Eon says (again) it’s not interested in Bond spinoffs

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon in November 2011

Eon Productions has said, yet again, it’s not interested in James Bond spinoffs such as streaming TV versions of 007-related characters.

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the half-siblings atop Eon, spoke to Total Film (it’s not clear this is from a previous Total Film interview or a new one), which was posted online by Games Radar.

“We make films. We make films for the cinema. That’s what we do,” Broccoli, 61 and the daughter of Eon co-founder Albert R. Broccoli, told Total Film.

 “We’ve resisted that call for 60 years,” added Wilson, 79 and stepson of Albert R. Broccoli.

Amazon, which airs original streaming programming, has agreed to buy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, in a deal valued at $8.45 billion. The acquisition is pending, subject to regulatory review, including an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Wilson has been involved full-time in the Bond franchise since 1972. Barbara Broccoli has been active full-time since 1982. Both had Bond-related activities (Wilson as a Goldfinger extra, Barbara Broccoli writing captions for publicity stills for The Spy Who Loved Me) before their full-time involvement.

It also doesn’t appear the Eon leaders have thought that much about Bond 26.

“It’s tough to think about the future until this film has its moment,” Barbara Broccoli told Total Film. “I think we just really want to celebrate this (No Time to Die) and celebrate Daniel, and then when the dust settles, then look at the landscape and figure out what the future is.” No Time to Die is the fifth and final Bond movie for star Daniel Craig.

No Time to Die’s world premiere is scheduled for Sept. 28 and its U.K. release on Sept. 30. The 25th James Bond film is scheduled to debut in the U.S. on Oct. 8.

UPDATE: Jack Lugo of James Bond Radio reminds me that Eon was deeply involved with the syndicated James Bond Jr. cartoon show of the early 1990s. The title character was James Bond’s nephew. Michael G. Wilson shared a “developed by” credit on that cartoon series.

UPDATE II: Here’s a screen shot from the end titles of the first episode of James Bond Jr.

Bond 25 questions: The FOE edition

One of Many No Time to Die posters

No Time to Die finished production in the fall of 2019. But the 25th James Bond film made by Eon Productions still isn’t out. The blog has a few questions.

What is FOE? It stands for Friends of Eon. It refers to those who, essentially, say that Eon Productions, the makers of Bond films, can do no wrong.

What does this have to do with No Time to Die? Some James Bond fans suspect star Daniel Craig, the incumbent film Bond first cast in the fall of 2005, and Eon wanted to take a break, which has contributed to long hiatus between SPECTRE (2015) and the present.

So? Well, a recent article from Total Film suggests there’s something to this.

An example from Total Film:

Craig “was so exhausted after” 2015’s SPECTRE “recalls Barbara Broccoli, daughter of Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli who, alongside her half-brother Michael G. Wilson, runs Eon Productions, and has produced every Bond film since 1995’s GoldenEye. “We’d had our own trials and tribulations on Spectre, and [Daniel] had a massive injury. It was very difficult. So he just needed some time.” While Craig was taking his break, Eon worked on movies such as The Rhythm Section (2020).

Members of FOE over the past several years, chided Bond fans who had reached similar conclusions. (A comment along these lines would begin: “People like you…”)

Yet, if Broccoli’s comments in the Total Film article can be taken at face value, those conclusions were on target. At least, they weren’t off target.

Shouldn’t bygones be bygones? That’s not how members of FOE looked at it once upon a time.

What are you suggesting? Nothing dramatic. Let’s see what No Time to Die actually looks like when it comes out. At the same time, perhaps members of FOE shouldn’t assume a special expertise. Hopefully in fewer than 70 days Bond fans will have a chance to view the new Bond film.

Bond 25 questions: The Total Film edition

One of the many No Time to Die posters

This post includes spoilers. Stop reading now if spoilers aren’t your thing.

Total Film this week published a detailed story about No Time to Die. Naturally, the blog has questions

Did Daniel Craig really say No Time to Die’s theme was “love and family”?

He did. Sounds almost like a Fast and the Furious movie, doesn’t it? In this case, Craig told Total Film that Bond’s family is Moneypenny, M and Q with Lashana Lynch’s Nomi “a distant cousin who you’re not sure about.”

One of the most hyped aspects of the movie was how Phoebe Waller-Bridge was among the screenwriters. Any additional details?

Of course. “Phoebe came on, and she injected some brilliance into the situation, and a tone I was really after,” Craig told Total Film.

“What we wanted to do was… not ridicule (Bond). It’s sharing in the fun with the audience,” Craig told the magazine. “But you’ve got to be respectful of what it is.” 

According to Total Film, Waller-Bridge “punched up Ana de Armas’ character Paloma – a fresh-faced CIA field agent who Bond crosses paths with in Cuba – and brought a myth-pricking irreverence to the story.”

What about agent Nomi and her relationship with Bond?

“Bond is going to be Bond no matter what happens,” Lashana Lynch told Total Film. “But it’s about how people react to him. That’s the difference between the earlier films. In this film we are vocal. We are opinionated. We know how to stop [Bond] in his tracks, and to teach him something.”

What about the sets?

“We have really gone out of our way to make some really gorgeous big sets,” says production designer Mark Tildesley. The designer originally was recruited to the film by Danny Boyle, the project’s first director who departed over “creative differences.”

What about Rami Malek’s Safin?

“Safin is pulling all the strings,” Eon boss Barbara Broccoli told Total Film about the character. “He’s controlling all of those megalomaniacs out there. He’s created them.”

What does that mean?

I suppose that in Quantum of Solace that Quantum was BIG. In SPECTRE, SPECTRE was BIGGER. Perhaps Safin is EVEN BIGGER!

Total Film provides a behind-the-scenes look at NTTD

No Time to Die poster from 2020

Total Film is out with an article taking a behind-the-scenes look at No Time to Die.

Here are some non-spoiler highlights:

–Cary Fukunanga, who would eventually direct the movie, wined and dined Eon’s Barbara Broccoli before Danny Boyle was hired as the film’s first director.

“At that point Daniel (Craig) said he wasn’t doing another one, so we spit-balled all the potential new Bonds – that was exciting,” Fukunaga told Total Film. “I just told her what I loved about Bond and what it meant to me growing up. And just that I’d be honoured if they’d consider me for the next one.”

–After Boyle (and his writer John Hodge) exited the project, writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade went back to a script they were working on before Boyle was hired. That’s not terribly surprising but there has been hype that *everything was new* after Boyle left.

“Effectively, we went back to what we’d done,” Purvis told Total Film. “And then we changed things with Cary over several months in the attic at Eon.” Over time, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who got a credit) and Scott Z. Burns (who did not) also worked on the script.

–Michael G. Wilson of Eon describes the Craig era as “a little miniseries within the series.” Broccoli added: ““This film feels like a good bookend to Casino (Royale), because his emotional evolution gets to a place where we’ve never seen Bond before. So that’s pretty exciting.”

–Craig describes the theme of No Time to Die as “love and family.”

–Funkunaga says that only goes so far. “No one’s trying to say some sort of long sentimental goodbye. It’s just another Bond film. The credits still say: ‘Bond will return.’”

There’s a lot more, including some comments about Safin, the villain played by Rami Malek, that get into spoiler territory.

Why nobody should be surprised that ‘nothing is happening’

Naomie Harris in Moonlight

Naomie Harris in Moonlight

Naomie Harris caused some buzz in 007-land this week after giving an interview with Total Film that got summarized in the UK tabloid Mirror.

According to the story, the actress wanted to find out from Eon Productions what was going on with Bond 25. Here’s the key excerpt:

Even though she is part of the 007 franchise, Naomie admits she has equally been drawn into speculation about who will be Bond in the next film, though producers have insisted to her they are not even thinking about the project yet.

(snip)

“I met them recently and said, ‘What’s going on guys? Because everybody keeps asking me.’ I was believing the hype. I was like, ‘Is it Tom Hiddleston? What’s going on?’ They were like, ‘Naomie, nothing is happening.’ Because they’re doing another film at the moment. They were like, ‘We are focusing on this film. We have nothing to do with that.’ “

Nobody should be surprised. Why? Because if we were within a year of production starting, more would be happening.

Some recent history. The Deadline: Hollywood website first reported in January 2010 that Eon was considering Sam Mendes to direct the then-untitled Bond 23.

The project got delayed by the bankruptcy that year of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio. But the movie was a go again by January 2011 — 10 months before it began filming.

Later THAT SAME MONTH, Deadline reported that Eon was considering casting Javier Bardem in the film. Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail reported in February 2011 that Ralph Fiennes was in talks to join the cast. Harris’ own casting in the film was reported by the now-defunct News of the World in June 2011.

In other words, months before filming began, news about the director and cast began to appear. The story was similar with 2015’s SPECTRE, which had an announced writer in November 2012 and a release date and director (Mendes again) announced in July 2013.

With Bond 25, there’s no director, no script (as far as anyone knows) and no cast, including a confirmed James Bond. Daniel Craig, who turns 49 in March, has said he’d miss playing Bond but hasn’t actually said he’ll do it again.

Oh, and there’s no studio to release Bond 25. MGM is too small to distribute Bond films and has no studio partner lined up yet. Sony Pictures has released the past four 007 films.

Many fans are hopeful that Bond 25 can make a fall 2018 release date. But there are no signs Eon is gearing up. Eon boss Barbara Broccoli produced Craig’s now-concluded Othello play. She is working on a non-Bond film (Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool) and another play, based on the life of studio mogul Robert Evans.

At this point, there is no sign of the kind of activity that precedes a Bond movie. So the quotes from Harris ought not be surprising. If Eon and MGM showed more urgency a 2018 release date could still happen. But there’s no sign of such urgency.

New U.N.C.L.E. movie image emerges

Total Film in its February has a short article about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie as part of a 2015 movie preview. It includes a still of Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin.

Total Film doesn’t have the image ON ITS WEBSITE. However, @LaneyBoggs2001 on Twitter did a scan.

The HENRY CAVILL NEWS and COMIC BOOK MOVIE sites did posts featuring the image

Bond 24, according to Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris with her Skyfall co-stars in November 2011

Naomie Harris with her Skyfall co-stars in November 2011

As noted before, nature abhors a vacuum. So with little actual news about Bond 24, the next 007 film, recent comments by actress Naomie Harris have drawn a lot of attention. Afterall, she’s the only one associated with the movie who’s been talking much lately.

Harris has been promoting a movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. In that film, she co-stars with Idris Elba, who plays Nelson Mandela. But naturally, the subject of Bond 24 keeps coming up.

One of the most recent was in THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD. In that article, she said, “I haven’t seen a script.”

She then added: “Knowing Barbara [Broccoli, the producer], she’s all for women’s lib, isn’t she? She’s extraordinary; she’s completely reinvented the brand, yet kept so true to the essence of what people love about Bond. So I’m sure I won’t be just behind a desk. Or even if I’m behind the desk, there’ll be some twist.”

Earlier this month, she opened up on the subject in a TOTAL FILM INTERVIEW.

“I feel like Skyfall is one part of a continuing story,” the 37-year-old Brit says. “It needs completing and it needs the same storyteller.”

With Sam Mendes on board to direct Bond 24, it looks like Harris should get her wish.

(snip)
“I’m so relieved [about Mendes returning]. He chose me and had a vision for my character.

“I’d feel really weird working for someone who hadn’t chosen me and didn’t have that vision. I just want him to see it through.”

It’s not clear exactly she means by Skyfall elements that need completing. Skyfall’s villain, Silva, died while succeeding in killing Judi Dench’s M. Perhaps she means Skyfall’s ending (new M, new Moneypenny) provides a new springboard for Bond 24.

Or perhaps not. We’ll see.