Mendes confirms Skyfall delves into 007’s `personal history’

Skyfall director Sam Mendes

Empire magazine, promoting its new issue with Skyfall star Daniel Craig on the cover, has a short article with comments from Sam Mendes where the director confirms the movie will get into Bond’s background. While not a huge surprise, there’s this passage about the audience can expect:

Mendes also adds that Skyfall will see 007 “physically pushing himself” and says that he takes the character “to another level where Daniel isn’t just playing things he’sdone before, where we felt we were pushing — I have to say this in a way that’s not giving too much away — the personal history of the character.”

This revelation isn’t a surprise to anyone who read about Skyfall call sheets that briefly described scenes or viewed photographs taken by a nature photographer during filming in March.

Still, it’s the first quote we’ve seen from one of the Skyfall principals that addresses the issue of how the 23rd 007 movie will explore the character’s history. It hasn’t come up much in previous films. GoldenEye had a passing reference to how Bond was an orphan, for example.

Skyfall: some elements confirmed, some not

On April 16, a number of entertainment Web sites put out stories generated during a Skyfall press tour last week. The resulting articles confirmed some things that have been reported about the 23rd James Bond while not confirming, at least for now, others. Here’s a quick look.

Skyfall's producer and star aren't confirming everything

Confirmed: character names for Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney

A story ON THE COMINGSOON.NET WEB SITE had the following:

We know that Dame Judi Dench’s M is a lot more involved in this one and even goes out with 007 into the field, while Ralph Fiennes plays M’s government overseer Mallory and Albert Finney plays someone named Kincade.

A list of Skyfall characters surfaced last month when call sheets and related materials surfaced after they had been sold on eBay (call sheet information was previously disclosed on the James Bond Brasil and 007 Collector Web sites).

Fans pretty much put together that Fiennes was Mallory and Finney was Kincade. Meanwhile, earlier stories from the set of Skyfall had confirmed information on the call sheets that Javier Bardem’s villain character was named Silva.

Not confirmed (yet): Ben Whishaw plays the new Q (or reasonable equivalent)

Whishaw’s casting as the new Q was reported in November by the BBC, which cited the actor’s agent. When the call sheet information surfaced last month, there was a character listed only as B, perhaps short for Boothroyd, the “real” name of the Q character played from 1963 to 1999 by Desmond Llewelyn.

At this point, the Skyfall isn’t confirming while not exactly denying it. ComingSoon ran a separate INTERVIEW with star Daniel Craig and producer Barbara Broccoli. There was this exchange:

Q: Is it true that we’ll see you and Moneypenny back? We know about Q, that was announced by his agent.
Broccoli: Nothing’s been announced.
Craig: Agents are liars. You know that. (Laughter)

The quote that “Nothing’s been announced,” is meaningless. Things are official once a contract has been signed. The announcement is one of the last things to occur. Meahwhile, Craig’s laughing seems like a “wink, wink” moment. Plus, based on the call sheet information (none of which has proven to be wrong while much of it has been shown to be correct), confirmation appears to be only a formality. But, for now, this falls under the unconfirmed category.

At the same time, a story ON THE HITFIX WEB SITE made this observation about the movie in general:

And yes movie fans, if you wonder why Hollywood lifers tell you to ignore publicist denials, now you know. “Skyfall” was secretly being worked on and Mendes was always expected to direct (something EON and MGM denied for months).

Bardem tells MTV his Skyfall villain is `complex’

Eon Productions last week held some press interviews for Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film. MTV was among those who got some time with cast members, including Javier Bardem, who plays the movie’s villain, who the actor refers to as “complex.” Here’s an excerpt:

Javier Bardem, who plays Skyfall's villain, Silva

That great cast includes the ultimate bad guy, Javier Bardem. The actor, who won an Oscar for his bone-chilling role as Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men,” will prove yet again that he is a master villain as he takes on the role of Silva.

“I think the character is really complex; he’s not an easy guy,” Bardem said. “He’s not only a villain; it’s more than that, hopefully. It’s what we tried to achieve. I’m giving James Bond a hard time — that’s my job, that’s my duty.”

(Daniel) Craig believes Bardem’s evil role certainly adds great depth to the 23rd installment of 007: “There’s also the very important relationship he has with the bad guy in the movie, which, again, gives the whole film a richer content,” Craig said.

This may be confirmation of the name of Bardem’s character, something that didn’t become known until call sheets from Skyfall filming were sold on eBay. At least, MTV’s Christina Garibaldi writes as if the Silva name is correct. She doesn’t mention how the Silva name was supposed to be a secret until the call sheets surfaced via the James Bond Brasil Web site.

To read a text version of the entire MTV story JUST CLICK HERE. If you click the link below, you may be able (in the U.S. anyway) to see the video version of the MTV story. When we tested it, a media player popped up on our browser.

007 new questions about Skyfall (SPOILER)



This edition of 007 questions is based on the Skyfall news of the week that, for the record, we’ll mention is not officially confirmed but, neverthless, is the talk of James Bond fandom. (If you’ve read this far, no complaints about spoilers will be accepted.)

Judi Dench and Daniel Craig at the November press conference for Skyfall.

001. Were you really surprised by the report on the Best for Film Web site that that a certain character is getting killed off in Skyfall? We’d heard a rumor to that effect but this was the first time we’d seen it written up. Given how it went viral, it would seem that nobody else had written it until now.

002. What’s your reaction? Judi Dench is 77 and the Bond films have been produced at an erratic rate since 2002. Killing off a long-running character (the Dench version of M M debuted 17 years ago in GoldenEye) tends to be dramatic no matter how many times it has occurred in the past with other characters in other movies and television shows.. So it makes sense.

003. Until now, had there been any clues this may happen? Recall that Peter Morgan, originally hired as a “prestige” writer to work with Eon scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, had once said he had devised a “shocking” story for the then-untitled Bond 23. He later said his idea his main idea was still in the script (now with John Logan in place of Morgan). The small amount of publicity relative to previous 007 movies is consistent with trying to keep the lid on a surprise (more about that down below). Finally, the November Skyfall press release described the plot like this:

In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. (emphasis added)

004. So will it be a good or bad thing? The answer, if you’ll pardon the pun, will lay with the execution of the idea.

005. What about having Ralph Fiennes be the new M? (also part of the initial report but not discussed as much) Well, there was a clue when the Skyfall call sheets and related material were sold on eBay and hit the Internet. A cast list said Fiennes’ character was named Mallory, which evokes Admiral Sir Miles Messervy, the original M of Ian Fleming’s novels, played by the late Bernard Lee. The name of Finnes’s character hasn’t been officially disclosed.

006. What’s the fan reaction been like? Everything from, “Of course, everybody knew that,” to “Oh, no!” to “It’s about time!” One of the more interesting comments on one message board was wondering if fans who’ve been wanting the Dench M to exit the series (because she seems to get an expanding amount of screen time with each film) will still find a reason to complain now the character is being killed off.

007. How do you think they’ll do it? We’re not going to guess at this point, but there was one message board where a poster suggested it’d be great showcase for Daniel Craig if his Bond gets to kill M. That left us cold. Blunt instrument is one thing, some fans seem anxious to transform 007 into a glassy eyed sociopath. Meanwhile, yes, the literary Bond did try (unsuccessfully) to kill M in The Man With the Golden Gun, but he had been brainwashed by the KGB.

Skyfall character names surface on call sheets (SPOILERS)

Skyfall call sheets, which were sold on eBay, continue to surface, providing more information about the 23rd James Bond film. This time, the names of Skyfall’s characters became available as part of the material.

STOP READING RIGHT NOW if you don’t want to know anything.

At the 007 Collector Web site photos of Skyfall call sheets, originally issued during filming last month in the U.K. appeared on March 13. They’re not as easy to read as the images of the call sheets that briefly ran on the James Bond Brasil site last week before that site was forced to take them down.

In addition, one of the pictures of the call sheets and related materials had — before the Web site took it down, also on March 13 — a list of Skyfall’s characters beyond those mentioned for the specific scenes being shot that day. There are no actors listed. In order, that list is: 1) James Bond 2) M 3) Raoul Silva 4) Gareth Mallory 5) Eve 6) Severine 7) Kincade 8) B 9) Bill Tanner 10) Patrice 11) Doctor Hall 12) Clair Dowar, MP 13) Inquiry Member #1 14) Vanessa (M’s Asst.) 15. Whitehall Police Guard #1 16) Shanghai Bartender 17) Floating Dragon Cashier 18) Mallory’s Office Assistant

There are others beyond that, but some numbers are skipped. Anong the others are B’s Assistant, Silva’s Isolation Guard, three bodyguards for Severine, two Vauxhall Bridge guards, three more inquiry members and three MI-6 Techies (i.e. MI-6 Techie #1, etc.)

There’s no Q, even though actor Ben Whishaw’s agent told the BBC that Whishaw was playing Q. No mention of Moneypenny nor any mention of Ernst Stavro Blofeld despite teasing by Skyfall scribe John Logan that a rebooted Blofeld would be the villain.

Does that mean Q, Moneypenny and Blofeld aren’t in the movie? Who knows? B conceivably could be the Q character (B stands for Boothroyd?). The three MI-6 “techies” hint there could be some kind of gadgetmaster character. Or maybe B is Blofeld? Plus, there were those stories in the U.K.’s Daily Mail that Naomie Harris’s Eve character would be revealed as Moneypenny.

One other question: Does having M listed second mean that Judi Dench will be the top-ranked actor in the main titles after the title? (With Daniel Craig as Bond in the customary spot before the title.) Given the role of M in the story — the Skyfall press release in November practically makes it sound as if the plot revolves around M as much as Bond — means that’s possible.

Meanwhile, the character list is consistent with call sheet information that the James Bond Brasil site disclosed. It said that Javier Bardem’s villain was named Silva. This newest piece of the puzzle now provides a full name. Still, there’s plenty of mystery; the call sheets and related material don’t seem to provide any information on the characters being played by Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney

Fan Web site posts Skyfall call sheets (SPOILER ALERT)

UPDATE: The James Bond Brasil Web site said it had to take down the images of pages from the Skyfall call sheets that it posted earlier this week.

The call sheets were originally issued last month during filming in London and Scotland. Call sheets were being sold on eBay about a week ago, so James Bond Brasil’s proprietors may have been the winning bidder. (In fact, it appears ANOTHER SET is being auctioned on eBay now with a March 11 deadline.)

"There's been a leak!"

Anyway, based on the call sheets that had been on the site (and other places on the Internet prior to James Bond Brasil taking them down), there are some SPOILERS about the 23rd James Bond film out.

If you don’t want to know anymore STOP READING NOW.

OK, here are the nuggets of information:

1. The name of the villain played by Javier Bardem is Silva.

2. There’s a sequence where, in M’s car, “Tanner learns somebody is accessing The Flash Drive.” Then, “The car is stopped by security. M climbs out angry.” At the Vauxhall Bridge, “M yells at the bridge guards…Boom.”

3. At a Macao hotel, “Eve shaves Bond.”

4. In a later scene, “Silva is excited as he sees M & Kincade.”

5. In a scene set in Scotland, Bond and M have a drink and “Bond tells of his childhood.”

6. There’s a car chase, which includes a “bogus police Land Rover.”