A history of Christopher Nolan as next Bond director

Christopher Nolan

There has long been fan interest in the idea of Christopher Nolan directing a James Bond film. This week, The Bond Geek channel on YouTube brought up the idea again.

Nolan is a self-confessed Bond fan. Some bits from his trilogy of Batman movies (2005, 2008, 2012) have homages to the Bond film series. So did his 2010 movie Inception, where one segment seemed based on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

What’s more, Nolan’s name comes up every so often in connection with Bond movies.

It happened in 2013 when Nolan was mentioned as a possible director for Bond 24 (finally titled SPECTRE).

It happened again in December 2017, when a fan website said Nolan was “more than likely” to direct Bond 25, finally titled No Time to Die. I’d provide the link, except the fan site apparently took the article down.

As the blog has written before, the Bond series itself has been affected by Nolan. 2012’s Skyfall had Nolan inflences. Director Sam Mendes said so.

That influence continued with SPECTRE, which had Hoyte Van Hoytema as director of photography and Lee Smith as editor.

If you bring Nolan inside the Eon 007 tent, there are other issues. With Nolan, you typically also get the involvement of his production company, Syncopy. Nolan gets a producer’s credit. So does his wife, Emma Thomas.

As usual, we’ll see. Nolan’s next film, Oppenheimer, is scheduled for release in July 2023. Here’s the trailer:

About that Daniel Craig LAT interview

Daniel Craig’s 007

Daniel Craig, after a five-film run as James Bond, reflected on his 007 run (Casino Royale through No Time to Die) in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Whatever your feelings about those five movies, the LAT interview showed the 54-year-old actor has mixed feelings. An excerpt:

“It’s my fault because I kind of didn’t shut up about the fact that I had all these injuries. I’m pissed off at myself that I ever even spoke about them,” Craig said. “I put way more work into the creative side of those movies than I did into the physical side of those movies. The physical side of the movies was just the job. I had to do it. I trained, learned the fights, that’s kind of my brain not working. The rest of it, the look, the feel, the kind of the temperature of the movies, getting Sam Mendes in to direct ‘Skyfall,’ that’s where the hard work was. Going to the gym is hard work, but it’s not really brain hard work.”

Craig endured numerous injuries. He also had unprecedented input (compared to previous actors employed by Eon Productions) into the plot and other aspects of the movies.

The actor, a year after No Time to Die came out, claims it was his idea for his version of Bond to be killed.

“Two things, one for myself and one for the franchise,” Craig said. “One, for the franchise, was that resets start again, which [the franchise] did with me. And I was like, ‘Well, you need to reset again.’ So let’s kill my character off and go find another Bond and go find another story. Start at [age] 23, start at 25, start at 30.

To be sure, there’s a lot of after-the-fact story telling before and after a movie comes out. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” which is a line from 1962’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance. That’s still the case in the 21st century.

Quotes from Craig’s interviews have split Bond movie fans. Craig fans say that shows why he’s a great actor. Craig critics cite this why he’s selfish.

Whatever. It remains to be seen whether Eon gets on with the business of a post-Craig era.

Sam Mendes makes his Bond film case

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes has made points about his two-film tenure in the James Bond film series. Some are new, some provide new twists.

The director, in a Nov. 8 story by The Hollywood Reporter, made new versions of previous comments about his time on Skyfall and SPECTRE, the only Bond films made during the 2010s.

The Skyfall delay was good! Bond 23, which would become Skyfall, originally was to be written by Peter Morgan and the writing team of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Bond’s home studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, entered bankruptcy in 2010, resulting in delays. An excerpt from the THR story:

Mendes and his collaborators used the downtime as an opportunity to creatively resuscitate the film’s storyline.

Morgan exited the project while Mendes brought in writer John Logan to rework the scripting by Purvis and Wade. Mendes has said that process helped the film and he repeats that in the new THR story.

Skyfall was the first time acknowledging that Bond aged: Skyfall “acknowledged the passage of time, arguably for the first time ever, in the series. It acknowledged that they are mortal, that they are going to age and probably die,” Mendes told THR.

Arguably, no it wasn’t. When Sean Connery did interviews for Diamonds Are Forever in 1971, he said he was playing Bond as older. In For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore’s Bond goes to the gravesite of his late wife Tracy. That movie came out in 1981 but Tracy’s headstone says she died in 1969 (the year On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was released). Lois Maxwell’s Moneypenny in 1983’s Octopussy acknowledged being older.

For more details, CLICK HERE.

SPECTRE was something else: The director didn’t get additional time for 2015’s SPECTRE.

With SPECTRE, “that time was not afforded to me,” Mendes told THR. “[With Spectre], I felt there was some pressure. Certainly Barbara (Broccoli) and Michael (G. Wilson) exerted some pressure on me and Daniel to make the next one, so that makes a big difference. People saying: ‘We want you to do it,’ and passionately wooing me to do it, was a big thing.”

Of course, Mendes could have said no. In 2015, Mendes told the BBC he almost turned SPECTRE down. “I said no to the last one and then ended up doing it, and was pilloried by all my friends,” Mendes told the BBC. “But I do think this is probably it.”

While not referenced by THR, SPECTRE also saw entire scripts made public because of hacks into Sony’s computer system. (Sony released four of the five Daniel Craig 007 films.) In addition to scripts, details about tax breaks from Mexico for SPECTRE became public. With SPECTRE, the writing team of Purvis and Wade was brought in to rewrite John Logan.

Mendes, Arnold to participate in 007 music programs

Sam Mendes

This month, Royal Albert Hall in London will be the site of music programs for Casino Royale, Skyfall and SPECTRE. Composer David Arnold and director Sam Mendes are scheduled to participate.

Here are the descriptions

Casino Royale in Concert

Thu 17 Nov

Daniel Craig makes his debut as the one and only 007. Featuring an in-person introduction from Casino Royale composer David Arnold.

For more information: CLICK HERE.

Skyfall in Concert

Fri 18 Nov

Bond looks back to his family roots in this roaring espionage adventure. Featuring an in-person introduction from director Sam Mendes.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

SPECTRE in Concert

Sat 19 – Sun 20 Nov

Watch Bond infiltrate a mysterious criminal organization known as Spectre. Saturday’s evening performance will feature an in-person introduction by director Sam Mendes. For more information, CLICK HERE.

The programs feature the Hall Philharmonic Orchestra. The score for Casino Royale was composed by Arnold. Thomas Newman, Mendes’ choice for composer, worked on the scores for Skyfall and SPECTRE.

Just one more thing, as Lt. Columbo used to say, Daniel Craig was “the one and only 007”? I realize the hall needs to sell tickets, but really?

The celebration of the Daniel Craig era of Bond continues.

UPDATE: A reader suggests the Casino Royale event referring to “the one and only 007” means Bond the character rather than Craig the actor. Perhaps so. But Eon Productions, which makes the Bond films, has made clear Craig is the best film Bond.

Bond 26 questions: The Variety interview edition

A previous Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

So, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson gave an interview to Variety. The Eon Productions duo again said James Bond won’t return to theater screens soon and they’re looking for the next actor to make a long-time commitment.

However, there were other interesting tidbits. Naturally, the blog has questions.

How many Bond films will get made during an actor’s “10-, 12-year commitment”?

That’s the kind of commitment the Eon pair said they’re looking for from a new Bond actor. But at the current rate of production, that might only be three films. The Eon series had only two entries — Skyfall and SPECTRE — during the entire decade of the 2010s.

Yes, there were external factors, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s bankruptcy in 2010 and COVID-19 in 2020. But some of the gaps were self-imposed, including putting off the development of what became No Time to Die to try and get Daniel Craig back for another movie.

Will Bond 26 with a new actor really be that much different than Craig’s run?

One passage in the Variety story suggests not.

Both Wilson and Broccoli, who is a director of the U.K. chapter of women’s advocacy org Time’s Up, have left their mark on Bond, particularly in humanizing the once-womanizing spy and ensuring more fulfilling, meatier roles for the female stars of the franchise. These are qualities that will continue in the next films, says Broccoli. (emphasis added)

What are they up to in the interim?

Barbara Broccoli is one of the producers of Till, a fact-based film about the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 and its aftermath. It’s due out next month. Wilson “has written a TV show that the duo are looking to set up,” according to Variety. And both are involved in producing an Amazon streaming show 007’s Road to a Million. That is currently in production, Variety says. Amazon also owns MGM.

Mendes muses to Baz about Bond films

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes talked to Deadline: Hollywood’s Baz Bamigboye for a feature story that included a few musings about James Bond films.

–Making Bond films is as much being an engineer as being a director. “It’s like erecting scaffolding and building an entire world…It’s exhausting, in a different way.”

–“I don’t envy (Eon Productions boss) Barbara (Broccoli) having to follow Daniel’s [Craig] five movies. He reinvigorated the franchise but the franchise is so huge that it’s very difficult for a younger actor to step into that.”

–“I think that the actor playing Bond is going to evolve, the director has to evolve. I think it would be wonderful to see a woman directing Bond. I think it would be wonderful.”

Earlier in the story, Mendes said: “I don’t think they’d want me anymore.” He was asked if he had actually been told that. Mendes then said, “Let me rephrase that.” The comment about the director having to evolve followed.

Mendes directed Skyfall (2012) and SPECTRE (2015). Bamigboye formerly was at the Daily Mail, where he often wrote about Bond films.

As U.K. celebrates Bond, U.S. fans are green with envy

James Bond film gunbarrel

James Bond is a product of the U.K. The character envelops U.K. citizens from birth and is a source of national pride.

It’s understandable that the 60th anniversary of the film franchise is a big deal. The movies are being shown in U.K. theaters. And even more is planned as the anniversary date of Dr. No’s debut approaches on Oct. 5.

At one time, Bond was a big deal in the U.S. as well. The gentleman spy had a fan in a U.S. president (John F. Kennedy). A prominent publisher (Hugh Hefner of Playboy magazine) was a big promoter of the character.

As recently as a generation ago, the U.S. was the site of two official James Bond fan conventions (1994 in Los Angeles, 1995 in New York City).

Today, not so much. American fans of Bond can only marvel at the U.K. events that are unfolding.

Early next month, tickets go on sale for British Film Institute events related to the 60th anniversary.

–Sept. 30 (tickets go on sale Aug. 4): Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions will discuss “their careers and the Bond films, in a richly illustrated discussion featuring clips from their films.” Price: 15 British pounds (about $18). Program is scheduled for 90 minutes.

–Oct. 1: A program titled “James Bond behind the scenes: Stunts and VFX.” Tickets go on sale Aug. 4. Participants include Chris Corbould. Price: 15 British pounds. Program is scheduled for 80 minutes.

–Oct. 1: A program titled “The Sound of 007.” A description:

This new documentary reveals the history of seven decades of Bond music, from the genesis of 1962’s Dr. No and Monty Norman’s iconic theme song, through to 2021’s No Time to Die. The film charts the ups and downs of Bond soundtracks, combining interviews with stunning Bond archive material from the franchise’s 60-year journey.

Again, the price is 15 British pounds.

There are also a series of screenings of films made by Eon Productions.

Sept. 30: A 60th-anniversary screening of Dr. No.

Oct. 1: A 45th-anniversary screening of The Spy Who Loved Me.

–A 35th-anniversary screening of The Living Daylights.

–Oct. 2: A 10th-anniversary screening of Skyfall.

–Oct. 2: A screening of SPECTRE.

–Oct. 2: A screening of No Time to Die

NTTD’s reactions from its co-stars

No Time to Die poster

h/t to MI6.HQ.COM which compiled this.

Daniel Craig’s James Bond met his end in No Time to Die. If Craig’s co-stars are to be believed, they had no idea this was happening.

Lea Seydoux, Den of Geek: “I still can’t really believe that that’s what they decided, that he’s gone…It made me sad, actually, it made me really sad…But I hope they will find a new way to—you know they will find something else.”

Naomie Harris, Radio Times: “Because there’s so much secrecy around all of the Bond movies, I thought, ‘Is this a joke? Am I being sent, like, the wrong ending, and then they’re gonna send me a new one?’. I really thought that, because I just thought… this doesn’t happen. Bond doesn’t die. It’s sacred that Bond should never die.”

A reminder: No Time to Die’s script began development in 2017. That’s when Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine met his end in a film. Earlier, Craig and Jackman had appeared together in a play in New York.

Prior to No Time to Die, Craig’s Bond had unhappy endings. At the end of SPECTRE, he finally (or so it seemed) had a happy ending with Seydoux’s Madeline Swann. Instead, No Time to Die threw that out the window.

About Bond’s Oscar prospects

The 2022 Oscars show is next Sunday. No Time to Die has three nominations. What are its prospects?

The categories are Best Song, Sound and Visual Effects. A quick look at each.

Visual effects: This reminds me of the 1980 Oscars (for 1979 movies). Moonraker had a nomination but it used “old school” effects based on models and other techniques.

The 1979 007 film was up against Alien, which got the visual effects award.

No Time to Die used visual effects to alter real life. But it’s up against movies such as Dune and Spider-Man No Way Home which, essentially, created new worlds for movie audiences.

Sound: The very first Bond Oscar went to Norman Wanstall for sound with Goldfinger and Skyfall got a sound award (a tie with Zero Dark Thirty). This year, No Time to Die is up against the likes of Dune, Belfast, The Power of the Dog and Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story.

Best song: Bond films have been nominated in this category six times. The last two 007 movies, Skyfall and SPECTRE, won. Can No Time to Die make it a hat trick? One of the alternatives is from the animated movie Encanto and was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

We’ll see.

Bond 25 questions: The Oscars edition

No Time to Die poster

Well, the Oscar nominations are out. Good news for Bond fans: No Time to Die got three nominations. Bad news: It didn’t get any of the major ones.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

What happened? Have you paid attention? The Bond film series produced by Eon Productions has won a grand total of five Oscars over 60 years. Goldfinger got a sound award, Thunderball got a special effects award. Skyfall received a sound award (tying with Zero Dark Thirty) and best song. SPECTRE won a best song award.

Meanwhile, John Barry won five Oscars by himself but wasn’t even nominated for his Bond film work.

The Oscars are not particularly friendly to the Bond series. Films like Live And Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only got nominations and walked away empty.

For the record, No Time to Die was nominated for best song, visual effects, and sound.

But I thought this was going to be different! Well, sure, there was talk some genre movies (such as No Time to Die or Spider-Man No Way Home) might sneak in and grab one of the 10 best picture nomination slots.

Sorry. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t have a category for popularity. Once upon a time, popular movies won or at least were nominated. Que sera sera. What will be, will be.

But hey, Spider-Man No Way Home only got one nomination (visual effects). If you’re a Bond fan and want to gloat, you can seize upon that.

Are there any bright spots in this? Sure. No Time to Die is only the third Bond film to receive multiple nominations. The others were The Spy Who Loved Me (three nominations, no wins) and Skyfall (five nominations, two wins).

Any lessons to be learned? Perhaps Bond’s home studio (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) and producers (Eon) ought to roll back their expectations for big, expensive Oscar campaigns.

I wouldn’t go banco on that, however.