Thomas Newman to score Skyfall, Eon says

Thomas Newman will score Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, Eon Productions said on an official Web site.

You can read the announcement BY CLICKING HERE. It reads in part:

Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli today announced that composer Thomas Newman will score the 23rd James Bond film, SKYFALL. “We are delighted to confirm that Thomas Newman will score SKYFALL. Thomas is one of the most respected and successful composers, he has a long history of working with Sam Mendes and we look forward to welcoming him into the Bond family,” commented Michael. G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

Said Newman today, “I’m incredibly excited to be working with Sam again. It’s a real thrill to be able to collaborate on something as special as a Bond movie.”


Newman takes over musical duties from David Arnold who is currently Music Director of the London Olympic and Paralympic closing ceremonies. David will continue to be involved with the 50th anniversary of Bond and recently produced the John Barry Memorial Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

Said Arnold of the news: “I’m a huge fan of Thomas Newman so I am as excited as anyone to see where Sam Mendes and his team take James Bond on his 50th anniversary.”

Thus, the Bond series will have its first new composer since Arnold composed the score for 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies. The move ends a streat of five straight 007 films with Arnold as composer.

Arnold commented on his Twitter feed, saying the move had nothing to do with Arnold’s commitment for composing music for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London:

@friskywhiska directors choice,,,he’s worked with Tom on all his films
4 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

@tenpig I agree.but I didn’t turn it down to do the Olympics….it’s Sams choice and I think the right choice for him.
4 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply
@Belles_Aunty I always said I would do them as long as they ask.if they ask for next one I will do it.

John Barry’s shadow and the David Arnold debate

John Barry

John Barry

A Jan. 4 story on the MI6 James Bond fan Web site saying Thomas Newman rather than David Arnold will be scoring Skyfall renewed debate among 007 fans about the quality of Arnold’s work. Once more there were arguments whether a new composer is needed for the film series.

First a major caveat: the move hasn’t been confirmed yet. Many Web sites summarized the MI6 report, but a quick look through those stories didn’t indicate that any of them actually confirmed MI6’s story. They’ve been more concerned with analyzing what it means. There’s also been no official announcement about a composer for the 23rd James Bond film. The official 007 Twitter feed has only been doing “this day in Bond history” the past few days.

Arnold, who turns 50 on Jan. 23, is the only composer other than John Barry to work on more than one Bond film in the series produced by Eon Productions. The likes of Bill Conti, Marvin Hamlisch, Eric Serra and others got to do one but were never asked back.

Barry, who died last year at age 77, still casts a long shadow over the series musically. He worked on 12 Bond films. He arranged the James Bond Theme in Dr. No and composed the scores for 11 more, ending with 1987’s The Living Daylights. Paul Scrabo’s Bond Memories video series last year reported on a screening of You Only Live Twice (which featured one of Barry’s best scores in the series) in Suffern, N.Y.. Barry’s memory was a big part of the proceedings. (Disclosure: Scrabo complimented a recent post on this blog and Gary Firuta, a speaker you’ll see in the video, is a friend of HMSS, providing invaluable help on a recent story about Bond movie scripts):

Arnold in the 1990s re-recorded John Barry songs from the Bond movies, giving them a contempory revamp. That helped get him the job of scoring 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies and remained in place through 2008’s Quantum of Solace.

Arnold divides fans. His supporters say he’s carrying on the Barry tradition while adding a modern flavor. His detractors say he’s the musical equivalent of an empty suit, that there’s no there there. You can sample the arguments yourself at this thread on the MI6 Web site’s message board or this thread on the Commander Bond message board.

Assuming Newman does score Skyfall — he has worked several times with Skyfall director Sam Mendes — it will be interesting to see what direction the debate takes. Can Newman, part of a family dynasty of movie composers, satisify the Arnold detractors and/or supporters? Will Newman veer from the Barry music template? You would think yes, but that’s hardly guaranteed.

007 new questions about Skyfall

Some questions answered about the next James Bond movie. But there are always more. For example:

001. Naomie Harris is playing an MI6 operative named Eve. Does that mean she won’t be the next Miss Moneypenny? One might think so. But there’s a possibility that Agent Eve may somehow morph, by film’s end, into a new incarnation of Miss Moneypenney. That would, at this date, be a cheap gag/in-joke. Perhaps she ends up being Skyfall’s “sacrificial lamb,” ala Quarrel in Dr. No, Kerim Bey in From Russia With Love, etc.

On the other hand, a story in the U.K. paper the Daily Mail has this passage:

No one from the production was giving anything away, but Eve will become the new Miss Moneypenny marking the first time the character has appeared in a Bond film since Samantha Bond in Die Another Day in 2002.

That sounds awfully lame. But the Mail, a U.K. tabloid, has been proven right on a number of Skyfall details. We’ll see.

002. So will Bond wear a beard during part of Spyfall? That was the thrust of a story in the U.K. newspaper The Sun. Actor Daniel Craig showed up at the Nov. 3 Skyfall press conference sporting a Jed Clampett-style beard (we’ll credit Dell Deaton for that observation) at the news conference. That’s not a confirmation but you have to wonder if The Sun was correct.

003. Will the next James Bond novel be Skyfall? We have to credit the THE BOOK BOND WEB SITE for first posing the question. But that Web site is on to something. In 2002, Ian Fleming Publications and 007 novel continuation author Raymond Benson were parting ways. Benson’s final 007 novel had been published. But Die Another Day was coming out late that year. Ian Fleming Publications controlled print versions of Bond. Benson, in what would be his final 007 job, did the novelization of Die Another Day.

With 2006’s Casino Royale and 2008’s Quantum of Solace, IFP put out new editions of Ian Fleming originals (even if the 2008 movie only used a Fleming short story title) But Skyfall has absolutely no connection to Fleming. And IFP has no established continuation author; 2008’s Devil May Care and 2011’s Carte Blanche were done as one-off jobs by Sebastian Faulks and Jeffery Deaver, respectively. It’d be in the best interest of IFP and Eon Productions for a novelization of Skyfall to be available in late 2012. Can the two entities come to an agreement?

004. Will David Arnold return as composer or be replaced? Arnold, on his Twitter feed, said he didn’t know and the Skyfall press release didn’t mention a composer choice. Music is very important to a movie so this perhaps is the biggest question to be answered.

005. Will Skyfall be yet another personal mission? Maybe. The official news release had this line: “In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.” Eon Productions has been hung up on the “personal” angle since 1989’s Licence to Kill. This may be more of the same. We’ll see.

006. Is this Judi Dench’s last 007 film as M? Dame Judi turns 77 in December. The plot hint of the Skyfall press release suggests her M will have a pivotal role. The Bond films may have reached a limit for screen time for M, so maybe this is the right time to cash out.

007. Will Skyfall be worth seeing or not? Too soon to tell. The “this time it’s personal!” hype continues (we were hoping the movie’s unofficial tagline would be, “This time it’s NOT personal!”). Albert R. Broccoli, the co-founder of Eon, famously was quoted as saying he wanted all the money spent on the film to be visible on the screen. His sucessors didn’t follow that dictum (Quantum of Solace had a reported $230 million budget, almost as much as a Harry Potter movie without nearly the production values). But a film can’t be critiqued until it’s made and screened, obviously. And Skyfall is only starting production.

Eon says Bond 23 title is Skyfall, confirms other reports

Today’s Eon Productions news conference confirmed most of the major reports about the film, including the title being Skyfall.

First the title. From the Twitter feed:

007 James Bond
Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli explain that the title Skyfall has “some emotional context”.

The title was originally disclosed by the Fusible Web site.

The cast does include Judi Dench (she had announced it her self but Eon hadn’t confirmed until today), Javier Bardem (same status as Dench), Berenice Marlohe, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Ben Wishaw. One thing not correct: Naomie Harris, according to the 007 Twitter feed, “will play a field agent called Eve.” Could she be the film’s sacrifcial lamb? (That’s an actual question, so don’t accuse of rumor mongering).

In THIS POST, we provided a list of where the reports and where they originated. One stumble, it appears, was a Daily Mail report that said Naomie Harris would play Miss Moneypenny. Unless, of course, we find out Eve is Moneypenny’s first name.

We haven’t seen any pictures yet, and none of the Twitter feeds (we’re following several) mention whether star Daniel Craig is wearing a beard. More later. REVISED UPDATE: Our friends at the James Bond Dossier had advised Craig didn’t have a beard at the news conference. But someone attending the event said Craig had a very thin beard. So the report about Bond having a beard may be accurate.

UPDATE: The Bond 23 press release is online and you can read it BY CLICKING HERE. An excerpt:

In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

There are also some crew announcements, including Roger Deakins as director of photography and Stuart Baird as editor. No mention of a composer. So the question of whether David Arnold returns or is replaced is still open.

UPDATE: Here’s David Arnold on his Twitter feed

DavidGArnold DavidGArnold
For those asking about Bond 23 and my involvement in it I dont have any news.they’ll announce something when they have something to announce

David Arnold doesn’t know yet if he’ll score Bond 23

Composer David Arnold, who has composed the score for five James Bond movies, said on Twitter on Oct. 9 that he doesn’t know yet if he’ll do an encore for Bond 23.

Arnold, the composer for 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies through 2008’s Quantum of Solace, was asked on Twitter if he’ll do the same on next year’s James Bond film. To view the exchange, CLICK HERE. There’s not much to read. It goes like this:

@DavidGArnold r u doing the music for bond 23?

9 Oct

in reply to @ironh1de ↑

@ironh1de don’t know yet.

If Arnold doesn’t return, who might get the job? Thomas Newman, part of a Hollywood dynasty of composers (his father Alfred Newman composed the “20th Century Fox Fanfare” that precedes every Fox movie), has worked with Bond 23 director Sam Mendes on a number of movies. Anyway, it’s too early to tell. Still, it’s possible Bond fans may be exposed to a new musical voice.

Meanwhile, to give you an idea how long the Newman music clan has been around Hollywood, here’s Alfred Newman’s FINAL composing credit, which occurred 41 years ago It’s a 1970 movie where the first actor to play James Bond (Barry Nelson) was part of the cast:

Listen (and sort of watch) the John Barry memorial concert

Last month’s memorial concert for John Barry, composer for 11 James Bond films and a five-time Oscar winner, has been written up on numerous 007 fan Web sites. There’s not much more to say except if you give it a listen, it’s a wonderful experience. The concert was later broadcast by the BBC. A version of that broadcast was uploaded to YouTube and here it is:

The BBC is also making the concert available on its Web site for a limited time. You can check it out by CLICKING HERE.

Either way, it runs almost two hours. It contains a lot of Barry work outside the Bond series and it’s all outstanding. Michael Caine speaks from the U.S. (because of working on next year’s Batman movie), Dame Shirley Bassey performs, David Arnold plays guitar on a rendition of The James Bond Theme (Barry did the arrangement of the version heard in Dr. No, in addition to his 11 Bond scores)….it’s worth the time invested.

Meanwhile, if you’re a big Bond fan and you can’t wait to listen one of the highlights, well, here’s one (we’ll see how long it stays up on YouTube):

MI6 Confidential issue #10 hot off the presses!

Our friends and colleagues over at MI6 Confidential magazine have just published their latest issue, a big number 10.

This time around, editor Hugh Maddocks and his team spotlight 2006’s Daniel Craig-debuting Casino Royale, which is now considered by most James Bond fans to be among the series’ classics. As well as running interviews with the on-screen villains, Issue #10 highlights some of the aspects of the critically-acclaimed production that are often overlooked: pre-visualization, production design, scoring, special effects, costume design, and the publicity machine that made sure everyone knew ‘Bond was back!’

Some features in the new issue:

  • Bay Area Bonding – Tracking A View To A Kill around famous San Francisco landmarks
  • James Bond’s France – Searching for the real Casino Royale
  • ‘Card Sense’ Jimmy Bond – A look back at the 1954 Casino Royale live teleplay on CBS
  • That Sinking Feeling – Peter Lamont and Chris Corbould on recreating Venice
  • Rogues Gallery – Interviews with the villains of Casino Royale: Mads Mikkelsen, Jesper Christensen and Clemens Schick
  • Between Script & Screen – Before the cameras roll, storyboard artist Martin Asbury reveals his ‘pre-vis’ magic
  • Scoring Casino Royale – Composer David Arnold talks about the score and Bond theme deconstruction
  • Dressing 007 – Costume designer Lindy Hemming explains the new look for a new Bond
  • Around The World With Casino Royale – How the worldwide publicity machine boosted Bond at the box-office
  • Age of Heroes – Sean Bean discusses his new WWII film based on Ian Fleming’s 30 Commando Unit
  • The Last Word – Director Martin Campbell on shooting the intricate poker sequence

Issue #10 is now shipping around the world. To order online, visit their website at

HMSS congratulates Hugh & company on the landmark 10th issue of their terrific full-color magazine!

007 composer Arnold to be music director of Olympics, Telegraph says

David Arnold, the composer of choice for five James Bond movies since 1997, has been named music director for the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in London, the U.K.-based Telegraph newspaper said. An excerpt from THAT STORY:

Luton-born Arnold, 49, said: ‘To be involved in the London 2012 Closing Ceremonies, where we celebrate the achievements of the best of the world’s athletes, is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a huge honour. As a nation we excel throughout the world in music, and our team will be readying an electrifying and thrilling soundtrack for this spectacular event.’

Arnold produced a 1990s CD celebrating James Bond music, Shaken And Stirred. That helped get him the job of composing the score of 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies after negotiations broke down with long-time 007 composer John Barry. Here’s a Barry-influenced Arnold composition from that film:

Arnold’s work on the Bond series draws strong opinions both pro and con. But Eon Productions keeps bringing him back and Arnold has said previously he’ll score Bond 23, due out in November 2012.

Bond 23: everybody’s talking except for Eon and Sam Mendes

All of a sudden, lots of people are talking about Bond 23, except for the people who’d actually supervise the making of the film: the co-boss folks of Eon Productions, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

Exhibit A: David Arnold, composer of five 007 films, says in an interview on that Bond 23 is starting to gear up. Arnold told the Web site that, “We only just got the news that we’re back on. But ‘there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip’ So I will keep quiet until I get a script and then start writing ideas.’

Exhibit B: Actress Kate Winslet, in an interview with the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper, said she’s moving to London for a period so she and her children can be close to her estranged husband, director Sam Mendes, the presumed director of Bond 23.

Sam is doing the next Bond film, all being well, and we’ll all be in England if that happens. It’s such a massive commitment for him and it’s not fair for him to commute backwards and ­forwards to New York from ­London. It would be impossible. The children will be there with me,’ Kate told me (the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye) exclusively.

Exhibit C: Peter Morgan, who earlier disclosed this year he never got around to actually writing a Bond 23 script after a few months on the project.

Let’s recap: MGM said in bankrutpcy court filings it wants Bond 23 to come out in November 2012 and future 007 films to come out on an every-other-year schedule. One Eon contract employee (Arnold) says Bond 23 is back on, though he hasn’t gotten a script yet. And the soon-to-be-ex-wife of the man reported to be Bond 23’s director says she’s moving herself and the kids so the would-be director can visit his children on a regular basis while Bond 23 is being filmed.

Still silent: Wilson and Broccoli (but that’s no surprise because they rarely talk to the press except when it’s time to promote a Bond movie) and Mendes, who’s never said himself that he’s going to be the director. Stay tuned, there’s probably more Bond 23 nonsense ahead. Once MGM actually gets out of bankrutpcy court (its reorganization plan having already been approved by the court), things will probably start popping.

UPDATE: The Deadline Web site run by Nikki Finke has gotten into the act WITH A BREATHLESSLY WORDED POST BY TIM ADLER. It starts thusly:

There’s still no official word. But I’m hearing from 007 insiders that production should start on the next James Bond movie — “Bond 23” — towards the end of next year for release November 2012.

Deadline’s report might seem more substantial if a) MGM hadn’t already laid out the November 2012 in bankruptcy court; b) David Arnold hadn’t already said the same thing *publicly in an on-the-record interview*; and c) Kate Winslet hadn’t already spilled the beans, also in an on-the-record interview.

By the way, insiders tell us the sun will rise in the East tomorrow.

David Arnold still optimistic about Bond 23

David Arnold, the composer for James Bond movies since 1997, told the BBC on Aug. 13 he’s still optimistic about Bond 23.

“It won’t be next year,” he said of the next entry in the 007 film series. He said in an interview that Bond 23 would come in 2012 if studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s financial situation gets sorted out. “It’s freed up the next year for me,” he said. “There will be a good eight or nine movies for me between Quantum of Solace and the next one.” He described that period as “a little bit of a breather” for him to pursue other projects. If Arnold is correct, four years will separate Quantum and Bond 23.

But he also made clear to the BBC he’s still jazzed about Bond. “There’s still as much energy and enthusiasm and love for it,” the composer told the BBC.

To listen to the interview, you can CLICK RIGHT HERE. The interview with Arnold begins roughly around the 1:05 mark and comments about Bond 23 begin around the 1:14 mark.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times, in its Company Town blog, reported Aug. 18 that progress is being made where Spyglass Entertainment will take over management of MGM. The article starts thusly:

A plan by Spyglass Entertainment to take over management of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has taken a major step forward and is now being considered by all of the struggling studio’s lenders.

Spyglass chiefs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum first began discussions with a handful of MGM’s top debt owners several months ago.

But this week Spyglass and the MGM leading debtors subcommittee hammered out all the details of a mutually agreeable plan, according to two people familiar with the situation.

If that scenario comes to pass, Arnold’s projection of a 2012 release for Bond 23 may come to pass. To read the entire article, just CLICK HERE.