About that Dr. No vibe for No Time to Die

Rami Malek in the No Time to Die trailer

There are fan questions whether Rami Malek is playing a rebooted version of Dr. No in No Time to Die. But how did that get started?

Well, back on April 25, Malek appeared on Good Morning America. He was asked if he had a favorite James Bond film.

“I liked Dr. No quite a bit,” Malek replied.

Later in the day, CBS posted an online story that originally said Malek would play Dr. No. However, that reference was deleted and this added to the end of the story: “Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that it is unclear which James Bond villain Malek will be playing.”

Regardless, the idea remained in the background, even after Malek’s character name was revealed to be Safin.

This week, the No Time to Die trailer debuted, providing a first look of Malek in character. The trailer did little to put the Dr. No vibe to rest. For example, Joe Darlington of Being James Bond noted this similarity.

Dr. No: BOND (Sean Connery): Our asylums are full of people who think they’re Napoleon — or God.

No Time to Die trailer: BOND (Daniel Craig): History isn’t kind to men who play God.

However, Malek, during an interview seemed to want to wind back the Dr. No angle. He said he watched previous Bond films but “it was not as if I was going back o play an exact character. I was not playing  Dr. No again.”

You can see it below, starting around the 7:23 mark.

Normally, that would be that.

Except, during production of Skyfall, Naomie Harris denied she was playing Moneypenny while Daniel Craig and Barbara Broccoli in a joint interview denied Ben Whishaw was playing Q (even though Whishaw’ agent had let the cat out of the bag). Also, during production of SPECTRE, Christoph Waltz denied he was paying Blofeld.

As a result, maybe Malek means it. But, based on recent history, maybe he doesn’t.

We’ll see.

No Time to Die trailer debuts

If you consider a trailer an unforgivable spoiler, stop reading.

No Time to Die’s trailer — we can safely stop calling it a “teaser trailer” — debuted today. The 2:35 trailer may have answered some fan questions while raising new ones.

Confirmed: Nomi (Lashana Lynch) is a double-0 agent. More information: she and former agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) don’t get along, at least not at first.

“So stay in your lane,” she tells Bond. “If you get in my way, I will put a bullet in your knee — the one that works.”

Unconfirmed: Whether Nomi now has the 007 code number following Bond’s departure. There is a scene in the trailer where M (Ralph Fiennes) asks, “Where’s 007?” That would be a perfect setup to introduce Nomi as having Bond’s old code number — if the filmmakers choose to do so.

Seemingly confirmed: Christoph Waltz is back as Blofeld and is visited in prison by Bond. Given the franchise’s embrace of continuity, it looks pretty certain he is playing Blofeld again. He taunts Bond about Madeline Swann.

New question: What happened between Bond and Swann (Lea Seydoux) after the end of SPECTRE?

A number of scenes indicate the relationship between Bond and Swann got rocky, with questions about secrets.

New question: What is Rami Malek’s villain character up to?

That’s not really answered but there are a few intriguing lines from Malek’s character.

In the U.S., the trailer was unveiled on ABC’s Good Morning America show. Afterward, some of the main cast were interviewed but said little.

Lea Seydoux said Swann has secrets (which we knew already from the trailer). Lashana Lynch said Daniel Craig is her favorite James Bond (joining Rami Malek and director Cary Fukunaga who made that declaration previously). Malek said it was an honor to work with Craig. At least that talking point remains consistent.

Here’s the trailer:

UPDATE (12: 30 p.m., New York Time): I had a chance to re-watch the Good Morning America interview. Director Fukunaga says No Time to Die “carries on the tradition of the previous four films…We’re trying our best to wrap them up in a really exciting way.” He also says he hopes new generations discover Bond.

UPDATE (1:40 p.m. New York time): It turns out the entire No Time to Die segment on Good Morning America was sponsored by MGM. In other words, it was an informercial.

NTTD-GMA-MGM

 

Bond 25 questions: The trailer edition

No Time to Die logo

h/t @CorneelVF for a tweet that got me thinking about this.

James Bond fans may finally get to see the first trailer for No Time to Die next week. Naturally, the blog has some questions.

Is this the teaser trailer we heard about back in August?

In August, the James Bond & Friends podcast referenced a rough cut, or preliminary version, of a teaser trailer for No Time to Die.

However, a finished version of that trailer — whatever it contained — has yet to be shown. Meanwhile, the MI6 James Bond website, which produces James Bond & Friends, reported this week the trailer will go online Dec. 4 or 5, depending on what time zone you’re in.

If that comes to be, will this be the same trailer? Or will it be different?

What makes you ask that?

In August, there was still a lot to be be filmed. In late August, filming began in Matera, Italy, involving replica Aston Martin DB5s and other vehicles in a car chase. That got a lot of exposure thanks to tourists taking smartphone videos.

What’s more, filming ended in late October. So there is a lot of footage available to update the trailer — if the filmmakers decide to do so. At this point, there’s no way to know for sure.

Do you think we’ll really see a trailer (updated or not)?

Walt Disney Television, which owns ABC, put out a press release about guests who will be appearing on Good Morning America next week.

On Dec. 4, No Time to Die’s Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and director Cary Fukunaga are listed as scheduled guests. It would appear to be a natural their appearance would come at the same time as the trailer.

Also, in late April, there was a segment about the movie on Good Morning America. Anyway, we’ll see how it plays out next week.

Bond 25 questions: Eve of the announcement Part II

Everyone is getting revved up for the April 25 Bond 25 announcement.

So, according to Eon Productions’ official Twitter feed, there’s going to be an online Bond 25 announcement on April 25. But, of course, the blog has more questions.

What time is the announcement again?

The text of the tweet says it will be “13:10 BST/05:10 PST.” But the tweet embeds a video that says it will be “13:10 GMT/5:10 PST.”

BST refers to British Summer Time. GMT refers to Greenwich Mean Time. They’re not the same thing. This website refers to GMT as currently an “inactive zone” and to use BST.

BST is akin to Daylight Saving Time in the United States. GMT is akin to standard time in the U.S.

Right now, BST is five hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time (i.e. eastern time in the U.S.) So 13:10 BST would be 8:10 EDT. It would also be 5:10 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). But that’s not the same thing as PST (Pacific Standard Time).

Oh my. What do you suggest?

You might want to be ready to go an hour earlier just in case. Given how many 007 film fans are starved for Bond 25 news, that’s probably not much of a stretch.

I see. Any other observations?

Here’s one: 007 & Co. did deals with Good Morning Britain in the U.K. and Good Morning America in the U.S. for Bond 25-related programming on April 25 and 26. The British morning show started doing promos last week, and the U.S. program began promotions this week.

So those programs were, more or less, setting the media agenda for Bond 25 over the past few days. It wasn’t clear whether there’d be an actual announcement or no.

Then, today, Eon put out the aforementioned tweet. It looks like this:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

OK, so now we know there is an actual announcement coming. But things were a little uncertain for a while. Admittedly hindsight is 20-20. But perhaps Eon should have made its advisory first, with the two morning shows following. Just a thought.

UPDATE: I have a pretty strong feeling, re: time zones, they mean BST (British Summer Time). So perhaps you shouldn’t worry and get up too early. NEVERTHELESS, this is why public announcements require care, especially when it comes to references to time of day and time zones.

Bond 25 questions: Eve (?) of the announcement edition

It seems we’re about to get some Bond 25 news this week. But, given how Bond 25 development has gone the past three years, there are questions even in the home stretch.

What changes from the normal media launch might we see?

During the evening of April 23, the MI6 James Bond website came out with a story that said the following:

MI6 has been informed that there will be no traditional press conference.

Instead, specially recorded segments in Jamaica will be packaged by ABC TV (Good Morning America) in the USA and ITV in the UK (Good Morning Britain) for broadcast on Thursday and Friday this week.

Anything particularly odd about that?

U.S. network ABC, which airs Good Morning America, is owned by Walt Disney Co. Competitor NBC, which airs Today, a morning rival to Good Morning America, is owned by Comcast. Comcast, in turn, is parent company to NBC-Universal. The Universal part is Bond 25’s international distributor.

So?

From a distance, it would appear Bond 25 is messing over one of its corporate partners (Universal).

Any other concerns?

The blog is wondering if we’ll find out Bond 25’s actual title this week. This decade, at this point, we were told that Bond 23 would be called Skyfall and Bond 24 would be called SPECTRE.

Maybe we’ll be told Bond 25’s actual title. But the format of this week’s media event is different enough that the blog isn’t taking it for granted.

UPDATE (April 24): Comcast also is being shut out on the European side of the Atlantic when it comes to this week’s Bond 25 events. Comcast owns a controlling interest Sky. But ITV isn’t part of Sky. h/t to reader Rob Coppinger for bringing this to my attention.

UPDATE II: Reader @CorneelVf on Twitter has a post of a program guide indicating Comcast’s Sky will have a half-hour show on Thursday called Bond 25: The Announcement.

UPDATE III: The official Eon Productions 007 Twitter feed has details about a live Bond 25 announcement at 13:10 GMT on Thursday. Twitter users can ask questions using #BOND25. This may be a social media substitute for the traditional media event for 007 films.

 

U.N.C.L.E. movie premieres; now comes the big test

U.N.C.L.E. movie poster

U.N.C.L.E. movie poster

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie had a premiere in New York on Monday night.

Now comes the hard part — how will the movie do when its opens later this week?

The day started out with the movie’s stars, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, making a live appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America show (preceded by a Warner Bros. spot for the film).

The appearance itself was what you’d expect of the light approach Good Morning America takes on entertainment topics. “You better watch out, James Bond, because there are some new agents in town!” GMA co-host Robin Roberts said.

The interview covered similar topics referenced in previous interviews about the movie, including how Hammer watched YouTube videos of Russian speakers to perfect his own Russian accent and how Cavill’s bulk changes because he plays Superman.

Later, there were photos a plenty on social media on social media of the premiere itself, both from Warner Bros. and fans. One example:

Meanwhile, Lee Pfeiffer, the publisher of Cinema Retro, published a number of photos on Facebook, SUCH AS THESE. The Henry Cavill News website PUBLISHED EVEN MORE.

The test that now comes is whether a series that last aired when Lyndon B. Johnson was president (with one attempted revival during the first term of Ronald Reagan) can resonate with the 21st century public. The answer to that question will come in a few days.

007 marketing, 2012 and 1987

At the official James Bond/Skyfall Facebook page, this went out Jan. 31:

James Bond 007
Bond fans! At 8am GMT, Wednesday 1st Feb the first official image from SKYFALL will be revealed exclusively on 007.com! If you’re in the US then pick up a copy of Wednesday’s edition of USA Today – it’s the first time you’ll be able to see it in print.

(UPDATE: It’s up at the Web site now. You can CLICK HERE to see it, an image of Daniel Craig/Bond with beard stubble, holding in a gloved hand what appears to be a Walther PPK.)

Except, a few weeks ago we were told the first Skyfall photo was out:

Star Daniel Craig, with blue swim trunks, was shown in various Web sites, including: Movieweb, Moviewatch, Entertainmentwise, and Whatculture! and who knows where else. Some billed it as an official photo courtesy of Sony (which is releasing the 23rd James Bond film), others merely said it was a Skyfall photo.

So was that an official release or not? The sheer number of Web sites showing the photo (which also included 007 fan Web sites) suggests it wasn’t Woodward-Bernstein investigative reporting that pried that image from the “Most Secret” vault of Eon Productions, which actually produces Skyfall. And it’s clearly not a “candid” shot (i.e. taken while a scene was being recorded). It appears to be posed and carefully lit and meant to evoke 2006’s Casino Royale, where Craig appeared in light-blue swim trunks.

But that’s in the past and we’re told Bond with stubble and gun is official and Bond in swim trunks wasn’t.

Let’s recap. Skyfall has been filming for almost three months. We have one photo of Craig at a pool (now dubbed unofficial) and now an official still for a movie whose first unit has yet to go beyond the borders of the U.K. (a second unit has been filming in China). Oh, and all those images of clapperboards on the official Bond sites. You know: like THIS ONE or THIS ONE or THIS ONE or….well, you get the point.

By contrast, a quarter-century ago, when Eon was filming The Living Daylights, after a few months of filming, there were cast interviews, footage from exotic locations, publicity stills and all sorts of things. Take a look at this footage from ABC’s Good Morning America in November 1986:

On various 007 fan message boards, participants are saying how great it is so few spoilers have gotten out. And that is a change from previous Bond movies. But, it comes at a cost. By this stage in the filming of most 007 films, there has been a lot of publicity already and some fans wonder why there hasn’t been more with Skyfall. Well, you can’t have it both ways. Eon hasn’t exactly spread the red carpet for reporters (much of the publicity so far has come from Daniel Craig interviews while he’s been trying to publicize The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, SUCH AS THIS ONE.) If you don’t want spoilers, fine. But don’t complain about lack of publicity at the same time.