How not to write a Bond 25 story

Poster for SPECTRE

Like a cancer metastasizing throughout the body, The Mirror’s July 8 story saying Daniel Craig is definitely returning as James Bond is spreading through the media.

Various outlets, including the Los Angeles Times,  Fox News and Esquire have summarized the Mirror story.

However, The Mirror’s original and the stories based on it have mostly overlooked some key facts. Very important facts. Here are some of them.

There’s nobody to pay Daniel Craig — yet. The Mirror & Co. depict Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli as having a firm lock on his services.

Problem: Eon doesn’t pay the bills of a Bond movie. The studio or studios involved do.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is Bond’s home studio. But it can’t release its own movies. It needs a studio partner to co-finance and distribute MGM films. And, for the moment, there is no Bond 25 distributor.

Maybe MGM reaches an agreement later this year. Maybe a commitment from Craig (even a verbal commitment) helps that process. But until it happens, nobody is available to actually pay Daniel Craig if he, indeed, is coming back.

There’s no director yet. You can’t have a movie without a director calling the shots. Maybe Bond 25 will get a director later this year. But until it does, not much is going to happen.

There’s no script yet. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were hired to come up with a story, according to the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye, who has had a number of 007 scripts proven correct this decade.

The duo have had more than four months (and perhaps longer) to work up a story. But until a director comes on board, things can only go so far. Directors love to tweak story elements, etc. And that process can’t begin until you have a director, etc.

What’s this John Logan reference? The Mirror says John Logan, who worked on Skyfall and SPECTRE, is working on Bond 25. There’s no evidence that’s the case.

If it really is true, that would be a big turnaround. Thanks to the Sony hacks of 2014 (Sony Pictures released the last four 007 films), it’s known that Eon was unhappy with Logan’s first draft for SPECTRE, something that eventually led to the return of Purvis and Wade.

If (and that’s a HUGE if) Logan really is involved with Bond 25 that’s a major change. But, of course, you’d have to be familiar with the history to make note of that.

Has anything changed the past three months? In April, Page Six, the gossip operation of the New York Post also said Barbara Broccoli pretty much had Daniel Craig committed.

Has something actually changed since that report? The Page Six story got nowhere near the attention the Mirror has. Regardless, it’s a notable piece of background.

007 film universe rumor and entertainment websites

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

It has been almost a week, but entertainment news websites are still following up on the rumor that Eon Productions wants a 007 film universe.

There hasn’t been anything new, but the rumor is making the rounds.

Here’s how it breaks down. The followups are not a comprehensive list. But this post does contain a shoutout to the original source and a 007 fan account on Twitter that picked up on it.

June 23: Jeff Sneider, editor-in-chief of The Tracking Board website, says in a tweet that, “I’ve heard the Broccolis have caught Universe Fever and would love to explore other corners of the Bond franchise…simultaneously.”

June 24: @Bond25Film on Twitter does a “quote tweet,” where you can see Sneider’s original tweet. @Bond25Film says (understandably) to take “this with a huge pinch of salt.”

June 24: In full disclosure, @Bond25Film’s “quote tweet” was the first time this blog heard of Sneider’s original tweet. After tracking the original tweet down, the blog did a post the same day plus a June 25 follow-up about questions raised by the rumor.

June 26: Phil Nobile Jr., a writer for Birth. Movies. Death. and a Bond fan, comes out with a post noting the Sneider rumor.

“I’m highly skeptical that this will come to pass, but as a fan of the franchise with no real Bond 25 news to report, I humbly offer these suggestions for opening up the Bondverse,” Nobile writes. His ideas include a prequel for M (the Judi Dench version).

June 28: The Express, in a story with the headline “James Bond SHOCK,” weighs in.

June 28: Esquire also comments on the rumor. “Do We…do we want this?” reads a secondary headline.

June 28: The Playlist, while citing Jeff Sneider, also says, Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson “might have a contemporary way to keep that money tap open.”

June 29: The Independent, again citing Jeff Sneider, says, “It seems like there’s no franchise on the planet that’s immune from the cinematic universe fever.”

June 29: Add /Film to the list. The site adds this observation: “Also the truth: a James Bond cinematic universe would completely fit in with the series’ modus operandi of borrowing whatever is cool, hip, or popular and making it its own.”

A few questions about Bond 25

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

As SPECTRE continues its theatrical run, questions emerge about Bond 25.

In November 2012, after the release of Skyfall, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced that John Logan had been signed to write Bond 24 and Bond 25. So far, nothing nearly that specific has emerged. Barbara Broccoli, co-boss of Eon Productions, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH 20 MINUTEN from Nov. 16 (text is in German) talked about work on Bond resuming “in the spring.”

With that in mind, here are some questions.

What happened to Daniel Craig being signed for Bond 25? Three years ago, the ACTOR TOLD ROLLING STONE, “I’ve agreed to do a couple more, but let’s see how this one (Skyfall) does, because business is business and if the shit goes down, I’ve got a contract that somebody will happily wipe their ass with.” (emphasis added)

Fans at the time read that as meaning Craig had a contract for two more films. In interviews done days after SPECTRE completed production, the storyline was different.

Craig told TIME OUT LONDON and ESQUIRE he didn’t know if he’d do another Bond film after SPECTRE.  Meanwhile, Michael G. Wilson, the other Eon co-chief, SAID IN THIS VIDEO that Craig isn’t under contract although he expects the actor to return for Bond 25.

Will any John Logan story elements be used in Bond 25? Sam Mendes, director of Skyfall and SPECTRE, said in an April 2014 interview with U.S. television host Charlie Rose that the story originally was envisioned as a two-movie arc.

But Mendes said a condition of his return to SPECTRE was the story had to be self contained. That confirmed a FEBRUARY 2013 STORY by Baz Bamigboye in the Daily Mail that the two-part movie idea had been eliminated.

It’s not known how much work, if any, Logan did on Bond 25 after the change in plan. Wilson, in the same video where he commented on Craig’s status, said Eon doesn’t have a script, an idea or even a title for Bond 25.

Who will direct Bond 25? Sam Mendes said after Skyfall he wouldn’t return. He recanted and did SPECTRE. He made the following comment IN AN INTERVIEW WITH DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD, that people have interpreted as he’s really, really not coming back to Bond again.

The pronouncements after the last movie were taken seriously and I then had to undo them when I agreed to make this movie. Without giving too much away, the difference here for me is, this movie (SPECTRE) draws together all four of Daniel’s movies into one final story, and he completes a journey. That wasn’t the case last time. There is a sense of completeness that wasn’t there at the end of Skyfall, and that’s what makes this feel different. It feels like there’s a rightness to it, that I have finished a journey.

If that’s really the case, who fills the Bond 25 director’s chair? Some fans would like two-time director Martin Campbell, 72, to return for an encore. He’s done TV work since the 2011 superhero movie Green Lantern, according to his IMDB.COM ENTRY. Meanwhile, Barbara Broccoli has said Eon doesn’t hire “journeymen” directors. So will another “auteur” like Mendes get the job?

Caveat Emptor Part III: More Daniel Craig comments

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

Daniel Craig has commented to Esquire and the Daily Mail about his 007 future. Now, it’s Entertainment Weekly’s turn to quote the 007 star.

The entertainment publication has POSTED THIS STORY where the actor comments about his future in the role as Ian Flmeing’s secret agent.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I can’t give you an honest answer at this point,” Craig said, reaching for a double espresso in an opulent London hotel suite. “It’s not that I’m trying to play hard to get. I’ve just given it no thought whatsoever.”

“This movie has taken up two years of my life. And I just need a break,” Craig continued. “I need to get back to normal life. I need to reintroduce myself to my family who are not best pleased with me. The idea of planning ahead — I’m not trying to be coy. People want an answer and I don’t have one.”

Meanwhile, Barbara Broccoli, the co-boss of Eon Productions, once again praised the actor, as she has many times since he was cast as Bond in 2005.

“Daniel has reinvigorated this character,” Broccoli told EW on the set of Spectre at London’s Pinewood Studios in May. “He’s made it contemporary, given it depth and resonance and humanity. The part is his. He’s so great and attracts so many people who want to work with him like Christoph and Lea, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw.”

And the world goes round and round.

When the Esquire interview came out, some fans reading the tea leaves figured Craig was done. When Craig commented to the Daily Mail, some fans figured Craig was a lock to play Bond for years to come.

Again, caveat emptor — let the buyer aware. Meanwhile, audiences in the U.K. and Ireland will see Craig’s fourth performance as Bond later this month. U.S. fans will have to wait a little more than a month from now.

Caveat Emptor Part II: Daniel Craig’s 007 future

Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz at Dec. 4 media event.

Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz at Dec. 4 media event for SPECTRE.

In early September, details of AN ESQUIRE INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL CRAIG came out where the actor said of doing another James Bond film, “At the moment I can’t even conceive it.”

The 007 fan base — not to mention various entertainment news outlets — questioned whether this meant that SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film due out in the U.K. before the end of October, would be Craig’s 007 finale.

Toward the end of September, A DAILY MAIL STORY EMERGED where Craig said this about making James Bond films:

‘It’s getting harder. But such is life. I’ll keep going as long as I’m physically able.

‘I’m contracted for one more – but I’m not going to make predictions.’

The James Bond fan base — not to mention entertainment outlets quoting the Daily Mail (CLICK HERE for an example from The Guardian) — have proclaimed this to mean that Craig may be making Bond films for years to come.

When the Esquire interview came out, this blog RAN A POST that began with the words “caveat emptor” — let the buyer beware.

The only person who really knows is the actor himself. Even some of Craig’s most ardent fans say on 007 message boards they take delight in how he yanks the chain of the press.

But that also means if you can’t trust one statement, that pretty much means you can’t trust the other.

Being the star of a James Bond movie means enduring long, grueling productions. SPECTRE, for example, was a seven-month shoot. Marvel Studios plans a nine-month shooting schedule FOR **TWO** COMPLETE AVENGERS MOVIES to be released in 2018 and 2019.

What’s more, those Avengers movies won’t rely on one actor the way a Bond movie relies on its star.

The Esquire interview with Craig was done shortly after the completion of SPECTRE’s principal photography. It’s not hard to imagine the actor could have been exhausted. On the other hand, at least one Bond actor (Pierce Brosnan in 2002) thought he’d be back until he wasn’t.

So it bears repeating. When it comes to Daniel Craig’s future, caveat emptor.

At this point, fans would be better off enjoying the SPECTRE wave and worry later about Daniel Craig’s future.

What SPECTRE’s song tells us about the Craig era of 007

SPECTRE poster

SPECTRE poster

Sam Smith’s title song for SPECTRE stirred strong reaction, from former 007 actor Sir Roger Moore giving it a big vote of approval while a number of fans on social media declared it to be “the worst Bond theme ever” with some even launching an instant petition drive to have the song moved to the end titles from the main titles.

All of that may be missing the forest for the trees. In some ways, the title song for the 24th James Bond film reflects the Daniel Craig era of 007 films.

Starting with 2006’s Casino Royale, this isn’t a Bond who always wins.

In Craig’s 007 debut, Bond won money from terrorism banker LeChiffre, only to see a mysterious organization steal it back. This never happened to the other fella. It was also a major deviation from Ian Fleming’s first novel.

In 2012’s Skyfall, Bond “failed” (Craig’s own words in a recent ESQUIRE INTERVIEW) when Judi Dench’s M dies at the end of the film. “That was a big decision,” Craig told Esquire.

And, of course, in all three Craig 007 films to date, the agent doesn’t get the girl at the end, formerly part of the Bond film formula.

Part of Smith’s “Writing’s On the Wall” evokes a similar mood. At one point, Smith (who’s singing from Bond’s point of view), tells us this:

A million shards of glass
That haunt me from my past
As the stars begin to gather
And the light begins to fade
When all hope begins to shatter
Know that I won’t be afraid

Later:

How do I live? How do I breathe?
When you’re not here I’m suffocating
I want to feel love, run through my blood
Tell me is this where I give it all up?

In other words, Smith singing as Bond evokes the struggles of Craig playing Bond. The song also appears to contain hints of SPECTRE’s story.

Here’s a non-spoiler example.Early in the song, Smith sings, “I feel like a storm is coming.” In the trailers, Mr. White, Bond’s nemesis from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, tells Bond the agent is “a kite dancing in a hurricane.”

Coincidence? We’ll see when the movie comes out — especially when the song is matched with Daniel Kleinman’s title design.

Craig tells Esquire he can’t ‘conceive’ of doing more Bonds

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

Caveat emptor: Daniel Craig told Esquire IN AN INTERVIEW that, “At the moment” he “can’t even conceive” doing another 007 film after SPECTRE. However, he certainly doesn’t close the door.

The interview, by Alex Bilmes, was conducted in July, days after SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, completed production, according to the Esquire story.

Here’s an excerpt:

There has been much speculation that Spectre will be Craig’s last film as Bond. I thought he’d signed on for two more after Skyfall, meaning there would be at least one more after Spectre.

“I don’t know,” he says. He really doesn’t know? “I really don’t know. Honestly. I’m not trying to be coy. At the moment I can’t even conceive it.”

Would he at least like to do another one? “At this moment, no. I have a life and I’ve got to get on with it a bit. But we’ll see.”

That’s pretty much all the interview touches upon the subject. Craig discusses other subjects in more depth. Some samples:

–“His mentor and substitute mother died in his arms. ‘[Bond] failed,’ he says, of Judi Dench’s character’s death at the end of Skyfall. ‘That was a big decision.'”

–On whether he likes the character of James Bond. “I don’t know if I’d like to spend too much time with him…Maybe an evening but it would have to be early doors.”

–Describing Bond’s life. “He’s very f***ing lonely here’s a great sadness. He’s f***ing these beautiful women but then they leave and it’s… sad.”

To read the entire interview, CLICK HERE.