Filming of SPECTRE’s pre-titles sequence underway

SPECTRE LOGO

No spoilers in text.

Photos and videos of filming of SPECTRE’s pre-titles sequence have started showing up on the Internet.

On March 18, the official 007 Twitter feed said the Mexico shoot would be for the opening sequence of the 24th James Bond film. Eon Productions co-boss Michael G. Wilson repeated that at a Mexico City press conference. Today, the official 007 website PUT OUT A SHORT STATEMENT had a statement commenting a bit further. Here’s the key part:

“During the past 53 years, the James Bond movies have been renowned for filming in the most beautiful and exotic locations in the world,” says Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. “For the opening of SPECTRE, we are filming an exciting sequence in Mexico City featuring the Day of the Dead festival. Mexico City was chosen for the film because of the authentic needs of the story. This is the fourth time Bond has been to Mexico and indeed LICENCE TO KILL was shot almost entirely in Mexico City.”

Meanwhile (and the spoiler adverse should not click), very short videos such as THIS ONE and THIS ONE showing the staging of the Day of the Dead sequence have started appearing. The same goes for still photographs such as THIS ONE. It remains to be seen how long they remain up.

Also, El Universal Television POSTED A VIDEO of a rehearsal for a different part the pre-credits sequence. It would also be considered a spoiler.

UPDATE: To view another video showing staging of the Day of the Dead sequence, CLICK HERE. You can hear somebody (presumably an assistant director) call for “action.” You can CLICK HERE to see a video shot from a passing bus.

Eon says Mexican incentives didn’t change SPECTRE script

Michael G. Wilson

Michael G. Wilson

Michael G. Wilson, co-boss of Eon Productions, denied that Mexican incentives resulted in script changes for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, according to a story by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Wilson spoke at a press conference in Mexico City where SPECTRE is gearing up to film. The official 007 Twitter feed earlier today said the Mexican sequence, which includes the Day of the Dead festival, will be the film’s opening sequence.

“There is nothing in the script that we hadn’t had before,” Wilson said, according to AP.

Tax Analysts, a website for tax professionals, reported IN A MARCH 3 STORY that script changes and casting choices were made to secure as much as $20 million in Mexican incenties. The website cited memos that became public after hacking at Sony Pictures. According to Tax Analysts, memos indicated SPECTRE had to cast a “known Mexican actress” for Estrella.

Wilson said at the press conference that “we always had a Mexican actress playing this part.” Mexcian actress Stephanie Sigman was cast in the part. Sigman was also with Wilson at the press conference.

Wilson also said the movie’s writers believed using the Day of the Dead festival “would be an excellent background in the opening sequence.”

The hacked Sony documents also indicated that SPECTRE’s budget was at a pace to exceed $300 million, making it one of the most expensive movies of all time. Tax Analysts said Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony, which is releasing SPECTRE, wanted to maximize the Mexican incentives to hold down studio costs.

To real the full AP story (Via the US News and World Report website): CLICK HERE.

UPDATE: Here’s a video from NotimexTV in Mexico uploaded to YouTube. It’s in Spanish, but you can hear Wilson speaking under a translator:

UPDATE II (March 19): The MI6 James Bond website has A STORY with additional Wilson comments from the Mexico City press conference. The story quotes Wilson as saying SPECTRE got financial support from Mexican companies, including hotels and other tourist-related businesses. The story also has some additional details about the Mexico shooting schedule.

SPECTRE gears up to start filming in Mexico City

The official 007 Twitter feed confirmed the crew of the 24th James Bond film is about to get to work in Mexico City.

Amusingly, the 007 Twitter feed was chided by one fan for giving out a spoiler, namely that the movie’s opening will incorporate the Day of the Dead festival. Then again, when it’s officially announced, it’s not a spoiler anymore. Also, many photos have been seen over social media the past week of SPECTRE’s crew getting ready in Mexico City.

Here’s the Tweet:

Here’s how one fan reacted:

Meanwhile, the James Bond Brasil website tweeted out pictures of Eon Productions co-boss Michael G. Wilson and actress Stephanie Sigman in Mexico City.

 

 

First behind-the-scenes SPECTRE video released

SPECTRE LOGO

The first behind-the-scenes video for SPECTRE has been posted, mostly showing the crew preparing to film an action sequence in Austria.

One of crew members commenting in the short video is associate producer Gregg Wilson, son of Michael G. Wilson, co-boss of Eon Productions. The younger Wilson has been working his way up the chain of command over the past decade. He had the title of assistant producer on 2008’s Quantum of Solace and was promoted to associate producer in Skyfall.

There are also brief comments by cast members Lea Seydoux and Dave Bautista. Star Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes are briefly seen.

The video is self explanatory and doesn’t have spoilers, except for those who don’t want to see anything before the movie comes out. If you fall in that category, don’t view the video below.

SPECTRE’s script: a recap of twists and turns

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

No spoilers in this post

Some of the drama about SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film produced by Eon Productions, has concerned its script.

The computer hacking at Sony Pictures caused more attention than normal as versions of the story were among the materials posted by hackers.

What follows is how the story line — and the accompanying behind-the scenes drama — developed.

October 2012: Deadline Hollywood’s Mike Fleming Jr. PUBLISHES A STORY saying John Logan, who had done the later drafts of Skyfall, had been hired to write Bond 24 and Bond 25.

Fleming writes that “the franchise’s producers have quietly made a deal with John Logan to write not one but two 007 films.” (Emphasis in original.) He continues, “I’ve been told that Logan pitched an original two-movie arc to Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson while they were shooting Skyfall, and that he has already begun writing the scripts.”

November 2012: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announces on an investor call that John Logan indeed had been hired to write Bond 24 and Bond 25. By the time of the call, Skyfall is on its way to becoming the first 007 film to have worldwide box office exceeding $1 billion.

The announcement confirmed the gist of the Deadline story, although later events would call into question how far Logan had really gotten by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, after working on the scripts of five 007 films, later confirm they’re not returning to work on Bond 24.

February 2013: BAZ BAMIGBOYE OF THE DAILY MAIL reports the two-film story arc plan is no more and Skyfall’s Sam Mendes may return as director for Bond 24.

The scribe also reported that “Logan’s thoughts for Bond 24 are in the form of two treatment papers outlining a rough idea of the plot.” According to Bamigboye’s story, the only ones with access to the materials are Eon co-bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Mendes, star Daniel Craig and “a handful” of executives at MGM and Sony.

July 11, 2013: In a PRESS RELEASE, Eon, MGM and Sony announce Mendes will indeed return “to direct the screenplay written by John Logan.”

Broccoli and Wilson are quoted as saying they’re “really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan.” Sony executives Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal are quoted as saying “EON, John Logan and Sam Mendes have come up with an extraordinary follow up to SKYFALL.”

At this point, there isn’t even a draft screenplay, which everyone learns in…..

March 2014: John Logan TELLS EMPIRE MAGAZINE that the first draft of Bond 24 “is almost done.”

The scribe tells the magazine he has been “working very closely” with Sam Mendes. (Emphasis in original.) He also says Daniel Craig “is very involved” in the scripting process. “It behooves no-one to write a character the lead actor doesn’t want to play.” Logan says Bond 24 “continues the themes of Skyfall.”

June 2014: Trouble in paradise. THE DAILY MAIL’S BAMIGBOYE reports writer Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are in the 007 fold once more.

Bamigboye asks “an executive associated with the Bond films” if there’s turmoil with the production “Let’s call it ‘polite turmoil,'” Bamigboye’s source (who isn’t further identified) replies. “People are getting on with their work but we have to wait for the script.” Purvis and Wade were brought in to “punch up” the script, according to the story.

July 2014: Bamigboye produces ANOTHER STORY saying Purvis and Wade have delivered a draft that’s “substantially different” than the Logan script.

“There was an awful lot of work to do,” Bamigboye quotes one of his informants as saying. “It was a big job.” Production is to begin by early December, according to the story.

November 2014: The New Yorker, IN A PROFILE OF PLAYWRIGHT JEZ BUTTERWORTH includes the tidbit that he’s been working on Bond 24’s script and had also contributed to Skyfall’s.

December 2014: A media event is held at Pinewood Studios ahead of the start of production of the film, which is now titled SPECTRE. The natural question is whether this means the film will have a rebooted version of 007 arch foe Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

The PRESS RELEASE says the movie is written by “John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade,” marking the first official confirmation that Purvis and Wade had returned.

Later in the month, stories are written by entertainment and news sites about SPECTRE details in hacked Sony documents. THE GAWKER WEBSITE on Dec. 12 has a post with most details of the plot of a version of the script. (If you click on the link there are many spoilers.)

According to the story, filmmakers and executives at MGM and Sony were still grappling with the last third of the story and that revisions were going on into November.

On Dec. 13, Eon put out A STATEMENT saying “an early version” of SPECTRE’s screenplay had been stolen by the Sony hackers. It says MGM and Danjaq LLC will protect their rights to the script.

Some questions for the Bond 24 press conference

Bond 24 logo

While no date has been set, it’s still expected there’ll be a news conference held for the start of production of Bond 24.

We still stand by our idea that it may be best to even take questions. But that’s not likely to happen. So, here’s our suggestions for questions to ask the producers, cast and crew.

For Sam Mendes: You said in April that you came back to direct Bond 24 because “I felt there was a way to create the second part of a two-part story.” Given that both Skyfall’s villain and M were killed, what does that mean?

A question that depends on what the press release says: Is it really true that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade worked on the script? The involvement of Purvis and Wade was reported by Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail over the summer. Given Bamigboye’s record of 007 scoops being proven correct, it’s pretty assumed that is what happened.

But nothing has been said officially since MGM announced in November 2012 that John Logan would write Bond 24 and Bond 25.

It’s possible the press release that probably goes out at the same time will reference Purvis and Wade. If it does, this rephrased question could be used:

In November 2012, MGM announced John Logan was writing Bond 24 and Bond 25. What happened to change this? Why bring Messrs. Purvis and Wade back?

For Michael G. Wilson: Mr. Wilson, you’re in your early 70s now. Do you plan to continue on in your present capacity? Or might you retire?

For Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli: Skyfall did $1.11 billion in worldwide box office. Are you confident Bond 24 (or actual title if that has been released) can perform the same or better?

For Sam Mendes: Skyfall was shot digitally. Bond 24 is to be shot on film, according to your director of photography. What’s the reason for the change?

For Wilson and Broccoli: What’s the progress on your planned movie about Edward Snowden?

For Sam Mendes: Will the gunbarrel be at the start of the movie this time?

TWINE’s 15th anniversary: a transition for 007

The World Is Not Enough poster

The World Is Not Enough poster

The World Is Not Enough, the 19th film in the 007 film series made by Eon Productions, marked a transition.

Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli hired a director, Michael Apted, with little experience in action movies. Apted was brought on because of his drama experience.

The producers also hired a new writing team, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, to develop the story. They’re still in the world of 007 15 years later.

The script development established a pattern the duo would soon be familiar with. They delivered their script, which would be reworked by other writers. In the case of The World Is Not Enough, Dana Stevens, Apted’s wife, revised the story. Another scribe, Bruce Feirstein, worked on the final drafts. Purvis, Wade and Feirstein would get a screen credit.

Meanwhile, Judi Dench’s M got expanded screen time, something that would persist through 2012’s Skyfall. The film also marked the final appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Q. John Cleese came aboard as Q’s understudy.

Pierce Brosnan, in his third 007 outing, was now an established film Bond. In interviews at the time, he talked up the increased emphasis on drama. In the film, Bond falls for Elektra King, whose industrialist father is killed in MI6’s own headquarters. But in a twist, Elektra (played by Sophie Marceau) proves to be the real mastermind.

The movie tried to balance the new emphasis on drama with traditional Bond bits such as quips and gadgets, such as the “Q boat” capable of diving underwater or rocketing across land. Some fans find the character of Dr. Christmas Jones, a scientist played by Denise Richards, over the top.

Sometimes, the dual tones collided. Cleese’s initial appearance was played for laughs. In the same scene, however, Q, in effect, tells Bond good-bye in what’s intended to be a touching moment. It was indeed the final good-bye. Llewelyn died later that year as the result of a traffic accident.

The movie was a financial success, with $361.8 million in worldwide box office. Broccoli and Wilson, meanwhile, would return to the idea of increased drama in later entries after recasting Bond with Daniel Craig.

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