Bond 25: Eon pulls a Horowitz?

Lashana Lynch publicity still released during April “reveal” event in Jamaica

Spoilers. Again. Spoiler adverse should move on. That is all.

Eon Productions, with Bond 25, may be adapting an idea utilized in one of Anthony Horowitz’s 007 continuation novels.

The author’s Forever and a Day, set in 1950, begins with the death of 007. But it’s not James Bond. It’s another agent who has been killed while on assignment. That death creates the 00-section vacancy that Bond fills. He also takes on the 007 number.

On July 13, the Mail on Sunday (sister publication of the Daily Mail) said Lashana Lynch’s Bond 25 character assumed the 007 number after Daniel Craig’s James Bond left the secret service. Same idea as the one Horowitz used, just applying it toward the end of Bond’s career instead of the start.

There’s no way to know if Bond 25’s sceenwriting crew actually was inspired by Horowitz’s novel. But Horowitz used it first.

This idea has been speculated by fans for a while now. Still, that hasn’t stopped adverse reaction, which some fans complaining about “political correctness” and so on.

The basic idea means that 007 (or any other 00 code number) isn’t assigned to any one person permanently. It can get passed along as staff turnover occurs.

Also, it means a 00-number isn’t like a uniform number that can be retired, a la the New York Yankees with 2 (Derek Jeter), 3 (Babe Ruth), 4 (Lou Gehrig), 5 (Joe DiMaggio), etc., etc., no longer being worn by current players. Major League Baseball retired 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson for all major league teams.

UPDATE: Jack Lugo, webmaster of the James Bond Radio website, reminds me via Twitter that in the You Only Live Twice novel that Bond was assigned a new number, 7777, when assigned what’s supposed to be a diplomatic mission.

Bond 25 questions: The SPOILER edition

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

If you haven’t guessed by the headline (where “SPOILER” is in all capital letters), this post has spoilers. If you’re spoiler adverse, scram. I don’t care how much shows up in the preview image on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

So, it seems pretty certain that Christoph Waltz will be in Bond 25 again playing the BROfeld version of Ernst Stavro Blofeld (i.e. Blofeld is Bond’s foster brother).

Naturally, the blog has a few questions.

Is this trip really necessary? Not really. But it seems as if Eon Productions and its army of screenwriters is going to double down on one of the worst aspects of 2015’s SPECTRE — namely that Waltz’s Blofeld was Bond’s foster brother and has a personal reason to torment Bond.

What would you have done? Ignore SPECTRE and move on with a new story. Instead, it would appear we will get a version of SPECTRE Part II. It won’t be called that, of course.

Are you serious? All we need now is a “reveal” that Dave Bautista’s Hinx will be back as Hinx, the lead henchman in SPECTRE. At this point, he might as well be. Remember, he appeared to be lobbying for that to happen.

It’d be natural for him to join Jeffrey Wright (last seen in a 007 film in Quantum of Solace) and Lea Seydoux (as Bond’s supposedly everlasting love). Hey, let’s have Eva Green (Vesper in Casino Royale) appear in a flashback sequence while we’re at it.

Any other thoughts? Yes. It’s perhaps time to finally dispense with the trope that the Daniel Craig Bond films are the “closest” to Ian Fleming.

Craig started out with Casino Royale, based on Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel. Since then, we’ve seen the death of Mathis (not in a Fleming book).

Mathis may have been a double agent (at least that’s the implication of his Quantum of Solace death scene), which wasn’t in any Fleming book.

And, of course, we have Blofeld/BRO-feld as Bond’s foster brother in SPECTRE, which wasn’t in any Fleming book.

Even if you love all these films, they’re not what Fleming had in mind. Bond 25 may end up an entertaining film. (That’s my inner optimist speaking out). Just don’t bring Fleming into the discussion.

Any suggestions for Bond 25? Perhaps some new character could “reveal” that himself (or herself) was the real Blofeld all along and the “foster brother” nonsense was a way to mess with Bond’s mind. But I wouldn’t go banco on that.

A Reason to Die was B25’s tentative title, MI6 site says

Eon’s Bond 25 logo

A Reason to Die was the tentative title for Bond 25, the MI6 James Bond website said.

The title “was attached to Bond 25 right up until” April 24, the night before a livestream event from Jamaica revealing cast and crew members, the website said.

Eon Productions conferred with its studio partners and A Reason to Die was “considered weak and ‘not Bond enough’ and pulled from the event,” the website reported. “A title treatment had been created.”

Bond 25, due out in April 2020, will be distributed by United Artists Releasing (a joint venture between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Annapurna Pictures) in the U.S. and Universal internationally.

MI6 James Bond sent out this tweet on Wednesday night. It includes a red “X” and the April 24 date written in pencil.

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Reports based on the tweet alone then surfaced earlier today, including The Express and Esquire UK. The latter said it was skeptical MI6 James Bond was correct.

At the April event in Jamaica, Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson only referenced Bond 25. Wilson said he couldn’t remember the last time a Bond film had a title when filming began. A May 5 Haphazard Stuff video contrasted that statement with Eon media events held when filming began on earlier Bond films.

Eon posts behind the scenes video of Bond 25

Eon Productions today released a short video showing behind the scenes work on Bond 25 in Jamaica.

The video was posted via social media and was posted on YouTube. It lasts a minute was edited similar to a music video. With Skyfall and SPECTRE, Eon produced “video blogs” that lasted a few minutes each and covered different topics.

UPDATE: This is probably a coincidence (or not), but the video includes a shot of a clapperboard. Of course, during Skyfall and SPECTRE, Eon posted many clapperboard shots and it gave you a rough idea where the scene involved took place in the film. The shot in this video is fleeting but you can see the scene number.

Bond 25: The week the optics changed

Eon’s Bond 25 logo

The Royal family this week, intentionally or not, gave 007 an assist with the optics of Bond 25’s production.

Prince Charles on Thursday showed up at Pinewood Studios and chatted with the likes of Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and director Cary Fukunaga on Bond 25 sets.

As is often the case, there were many media members in attendance, with video and stills being taken.

It wasn’t the prince’s first turn at doing this sort of thing, In the 1980s, he and his then-wife, Princess Diana, toured Pinewood during production of The Living Daylights.

Such visits are arranged well in advance. It’s not like Prince Charles would just show up at Pinewood.

Still, for one day at least, the images and stories generated from the visit washed away a lot of previously Bond 25 publicity concerning star injuries, script rewrites, the departure of Danny Boyle as director, an explosion that damaged the famous 007 Stage and tales of other problems.

The timing may have been coincidental. But for Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Universal (the latter handling international distribution of Bond 25), the prince’s visit could not have come soon enough.

For those who wanted more, a video by 5 News provided some Bond 25 tidbits as the prince asked questions of the Bond 25 cast and crew.

To be sure, Bond 25 has a lot of filming to go. About a third has been completed. Also, making large, big-budget movies rarely is an easy endeavor.

Still, the topic of Bond 25 conversation has been changed, at least for a while.

Bond 25 director denies Sun story about video games

Cary Fukunaga, Bond 25’s director

Bond 25’s director, Cary Fukunaga, today denied a report by the tabloid Sun newspaper that he caused a delay in shooting by playing video games.

“There’s not a minute on this job that isn’t scheduled,” Fukunaga wrote in an Instagram post.

“So sure it’s hard, but it’s still the best job in the world and I’d never disrespect the hardest working cast and crew,” he wrote. “We’re all in this together.”

The post didn’t specifically mention The Sun. On Monday, the tabloid had a story saying Fukunaga was late for filming “due to his particularly intense video games session.”

“A large number of crew were waiting on location when he eventually turned up three hours after his anticipated arrival time,” the tabloid said. The paper also claimed crew members refused overtime to make up for the delay.

British tabloids typically swarm over 007 films during production. The Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun has been particularly aggressive with Bond 25.

The paper, for example, reported about the June 4 explosion at Pinewood Studios that resulted in some damage to the 007 Stage and a minor injury for a crew member. Eon Productions confirmed the explosion on social media.

The Sun has run multiple stories since, even referring to Bond 25 as “doomed” in the story on Monday.

Eon seeks to regain the B25 narrative with Craig photo

Eon’s Bond 25 logo

The official 007 Twitter account of Eon Productions today posted a photograph of Daniel Craig working out at the gym of Pinewood Studios.

“#007 Daniel Craig hitting the gym hard, prepping for shooting next week!” according to the caption that accompanied the photo.

When last seen out in public, the 51-year-old actor was on crutches and his left foot in a cast while at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. He had previously underwent surgery for an ankle injury suffered during Bond 25’s shoot in Jamaica.

It’s not much of a stretch to view the tweet (and new photo of Craig in the gym) as Eon trying to regain control of the Bond 25 narrative. The only sign of the actor’s injury is the cast he’s still wearing.

Besides Craig’s injury, a June 4 explosion damaged the 007 Stage, causing one minor injury. Both incidents have generated bad publicity for the film, with British tabloids, led by the Sun, generating multiple stories.

Also, this week, director Cary Fukunaga posted a photo on Instagram of a crew member with an over-sized clapperboard. The Eon 007 Twitter account also sent that out. The message: Production continues despite the problems.

Here’s the new Tweet from Eon:

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