Our guide to incorrect stories about SPECTRE’s title song

New SPECTRE poster

New SPECTRE poster

So, according to THE BBC, Sam Smith recorded his title song to SPECTRE back in January.

With that in mind, here’s a number of stories the past few months that were totally incorrect but caught the attention of James Bond fans anyway.

BILLBOARD, JULY 30:

British band Radiohead has emerged as a sudden favorite among U.K. bookmakers to be named the performers of the theme for Spectre, the latest James Bond.

One bookie revealed that it had suspended betting after an anonymous customer asked to put a £15,000 ($23,000) wager on the band.

Why British bookies supposedly had inside information was never made clear. Still, bookies adjusting odds generates stories about James Bond films in general.

Sam Smith interviews: THE TELEGRAPH compiled a number of times Smith himself denied he was performing the 007 film title song, another reminder that people deny things they know to be true.

Here’s an excerpt with some samples:

Just last week, he told BBC Radio 2’s Jo Wiley: “That’s not me. That’s definitely not me.”

Back in July, Smith batted the rumours back again on Absolute Radio. He said: “I’ve got to tell you it’s the funniest thing just to sit back and watch everyone confirming something I know nothing about.

“Sia would be sick but she’s not British. I think you’ve got to have someone who is British. Saying that, I loved the Jack White and Alisha Keys one.”

And on Capital FM last year, the singer said: “People seem to think I’m doing it but I have no idea what’s going on.

“I’m being deadly serious. I think I would know by now… I heard Ellie Goulding was going to do it.”

Ellie Goulding as supposed frontrunner: There were stories at CAPITAL FM on July 29, IGN.COM on July 28 and THE INDEPENDENT also on July 28 that the singer was going to perform the SPECTRE title song.

Obviously, all were wrong. The DIGITAL SPY WEBSITE ran a story there may have been a deliberate misinformation campaign to fool everyone.

If that’s case, however, perhaps instead of trying to fool people about the title song performer, more attention should have been paid to the SPECTRE scripting process and avoided wasting time on questionable ideas that became public because of the Sony hacking.

U.N.C.L.E.: what’s same, what’s different

Image that accompanied Guy Ritchie post

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

The principals of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie have spelled out in a bit more detail about what’s the same (or at least similar) and what’s different from the original 1964-68 series.

IGN.com on June 11 ran an interview originally conducted last year with co-writers/co-producers Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram as well stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. The story apparently was online for a time the day before because the Henry Cavill News site quoted IGN in a JUNE 10 POST.

Regardless, what follows is information in the interview that caught our eye.

SAME/SIMILAR: The lead characters of Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and Illya Kuryakin (Hammer).

A quote from Wigram: “The personalities of Solo and Kuryakin are inspired by the show, clearly.”

DIFFERENT: Solo’s background. It was already known that Solo is a CIA agent in the film and he had history as an art thief. Cavill expanded on that to IGN:

“My character is not a born CIA man,” the actor said. “He was very much into the black market before that and got blackmailed into the CIA… he has learned some skills, but he’s not sort of born and bred by any means.”

Meanwhile, Kuryakin’s loyalty to the Soviet Union — something the show mostly avoided addressing — is made clear in the film. Kuryakin is “a hardcore red communist, you know?” Hammer said in the interview.

SAME/SIMILAR: An attempt at a drama-humor balance. The original series itself varied, with the first two seasons mostly balancing the two, the third going overly light and the final going very serious for the most part.

” This is a piece of entertainment,” Wigram told IGN. “We’re not trying to say anything important about the meaning of life or politics or anything like that. We’re trying to have fun, without insulting anyone’s intelligence, kind of like the show.” At the same time, Wigram cited not only early James Bond films as influences but Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer movies and John Le Carre.

DIFFERENT: U.N.C.L.E.’s timeline. In the show, U.N.C.L.E. has been established for some time (Solo and Kuryakin joined it in the 1950s). The organization doesn’t exist at the start of the movie.

Wigram commented to IGN on why the filmmakers went with an origin story.

“(T)his is really the story of how the U.N.C.L.E. organisation came together,” the co-writer/co-producer said. “The television story has not told that. U.N.C.L.E. is simply a sort of United Nations of spies. You have a Russian and American working together at the height of the Cold War, but it’s never explained why, so I thought, it could be really interesting if you actually start with Napolean Solo a CIA agent and Illya Kuryakin as a KGB agent who are on opposite sides.”

To read the entire interview, CLICK HERE.

SPECTRE footage shown at CinemaCon (no spoilers)

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

Sony Pictures showed some new footage from SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, according to writers who attended.

The event is where studios make presentations for theater owners of upcoming films.

Steven Weintraub, the editor-in-chief of the entertainment website Collider.com, tweeted the following about Sony’s presentation:

Jim Vejvoda, executive editor-movies of IGN.com, also sent out a tweet:

Paramount and Warner Bros. on April 21 had presentations that highlighted Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., both coming out this summer. SPECTRE is due out in theaters in early November.

UPDATE (April 23): COMICBOOK.COM has a description of of the footage, leaving out what it describes as a “big spoiler.” For those who don’t want to know anything about the movie, even with the “big spoiler” withheld, don’t click on the link.

VARIETY also has a description of a key scene that’s part of the footage shown at CinemaCon. Variety doesn’t disclose the main spoiler, but has a plot detail not in the Comicbook.com story. Those who are super spoiler sensitive probably should avoid.

UPDATED: Wilson and Broccoli comment about SPECTRE

SPECTRE teaser image

SPECTRE teaser image

No real spoilers, although the super spoiler adverse should probably stay away just in case.

UPDATE (March 31): The COLLIDER WEBSITE quotes Michael G. Wilson differently about the script than IGN does below.

Here’s how Collider quotes Wilson about when the script originated:  “Almost three years ago, two and a half certainly. The first draft of ideas, treatments.”

That would make a lot more sense than the quote from IGN which makes it sound like the first draft was done two and a half years ago. It was first reported in fall 2012 that John Logan had been hired (which MGM confirmed in November 2012). Logan had to have submitted some material by that time. Collider’s quotes of Wilson certainly are more consistent with the known background of the development of SPECTRE’s script.

ORIGINAL POST (March 29): Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the co-bosses of Eon Productions, talked to reporters in Mexico City as part of a press junket for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film.

IGN HAS A TRANSCRIPT of what the SPECTRE producers said.

Wilson said SPECTRE won’t be a two-part movie. “I suppose people feel that — there’s been a lot of films now that seem to not want to stop, and yet they double themselves up to make two movies,” he’s quoted by IGN as saying. “But that’s not the case here.”

The duo were asked when they would starting “thinking about” Bond 25. Wilson deferred to Broccoli. She respoded, “Yeah, I think so much focus is on what we’re doing at the moment that the next movie seems very far away.”

Eventually, the producers were asked about SPECTRE’s script and how long it has been around.”

Wilson’s reply comes on THE SECOND PAGE OF THE STORY: “Almost three years. Two and a half, certainly — the first draft. No idea as far as treatments.”

Using Wilson’s two-and-a-half year comment, the first draft was done around September 2012, or before Skyfall was released in the fall of 2012. The hiring of John Logan, initially hired to write solo what would become SPECTRE, wasn’t even announced until November 2012 (it occurred during a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer investor call). A few days before that announcement, Broccoli, TALKING TO CRAVE ONLINE, denied that Logan had even been hired,

Logan told EMPIRE MAGAZINE IN MARCH 2014 that the first draft was “almost done.” Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were hired in the summer of 2014 to rewrite Logan’s work.

Also, concerning who would perform the movie’s title song, Broccoli said, “We’re still figuring that out. That’s one of the last pieces in the puzzle, but it’s one of the fun things we look forward to. So it’ll be awhile.”

In December, director Sam Mendes he already knew who the title song performer would be. The director didn’t disclose the singer’s identity.

To read the entire IGN transcript, CLICK HERE for page one, CLICK HERE for page two. Other subjects include how 1,500 extras in Mexico City will be “duplicated” to look like 10,000 people, director Sam Mendes, how Naomie Harris’s Moneypenny won’t be “desk-bound,” Idris Elba and that star Daniel Craig’s contract is “open ended.”

Stan Lee to make appearance on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The SHIELD helicarrier in the first SHIELD story in Strange Tales No. 135.

The SHIELD helicarrier in the first SHIELD story in Strange Tales No. 135.

Stan Lee, the 91-year-old former editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, is going to make an appearance on the Feb. 4 installment of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series.

Lee gave AN INTERVIEW TO IGN where he talked about the appearance and a bit about the original comic book. An excerpt:

IGN TV: My first question with you appearing on S.H.I.E.L.D. is, what took so long?! Were you saying, “Hey, why am I not in the first episode of this show?”

Stan Lee: Oh, I like the way you think! I felt the same way. Why was it not called Stan Lee and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? [Laughs] No, I’m glad that they gave that one little cameo, though. It’s a little bit longer than a cameo. It’s almost a supporting role. Instead of the usual three or four or five seconds, I think this took almost half a minute.

IGN: You were there for the beginning of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Lee: Well, I’m glad they invited me, because I did the first S.H.I.E.L.D. story in the comics with Jack Kirby. I love the whole concept of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I don’t know if you’d remember, but years ago, there was a television show called The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and U.N.C.L.E. was a secret organization and so forth. I got the idea for S.H.I.E.L.D. from U.N.C.L.E.. I thought it’d be great to have an organization like that, but because we were doing comic books, I’d make it bigger and more colorful and more far out. We had a book called Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, which we stopped publishing after awhile. The fans would wonder, “What happened to Sgt. Fury? Where is he now?” So it occurred to me that if I did this group S.H.I.E.L.D., why not put Sergeant Fury at the head of it, except he’d now be a Colonel. So he’d be Colonel Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — and that’s how it all started. I loved the idea, and I’m so glad that it’s a TV series. As it moves along, I hope it just gets wilder and wilder.

Nick Fury's first post World War II appearance

Nick Fury’s first post World War II appearance


Lee’s memory is a little faulty in the interview.

Actually, the Sgt. Fury World War II title continued to be published after S.H.I.E.L.D. debuted in 1965. Thus, for a few years, Nick Fury appeared in two different titles (Sgt. Fury and Strange Tales, which S.H.I.E.L.D. shared with Dr. Strange) with stories set in two different time periods.

Also, Lee and Kirby, who created the Fury character to begin with, first established Nick Fury had survived World War II in Fantastic Four No. 21, published in 1963. At that point, Fury was with the CIA. He was still with that agency when he was recruited to lead S.H.I.E.L.D. in Strange Tales No. 135.

In the comics, S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t hit its stride until Jim Steranko took over as writer-artist in 1966-68.

Will Bond 24 be Skyfall Part II?

Bond 24 writer John Logan

Bond 24 writer John Logan

The answer is almost certainly not. But some recent comments by Bond 24 scribe John Logan remind long-time 007 fans of history: on previous occasions, Eon Productions has followed up enormous Bond hits with more of the same.

The IGN website had a Jan. 17 story that quotes Logan, signed to write Bond 24 and Bond 25, about the next 007 movie.

“My goal is to write a great movie that’s appropriate, to build on what we did on Skyfall, but make it its own unique animal,” Logan said of the teams aspirations for Bond 24. “The themes, ideas and the characters from Skyfall can obviously continue on, because it is a franchise, and it is an ongoing story. So I think there’s resonance from Skyfall in the new movie.”

Some history: 1965’s Thunderball was the biggest 007 hit of the 1960s, the decade the film series began. Eon followed it up with You Only Live Twice, which dispensed with most of the plot of the 1964 Ian Fleming novel. Instead, Eon came up with bigger set pieces and even had a SPECTRE woman assassin (Karin Dor) made up to look very similar to Thunderball’s femme fatale (Luciana Paluzzi).

In the 1970s, the future of the franchise was at stake. The Spy Who Loved Me was a huge hit in 1977 and Eon’s next outing was Moonraker, an even bigger spectacle. The former had a villain who wanted to kill off the human race to preserve the oceans; the latter had a villain who wanted to kill off the human race and repopulate it with a “flying stud farm” of perfect human specimens.

Skyfall, while having its share of spectacle, was more about introspection, inner emotions and the like. Based on Logan’s remarks, will viewers get even more introspection, even more inner emotions? Perhaps even flashbacks as Bond thinks back to the demise of M (Judi Dench)?

Obviously, few people have any idea what will happen next. Logan has made a tease, but that’s all it is. Still, it’ll be interesting to see when the movie comes out in the fall of 2015.

Daniel Craig briefly talks about Bond 23 to IGN

Daniel Craig, while promoting the upcoming Cowboys and Aliens movies, did a little ducking and weaving when asked by IGN about Bond 23.

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” Craig told IGN. Director Sam Mendes “is so on top of this, it’s great.”

The interviewer asks if traditional elements will be back while having a darker take. We suspect you shouldn’t read too much into Craig’s comments but see for yourself. The exchange about Bond 23 is not long and was at the end of the interview:

UPDATE: EW.com, Entertainment Weekly’s Web site, hypes its interview with Craig and Harrison Ford. Craig is quoted as saying he didn’t like either Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan much as 007. You can CLICK HERE to see the item.

Tentative answers to 007 questions about Bond 23’s indefinite delay

Eon Productions indefinitely delayed Bond 23 production six months ago because of continuing financial trouble at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. At the time, we posed (00)7 questions about the move. There aren’t many definitive answers, but here’s what can be said about the seven questions:

001. How long is indefinite? To quote James Bond (Sean Connery) when he was in the pool with Bambi and Thumper in Diamonds Are Forever, “I haven’t found out yet.” However, one option being considered by MGM debt holders would turn control over to Spyglass Entertainment executives and involve a trip into bankruptcy court. That would involve a “prepackaged” bankruptcy where creditors agree on terms in advance. Still, that’s likely to take a few months.

Also, it appears the Los Angeles Times was correct when it reported in August that Bond 23 didn’t have a script ready for shooting. (We’ll get to that shortly.) Daniel Craig also is doing other projects.

So let’s see: possible trip to bankruptcy court, new management getting up to speed at MGM, a busy actor and a script that’s not ready. To get Bond 23 out in time for Christmas 2011, it’d have to begin shooting by, say, April 1 or so. That appears not to be in the cards. And given the Spyglass deal with MGM isn’t yet certain — investor Carl Icahn is pitching a merger of MGM with Lions Gate Entertainment — you can’t yet count on 2012.

002. Does this mean Daniel Craig has played 007 for the last time? Craig, in his public statements, has said he wants to continue. To read one such example from August in the Hero Complex blog of the Los Angeles Times, CLICK HERE. Still, Craig is a hired hand (albeit a well compensated one). We’ll chalk this down as a tentative no, not because of the actor but because of the uncertainty of the MGM situation.

003. Bye bye Sam Mendes? Mendes’s reported participation as director had generated some buzz about Bond 23 before the production shutdown. David G. Wilson, son of Eon bossman Michael G. Wilson, told the IGN Web site (CLICK HERE for the full post) that Mendes is “very excited to do this film — and it’s a matter of timing too. He’s a hot director, and there’s a danger he would have to go and work on something else so we have to be patient and optimistic.” Once again, we’ll chalk the answer to our original question as a tentative no. The younger Wilson’s comments seem to leave wiggle room that Mendes could depart while saying the director remains enthusiastic about Bond.

004. Bye bye Peter Morgan? Answer affirmative, courtesy of the screenwriter himself. In an interview on the Coming Soon blog said he never finished an outline for Bond 23 when the plug got pulled and he wouldn’t be returning to the project. Eon announced last year it would team Morgan with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. But Morgan, in the interview, talks about his other projects.

005. Do the Broccolis take this opportunity to cash out? No.

006. Bye bye Judi Dench? Assuming continued good health, answer is likely no as long as Craig returns.

007. How much damage does this do to the 007 franchise? That’s still the biggest question and still the toughest to answer. There have been production shutdowns for about half of the 21 years since Licence to Kill in 1989. Twice (1989 to 1995 and 2002 to 2006) the normal two to three years between films has been extended by one kind of hiatus or another. The current hiatus since 2008 is likely to run at least four years before it’s over.

The whole point of rebooting with Casino Royale supposedly was to show Bond at the start of his career. The momentum of that idea seems blunted even assuming a Craig return in 2012.

Most of these aren’t satisifying answers, but little about the past six months has been satisifying to 007 fans.