Bond 25 pre-announcement accuracy scorecard

A reader of the blog, @EiriniMakr on Twitter, suggested a post about inaccurate things published about Bond 25.

Well, we’ll go one step further. What follows is a look at major examples of what panned out, what didn’t and what was muddy.

DEFINITELY RIGHT

Craig was coming back: The Page Six gossip operation of the New York Post said Feb. 22, 2017 that Daniel Craig was indeed coming back to play 007 in Bond 25. It had another item to that effect on April 3, 2017. The New York Times has its own story about Craig’s return on July 24, 2017.

All of these were published before Craig announced in mid-August 2017 that he was returning (2:06 mark).

Purvis & Wade were (initially) hired to write Bond 25: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail reported on March 9, 2017 that six-time 007 screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade had been hired to write Bond 25. This was confirmed in a July 24, 2017 announcement that the movie would have a November 2019 release date in the United States.

Danny Boyle would direct Bond 25: Variety reports Feb. 20 that Boyle was in contention to direct Bond 25. Deadline: Hollywood comes back Feb. 21 with a story that Boyle’s participation depends on whether an idea he has developed with writer John Hodge (and that Hodge is writing as a script) is accepted.

On May 25, it was announced Boyle is directing from a script by Hodge.

DEFINITELY WRONG

The Daily Mail says May 18, 2016 that Daniel Craig turned down an offer of 68 million British pounds to play Bond in two more films. Problem: Craig says in a public appearance in New York in October 2016 that there are “no conversation going on because genuinely everybody’s just a bit tired,” Also, Craig ended up coming back.

Radar Online says Sept. 3, 2016 that Sony Pictures was offering Daniel Craig $150 million to do two more James Bond film. Problem: Sony’s involvement as a Bond film distributor ended with 2015’s SPECTRE. The Bond 25 distribution wouldn’t be settled until last month and Sony wasn’t part of it.

The Mirror says July 29, 2017 that Bond 25 will be based on a 007 continuation novel by Raymond Benson titled Never Dream of Dying. Problem: Benson says on social media that he was never contacted by the Mirror and that he can only assume the story was a fabrication. Also, Eon Productions has been notoriously adverse to using Bond continuation novels as the basis of its films. A sequence from Kingsley Amis’ Colonel Sun was adapted for SPECTRE but you have to dig deep into the end titles to find acknowledgment of it.

Archivo 007, a fan website, says Dec. 2, 2017 Christopher Nolan is “more than likely” to direct  Bond 25. Problem: Didn’t happen. Nolan said in a BBC interview in February he wasn’t going to direct the film.

The Sun says April 26 that filming on Bond 25 “has been put back to later next year” because Daniel Craig’s wife, actress Rachel Weisz, is pregnant. ProblemThe May 25 official announcement about Boyle, Hodge, et. al., specifies that Bond 25 is to begin production Dec. 3.

MUDDY

This section involves stories that are plausible but aren’t likely to be confirmed definitively

Deadline: Hollywood says on July 26, 2017 that  Denis Villeneuve, Yann Demange and David Mackenzie are the “frontrunners” to direct Bond 25. Variety says the same day that Demange is the leading contender. (Variety also said Daniel Craig was likely to return.)

Some Bond fans were extremely enthusiastic about Villeneuve. And the director said in a November podcast that, ” “I had some contact” regarding Bond 25. But Villeneuve said he was is working on a new version of Dune and that was that.

So taking Villeneuve at this word, one of those three directors had been contacted about directing Bond 25. Were Demange and Mackenzie also under consideration? No way to know at this point.

What we think (hope?) will happen with Bond 25 in 2018

Happy 2018! After the “lost year” (2016) and the year of mostly looking backward (2017),  we’re in a year where the James Bond film franchise should advance forward.

With that in mind, a look at what we think (perhaps hope) will finally be settled about Bond 25.

Resolve the distribution/financing: This is practically the only 007-related site that even brings this up. Some have accused the blog of sounding like a broken record. Maybe so. But once more with feeling:

–You can’t get a movie into theaters without someone to get it theaters.

–Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 007’s home studio, is taking steps to become a “big boy” studio capable of releasing films. But it’s not there yet. (MGM formed a joint venture with Annapurna Pictures to release each other’s movies but, for now, Bond 25 is not part of that deal.)

–Moreover, Sony, which distributed Skyfall and SPECTRE, also supplied half of the production budget for each of those movies.

–Unless, MGM is willing to go all in to pay the bills (which it has not indicated yet), Bond 25 financing won’t be settled until the distributor issue is settled.

–Until the financing is settled, nobody is going to get paid for working on the movie.

Select a director: You can’t film a movie without a director. MGM and Eon have announced a Bond 25 release date (November 2019 in the United States) but haven’t gotten around to naming a director.

Denis Villeneuve (who in an interview with Screen Crush said yet again he’s working on a new version of Dune and can’t work on Bond 25) ? Yann Demange? David Mackenzie? Somebody else?

At this point, Eon Productions has had months and months to decide. To make that November 2019 release date it announced, Eon needs to move relatively soon.

Cast the movie: Bond 23 (later titled Skyfall) was officially announced in January 2011. Over the next several months, there were stories about casting of the movie that pretty much turned out to be correct (Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw, among others).

Again, if all parties are serious about that Noveber 2019 release date for Bond 25, you would expect to hear possible casting stories in the next six months or so.

Begin production: Skyfall started principal photography in November 2011 for a fall 2012 release. SPECTRE began filming Dec. 8, 2014 for a fall 2015 release.

Once more, if everyone is serious about the announced November 2019 release date, it would seem production would be underway by the end of 2018.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Bond 25: Reading between the lines edition

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

There hasn’t been much hard news since Daniel Craig said more than a month ago he’d be back for Bond 25. But some reports suggest things if you read between the lines. And so…

Still no director yet: In July, entertainment news websites identified three Bond 25 director front runners (Denis Villeneuve, Yann Demange and David Mackenzie). Variety said Demange was the top ranked contender.

All was quiet until Thursday night when Daily Mail scribe Baz Bamigboye (who has a record of scoops being proven correct) tweeted that Craig was “keen” on Villeneuve as Bond 25 director.

How much influence Craig will have on the voice is subject to debate and conjecture. But if Bamigboye is correct this time, it certainly sounds as if the decision hasn’t been made yet.

Still no distributor yet: On July 24, Eon Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced Bond 25 would have a U.S. release date of November 2015. It was interesting given that MGM doesn’t have a distribution operation and relies on cutting deals with other studios to get its films into theaters.

Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter broke a story saying tech giants Apple and Amazon were now in the hunt for Bond 25 film rights in addition to traditional movie studios.

Not much since then. Interestingly, news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, which follow both Apple and Amazon closely, haven’t weighed in yet.

So some fans are undoubtedly asking, “Why should I care?” 

Here’s the best the blog can come up with: That November 2019 release date can’t be considered solid until a distributor is in place. Also, just because a release date gets announced doesn’t mean it can’t be changed.

To be clear, there’s no reason for panic. To be honest, there’s not enough information at this point to panic about. But, viewing it from the outside, Bond 25 has some peculiar aspects. Or, as Birth.Movies.Death scribe Phil Nobile Jr. (a big Bond enthusiast) put it on Twitter in response to Bamigboye’s tweet:

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UPDATE: 7:55 p.m. New York time: It turns out Baz Bamigboye wrote about this as part of a column in the Daily Mail.

“Bond star Daniel Craig is rooting for thriller film-maker Denis Villeneuve to direct him in his final 007 movie,” Bamigboye wrote.

Villeneuve “has spoken with Craig and Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson about making what is currently known simply as Bond 25….There are several other directors on the ‘wanted’ list, but I’m hearing that Craig is most interested in Villeneuve.”

Craig ‘keen’ on Villeneuve for B25, Bamigboye says

Daniel Craig in 2012 during filming of Skyfall.

Baz Bamigboye, the Daily Mail scribe who has had a number of 007 scoops proven correct, put out a Bond 25 tweet but it’s hard to say how important it is or is not.

Returning 007 actor Daniel Craig “is said to be ‘keen’ for” Denis Villeneuve to do direct the 25th 007 film, Bamigboye said in the post on Twitter.

That’s all Bamigboye said. The tweet went out in the early evening New York time on Thursday. I thought he might be following up with a story later. But as of 11 p.m. New York time, no story had surfaced.

Bamigboye has had a number of Bond scoops proven correct this decade. His most recent one was in March when he said that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade had been hired to write Bond 25. That was confirmed in a July announcement by Eon Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that Bond 25 would have a release date of November 2019.

Deadline: Hollywood said on July 26 there were three director front runners: Villeneuve, Yann Demange and David Mackenzie. Variety said the same day that Demange was the No. 1 front runner.

Since then, not a peep about a Bond 25 director. For that matter, the movie at this point doesn’t have a distributor.

Anyway, Villeneuve has a big movie, Blade Runner 2049, coming out this fall. He’s also committed to direct a remake of Dune. The latter project might limit Villeneuve’s availability for Bond 25. But who knows?

Meanwhile, it’s unclear the importance of Bamigboye’s tweet. Eon boss Barbara Broccoli clearly wanted him back for a fifth 007 film. And Craig was given the title of co-producer for 2015’s SPECTRE.

But, assuming Craig is indeed “keen” on Villeneuve, is there any more to it? Your guess is as good as the blog’s.

Here’s the tweet if you want to see for yourself.

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Deadline says there are 3 finalists to direct Bond 25

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

The Deadline: Hollywood entertainment news website says there are three finalists to direct Bond 25.

The three are Frenchman Yann Demange, French Canadian Denis Villeneuve and Scot David Mackenzie, according to a story by Mike Fleming Jr.

“The three frontrunners have all had meetings, I am told,” Fleming wrote. Fleming didn’t specify who or how many people told him this or how well connected they are to the production.

Eon Productions, which produces the Bond movies, announced Monday that Bond 25 will be out Nov. 8, 2019.

But that short statement didn’t announce the cast, director or distributor. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 007’s home studio, doesn’t have a distribution operation and cuts deals with other studios to release its movies. Sony Pictures has released the last four Bond films.

Later on Monday, The New York Times reported it’s a “done deal” that Daniel Craig will return for his fifth outing as Bond.

“We’ve known for months that Daniel Craig was going to return and finish his run as 007 with the one film commitment he has left on his deal, so that is hardly a surprise,” Fleming wrote in his story today about the director finalists.

With the 2019 release date, Eon “will have to select a filmmaker quickly and I expect that to be completed by end of summer,” Fleming wrote.

The Villenuve-directed Blade Runner 2049 is scheduled to be released this fall.

UPDATE: A bit of background. Deadline, back when it was run by founder Nikki Finke scored some Bond scoops. Among them: A 2010 story saying Sam Mendes had been brought on as a consultant to what would become Skyfall with the intent he’d direct the film. Finke left the site some time ago in a dispute.

UPDATE II (4:25 p.m. New York time): Variety has come out with a story saying Demange is the frontrunner to direct Bond 25. Variety attributes that to “insiders.”

Variety also said “it is believed” that Warner Bros. will distribute Bond 25. Variety doesn’t specify who believes this and whether they actually know anything.