Daniel Craig: The Long Goodbye Part Infinity

Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace

At this rate, Daniel Craig’s goodbye from the role of James Bond will be as long as the running time of the five movies (which included the three longest Bond films) where he played 007.

Variety this week came out with yet another story where the 54-year-old actor says he wanted to stop playing James Bond.

Daniel Craig says he has no regrets about leaving James Bond behind and has revealed that he discussed killing the character with franchise producer Barbara Broccoli.

“No, none at all,” Craig said when asked by Martha Kearney on BBC Radio 4’s “Best of Today” podcast. “I had an incredibly fortunate 17 years of my life making this. I literally want to spend the next 20 years of my life trying to unhook it all and try and put it into a place because it was incredible. I left it where I wanted it to be. And that I was given the chance to do that with the last movie.”

Which is a variation of comments Craig has said in multiple interviews since the long-delayed No Time to Die finally came out in the fall of 2021.

We get it. According to Craig, he wanted to kill off his version of Bond very early into his tenure. Fine. If true, he got his way.

Why is this still a thing?

Partially, it’s because there isn’t much real Bond film news. So, naturally, entertainment reporters keep picking over the scabs of the recent past.

Eon Productions has been doing a victory lap since No Time to Die came out.

Victory lap? More like a victory marathon. But you get the idea.

When last we heard from Eon boss Barbara Broccoli, the production company was still figuring out where to go next. Whatever.

Craig, after cashing in hefty paychecks for Bond, is cashing in even more hefty paychecks from Netflix for playing his Knives Out character. Good for you, Daniel. Being an actor can be a hard way to make a living. At this stage, Craig has made enough money for multiple generations of his family.

In American football, players who score a touchdown spike the ball in the end zone. Figuratively, Craig and Barbara Broccoli are running from end zone to end zone to spike the ball.

It would be nice if Variety, or other major entertainment news outlets, could let us know about the future of Bond films. But that doesn’t seem to be happening.

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.

Ex-MGM executive talks about working with Eon

Michael Nathanson, an executive at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer during the Pierce Brosnan era of James Bond films, discussed what it’s like working with Eon Productions, which produces the movies.

Nathanson was president and chief operating officer at the time. He was interviewed in a November episode of The San Francisco Experience podcast.

Among the highlights:

Bond was “critically important” for MGM: “The Bond franchise was critical,” Nathanson said. “There was an active and open dialogue going on” between MGM and Eon.

Nathanson came aboard as Tomorrow Never Dies was going into production. “The Bond movie is an industry onto its own in terms of product placement, cooperative advertising and merchandise. Whenever you have a movie that has all of those components, it’s all built upon a release date.”

“Our ability to move” the release date was limited because of all the corporate partners, the former MGM executive said.

Tomorrow Never Dies had a tight schedule. Principal photography didn’t begin until spring 1997, with a Christmas release date. Post-production, in particular, had a short schedule.

Eon protects Bond as the “crown jewels:” “They protect that movie like it’s the crown jewels and it is the crown jewels for the (Broccoli) family.”

After Harry Saltzman exited the series (selling his interest to United Artists), Albert R. Broccoli “became, sort of, a tyrant, with the whole thing. A lot of that rubbed off on the children.”

To be sure, Nathanson compliments both Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.

Selecting a Bond actor: Eon was “1,000 and 10 percent” involved in picking a Bond actor.

Selecting a Bond director: “The selection of the director was always the most challenging part.” MGM and Eon often disagreed about directors, the ex-MGM executive said.

In MGM’s view, he said, Eon choices for director were “traffic cops.”

“I always believed we could really take the Bond movie to a new height if we didn’t get a traffic cop as a director.”

In the 21st century, Eon picked an “auteur” director, Sam Mendes, who helmed Skyfall and SPECTRE.

MGM had no advanced notice that Pierce Brosnan was fired as Bond: “It was always a see-saw. Keeping Pierce happy, the Broccolis not going too far with how unreasonable he was.”

MGM believed Brosnan could do one more Bond movie. But the executive got a call from Barbara Broccoli. “I’m going to tell him (Brosnan) we’re going to make a switch.”

“I was shocked,” the ex-MGM executive said. “Pierce was shattered.”

Daniel Craig as Bond:” “He had that sort-of Steve McQueen thing about him.”

Cavill back as Superman? Not so fast, THR says

Henry Cavill in Batman v Superman

Henry Cavill returning as Superman? The Hollywood Reporter, in a story about a potential big shakeup of Warner Bros./DC Comics movies, says Cavill may be out again.

THR also said a third Wonder Woman movie with Gal Gadot has been shut down and Jason Momoa’s time as Aquaman may be nearing the end.

Cavill made a cameo in the recent Black Adam movie with Dwayne Johnson and said on social media that he was back as the Man of Steel.

THR, citing people it didn’t identify, said the new bosses of DC films, James Gunn and Peter Safran, are drafting a new plan and it may not include Cavill after all. Gunn and Safran “are expected to meet next week with David Zaslav, the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO who is radically reshaping the media company,” the entertainment news outlet said.

Cavill has had, at best, mixed luck with entertainment franchises.

The actor was in his early 20s when he was passed over for the role of James Bond in favor of Daniel Craig. Now, at 39, he may on the verge of aging out. Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions has said the next Bond actor may be a “thirty-something.”

In the 2010s, Cavill won the role of Superman. But he only got one solo movie (Man of Steel in 2013) plus two other movies (Batman v. Superman and Justice League) where he shared screen time with other characters.

Cavill was cast in 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. but that was one and done. The actor was in the streaming Netflix TV show The Witcher, but he departed that role.

Craig still involved with 007 promotions

Daniel Craig may not “want to go back” to James Bond films (as he told the Los Angeles Times recently). But that hasn’t mean he’s shed his involvement with 007 promotions.

For example, the 54-year-old actor is involved with a Bond-themed event for Omega watches. It was announced on Eon’s official Twitter account.

Craig has participated in this sort of thing for years. In 2013, there were reports he was paid $1 million to appear at the New York Auto Show on behalf of Land Rover. He left after a few minutes.

But that was while he was the Bond of record. Despite his departure from the role, he’s still in demand for corporate events. That may not change until a new Bond is cast, whenever that is.

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.

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.

Footnote to the cinematic 007’s 60th anniversary

Sean Connery in Dr. No: Sorry, Sir Sean, you’re in the back of the pack.

So, the 60th anniversary of the cinematic James Bond still is underway.

Lea Seydoux, who appeared in two of the 25 Eon-produced Bond films (8 percent of the series total), shared her favorite Bond moment on the official Eon Instagram account.

“There are so many, but the scene from NO TIME TO DIE – saying goodbye in the boat is so beautifully shot and poignant. Daniel’s final moments on screen, at the end of his five film run was very emotional for us all.”

That’s to be expected. This reflects Seydoux’s not-so-vast Bond film experience.

Still, the cinematic Bond’s 60th anniversary hasn’t been so much about the character’s long run on movie screens. It has been more about Daniel Craig’s long run as Bond, with Eon boss Barbara Broccoli as her primary backer.

Craig was the first Bond actor chosen by Barbara Broccoli. Pierce Brosnan was the final Bond chosen by Broccoli’s father, Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli.

No Time to Die, Craig’s last Bond film, came out a year ago. We still hear about how he was a great Bond.

When does Eon finally let Craig go?

We don’t know. It will be *years* before the next film Bond debuts.

We’ll see.

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.