As 007’s lost year ends, will Eon follow its own advice?

James Bond, feeling sad after examining his back story one more time.

James Bond, feeling sad after examining his back story one more time.

As 2016 draws to a close, the future of the film James Bond is a little up in the air.

It’s been a bit of a lost year. No progress toward a finding a studio to release Bond 25. No public announcement about a writer or director. No hint about a release date.

With that in mind, will Eon Productions follow its own advice about how to carry on a film franchise?

On July 31, 2012, Eon’s Michael G. Wilson gave an address about the subject. Among his recommendations:

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a “formula for complacency”

 “It’s important to change things, to get ahead of the curve before things taper off,” Wilson said.

In the last week, tabloids in the U.S. and U.K. have come out with studios saying that Eon or Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are determined that Daniel Craig’s decade-long reign as 007 continue.

The Page Six feature of the New York Post said Eon boss Barbara Broccoli is producing the off-Broadway play Othello, where Craig plays Iago, to eventually get the actor back for Bond 25. The U.K. Mirror said MGM was “panicked” after not hearing anything from Craig.

If there’s any truth to either (which remains to be seen), it doesn’t appear as if anyone is looking to make a major change.

“Believe in your brand. Cubby Broccoli used to say Bond is the star”

“That means that Bond is bigger than any actor who portrays him,” Wilson said, “and no writer, director or producer is indispensable.”

“It all boils down to don’t be afraid of change”

“The Bond films have been recast six times and each time the series was re-evented,” Wilson said. “Each actor brought out different aspects of the character.”

“We believe story is not an element, the story is a key to a good film.”

The last two Bond films, Skyfall and SPECTRE, included Bond confronting his backstory. They sold a lot of tickets in theaters.

Eon could continue down that path. Perhaps Bond could discover his father wasn’t his actual father. The agent could confront, yet again, a major personal crisis. That could yield many dramatic moments.

Or the filmmakers could change yet again.

If you want to watch Wilson make his comments, the quotes cited here begin after the 11:00 mark:

NY Post ties Othello, Bond 25 in plan to get Craig back

Eon co-boss Barbara Broccoli and current 007 star Daniel Craig

Eon boss Barbara Broccoli and current 007 star Daniel Craig

Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post tabloid says Daniel Craig’s Othello play actually is part of a plan by Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli to get the actor back — eventually — for Bond 25. Broccoli is a producer of the play, where Craig plays Iago.

The story ran Dec. 11 in the paper’s Page Six gossip feature.

Here’s an excerpt:

(A) source told Page Six of “Othello” and Bond, “Daniel thinks of himself as a ‘serious actor,’ and he wants to stretch his artistic muscles. And Barbara really believes in his talent. For her to do this [play] for him is a gift — of course she wants him back — this is going to entice him to make another Bond movie.” The insider said Broccoli would ask Craig back for the next 007 film, “Bond 25,” sometime after the play’s run. Other insiders add that Craig is amenable to a return to Bond after a hiatus of a few years when he’ll tackle “more serious roles.” (emphasis added)

The story (originally credited to “Page Six team” but now having a byline of Ian Mohr) also quotes a source as saying, “All those people are not in the running,” when asked about “the heated speculation over actors who could take over the role. The story specifically lists Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Michael Fassbender and Jack Huston. It’s not 100 percent clear whether the source was asked about others who’ve been subject of such speculation.

Normally, the blog would put Caveat Emptor in the headline but it wouldn’t fit. Even if true, the Page Six story raises the question just how long a hiatus Craig wants for Bond 25.

Craig angered MGM chief, Vanity Fair says

Poster for SPECTRE

Poster for SPECTRE

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s top executive was angered last year when SPECTRE star Daniel Craig said he’s rather “slash my wrists” than play James Bond again, Vanity Fair reported.

The disclosure was part of a broader story mostly intended to knock down last weekend’s Radar Online story that the actor is being offered $150 million to do two more 007 films. (The publication says the offer is “is as fictional as Francisco Scaramanga’s third nipple”).

Here’s an excerpt that concerns MGM’s CEO, Gary Barber:

Craig’s “slash my wrists” comment didn’t exactly endear him to MGM’s chief executive and chairman Gary Barber who, Vanity Fair has learned, personally contacted the actor last year to express his frustration in no uncertain terms. (An email to Craig’s publicist was not immediately returned.)

“Gary hit the ceiling when he read the story,” says a source with knowledge of the situation, who declined to be identified because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. “He called up Daniel to yell at him. He was furious.”

Quick recap: Craig made the mark in an interview with Time Out London. The interview was conducted a few days after the seven-month shoot of SPECTRE was completed but not published until October.

The article was in Q&A format and the “slash my wrists” comment was in response to the 17th of 22 questions. Neverthless, other outlets jumped on the quote, leading with it in their summaries of the interview. Craig fans have been crying foul ever since on social media.

This isn’t the first time something like this has been reported. The New York Post’s Page Six gossip page  said 11 months ago that executives at Sony Pictures, which co-financed SPECTRE with MGM, had told Craig to shut up.

Vanity Fair, though, is considerably higher brow than the tabloid New York Post. The Vanity Fair story also says Craig still is contractually obligated to do another Bond movie. Michael G. Wilson, co-boss of Eon Productions, said last year that Craig is not.

To read the entire Vanity Fair story, CLICK HERE.

Caveat Emptor: Murdoch tabloids disagree about Craig

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

Daniel Craig 

The following is presented for entertainment value only.

Two tabloid outposts of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. are, amusingly, in disagreement about the prospects whether Daniel Craig might return to the role of James Bond or not.

Back on July 22, the U.K. tabloid The Sun said Eon Productions co-boss Barbara Broccoli wasn’t in a hurry about Bond 25 because she’s producing other films. It quoted a source as saying, “It will give her time to work out a script and try to convince Daniel to maybe return.”

On July 28, Page Six, which is part of the New York Post (the tabloid Murdoch acquired in 1976, becoming his entry into the U.S. market), also said Broccoli wasn’t in a hurry. In this case, it quotes a source as saying no 007 casting until Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer selects a studio partner to release Bond 25. Sony Pictures’ contract expired with SPECTRE.

But the U.S. side of the Murdoch empire tosses this in:

 

Meanwhile, there are still bad feelings between Bond bosses and the most recent star Daniel Craig, who famously said he “would rather break this glass and slit my wrists” than play 007 again. Another source added, “Producers think that ungracious comment, right before the release of ‘Spectre,’ cost them tens of millions at the box office. They’re ready to forget about Daniel.”

Who knows? As we said, we pass this along for entertainment value.