Susanne Bier on Bond 25 director ‘shortlist,’ website says

Susanne Bier

Susanne Bier

Susanne Bier, who helmed the television miniseries The Night Manager, is among a “handful” of directors “making up producer Barbara Broccoli’s shortlist” for Bond 25, the RadioTimes website said.

The story cited “sources close to Bond producers Eon,” without being more specific.

Until now, Bond 25 speculation has centered on whether incumbent 007 actor Daniel Craig would return and, if not, who might succeed him. One of those actors is Tom Hiddleston, the star of The Night Manager.

The RadioTimes story is the first report concerning who might direct Bond 25. Sam Mendes, director of Skyfall and SPECTRE, said again over the weekend that he’s not coming back to the world of 007.

RadioTimes also spends much of its story evaluating whether Bier, 56, being considered would increase Hiddleston’s chances of getting the Bond role.

Here’s an excerpt:

If Bier gets the job it would make her the first woman ever to helm a James Bond movie – and would also vastly increase the chances of the already hotly-tipped Hiddleston getting the role of Bond thanks to the pair’s previous working relationship.

Bier directed Hiddleston in acclaimed espionage drama series The Night Manager, which aired earlier this year on BBC1, and has spoken of her huge admiration for the star.

At this stage, fans may want to exercise caution. RadioTimes doesn’t say just how many directors are being considered by Eon Productions co-boss Broccoli.

Also, for the moment, Bond 25 can’t get a release date until Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer selects a studio partner to co-finance and distribute the movie. MGM’s contract with Sony Pictures expired with SPECTRE and MGM doesn’t have the resources to release a film itself.

Our modest proposals for Bond 25 Part II

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Despite all the unknowns (leading man, distributor, script, etc.) about Bond 25, Eon Productions is getting plenty of advice about the cinema future of James Bond.

Variety, for example, suggested Kathryn Bigelow or Quentin Tarantino would be good candidates to succeed Sam Mendes as director.

We’ve already done this act once, so here’s our sequel:

Select an up-and-coming director to helm Bond 25: Over at Marvel Studios, executives have a knack for signing up-and-coming directors such as James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Joe and Anthony Russo (the past two Captain America movies) with good results.

Taking such an approach may: 1) Provide a fresh set of eyes on 007 movie making and 2) Help with the budget because you’re signing people before they reach peak earnings power.

Bond 25 after the Sam Mendes-directed SPECTRE and, yet again, homages to past films could use the former. Or, put another way: The DB5, again after it was blown up in Skyfall? Really? Daniel Craig has driven it more than Sean Connery ever did.

Sign your own version of Kevin Feige:  Kevin Feige runs the Marvel movie operation and he’s credited as producer of each Marvel-made film. By all accounts, he’s enthusiastic about his job and has never publicly complained about the stresses of making big movies.

Both Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the co-bosses of Eon Production, have interests in non-007 projects.

A Feige-like deputy could keep an eye on things while Broccoli and Wilson are involved with plays, non-007 films and the like. Such a person could perhaps have kept a closer eye on SPECTRE’s script development while Broccoli and Wilson were involved with The Silent Storm.

The key thing would be to hire a sufficiently talented individual who the Eon co-bosses could trust. Not necessarily an easy task, but one worth considering.

Develop a succession plan if you haven’t already: Michael G. Wilson, at 74, has already spent a majority of his life in Bondage, longer than anybody else associated with the franchise. Over the past 20 years, he has commented more than once about the strains of the job.

Only Wilson knows if he’s up for doing it yet again for Bond 25. But whether it’s Bond 25, 26, 27, etc., nobody lives forever.

Sam Mendes said at a public appearance  that Barbara Broccoli alone will select the next actor to play James Bond. If he’s correct, perhaps there already has been some kind of transition. We’ll see.

Meanwhile Wilson’s son, Gregg, was assistant producer on Quantum of Solace and associate producer on Skyfall and SPECTRE.

 

Mendes says, again, he won’t direct another 007 film

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes, who helmed Skyfall and SPECTRE, said, according to The Associated Press, that he won’t be directing Bond 25.

Here’s an excerpt with the key details:

“It was an incredible adventure, I loved every second of it,” Mendes said of his five years working on the thriller franchise. “But I think it’s time for somebody else.”

Mendes revealed his plans to step down from the series to an audience at the Hay Festival of literature in Wales. A former theatre director whose films include the Oscar-winner “American Beauty” and the somber “Revolutionary Road,” Mendes said he hoped the next Bond director would come from an “unexpected direction,” just as he had.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Mendes has made such comments.

In 2013, he said the idea of directing a sequel to 2012’s Skyfall made him feel “physically ill,” but he directed the next Bond movie, SPECTRE, anyway. Pay raises have a way of calming the stomach.

In July 2015, he told the BBC he “probably” would not direct another 007 film.

Regardless, Mendes’ latest comments are worth noting given how the Bond film series is in flux.

Bond 25, as of now, has no leading man (Daniel Craig hasn’t said if he’s coming back or not), no director, no script and no distributor.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, following its 2010 bankruptcy, doesn’t have the resources to release a Bond movie on its own. Sony Pictures, which released the last four 007 films, saw its contract with MGM expire after SPECTRE.

And, for now, the world goes round and round, albeit without a firm schedule for the return of agent 007.

UPDATE: The AP story has this passage, which raises questions.

Mendes said lobbying by fans is pointless because the decision will be made solely by the series’ producer, Barbara Broccoli.

“It’s not a democracy … Barbara Broccoli decides who is going to be the next Bond, end of story,” he said.

Does Michael G. Wilson, co-boss of Eon Productions, not have a say?

Yikes! Even the NYT gets into 007 sweepstakes stories

Tom Hiddleston's expression here is close to our reaction to the NYT story

Tom Hiddleston’s expression here is close to our reaction to the NYT story

Say it isn’t so, Gray Lady.

The New York Times, considered one of the best newspapers, if not the best newspaper, in the world couldn’t resist doing a James Bond story based on the activities of U.K. bookies who don’t actually know what’s going on.

Over the past few days, British bookmaker Coral stopped taking bets on who the next James Bond will be. That’s because there were a surge of bets in favor of British actor Tom Hiddleston.

The surge, in turn, occurred because of U.K. tabloid stories that Eon Productions co-boss Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall and SPECTRE director Sam Mendes had a late-night dinner recently with the 35-year-old actor.

This is what bookies do. They adjust odds based on bets. And if there are too many bets for one candidate, they stop making bets because they won’t make money.

Various U.K. tabloids have written up the Coral action. So has the BBC.  But The Times evidently felt it was now a matter for its attention.

The Times doesn’t actually bring any reporting to the issue. The story mostly cites other outlets. You know,  the way, blogs like ours (that are way, way down the media food chain), do.

Imagine the reaction when there’s actual news to report.

Mendes has a new movie project and it’s not Bond 25

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes

Apparently this time he meant it.

Sam Mendes, director of Skyfall and SPECTRE, told the BBC last year that he was “probably” done directing Bond films. Of course, after 2012’s Skyfall, he had said the thought of directing another 007 adventure made him “physically ill.” Mendes apparently took some Alka Seltzer and directed SPECTRE (plus got a big raise). So, naturally, there was some skepticism about his 2015 comments.

However, the Deadline: Hollywood website reported (and other outlets confirmed) Mendes has lined up another directing gig, a movie based on an upcoming book by author Gay Talese.

EXCLUSIVE: Sam Mendes and DreamWorks have captured screen rights to the Gay Talese article The Voyeur’s Motel that got the town all hot and bothered when the April 11th The New Yorker article hit. Mendes will direct and produce with Steven Spielberg a film based on the article and a book that Talese has written. The book, which bears the same title, will be published July 12th by Grove Press. Word is the deal was at or close to $1 million.

The story doesn’t specify when filming might start, much less when the film would arrive in theaters. But the news would seem to take Mendes out of the conversation for Bond 25.

The next 007 film has no release date because, for now, there’s no studio to release it because Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is still seeking a studio partner after Sony’s most recent contract expired.

On the other hand, if Bond 25 gets pushed back to 2019 or 2020, Mendes could be available to direct it.

The 007 film dilemma in 3 minutes

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

As the James Bond film franchise decides what to do next, it faces a bit of a dilemma:

Should it continue to seek more critical respect (Casino Royale and Skyfall) or should it embrace its roots, the way SPECTRE, the most recent 007 film, did?

The last two Bond films were directed by an auteur, Sam Mendes.

In 2012, Eon Productions co-boss Barbara Broccoli told ComingSoon.Net that the franchise didn’t hire journeymen directors: “(W)e’ve never been one to hire directors for hire. We always wanted someone who was a great director in their own right and a storyteller.”

Yet, in the first four movies of the series — which generated some of the most memorable scenes for the franchise — were directed by journeymen Terence Young and Guy Hamilton. Young, in particular, dealt with cost and schedule overruns on Dr. No and From Russia With Love.

Young even had part of his Dr. No fee impounded until costs were recouped at the box office because of the overruns. Bond was a much more modest undertaking in those days.

2012 also saw something that summarizes the divide between respect and tradition.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversayr of the Bond films. So Tom Jones appeared to perform the title song to Thunderball, the fourth 007 film.

The audiences was full of artistes. Yet they seemed to be having as good a time as audiences did in 1965 when Thunderball first came out.

On some occasions, respect and tradition can coincide. Something to keep in mind as Bond 25 undergoes its journey in development. Here’s Sir Tom in 2012:

SPECTRE gets 2 awards from Empire magazine

Empire, the U.K. film magazine gave SPECTRE two awards on Sunday.

The 24th James Bond film received awards for Best Thriller and Best British film. Here’s how Empire announced the news on Twitter.

Here’s a reaction:

And another, this one from Chris Corbould, the special effects wizard.

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