following a brief spoiler warning.

To sum up the week: We’ve gone from sketchy evidence that filming was underway to video evidence of what may await in the film.

Have a good weekend.

Norway shoot to be part of B25’s pre-title sequence

Cary Joji Fukunaga, director of Bond 25

The Bond 25 sequence to be filmed in Norway will be part of the film’s pre-titles sequence, Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail, wrote in a short item Thursday night that was part of his weekly column.

Director Cary Fukunaga “and a small crew” will be part of the shoot at a frozen lake, according to item. The crew wants to complete the sequence before the lake thaws, the scribe said.

Bamigboye has a record of Bond scoops ultimately being proven as correct.

Bamigboye also wrote that Danny Boyle, Bond 25’s original director, “had wanted to film an iced-over lake in Canada.” Boyle departed the project in August over “creative differences.” That led to the hiring of Fukunaga.

The short item also says Bond 25 will also be filmed in Jamaica.

Bond creator Ian Fleming wrote the first drafts of his 007 novels in Jamaica in the winter before returning to London to rewrite and revise. The first 007 film, 1962’s Dr. No, was filmed in Jamaica, where the novel was set.

(UPDATE, March 8): Variety has a story about Bond 25’s planned Italian shoot and says that sequence will be the film’s pre-titles sequence. Well, we shall see what we shall see.