Bond 25: Murdoch’s tabloids strike back

Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns tabloids The Sun (U.K.) and New York Post (U.S.)

Tabloid papers belonging to News Corp., run by Rupert Murdoch, a possible inspiration for the media mogul in Tomorrow Never Dies, have weighed in with dire depictions about Bond 25.

What’s more, one of their targets is Bond 25 star Daniel Craig, making his fifth film as Bond.

To be sure, Bond films have always gotten lots of attention from tabloids. Nevertheless, two Murdoch tabloids — The Sun in the U.K. and the New York Post in the U.S. — have published stories with a common theme. Namely, according to the Murdoch publications, all is not well behind the scenes with Bond 25.

On April 25, the same day as the Bond 25 media event in Jamaica, the Post’s Page Six gossip operation runs a story headlined, “There’s already trouble in paradise on new James Bond set.”

A sample of the prose:

A source close to Bond 25 said, “They don’t have a script, there’s no title, it is nearly five years since the last Bond. It starts with a retired Bond living in wedded bliss, but the rest of the script is still being worked over. They rolled out the cast this week at Ian Fleming’s villa in Jamaica because if they wait much longer Daniel Craig, who is 51, will be too old, and then he really won’t do the film.”

As Jack Benny used to say: “Well!” The story also said there would be cameos by Grace Jones (who played May Day in A View to a Kill) and Christoph Waltz, who played Blofeld in SPECTRE.

Not to be outdone, The Sun publishes a story on April 26 with the headline, “James Bond 25 chaos as Daniel Craig is given creative control amid fears he wants spy to be PC.”

Among other things in the story:

Bond head honcho Barbara Broccoli, 58, and makers E-on (sic) Productions were desperate for Craig to make a U-turn.

So they handed him a £18.4million pay cheque and complete creative control, meaning he has a say on casting, scripts, locations, costumes, technical team — and even the role of director.

(snip)
A Bond insider said: “The move has got people’s backs up. Some are expecting constant arguments, as whatever Craig wants, he gets.”

If Jack Benny were still with us, he’d be saying “Well!” a lot.

Not to be outdone, the Post came back with another a column today headlined, “How whiney Daniel Craig killed James Bond.”

Another sample:

Since Craig first donned the spy’s tuxedo in 2006’s “Casino Royale,” the franchise has turned increasingly homogeneous, dreary and frankly skippable. The granddaddy of super-spy films is now one of the most mediocre action series out there — and Craig is largely to blame for it.

(snip)
During his reign, 007 has become a bitter curmudgeon who jets ‘round the world pouting and going rogue in seemingly every film. Huh, kinda sounds like Craig himself.

Yikes! Is this a coordinated assault by the House of Murdoch? Or does Murdoch’s News Corp. simply employ a lot of like-minded people?

Oh well. We’ll see how it goes. Principal photography on Bond 25 is scheduled to begin Sunday, April 28, in Jamaica.

Let the speculation begin! Blog says Bond going to 20th Century Fox

With all the uncertainty about MGM and what’s happening with Bond 23, we have a report about James Bond reportedly finding a new movie studio home.

The We Are Movie Geeks site says News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox may become the studio that releases James Bond movies. Some excerpts:

A source close to the dealings has let We Are Movie Geeks know that Bond is alive and well, and will be settling into his new domicile for marketing and distribution at 20th Century Fox. That’s right, expect the official word to come out any day now, but it looks like ‘Bond 23′ is going to be running behind the Fox banner.

We’ll see. If it does come to pass, this development would lead to some interesting possibilties:

1. Product placement. You might see copies of The Wall Street Journal or the New York Post used prominently as props. That’s not so far fetched. In the 2003 movie Daredevil, reporter Ben Urich went from working for the fictional Daily Bugle to the New York Post. Also, if a character is watching television during Bond 23, it wouldn’t be surprising that they’d be watching Fox News, Fox Business Channel or FX.

2. The magic word: synergy! When Bond DVDs are sold, it may be part of a package deals with Star Wars DVDs or other parts of Fox’s film library.

3. Cameos. Eon Productions bossman Michael G. Wilson may have to share time with News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch.

For the entire WAMG post, just CLICK RIGHT HERE.

UPDATE: Another blog says they’ve gotten an e-mailed denial from MGM. To see that CLICK HERE.

UPDATE II: Yet another blog that references MGM’s denial can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.