Caveat Emptor: Murdoch tabloids disagree about Craig

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

Daniel Craig 

The following is presented for entertainment value only.

Two tabloid outposts of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. are, amusingly, in disagreement about the prospects whether Daniel Craig might return to the role of James Bond or not.

Back on July 22, the U.K. tabloid The Sun said Eon Productions co-boss Barbara Broccoli wasn’t in a hurry about Bond 25 because she’s producing other films. It quoted a source as saying, “It will give her time to work out a script and try to convince Daniel to maybe return.”

On July 28, Page Six, which is part of the New York Post (the tabloid Murdoch acquired in 1976, becoming his entry into the U.S. market), also said Broccoli wasn’t in a hurry. In this case, it quotes a source as saying no 007 casting until Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer selects a studio partner to release Bond 25. Sony Pictures’ contract expired with SPECTRE.

But the U.S. side of the Murdoch empire tosses this in:


Meanwhile, there are still bad feelings between Bond bosses and the most recent star Daniel Craig, who famously said he “would rather break this glass and slit my wrists” than play 007 again. Another source added, “Producers think that ungracious comment, right before the release of ‘Spectre,’ cost them tens of millions at the box office. They’re ready to forget about Daniel.”

Who knows? As we said, we pass this along for entertainment value.

Tabloid says Broccoli in no rush to make Bond 25

Eon co-boss Barbara Broccoli and current 007 star Daniel Craig

Eon co-boss Barbara Broccoli and current 007 star Daniel Craig

The Sun, the U.K. tabloid, said in a gossip column that Eon Productions co-boss Barbara Broccoli isn’t hurrying to make Bond 25 and still hopes to convince Daniel Craig, 48, to return as James Bond.

The tabloid quotes a source it didn’t identify as saying the following: “Barbara is not going to be rushed into a Bond and wants to work on two other film projects next year. It will give her time to work out a script and try to convince Daniel to maybe return.”

The producer currently is overseeing a drama called Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.

Before we proceed further, here’s a caveat: The Sun has a trashy reputation.

But on at least one aspect, this story has the ring of truth. Barbara Broccoli has repeatedly made clear she wants to do things other than 007 films and wants more time between Bond movies.

Reminder No. 1: In November 2012, Broccoli made the following comment to the Los Angeles Times:

“Sometimes there are external pressures from a studio who want you to make it in a certain time frame or for their own benefit, and sometimes we’ve given into that,” Broccoli said. “But following what we hope will be a tremendous success with ‘Skyfall,’ we have to try to keep the deadlines within our own time limits and not cave in to external pressures.”

Reminder No. 2: Earlier in 2012, Broccoli and Craig, in an interview with the Collider website, publicly slapped down a Sony executive who had said Bond 24 would be out in 2014, two years after Skyfall:

Last week Rory (Bruer), the president of distribution of Sony, announced Bond 24 for I guess late 2014…

Broccoli: He was getting a little overexcited (laughs). We’re just actually focusing on this movie. One hopes that in the future we’ll be announcing other films, but no one’s officially announced it.

Craig: No one’s announced anything. He got a little ahead of himself (laughs). It’s very nice that he has the confidence to be able to do that, but we haven’t finished this movie yet.

One of the most repeated myths on 007-related message boards is that Eon held up Bond 24, later titled SPECTRE, an extra year to get Sam Mendes back as director. Barbara Broccoli has repeatedly made clear she doesn’t want to do Bond movies on an every-other-year basis.

The Sun’s gossip column says Bond 25 won’t come out until late 2018 at the earliest. That should be of absolutely no surprise to anybody who’s followed events of the past five years.

Bond 25: What’s being talked about, what isn’t

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

In sports, there’s the season and the “off-season,” where some players retire, others change teams, etc. For fans of the James Bond films, this “off-season” is a little off kilter.

What’s mostly being talked about is who the next 007 is going to be — even though the incumbent (Daniel Craig) hasn’t actually said if he’s done with the role or not.

Last week, Tom Hiddleston was the center of attention after the actor said he’d like the role if he got the chance. This week, Irish actor Aidan Turner is in the spotlight after THE SUN RAN A STORY that Turner “has jetted to LA where he is holding talks about becoming the next James Bond.”

The story is a bit lacking in detail. Evidently, he’s far from a sure thing because Turner “will have fierce competition from Brit stars including Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Tom Hardy.”

There’s also a quote from an unidentified source: “Aidan has held preliminary talks with Bond producers and being in LA will give him a further chance to discuss the role.” The preliminary talks reference is interesting but it sounds like the source doesn’t know whether or not Turner will actually have talks with Bond people in LA or not. He just has “a further chance” to talk about it. Regardless, other media outlets picked up on the Sun’s story.

Meanwhile, something people aren’t talking much about is what studio will actually release Bond 25 whenever it does come out.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which controls half the Bond franchise, is too small to release movies. The contract of Sony Pictures, which has released the last four Bond films, expires once SPECTRE is out of theaters (it’s still on 16 U.S. screens this week). It was thought a new deal — with either Sony or somebody else — would be struck early in 2016.

It is still early, but the year’s first quarter is nearing an end.

Sony’s most recent two-picture deal was a bad one for the studio — it financed half of Skyfall and SPECTRE, but only got a quarter of the profits. The Sony executive who struck that deal, Amy Pascal, is gone. Other studios are interested but would they agree to the kind of terms Sony provided?

Hard to say, but for now it’s not a subject getting that much attention.

Caveat Emptor: U.K. tabloid weighs in on Craig AGAIN

Daniel Craig in SPECTRE's main titles

Daniel Craig in SPECTRE’s main titles

Once more, with feeling.

The U.K. tabloid, The Sun, HAS A STORY saying that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is willing to push back Bond 25 to 2018 to keep Daniel Craig as James Bond.

It was The Sun that less than a week ago asserted that Craig was quitting the 007 role. As originally phrased, The Sun said:  “DANIEL Craig is quitting as James Bond after signing up for a US TV series. He will star in Purity, which is set to run for several series of 20 episodes each.”

THAT STORY was later softened to say, “DANIEL Craig has signed up for a US TV series, throwing his future as James Bond into doubt. He will star in Purity, which is set to run for several series of 20 episodes each.” However, you can tell the story’s original emphasis by its URL that ends with Daniel-Craig-quits-James-Bond-007-role-for-US-telly-series.html.

In this newest story, The Sun has this passage:

Bond franchise bosses are so desperate to keep him in the famous tuxedo that they are willing to delay the next movie so he can film the show first.

MGM Studios, which produces the Bond flicks, told Daniel it will push back the next movie to 2018 if necessary.

A source said: “Daniel leaving the franchise at this moment is something MGM cannot stomach. (emphasis added)

Why the Caveat Emptor label should apply.

–The Sun said Craig’s possible participation in the television project is “throwing his future as James Bond into doubt.” No, The Sun’s original story saying he was definitely quitting is what attracted the attention. Other U.K. tabloids did stories, citing The Sun’s original version of its first story.

–Things were already looking doubtful for Bond 25 coming out in 2017. Craig is committed to an off-Broadway production of Othello this year.

The exact dates haven’t been announced. But with both Skyfall and SPECTRE, principal photography began late in the years before their release dates (November 2011 for Skyfall, December 2014 for SPECTRE).

Also, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the co-bosses of Eon Productions, previously have not sounded enthusiastic about bringing out 007 on an every-other-year schedule.

–As stated before, nothing much can happen on Bond 25 until MGM selects a studio partner for Bond 25. The contract of Sony, which has released the past four 007 films, expires with SPECTRE.

MGM, slimmed down after a 2010 bankruptcy, doesn’t have the capability of releasing movies on its own. MGM has to either re-up with Sony or find a replacement. Bond 25 can’t get a release date until there’s somebody to actually release the movie.

Caveat Emptor: U.K. tabloids write about Craig’s future

SPECTRE poster

Daniel Craig in a SPECTRE poster

Two U.K. tabloids have come out with stories saying that Daniel Craig is quitting the role of James Bond. But the content in both is lacking.

The catalyst was the news REPORTED BY VARIETY that Craig is to star in a limited, made-for-cable-television series based on the Jonathan Franzen novel Purity. The story focused on negotiations with various U.S. cable television networks.

Enter THE SUN which said, “DANIEL Craig is quitting as James Bond after signing up for a US TV series. He will star in Purity, which is set to run for several series of 20 episodes each.”

The problem: The Sun doesn’t say how it learned this news. There’s no attribution (such as “people familiar with the actor’s decision” or similar phrasing). The Sun simply asserts it.

The Sun adds the tidbit that Craig will play “charismatic German Andreas Wolf, who offers to help US woman Purity find her father.” Again, no attribution.

Next up: THE DAILY MAIL’S WEBSITE, which says Craig “reportedly” has stepped down. That’s because the Mail’s story doesn’t have its own reporting, but cites The Sun.

In the past, the Mail has had scoops (mostly reported by entertainment scribe Baz Bamigboye) about Bond movies that turned out to be true. Bamigboye, though, has been off the 007 beat for some time. And this time out, the Mail is only summarizing The Sun’s story.

As a result, the Caveat Emptor label applies until something more definitive emerges.

UPDATE (11:20 a.m. NY time): A story in DIGITAL SPY says Craig’s “representatives have denied the story….his rep has said that no decision has been made,.” The name(s) of the representative(s) aren’t disclosed nor is the method (e-mail? telephone interview? personal interview?) of how the denial was made.

UPDATE II (11:40 a.m. NY time): Meanwhile THE INDEPENDENT is running a story with a headline that says Craig “reportedly” is quitting Bond but adds this: “UPDATE: The Independent has learnt that a decision on whether Craig will return as Bond has not been reached, but if he does appear in Purity it does not necessarily mean he will not be back to play Bond.”

UPDATE III (11:50 a.m. NY time): The BBC is now into the act. (CLICK HERE and scroll down to 07:25. Here’s the main text:

“Daniel Craig’s representative has told the BBC that there is no truth to news reports claiming he has decided to leave the James Bond series.

“According to The Sun and other newspapers, the 47-year-old is quitting the franchise after signing up for a US TV series.

“According to his rep, though, no decision has been made on whether he’ll stay or go.”

Still no details on how the message was communicated.


Caveat Emptor: Tabloid writes of new effort to keep Craig

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Another day, another British tabloid report of 007’s film future. This time, THE SUN is reporting Daniel Craig will be offered the chance to film Bond 25 and Bond 26 at the same time.

The tabloid quotes “a film insider” as saying Craig’s concerns with continuing as Bond is “the amount of time it takes to shoot as he’s away from his family. They hope this way the filming will be shorter.”

Also, according to the story, Bond 25 would end with a cliffhanger.

Here’s why the blog is applying the Caveat Emptor label.

–Originally Bond 24 (later titled SPECTRE) and Bond 25 were supposed to be a two-picture story. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced in November 2012 that John Logan had been hired to write both. However, before that announcement, CRAIG WAS QUOTED IN OCTOBER 2012 as saying, ““It’s impossible to do a two parter…We can only do them one at a time, they take six months to shoot.”

The two part plan for Bond 24 and Bond 25 was later jettisoned to entice Skyfall director Sam Mendes to return.

Anyway, as it relates to The Sun’s story, if Craig didn’t like the idea of filming a two parter before, why would it appeal to him this time? SPECTRE was a seven-month shoot. Marvel Studios plans a nine-month shoot for a two-part avengers movie coming out in 2018 and 2019.

A Bond movie relies on its leading actor more than an ensemble project like the Avengers. While nine months (or 10, or whatever) would be a shorter time for *two* movies, it also means doing twice the action sequences, etc. Craig suffered a knee injury during SPECTRE’s filming.

–The Sun, over the past two movies, has had some 007 scoops, but not major ones. For example, IN 2011, The Sun said Craig’s Bond would have a beard in Skyfall. It was more like a lot of stubble, but OK, we’ll give them that one. But the major scoops proven to be true for that film and SPECTRE were reported elsewhere.

The king of British tabloid reporters for Bond scoops used to be Baz Bamigboye, but he hasn’t been on the 007 beat for over a year.

Bond 24: nature abhors a (media) vacuum

Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes

Nature abhors a vaccum, the old saying goes. So it is with Bond 24 — a movie still more than two years away. People are anxious for something, anything about it. Actor Ralph Fiennes presents a case study.

It began with A PRESS ASSOCIATION STORY CARRIED ON THE YAHOO MOVIES WEB SITE. That story quoted Fiennes in this passage:

The Harry Potter actor has been named as the next person to take on the role of M, after Dame Judi Dench’s character was killed at the end of Skyfall.

Asked about playing the famous part, Ralph said: “I think everyone knows that, I don’t think that’s particularly a secret.

“I’m looking forward to it very much.”

Pretty innocuous stuff, eh? A U.K. media outlet called Metro DID ITS OWN STORY citing Yahoo Movies for the quotes.

The Metro piece added this line at the end: “The next Bond film, to be directed by Sam Mendes, will reportedly be based on Sebastian Faulks’ 2008 novel Devil May Care.” There was a link to a JULY METRO STORY that in turn cited the U.K. Sun newspaper as the source.

Back in July, John Cox of the Book Bond Web site, which deals with Ian Fleming Publications on a regular basis ran A POST that included this line:

While it isn’t IFP’s policy to respond to rumors, I can confirm for you that this “scoop” by The Sun is complete and utter rubbish. Bond 24 is NOT based on Devil May Care.

Thanks to Metro, however, Bond fans are discussing this on the Internet all over again.