Eon questions: The odds and ends edition

Eon Productions logo

Eon Productions has one spy film (No Time to Die) in production and another (The Rhythm Section) scheduled for a January release. As usual, the blog has a few questions.

When will the teaser trailer for No Time to Die come out?

A recent edition of the James Bond & Friends podcast indicated a rough cut existed. But since then, no word on when the final version will be out.

On Sept. 19, Paramount put out a first trailer for The Rhythm Section, Eon’s non-Bond spy film. So it makes sense not to put out a No Time to Die trailer out the same week. The question now is how quickly will the Bond teaser trailer go online.

Will we get an Eon Productions logo on the No Time to Die trailer?

It’s present on The Rhythm Section trailer. But, an Eon logo usually isn’t part of Bond trailers. For example, this SPECTRE trailer that had logos for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures’ Columbia brand.

Will No Time to Die change this? We’ll see.

Why no producer credits on The Rhythm Section Trailer?

While The Rhythm Section’s teaser trailer had the Eon Productions logo, there was no credit for Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. The teaser trailer only had screenplay and director credits. Presumably, there will be more crew credits in later trailers.

No Time to Die’s sudden switch

No Time to Die logo

No spoilers except in the most general sense.

So how did this happen?

Early in the filming of No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond film, there was mystery. There were some images available but enough you could really make out the plot. Then, the second unit went off to film action sequences while the first unit was behind the walls of Pinewood Studios.

However, since production moved to Matera, Italy, all that has changed.

Some of it reflects modern technology. People take video using their smartphones and upload it to social media. Initially, it was the second unit. Then, the first unit and actors Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux arrived. All of that has meant a lot of video and stills.

As a result, tabloids have stories seemingly daily. Daniel Craig does this. Daniel Craig does that. Oh look, there’s Daniel Craig with his stunt double. Oh, and here’s Lea Seydoux. She’s in this outfit. She’s in that outfit. Oh look, according to one Daily Mail caption, Daniel Craig is talking to a member of the crew. It turned out to be Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer moved to yank smartphone video posted by fan sites. Not too long after that, outlets such as Reuters and Sky News started tweeting out some of the same No Time to Die videos. The toothpaste was well out of the tube.

All of this is the way of the world, I guess. For me personally, it’s gotten exhausting. There’s enough out there you can put together a rough idea of how the movie may be structured (at least at the start) if you’re so inclined. There’s also enough out there to question some of the favorite fan theories of what will happen in the movie. We’ll see how it goes.

Daily Mail commits a big oops on No Time to Die

No Time to Die logo

The Daily Mail, one of the British tabloids that can’t enough of James Bond, committed a faux pas in a one of its stories about the filming of No Time to Die in Matera, Italy.

The writer of a caption for a photo misidentified Barbara Broccoli, the boss of Eon Productions, as “a female assistant” to actor Daniel Craig.

The gaffe was spotted by Phil Nobile Jr., editor of Fangoria magazine. Nobile took to Twitter. His post included a screen grab of the original version. The caption read: “Craig was joined by a female assistant as he relaxed between takes on Tuesday.”

Here’s the tweet that Nobile sent out:

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Barbara Broccoli has been involved with the series going back to the 1970s. She told a Hollywood Reporter podcast in December 2017 that she captioned stills during production of The Spy Who Loved Me when she was in her teens. She received an onscreen credit in 1983’s Octopussy as “executive assistant.”

The Daily Mail caption was changed later in the day to read, “Craig was joined by Barbara Broccoli as he relaxed between takes on Tuesday.” Nevertheless, the original error enraged some fans. One example from the Thunderballs photo archive:

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Bond 26 (!) questions: The Pinewood deal edition

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Over the weekend, Pinewood Studios announced that Walt Disney Co. had signed a deal to lease almost all of the revered London-area studio sound stages and production facilities.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but the deal may run for 10 years.

Given that Pinewood is the traditional home to James Bond film productions, the blog has questions how this may affect future James Bond films, starting with Bond 26.

OK. What does this mean for Bond 26?

There’s a good chance that Bond 26 — whenever that goes into development — may have to look for another home studio base.

But, couldn’t Disney sub-lease space at Pinewood to Eon Productions for Bond 26?

It could. But then again, why would Disney do so? Disney wouldn’t have cut such a deal unless it had production plans where it would need all that Pinewood space.

Put another way, Disney has never been known for sentimentality, even when “Uncle Walt” was running the place.

After Disney animators went on strike in 1941, some were fired. The Magic Kingdom may be part of Disney. But the Magic Kingdom is, in the end, a fairy tale.

Some of the Disney strike participants were among the founders and contributors of United Productions of America (UPA). UPA went on to win some Oscars and created characters such as Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing.

Is there back story we should be aware of?

Pinewood is exiting Pinewood Atlanta, a joint venture. Pinewood is selling out to its partner. That operation will retain the Pinewood Atlanta name for up to 18 months.

Pinewood Atlanta has been the home base of some major productions by Disney-owned Marvel Studios, including the last two Avengers films. But that appears to be a things of the past.

What happens next?

No Time to Die, aka Bond 25, still is in production. We won’t know about Bond 26 for a long time, perhaps years.

With the increasingly long time in-between Bond films, Eon Productions will have plenty of time to look for a new home production base.

If something bigger happens — some kind of sale that would shake up the Bond status quo — that will have to play out before a search for new studio quarters. If Bond became part of the Disney fold, then presumably it could again film at Pinewood.

Meanwhile, Pinewood has just secured rent for the 007 Stage, the Roger Moore Stage and other studio facilities for years. That’s business.

UPDATE (11:35 a.m. New York time): The BBC has weighed in with a story about the deal. It has this line:

“Despite the Disney deal, it is believed that there is a possibility that, given its history, future James Bond films will still be filmed there.”

First of all, who believes this? Secondly, “a possibility” is less than definitive. Possibilities are not certainties.

UPDATE II (Sept. 11): This slipped by me at the time. In July, Netflix reached an agreement to lease almost all of the space at Sheppterton Studios (owned by Pinewood’s parent company). A July story in The Guardian has details. In effect, there’s now an arms race to lock up U.K. studio space.

Disney to lease most of Pinewood under new accord

Pinewood Group PLC logo

Pinewood Studios said today it has reached a long-term agreement with Walt Disney Co. where Disney productions will dominate the London-area studio.

Disney will “take all the stages, backlots and other production accommodation at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire,” Pinewood said in a short statement on its website.

No financial terms were disclosed.

The Times of London reported the deal is for 10 years and covers “all the space, except for a couple of TV studios.”

Pinewood is the traditional home base for James Bond films, although some,  including Moonraker, Licence to Kill and GoldenEye were based out of other studios.

No Time to Die,  the 25th James Bond film made by Eon Productions, is based out of Pinewood. Today’s announcement by Pinewood raises the question where Bond 26 will be based, whenever that film goes into development.

Last month, Pinewood said it was selling out its stake in Pinewood Atlanta. That facility had been the home base for major productions, including the last two Avengers movies for Disney-owned Marvel Studios.

Seydoux’s NTTD role to be bigger than thought, fan site says

No Time to Die logo

Obviously, this is a spoiler. If you don’t like that sort of thing, move on.

Lea Seydoux’s Madeline Swann role in No Time to Die will be larger than fans initially thought, James Bond Brasil said. 

The website said in a tweet it got the information by talking to actress Davina Moon, who is playing  Swann’s receptionist.

Swann “will also play a considerable role in the plot, as her character will again appear working in a psychiatric clinic,” according to a Google Translate version of the article.

Seydoux’s Swann was the female lead of 2015’s SPECTRE. She rode off with Daniel Craig’s Bond at the end of that film in the Aston Martin DB5. Seydoux’s return for the 25th James Bond film was formally announced in late April, although director Cary Fukunaga had earlier said she was coming back.

A December 2014 SPECTRE script draft had Bond telling Swann, “We have all the time in the world.” That was a famous line uttered by Bond (George Lazenby) in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service just before his wife Teresa (Diana Rigg) was killed.

The line didn’t make the final version of SPECTRE. But a favorite fan theory is that Swann will be killed early in No Time to Die.

No Time to Die takedown notices sent to Bond websites

DMCA takedown notices have been sent on behalf of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to some James Bond websites concerning videos shot of a No Time to Die car chase being filmed in Italy.

The chase is being filmed in public spaces in and around Matera. As a result, video has been shot by onlookers and posted to social media.

In turn, such video has been showing up on Twitter posts from Bond websites. Such video also has been on the websites of tabloids, including an Aug. 25 article in The Express.

Here’s an excerpt from an entry in the NOLO legal encyclopedia about takedown notices.

A DMCA takedown refers to a notice sent because a copyright owner believes someone has posted an infringement and they want it removed without the hassle of filing an infringement lawsuit. (It is sanctioned under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.) The copyright owner typically notifies the web provider that hosts the site (the Internet Service Provider or ISP). The ISP (assuming they’re not in Rumania, China, or some other country where the locals don’t fear U.S. copyright lawyers) typically removes whatever is complained about — for example, an infringing picture at a blog, an infringing movie at YouTube, etc. By “expeditiously” removing the infringing content, the ISP is given a “safe harbor” meaning that the ISP can’t be sued for infringement.

According to NOLO, an affected website can consider a counter notice. “If the complaining copyright owner fails to respond to your counter notice by filing a lawsuit, the ISP/OSP may re-post your content,” NOLO said.

UPDATE (2:15 p.m. New York time): One of the recipients of a takedown notice provided a copy. I’m not identifying that person here.  But in the email this person received via Twitter, MGM’s “authorized agent” described the supposed copyright infringement as “Unauthorized behind scenes.”

This was repeated for each alleged violation. The email from Twitter describes steps to try to contest the takedown.