RECAP: 007 film franchise at mid-2017

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

For the James Bond film franchise, the first half of 2017 was similar to 2016: more heat than light.

There has been nothing confirmed in the first half of the year. There have been two meaningful bits of Bond film news:

–Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail reported in March that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were retained to work on Bond 25, which would be their seventh 007 scripting effort.

The reason that merits serious consideration is that Bamigboye had a number of scoops concerning Skyfall and SPECTRE that were proven to be correct.

–The New York Times reported in April that five studios made proposals to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to be its studio partner to release Bond 25.

According to The Times, four were established studios: Sony Pictures (which has released the last four 007 films), Warner Bros., Universal and 20th Century Fox. The fifth is an upstart, Annapurna, a movie production company just now entering the movie distribution business.

The significance: The Times has more gravitas than entertainment news websites and British tabloids (including Bamigboye’s Daily Mail), where a lot of 007 items originate.

Other than that? A lot of stories about British bookmakers setting odds for different actors to play 007 in Bond 25. There have also been stories that speculated about actors and Bond.

Eon Productions bought a helicopter from a museum early in the year but, according to the MI6 James Bond website, that aircraft is for a non-Bond film project.

There have been examples of journalistic empty calories, including a Twitter post last month by The Tracking Board’s Jeff Sneider. He tossed out the idea that Eon Productions would like a 007 film universe but hasn’t provided anything to back it up.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for Bond 25 to come out in 2018, something many fans want to happen.

In July 2013, more than a year before SPECTRE came out, there was a confirmed director (Sam Mendes’ return to the director’s chair was announced July 11, 2013); a confirmed Bond distributor (Sony); and a confirmed Bond star (Daniel Craig).

There’s still no distributor for Bond 25. Maybe MGM makes a decision in the second half of 2017. Still, Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions said in November 2015 that he was expecting a decision in early 2016.

No director is in place for Bond 25. There’s no confirmed James Bond actor for Bond 25. Some fans believe it’s a cinch Daniel Craig will be back for his fifth 007 film. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t.

But until the distributor selection is made, it doesn’t really matter. MGM, Bond’s home studio for more than 35 years, is one of the weakest studio operations. It can’t release its own films. It needs partners to co-finance and distribute them.

The faith-based James Bond movie

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

That, of course, would be Bond 25, the James Bond film without a distributor, a script, a director or even a confirmed James Bond.

More than 16 months after the release of SPECTRE, much of agent 007’s next film adventure is a matter of faith, not fact.

Example: There’s IndieWire’s March 21 story that proclaims:

For Bond fans wondering what might lure Daniel Craig back for “Bond 25,” it just might be the opportunity for 007 to metaphorically save the world from the Orwellian nightmare of Trump, Putin, Brexit, and WikiLeaks.

At least that’s the hope of long-time Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have been hired to write the script for “Bond 25.”

This passage is based on a January interview The Telegraph had with scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. In the interview, Purvis said, “Each time, you’ve got to say something about Bond’s place in the world, which is Britain’s place in the world. But things are moving so quickly now, that becomes tricky.

“With people like (U.S. President Donald) Trump, the Bond villain has become a reality. So when they do another one, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the fact that the world has become a fantasy.”

Since then, the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye reported Purvis and Wade were hired to script Bond 25, their 007th Bond film writing effort.

So, IndieWire takes the leap of faith that Bond 25 will take on Brexit, Trump, etc., and that will entice Daniel Craig to come back for a fifth 007 film.

And as Bond co-producer, Craig would help shape the story by Purvis and Wade. So maybe, like Bond, he just needs a break before returning to active duty, putting on hold any notion of being succeeded by such leading contenders as Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston, Michael Fassbender or Jack Huston.

Of course, almost all of this is conjecture. Granted, Bamigboye has a record of scoops concerning Skyfall and SPECTRE that were proven to be correct. But the Daily Mail scribe **has not** described any details of a possible Bond 25 plot.

And Purvis, in his January interview telegraph described *the difficulty* of writing a new 007 film. His comments about Brexit, Trump, etc., were not about anything concerning Bond 25’s story line — which, at best, is in early stages of development.

It shouldn’t be needed, but here’s a note of caution anyway. Weeks ago, Bond fans were going crazy over word that Eon Productions had bought an old helicopter. Surely, the fans thought, it must be for Bond 25.

It wasn’t, as noted by the MI6 James Bond website. It was for a non-007 film project.

That hasn’t stopped fans from speculating. Some still hold out hope that Bond 25 somehow, some way, will come out in 2018.

Still, it bears repeating. Almost everything about Bond 25, at this point, is faith based, not fact based.

Helicopter bought by Eon may not be for Bond 25

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Eon Productions’ recent purchase of a helicopter may not be for Bond 25, according to the Twitter feed of the MI6 James Bond website.

The helicopter is to be used for a non-Bond “historical war film” that Eon is co-producing, the website said on Twitter. The movie is to be filmed late this year, the website said.

Eon’s purchase of the helicopter from a museum, first reported last month, spurred fan interest whether it might be for Bond 25.

There has been little official news about the next installment of the 007 film series.

MGM said nothing about the project on a call with investors last week to discuss 2016 financial results. Daily News writer Baz Bamigboye reported last week that screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were being brought back to work on Bond 25’s story but there was no official comment from Eon.

Bamigboye had a number of scoops proven correct about Skyfall and SPECTRE, the last two Bond films.

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UPDATE (March 13): The MI6 James Bond website now has a FULL STORY on the subject.

 

Ranking all 24 (26) James Bond Films.

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By Gert Waterink, Guest Writer

The premiere of SPECTRE took place almost one year ago. Shortly before the premiere, many movie critics and entertainment websites started to prepare for the festivities of another Bond film by writing the obligatory rankings of its predecessors.

Some posted a TOP 10 of “The Best,” and others were daring enough to flashback all the entries by ranking all 23. For a passionate Bond fan like me, that’s not an easy task.

But we are one year further out, and as of late some new rankings included SPECTRE. I did a bit of research into the matter, and I added up all rankings from the major film critics and movie entertainment websites. One placing equals one point in below average “Ranking of Rankings.” The more points a Bond film received, the lower it ended in the outcome.

You will find the results here (click on the table to see a larger image):

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It’s interesting to see how SPECTRE performs. You can draw your own conclusions, of course. This ranking got me interested in conducting my own poll. But before I do that, I have to stress that as of today all 24 Bond films (26 films actually, because I like analyzing all portrayals of Fleming’s character, including those in the two non-EON films) have a special place in my heart. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I speak for many fellow Bond “nerds.”

Yet by ranking all the Bond films, by actually critically dissecting each and every aspect of a Bond film, or perhaps judging a Bond film solely as a “good or bad film without the Bond formula tag,” one can perhaps facilitate some more respect or discover some surprising nuances for a franchise that’s almost 54 years old.

To be very honest, asking someone to rank all Bond films can be a pretty subjective pastime. But saying that all Bond films are “great” or “fantastic,” or saying that all of them are complete ridiculous isn’t very objective either.

Hence why trying to make a TOP 24 (26) of Best James Bond films is actually a very exciting, interesting and daring task to do.

And, in case you are already a senior Bond fan and your little nephew or niece hasn’t actually seen a Bond film, your ranking could become quite a helpful piece of paper (or not, depending how you look at it). So opinions do matter. But especially an average of opinions is interesting, because that creates an average understanding of the quality of each and individual Bond film.

Hence why recently I initiated a poll by myself. But, unlike many other polls where people simply press a button once for their favourite film, I actually made sure that each and every “forum member” posted his or her TOP 10 of Best Bond Films. And while they were doing that, they were attaching a system of points to the ranking that I wrote down in the “rules.”

A person’s 1st placed ‘Best Bond Film’ received 12 points, his or her runner-up received 10 points, then the ‘bronze’ placed film got 8 points, downwards from 7 points (4th placed), to 6 points (5th placed), 5 points, 4, 3, 2 and finally 1 point (for the 10th placed ‘Best Film’). Adding up all the points results in a TOP 26 ranking.

If you like to vote in the Ranking poll, which is titled “The Big James Bond 007 Film Contest,” then by all means do not hesitate to post your own TOP 10 of Best Bond films by registering yourself in the forum section of our partner website www.MI6-HQ.com (To keep track of the validity of the votes, registering is necessary. But you can do it easily via Facebook or Twitter). You can leave your TOP 10 in this topic:

http://www.mi6community.com/index.php?p=/discussion/16631/bond-polls-2016-the-big-james-bond-007-film-contest-your-top-10-of-best-bond-films/p1 .

Here’s a short overview of all 26 films featuring the famous secret agent:

Old timeline Bond-films (1962 – 2002):
01. 1962: “DR. NO,” directed by Terence Young
02. 1963: “FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE,” directed by Terence Young
03. 1964: “GOLDFINGER,” directed by Guy Hamilton
04. 1965: “THUNDERBALL,” directed by Terence Young
05. 1967: “YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE,” directed by Lewis Gilbert
06. 1967: “CASINO ROYALE,” directed by: Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, e.o.
07. 1969: “ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE,” directed by Peter Hunt
08. 1971: “DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER,” directed by Guy Hamilton
09. 1973: “LIVE AND LET DIE,” directed by Guy Hamilton
10. 1974: “THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN,” directed by Guy Hamilton
11. 1977: “THE SPY WHO LOVED ME,” directed by Lewis Gilbert
12. 1979: “MOONRAKER,” directed by Lewis Gilbert
13. 1981: “FOR YOUR EYES ONLY,, directed by John Glen
14. 1983: “OCTOPUSSY,” directed by John Glen
15. 1983: “NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN,” directed by Irvin Kershner
16. 1985: “A VIEW TO A KILL,” directed by John Glen
17. 1987: “THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS,” directed by John Glen
18. 1989: “LICENCE TO KILL,” directed by John Glen
19. 1995: “GOLDENEYE,” directed by Martin Campbell
20. 1997: “TOMORROW NEVER DIES,” directed by Roger Spottiswoode
21. 1999: “THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH,” directed by Michael Apted
22. 2002: “DIE ANOTHER DAY,” directed by Lee Tamahori

New timeline Bond-films (2006 – present):
23. 2006: “CASINO ROYALE,”, directed by Martin Campbell
24. 2008: “QUANTUM OF SOLACE,” directed by Marc Forster
25. 2012: “SKYFALL,” directed by Sam Mendes
26. 2015: “SPECTRE,” directed by Sam Mendes

Again, it is important to note that also here subjectivity sneaks in. For those forum members who already voted and had problems in ranking all the Bond films, I asked them to judge all aspects of the film.

One could think of aspects like coherent story, acting performances, cinematography, originality, is it a film with the right amount of “Bond formula,” film score, interesting dialogue, unique action sequences and main titles sequence. Then it’s merely a matter of translating it back to the overall effectiveness of the total package of a particular Bond film. Perhaps then it’s a bit easier to create your TOP 10 of “Best Bond Films.”

On top of that, most voters so far are Bond fans and not generic movie aficionados or people who don’t consider themselves Bond fans. So the rankings mostly represent the ideas of fans and is not supposed to be a definite scorecard of some sort.

Regarding the system of points attribution, I did not devise it entirely by myself. It’s a common ranking system used in the Eurovision Song Contest ( http://www.eurovision.tv/page/voting ). There’s a deadline to the above ranking poll: October 26th, 6:00 PM GMT+1. Shortly after that, we will get into the details of the final average ranking with conclusions in a follow-up article. So far 81 people have voted, so don’t hesitate to become part of a larger poll sample.

SPECTRE filming photos from weekend emerge

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There was more outdoor SPECTRE filming in London over the weekend, which got coverage in the U.K. press and saw images show up on social media.

The DAILY MAIL described events in its usual, breathless fashion such as this description of star Daniel Craig:

“The 47-year-old actor cut a dapper figure, dressed in suit to portray the titular spy as he strolled along Whitehall in London, drawing large crowds of excited onlookers.” The story has photos as well as a video.

THE MIRROR also chimed in, making some guesses about the plot of the 24th James Bond film based on photos of the filming.

Meanwhile, social media participants also put out photos, such as this one on Twitter.

On THIS PAGE of the message board of the James Bond MI6 website, users downloaded photos from social media outlets and posted them.

Richard Graydon, 007 stuntman, dies at 92

Richard Graydon, a stuntman in several James Bond films, died Dec. 22, according to an obituary at the MI6 JAMES BOND WEBSITE.

Two of Graydon’s signature stunts involved cable cars. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he doubled star George Lazenby, in a sequence where Bond is supposed to be on a cable as a cable car approaches. The official 007 Twitter feed on Dec. 23, posted a picture in connection with the movie’s 45th anniversary.

A decade later, Graydon doubled for Roger Moore atop a Rio cable car in a scene where 007 is depicted as fighting Jaws. In the documentary Inside Moonraker, director Lewis Gilbert described himself as transfixed watching, having to be reminded to yell cut. Graydon shows up as an interview subject in a number of the 007 film documentaries directed by John Cork.

Graydon also got an on-screen credit in the end titles of 1983’s Octopussy as Francisco, the Fearless, one of the acts in Octopussy’s circus.

Eon says it will protect rights to SPECTRE screenplay

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Eon Productions issued a statement where it said it would protect its rights to the SPECTRE screenplay.

In THE STATEMENT, Eon said “an early version of the screenplay for the new Bond film SPECTRE is amongst the material stolen and illegally made public by hackers who infiltrated the Sony Pictures Entertainment computer system.”

The script “may not (in whole or in part) be published, reproduced, disseminated or otherwise utilised by anyone who obtains a copy of it,” Eon said in the statement.

The entire statement can be viewed BY CLICKING HERE. The Gawker website ran an article on Dec. 12 after obtaining a copy of the script and comments from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Son Pictures about the script. According to Gawker, the critiques took place as recently as last month.

Separately, four James Bond fan websites, issued a joint statement, where they said they won’t write or publish any information about SPECTRE related to the Sony hack. The websites are James Bond Brasil, James Bond-magasinet, The Bond Bulletin and James Bond Club Germany. You can CLICK HERE to see a copy of the statement running on the James Bond-magasinet website.