2015: a great time to be a spy fan

“Sorry Spy Commander, suck it up. Some of us have bigger fish to fry!”

It has been an embarrassment of riches for the Spy Commander these days.

“Mr. Warner” keeps putting out more promos for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie that the Spy Commander can keep up with. A new SPECTRE trailer is out, demonstrating the 24th James Bond movie will attempt to combine Daniel Craig style with “classic” Bond elements. Oh, yeah. A new Mission: Impossible movie is coming out next week.

On top of that, the Spy Commander has had an unexpected opportunity to delve into 007’s cinema past, thanks to copies of scripts from Bond collector Gary J. Firuta. (Bond and Scaramanga calling each other “punk”? PROSPECTIVE BUYER instead of J.W. Pepper?)

Occasionally, there’s the bitter with the sweet. This blog has never been “Rah! Rah!” Some readers don’t like that. Then again, if you send posts for public consumption, there are always going to be critics. That’s the way of the world.

As Napoleon Solo observes in the accompanying image, people have bigger fish to fry.

Despite arguments (“Why are they making an U.N.C.L.E. movie anyway?” or “That’s a spoiler!”), this is actually a great time to be a spy fan. We’ve already had new spy entertainment this year, and “The Year of the Spy” is now kicking into high gear.

So whatever happens in the next few days, weeks and months, remember to enjoy it. The Spy Commander intends to do so.

SPECTRE’s expanded official synopsis

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The lads at James Bond Radio pointed out that on THE OFFICIAL JAMES BOND WEBSITE there’s now an extended official plot line for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film.

Here’s the text from the website. The most spoiler sensitive 007 fans should stop reading now.

Here goes:

A new trailer for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond adventure, has been released today. A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE.

Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot.

As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz.

As a result, the official Bond website has confirmed a number of items (but certainly not all) that had been viewed as spoilers up until now.

SPECTRE unveils trailer emphasizing action

Added an update that some might consider a spoiler. Update is in the 7th paragraph below.

The first regular trailer for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, was unveiled today and it emphasized action.

The 2:30 trailer included scenes from the movie’s pre-titles sequence in Mexico City, a car chase filmed in Rome, and a sequence where an aircraft gets separated from its wings during another chase sequence.

The movie’s teaser trailer in March didn’t emphasize action, depicting a meeting between Bond (Daniel Craig) and Mr. White, last seen in 2008’s Quantum of Solace. White is back in this trailer, but only briefly.

Also featured in the new trailer: Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista) dispatching someone viciously, and Christoph Waltz’s Oberhauser proceeding over what appears to be some kind of SPECTRE meeting (the name is uttered at one point in the trailer by Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann).

There’s also a new sight for the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies, with 007 in a white dinner jacket. Besides Craig, we see brief bits from Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny, Ralph Fiennes’s M and Ben Whishaw’s Q.

Finally, around the 1:45 mark, there’s a John Barry musical piece from the past, a new rendition of the main theme from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

UPDATE: “Gustav Graves,” a member of the message boards of the MI6 James Bond site, spotted the following at 0:40 mark — a glimpse of the Aston Martin DB5. You can see it in the background behind Q’s left shoulder. The car had appeared to be destroyed in Skyfall. But photos of it emerged during filming of SPECTRE. Also, Sony Canada put out AN APRIL 2 TWEET that appeared to be confirm the DB5 was back. The trailer seems to confirm it also.

Take a look for yourself:

Lea Seydoux says SPECTRE’s theme is ‘family’

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Lea Seydoux, who plays Madeleine Swann in SPECTRE, says the theme of the 24th James Bond film is “family.”

Seydoux, who turns 30 on July 1, gave an interview to L’EXPRESS. It was published in French. She made this comment: “The theme of the family is central” in SPECTRE “and everyone will have to live” with the past. (Google Translate, for what it’s worth, changes “Spectre” to “Spectrum.”)

Seydoux’s remark is consistent with SPECTRE’s teaser trailer. Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny says to Daniel Craig’s James Bond that he’s hiding some kind of secret after a photo taken during Bond’s childhood was found in the ruins of Skyfall.

Assorted other comments by Seydoux:

–“I said yes to (SPECTRE director) Sam Mendes without even reading the script. I think all roles, whatever they are, are good to take. I never rewrite anything for me. In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen, I had a small role and it amused me to do something.”

–“I have no career plan, that’s why I do not like to talk about my work. To talk too much, you lose the magic.”

To view the entire interview, CLICK HERE.

Sony shows new SPECTRE footage, THR says

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Sony Pictures showed some new footage from SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, at the CineEurope event according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Here’s an excerpt from the story as it relates to SPECTRE. Warning: There aren’t many details.

“Who can forget the last James Bond?” asked Sony Pictures president of marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein to the CineEurope crowds at the studio’s presentation on Wednesday.

Skyfall, as he pointed out, earned over $1 billion dollars, but to get the excitement rolling for the 24th 007, Spectre, he introduced Miss Moneypenny herself, Naomie Watts, to debut new unfinished footage that featured the entire top cast of Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes and Dave Bautista. “For your eyes only,” she told the assembled audience of EMEA exhibitors.

Presumably, The Hollywood Reporter meant Naomie Harris, rather than Watts, but that’s what the story says.

Users on Internet message boards have speculated this may mean a new SPECTRE trailer could be released soon.

So far, a teaser trailer has been released as well a one-minute commercial during ABC’s telecast of the NBA Finals.

FWIW: Daily Mail claims Daniel Craig rewriting SPECTRE

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

Presented strictly for entertainment value: The U.K. Daily Mail IN A GOSSIP COLUMN BY SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE posted June 19, claims that SPECTRE star Daniel Craig has been doing some personal rewriting of SPECTRE’s script.

Here’s an excerpt:

I hear that the 47-year-old actor has been rewriting the script of 007’s latest outing, Spectre, even though filming has been going on since December.
‘The script is still all over the place, to the extent that Daniel himself has had a bash at rewriting it,’ says my man with the vodka martinis. ‘It’s total creative turmoil.’

To be clear, the Daily Mail has a journalistic reputation that would be tactfully described as uneven. However, the U.K. publication has published a number of 007 scoops proven to be correct. On the other hand, most of those were written by Baz Bamigboye, who has been MIA (as far as 007 stories are concerned) since SPECTRE went into production Dec. 8.

The only reason we mention this is because SPECTRE has had a dicey scripting process. The first writer was John Logan. Because of the Sony hacking, it’s now known Logan’s initial efforts contained some questionable ideas.

Logan was replaced by 007 veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (something that Bamigboye originally reported last year), with some polishes by playwright by Jez Butterworth.

Also, it should be noted that Craig said in 2011 he and director Marc Forster did uncredited rewrites for 2008’s Quantum of Solace.

A weird week (at least on the Internet) for SPECTRE

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This was an unusual week for SPECTRE. The marketing effort for the 24th James Bond film zigged one way but the Internet zagged in an entirely different direction.

The week began with a video blog showing behind-the-scenes footage during SPECTRE’s shoot in Mexico City back in March.

That’s understandable. The Mexico City sequence opens the film (the filmmakers have disclosed this, so it’s not a spoiler). It’s going to be expansive, so the short video sought to give the viewer an idea of that without giving any plot details away.

The Internet, however, refused to be gently guided in that direction. Bookmaker William Hill in the U.K. decided to alter its odds for the actor succeeds Daniel Craig as Bond. Craig said back in 2012 he was contracted for two films. That would mean he’s on board through Bond 25. That would indicate, there won’t be an actual vacancy until 2018 or so.

Nevertheless, the bookmaker moved actor Damian Lewis to 3-1, generating stories in familiar trade publications such as THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and VARIETY as well as outlets such as THE TELEGRAPH and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Even The Atlantic, which normally analyzes weighty and serious matters, DID A STORY that used the William Hill news as a news peg to also examine whether the next 007 should be black.

Referring to SPECTRE star Daniel Craig and his blonde hair and Lewis and his red hair, The Atlantic story concluded, “Ten years removed from his casting, the fuss about Craig seems ridiculous, and it’s hard to imagine a public outcry if Lewis really did sign on to the franchise. “But the same can’t be said for what could happen if the producers defied change-averse Brits to make a truly bold casting decision.”

In any case, Indiewire took the whole thing a step further. It asked readers to PARTICIPATE IN A SURVEY about who should be Craig’s successor. (Indiewire calls it a poll, but it’s not. An actual poll employs statistical methods in selecting its sample of respondents. This is just click on whoever you want to be 007.) Anyway, there were turn out the vote efforts by fans of potential future Bonds.

It’s probably safe to assume the folks at Eon Productions and their studio partners at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures are not real happy about this turn of events.

MGM and Sony are ponying up $300 million or more and, no doubt, would rather have the public concentrate on the upcoming SPECTRE due out in November than the next re-casting of Bond, whenever that occurs. In the 21st Century, the Internet sometimes has a way of not cooperating with movie marketing.

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