Craig’s Othello play to have short run

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

UPDATE (Dec. 10): After this post was first published, the schedule was tweaked. Othello will run through Jan. 18.

ORIGINAL POST: Some details have emerged about Daniel Craig’s non-007 projects. Namely, it appears the off-Broadway production of Othello, in which the actor will play Iago, will have a short run.

The schedule is not yet on the website of the New York Theatre Workshop. However, on the message board of the MI6 James Bond website, poster Red_Snow found a link to a casting notice for the play on the website of Playbill.

The notice says all roles have been cast, but that “Equity actors for understudies and possible replacements” are being sought.

Also, according to the notice, the play’s first rehearsal will be Oct. 11,  the first preview on Nov. 16 and the play will open on Dec. 5. The closing will be Jan. 15.

The actor is involved with various projects, including the heist movie Logan Lucky, filming this fall, and the limited TV series Purity, which goes into production in 2017.

At this time, it’s uncertain whether Craig will return for Bond 25. Regardless, the Othello production, which was announced last year, won’t take up an enormous amount of the actor’s time.

Updated for those who thought Craig was playing Othello (even though the post never said that).

Merry Saltzman says planned 007 musical is a parody

Skyfall's poster image

Will 007 sing yet?

The woman behind a planned James Bond musical says she’s pushing on with the project.

Merry Saltzman TOLD PLAYBILL, that her production doesn’t need to be licensed from Danjaq LLC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which control the film rights and say they also control the stage rights.

The reason? Saltzman says the play is a parody and that it “does not require permission from the owners of the intellectual property being parodied,” according to Playbill.

Copyright law includes “fair use” provisions where parts of copyrighted works can be used. Parody is an example of fair use. Mad magazine, for example, deals in parody. Mad has parodied 007 on a number of occasions, although he’s usually called “James Bomb” or another name to make clear it is a parody.

On July 8, Danjaq (holding company for the Broccoli-Wilson family 007 interests, including Eon Productions) and MGM issued A STATEMENT in response to Saltzman’s announcement about her stage production, to be called James Bond: The Musical. Danjaq and MGM said “no James Bond stage show may be produced without their permission.”

Saltzman issued her own statement to Playbill that said, “We are producing a parody, no permissive rights are required from Eon, Danjaq, MGM et al to produce our show; it will not infringe on their intellectual property. James Bond: The Musical will go on as planned.” Saltzman told Playbill that a reference in her original announcement to having secured rights, referred to acquiring “rights to a James Bond musical parody written by Dave Clarke with music and lyrics by Jay Henry Weisz.”

From a distance, this would appear to be an aggressive utilization of parody/fair use. It’s one thing for a half-dozen pages in Mad or a short 007 skit on Saturday Night Live. It’s another to do a complete stage musical. We’ll see.

Merry Saltzman is the daughter of Harry Saltzman, co-founder of Danjaq and Eon. Harry Saltzman sold his 007 rights to United Artists in 1975 because of personal financial troubles. MGM acquired UA in the early ’80s. To read the entire Playbill story, CLICK HERE.

Some questions about a James Bond musical

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman

It’s been a few days since stories came out that there are plans for a James Bond stage musical to be produced by Merry Saltzman, daughter of Harry Saltzman, co-founder of Eon Productions.

Since then, there haven’t been any more details about James Bond: The Musical. We can’t offer many answers, but we’re more than willing to pose the questions.

Where did Merry Saltzman get the rights for this project? Stories in BROADWAY WORLD.COM and PLAYBILL said Saltzman had “secured the rights” for a stage production. But where from?

Ian Fleming Publications, run by 007 creator Ian Fleming’s heirs, controls the literary rights. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Danjaq (holding company for the Broccoli-Wilson family) control the film rights.

Once upon a time, Harry Saltzman had half of Danjaq. But he sold his share in 1975 to United Artists because of financial troubles. MGM acquired UA in the early ’80s.

Neither Ian Fleming Publications or MGM/Danjaq has publicly commented about Ms. Saltzman’s plans.

Is there any kind of precedent for this? In the 1980s, there was an attempt to mount a non-musical Casino Royale play but nothing happened.

Raymond Benson, who’d go on to write 007 continuation novels published from 1997-2002, was involved in the ill-fated project. He gave an interview in 2007 to the journal Paradigm. Excerpts were published by the MI6 JAMES BOND WEBSITE as well as the COMMANDER BOND FAN WEBSITE.

According to the interview excerpts, the Fleming literary estate commissioned the play. Benson adapted Ian Fleming’s first novel into a play but the literary estate opted not to continue. By the late 1990s, Danjaq/Eon secured the film rights to Casino.

Benson is quoted in the interview as saying the “stage play cannot be produced without the movie people’s permission…I own the copyright of the play, but the Fleming Estate owns the publication rights and the movie people own the production rights.”

It should be noted that Merry Saltzman’s project is supposed to have an all-new story, rather than adapt any Fleming novel, According to the Playbill story it will have “several Bond villains, plus some new ones.”

Is this a good idea? Decades ago, there were probably some who scoffed that Pygmalion could be made into a musical. Yet, My Fair Lady was made. Then again, some people thought a musical play featuring Spider-Man was a sure winner and things didn’t turn out that way.

For now, color us skeptical. Until we know more, however, here’s a 2012 video that our friends at The James Bond Dossier found a few days ago.