A $700,007 Christmas stocking stuffer

Daniel Craig thinking about how his bank account just expanded.

Well, they are cheaper than those Aston Martin DB5 replicas with gadgets being sold for more than $3 million each.

Neiman Marcus is offering seven Aston Martin DBS Superleggera cars “designed by 007 himself” Daniel Craig.

Price? A mere $700,007. You get a limited edition Omega watch and two tickets to the world premiere of No Time to Die as a bonus. Air fare also included.

Besides the Neiman Marcus announcement, the official Eon Productions 007 site had a statement. No word whether the cars are street legal. The Aston DB5 replicas with gadgets aren’t.

Get yours now while supplies last.

No Time to Die teaser poster released

No Time to Die teaser poster

The No Time to Die teaser poster came out this morning and it’s a minimalist work, often the case with teasers.

The poster is an image of star Daniel Craig in a tuxedo. It lists no other cast or crew members.

In March 2015, the teaser poster for SPECTRE was released. In that, Craig wore a turtleneck with a shoulder holster, evoking (depending on the interpretation) Roger Moore in Live And Let Die or Steve McQueen in Bullitt.

UPDATE (7:30 p.m. New York time): Reader @CorneelVF points out that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, gets mentioned twice at the bottom of poster. Universal, handling international distribution, gets a logo. United Artists Releasing (handling U.S. distribution), the MGM-Annapurna joint venture, gets a logo. But no logo or mention of Annapurna proper. That’s show biz.

There’s also no sign of the Eon logo that has been used on its non-Bond films.

Repeat after me: Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond

No Time to Die logo

It’s pretty clear that one recurring theme of No Time to Die’s publicity campaign, such as it is to date, is that Daniel Craig is the favorite and/or best James Bond of principals associated with the movie.

Barbara Broccoli (Hollywood Reporter podcast, December 2017): Craig “brought humanity to the character…making Bond relevant to today….My heart was breaking” until Craig said he’d return for Bond 25/No Time to Die.

The interviewer, Scott Feinberg, asked if Craig was the best of the six actors employed by Eon Productions. “They’ve (Bond actors) all been incredible. But he (Craig) is particularly incredible.”

Host of April 2019 “reveal” event from Jamaica: Referring to Craig, introduces a montage of Bond films scenes that she says shows how Craig made Bond “his own.”

No Time to Die director Cary Fukunaga, during the “reveal” event: “Daniel is my favorite James Bond.”

Rami Malek on The Late Show (CBS), Oct. 2, 2019Craig “is my favorite Bond if I can say that.”

Is this a talking a point from the publicity department? Is it honest emotion from those concerned? You be the judge.

A year later, another Cavill-is-done-as-Superman story

Will play superheroes for food.

Talk about a slow-motion way to lose your job.

In September 2018, The Hollywood Reporter said Henry Cavill was out as Superman. Cavill’s agent tried to dispute that, but Warner Bros. only offered up a vague statement that didn’t say much.

Flash forward a year. A website called Cosmic Book News this week came out with a story saying Cavill is still out. It also adds a wrinkle that stems from more recent developments.

One change from a year ago is that Warner Bros. has secured the services of J.J. Abrams. One Abrams project may be jumpstarting the cinematic Superman and the director-producer likely wants his own choice in the role.

Something similar happened when director Matt Reeves was given the keys to the Batcave. Soon, incumbent Ben Affleck was out and Reeves cast Robert Pattinson as a younger Batman for a 2021 movie. That project reportedly may pick up the services of Jeffrey Wright as the new Commissioner Gordon. THR said this week the actor is in talks for the part. Wright currently is reprising the role of Felix Leiter in No Time to Die.

Nothing is official, of course. Still, it’s interesting to see how Cavill has been left hanging for so long.

There’s been no sign that “Mr. Warner” wants to proceed with Cavill. For example, this year’s Shazam! movie ended with a Superman cameo but it wasn’t with Cavill. It was a guy in a Superman uniform whose face the audience never sees.

Still, Cavill is not out officially, either. In comic books, kryptonite was Superman’s weakness. In real life, Cavil/Superman’s weakness is inertia.

Cavill, of course, has played one spy hero (Napoleon Solo in 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and one spy villain (Mission: Impossible-Fallout). He was tested in play Bond for 2006’s Casino Royale, but Daniel Craig got it, in large part because Eon boss Barbara Broccoli wanted him and wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

Cavill’s name still gets speculated about as the next cinematic James Bond. But given how more men have walked on the Moon (12) than have played Bond on-screen in the Eon series (six) that’s hardly a sure thing.  Besides, one suspects Barbara Broccoli will try to keep Craig in Bondage beyond No Time to Die.

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.

Ready or not, the DB5 reports for service again

A replica Aston Martin DB5 rolls off the truck in preparation for Bond 25 filming

Italian news outlet Sassilive had a story about Bond 25 getting ready for filming in Matera, Italy. The article included a photo gallery, including a picture (see above) of an Aston Martin DB5 coming off a truck.

So, ready for not, the DB5 is back. Again.

Most people won’t care that the car (actually one of several) is an expensive replica of the DB5. Carbon fiber body. BMW engine. New suspension components that were never included in the DB5s that Aston Martin made in the 1960s.

Regardless, Eon Productions is turning to one the most iconic images of its James Bond film series. The question is whether this may be one time too many.

The original DB5 was introduced in Goldfinger and made a return in Thunderball. While other Aston models showed up in various Bond films, the DB5 wasn’t seen again in a 007 outing until 1995’s GoldenEye.

In that film, the DB5 appeared to be Bond’s personal car. Ditto for 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies. A left-handed drive version then appeared in 2006’s Casino Royale, something he won in a card game.

But the DB5 — an original right-hand drive version — was back in 2012’s Skyfall. This time, director Sam Mendes made sure everyone knew it was (or at least it was supposed to be) the original Goldfinger car. And, indeed, every time I saw the film in the theater, it got a rise out of the audience.

The DB5 was blown up in Skyfall, a somewhat emotional moment. But all was forgotten in 2015’s SPECTRE when Q (improbably) had it rebuilt. And Daniel Craig’s Bond appeared to drive off into the sunset at the end of the movie.

Since then, we’ve gotten expensive Lego DB5s and even more expensive replica DB5s with replica gadgets that Aston Martin is selling for more than $3 million each. That’s a lot of money, especially they’re not legal to drive in actual traffic.

Regardless, the DB5 (at least a faux version) is back for Bond 25. Daniel Craig told Prince Charles the secrets of the Bond 25 DB5s when the prince visited Pinewood Studios in June. Now the replica DB5 will soon be at work when Bond 25 begins filming in Italy in a few weeks.

I never really thought I’d say this, but I’m getting tired of the DB5.

Yes, people collect vintage cars. But does it really make sense for Bond to drive what’s supposed to be a 55-year-old (or so) car on a regular basis?

Yes, the DB5 is an iconic Bond car — or at least it was. But is it getting used too much?

Haphazard Stuff, which does very amusing, detailed videos, recently did a long look at Bond 25. He examined the DB5 issue, starting at the 33:36 mark. You can see the video below. (If I did this correctly, it’ll go to the DB5 discussion when you click.) Anyway, some food for thought.

Bond 25 questions: The lead character edition

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

With less than nine months before the 25th installment of the James Bond film series, the blog had a few basic questions about James Bond, agent 007 (?, at least where Bond 25 is concerned).

Is Bond a hero or anti-hero?

This is a subject the blog has explored before and the answers remain murky.

Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions, maker of the Bond film series, said seven years ago that Bond was an antihero.

Barbara Broccoli, Wilson’s half-sister, said the same year that Bond is “a classical hero, but he’s very human.”

That makes for a split vote by the two principals of Eon.

An anti-hero is defined as “a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.”

Is Bond a misogynist or a male chauvinist?

A misogynist is defined as “a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.” Woman hater is a synonym.

A male chauvinist is defined as ” a male who patronizes, disparages, or otherwise denigrates females in the belief that they are inferior to males and thus deserving of less than equal treatment or benefit.”

Since 1995, the Bond film series has gone with misogynist. In Judi Dench’s debut as M in GoldenEye, she calls Bond (Pierce Brosnan) a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur.

Brosnan’s successor, Daniel Craig, said in 2015 that Bond is “actually a misogynist.”

Well, that would seem to settle the issue, wouldn’t it? If the guy who plays the character calls the character a misogynist that would seem to trump what a fan thinks.

How smart is Bond?

Bond doesn’t always show signs of being a strategic thinker.

In Dr. No, Bond (Sean Connery) brings Quarrel with him to Crab Key to see what happens. He brings along a Walther PPK.

In the novel From Russia With Love, Bond knows a trap has been set. But he decides to stay on the train to see what happens.

In The Man With the Golden Gun film, his plan (such as it is) is to fly to Scaramanga’s isolated island and see what happens.

In Quantum of Solace, he brings along his trusty Walther to take on Dominic Greene and his many thugs at the hotel powered by fuel cells (apparently filled with Explodium). He’ll see what happens.

In Skyfall, Bond takes M (Dench again) from London (where she has been guarded ineffectively) to stately Skyfall manor (which has no security, though Bond & Co. manage to cobble together some traps). Bond is able to kill Silva (Javier Bardem) moments before M dies.