Your guide to 007 click bait, or “Madness! Madness!”

Daniel Craig in SPECTRE's main titles

Daniel Craig in SPECTRE’s main titles

Here’s a quick summary of what we read (well, actually skimmed) so you don’t have to. After a while (say 15 minutes) it’s like the end of The Bridge On The River Kwai and thus, “Madness! Madness!”

The drive for a female James Bond: American actress Gillian Anderson, currently starring in a theatrical production of A Streetcar Named Desire, went to Twitter on May 21 to post some fan art of her playing a female 007.

“It’s Bond. Jane Bond,” she wrote. “Thanks for all the votes! (And sorry, don’t know who made poster but I love it!) #NextBond.”

Naturally, various websites wrote this up, including Time magazine, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post.

Around the same time, actress Priyanka Chopra have a magazine interview where she said she wants to play Bond.

This was chronicled in, among other places the Vulture entertainment news website (part of New York magazine), The Indian Express at least 160 others, according to a Google search.

Evidently, if you’re an actor with sufficient credits and a fan base willing to tweet up a storm, you, too, can have a story written about yourself as a potental James Bond.

In the drive for clicks, the tabloid New York Post decided to push back against the idea with an article titled “Why a Woman Can’t Play James Bond.”

Finally, a sane voice, you might conclude. However, this article isn’t comfort food for traditional 007 fans. Here’s how it ends:

So please, Hollywood, write more spy movies and TV shows for women. After all, the first two seasons of Jennifer Garner’s “Alias” were more exciting and creative than any James Bond movie since “Goldeneye.” Or have a woman play a gender-neutral character like the driving force of “Mission Impossible.” The less Tom Cruise, the better.

But don’t rely on a tired 54-year-old franchise to drive home your point. Your only aim should be making a spy movie that kicks James Bond’s ass.

Pretend you’re the casting director: The U.K. tabloid Daily Mail helped ramp up #NextBond fever last week with a story saying Daniel Craig had definitely quit the role despite lack of official confirmation.

The publication’s sister paper, The Mail on Sunday, decided to stir things up more by having a “Bond-off” about potential successors. It was primarily an exercise in showing off its staff’s expertise in Photoshop, by putting the heads of the usual suspects atop the bodies of Craig and previous 007 actors.

“Across the pond,” another tabloid, New York’s Daily News, did a variation on the same idea, albeit with no showing off of Photoshop skills.

Caveat Empor: Waltz supposedly signed for 2 more Bonds

Christoph Waltz in SPECTRE

Christoph Waltz in SPECTRE

Two days into the New Year, we have the first British tabloid report about the future of 007 films: that Christoph Waltz has signed on for two more Bond films but will only do it if Daniel Craig returns as 007.

This comes via THE MIRROR, which in turn is rewriting another tabloid, The Daily Star. But the story doesn’t appear to be ON THE STAR’S WEBSITE.

Here’s an excerpt from the Mirror’s summary of The Daily Star.

“Christoph could make a brilliant ongoing man for Bond to battle like in the old days,” a source told the Daily Star.

“But the important clincher of it is that Blofeld can only work with Daniel back in the role to keep continuity.”

Up front, it should be noted that while the British tabloids have an often-deserved reputation for being trashy and cutting corners ethically, they’re often right about what they report about developments in 007 land. At least they’re often enough times it’s not just chance.

Example: THE MAIL ON SUNDAY reported in November 2014 that Waltz was playing Blofeld in SPECTRE. The publication was proven correct despite various denials by Waltz LIKE THIS ONE, and THIS ONE.

At the same time, there’s an element of P.R. in this latest report, as if the source involved is part of the public relations machinery.

A Bond source said: “Daniel has been a huge success as 007 and is loved by fans so he isn’t going anywhere yet.

“The directors know they would be daft to replace him at a stage where he is so popular. It’s almost certain he will do one more outing as Bond.

And with the potential for Judi Dench to return in flashback form as M, the storyline for Daniel Craig as Bond appears far from over.

The timing of this report also is a little interesting. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which co-owns the 007 franchise, is negotiating with studios interested in releasing and co-financing 007 films. Sony Pictures’ contract expired with SPECTRE.

Michael G. Wilson, co-boss of Eon Productions, which makes the Bond movies said last fall he expects Craig to return but that the actor isn’t signed for future installments.

Our final SPECTRE accuracy checklist

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE has been out since Oct. 26, so we decided to do one final checklist of the accuracy of various reports about the 24th James Bond film.

Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny would be “more of a sidekick” as reported by Baz Bamigboye in the Daily Mail in September 2013.

The scribe wrote that, “Director Sam Mendes, Craig, and producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are all big fans of Naomie’s and don’t want her to be too desk-bound, as other Moneypennys have been.”

In the climax of the movie, Moneypenny, M (Ralph Fiennes) and Tanner (Rory Kinnear) do assist Bond and at personal risk. Sidekick is too strong a word, but Harris certainly wasn’t desk-bound. Check.

Christoph Waltz would play Blofeld.  The Mail on Sunday, a sister publication to the Daily Mail, REPORTED LATER IN NOVEMBER 2014 that Waltz would play Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the new movie but be announced as portraying “an unknown character called Franz Oberhauser, son of the late Hans Oberhauser, a ski instructor who acted as a father figure to Bond.”

Waltz denied it. But it was true. Check.

–Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, not originally part of the crew, were brought back as writers. The Daily Mail’s Bamigboye reported that in JUNE 2014. It was confirmed in December 2014, at a media event where the title of the movie was disclosed. Check.

–David Bautista would play the movie’s henchman: First reported in LATINO REVIEW in October 2014. Check.

–Hoyte van Hoytema would be the director of photography: This was reported on the evening of Sept. 16, 2014, ON THE HITFIX WEBSITE and the morning of Sept. 17, 2014 at JAMES BOND MAGASINET, a Norwegian 007 publication. Check.

–Hilary Swank would be in the cast: The Independent, IN A NOVEMBER 2014 STORY</a>, said, “Recently, the web has spawned wild rumours that she will be the next Bond girl, starring opposite Daniel Craig in the forthcoming Sam Mendes-directed 007 film.”  Didn’t happen.

–Monica Bellucci would be in the cast: The possibility was mentioned in passing  IN A DEC. 2, 2014 POST ON THE DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD WEBSITE</a>. Bellucci’s participation in the movie was announced two days later. Check.

For earlier examples, CLICK HERE for a Dec. 5, 2014 post on this blog.

 

Waltz to play Blofeld in Bond 24, Mail on Sunday says

Bond 24 logo

Fans have speculated about this since Waltz’s participation was originally reported, so we didn’t put spoiler in the headline. Stop reading beyond this point if you don’t want the details.

Actor Christoph Waltz will play Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Bond 24, THE U.K. MAIL ON SUNDAY REPORTED.

Here’s an excerpt from the story by Chris Hastings and Caroline Graham:

It’s been more than 30 years since James Bond faced evil Ernst Stavro Blofeld, his most feared adversary.

But now the intimidating baddie – famous for his trademark white cat and for gruesomely disposing of his failing underlings – is back. Django Unchained star Christoph Waltz is tipped to play the evil genius in a new 007 movie which is due to begin shooting next month.

The 58-year-old double Oscar-winner will join an elite band of stars who have previously played the role.

The Mail on Sunday is a sister paper to the Daily Mail, whose Baz Bamigboye REPORTED EARLIER THIS MONTH that Waltz was in Bond 24’s cast. Bamigboye, who had a number of Skyfall and Bond 24 scoops proven correct, didn’t specify the role Waltz would have in Bond 24.

The Mail on Sunday story says Waltz’s involvement in Bond 24 “will be confirmed” at an early December press conference. That story also says Waltz will be announced as “playing an unknown character called Franz Oberhauser, son of the late Hans Oberhauser, a ski instructor who acted as a father figure to Bond.”

But, the story cites “senior sources” who “believe the casting is a double bluff worthy of 007 himself and that Waltz is actually playing Blofeld.” The story quotes “one Hollywood source” as saying “the producers have changed the character to fit in with the new-look 007.”

Presumably, that comment is a reference to how the 007 film series started over with 2006’s Casino Royale. Daniel Craig has played Bond the past three movies and is returning with the as-yet untitled Bond 24.

The Blofeld character appeared in From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and Never Say Never Again. A character strongly resembling Blofeld was in the pre-credits sequence of For Your Eyes Only but his name wasn’t revealed.