Movie Chronicles » James Bond 23


MGM in financial straits, Bond and RoboCop futures uncertain September 27th, 2009

MGM are, and have been for many years, deal­ing with sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial debts, to the tune of almost $4bn. With con­cerns about the company’s sol­vency, a recent con­fer­ence call debated whether the stu­dio should file for bank­ruptcy in a bid to gain back some of the oth­er­wise lost money.

Should this hap­pen, MGM’s assets might be sold to cover the debts, includ­ing the rights to the James Bond fran­chise, the poten­tial Robo­Cop remake could never see the light of day. This would inevitably delay Bond 23, and who knows what else.

MGM’s cur­rent plan is to con­vince cred­i­tors to waiver inter­est pay­ments until Jan­u­ary 2010, with that money instead going to fund new movies. There’s a lot up in the air right now, but we’ll keep you posted.

Time Out write an open letter to Peter Morgan, Bond 23 writer June 24th, 2009

The team at Time Out have writ­ten an open let­ter to Bond 23 writer Peter Mor­gan, with a cou­ple of Dos and Don’ts. Included are — find inter­est­ing and excit­ing loca­tions, do not copy the Bourne series, make the Bond girl a piv­otal role, give char­ac­ters room to breathe.

The let­ter openly praises Casino Royale’s approach, but is quick to point out the flaws in Quan­tum of Solace.

Dear Peter,

While we at Time Out are thrilled that you, one of our country’s most tal­ented and inquir­ing screen­writ­ers, have accepted the chal­lenge of pen­ning the next James Bond movie, there are a few salient points we feel you might like to keep in mind while writ­ing what will inevitably become one of 2011’s most impor­tant and, we hope, enjoy­able movies. We trust you accept our advice in the friendly spirit with which it’s intended…

Please give the char­ac­ters room to breathe
Per­haps the great­est stride writ­ers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and erst­while col­league Paul Hag­gis made with ‘Casino Royale’ was giv­ing Bond and his com­pan­ions a real sense of life, depth and emo­tional con­flict. We’re used to Bond the wise­crack­ing automa­ton, but with an actor like Daniel Craig in the role this approach is a ter­ri­ble waste. ‘Quan­tum of Solace’ reduced Bond to lit­tle more than grunts and sneers – a smart thug who faces off against a loqua­cious but rather pathetic vil­lain. You’ve already proved your worth as a mas­ter of ver­bal spar­ring in your pre­vi­ous scripts, so we’re sure you’ll have the mur­der­ous ban­ter down pat. The chal­lenge will be to make us care about Bond again.

Please respect your audi­ence
There’s no doubt that the best of Bond is revealed when there’s a strong sto­ry­line packed with twists, switch­backs and dou­ble crosses: just think of Sean Bean’s decep­tion in ‘Gold­en­eye’, or Vesper’s betrayal in ‘Casino’. As long as your action sequences are grip­ping and your char­ac­ters con­vinc­ingly moti­vated, there’s no crime in keep­ing the viewer guessing.

Please don’t waste your Bond girls
Another of the great plea­sures offered by ‘Casino Royale’ was the chance to see Bond con­fronted by female char­ac­ters who could hold their own: not just Eva Green’s schem­ing Ves­per, but Judi Dench’s frac­tious, com­mand­ing M. Dench was the best thing in ‘Quan­tum’, but she was let down by Olga Kurylenko’s fiery but under­used Camille. It’s a les­son the mak­ers of Bond have been long in learn­ing: these women can be more than just eye-candy. A strong female lead doesn’t just cen­tre the film, she allows writ­ers and audi­ences a chance to get to the core of Bond himself.

Please don’t remake the Bourne series
Both ‘Casino’ and ‘Quan­tum’ were clearly inspired by the down­beat real­ism of the Bourne tril­ogy, but while the for­mer bal­anced gritty action sequences with a wry streak of self-deprecating humour, the writ­ers and direc­tor of ‘Quan­tum’ seemed con­tent with an end­less parade of repet­i­tive shaky­cam punch-ups in grimy locales. So, while action is clearly the lifeblood of the series, remem­ber that Bond always ben­e­fits from a moment of lev­ity amid the mayhem.

Please show us some­thing we haven’t seen before
It’s hard to think of any­where Bond hasn’t been (Antarc­tica? Ever­est? Leam­ing­ton Spa?), but one of ‘Quan­tum’ direc­tor Marc Forster’s bet­ter accom­plish­ments was pick­ing some stun­ning inter­na­tional loca­tions, from the seedy streets of Panama and the bar­ren Ata­cama Desert in Chile to the grandiose opera house at Lake Con­stance in Aus­tria. While the old Bonds were increas­ingly con­fined to traips­ing between MI6 and Moscow bat­tling the same face­less, jab­ber­ing Russkies, the global nature of the new films’ mys­te­ri­ous con­spir­acy means that Bond can now head just about any­where, and beat up just about anyone.

Finally, we await the Bond pro­duc­ers’ choice of direc­tor with bated breath. Some inter­est­ing names have been rumoured, though we under­stand Danny Boyle has offi­cially denied all knowl­edge and Christo­pher Nolan is busy with all that Bat­man busi­ness. But the Bond films have never been about the big-name direc­tors; in fact, with names like Ian Flem­ing, Roald Dahl and Paul Hag­gis, you could say it’s one of the few major film series where the choice of writer actu­ally mat­ters more than the choice of direc­tor. Which is where you come in, Mr Morgan.

Good luck!

Yours in anticipation,


Michael Sheen to play Blofeld as next Bond villain? June 19th, 2009

MTV are report­ing, via an anony­mous source, that British born actor Michael Sheen will play Blofeld in Bond 23. The cre­ative process for Bond 23 only started very recently, pos­si­bly just this month. Any cast­ing rumors should be taken with a grain of salt, although this spec­u­la­tive cast­ing is both excit­ing and encour­ag­ing and would pre­sum­ably offer a new look for the arche­typal Ernst Stavro Blofeld villain.

Mul­ti­ple Oscar win­ner Peter Mor­gan is co-scripting the Bond movie — he and Sheen have worked together on numer­ous occa­sions, includ­ing “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon”. This long stand­ing writer-actor rela­tion­ship gives some sig­nif­i­cant weight to the rumor; and we already know Mor­gan has the Midas touch when writ­ing for Sheen — this could be good, very good.

Blofeld por­tray­als

Work on James Bond 23 begins June 2nd, 2009

A very brief quote from James Bond pro­ducer Michael Wil­son, in an inter­view with The Sun, tells us that work on the 23rd Bond film is now underway.

“We have started work on the new film, which I can’t say any­thing about. Daniel Craig is very keen to get going.”

Wil­son also sug­gested that con­tenders for the next Bond theme tune could be Duffy or Amy Wine­house. I don’t think we can really take any­thing from that though:

‘I would love to get Duffy to sing the next tune,’ he said. ‘I think she is won­der­ful. Amy Wine­house would be good too.’

Rolling again in 2010 March 27th, 2009

Speak­ing in the UK’s Metro news­pa­per, Daniel Craig briefly com­mented on the sched­ule for Bond 23:

‘[Dame Judi] is great. I’m sure she will be back when we get rolling again next year.’

When in 2010 we don’t know, not really help­ing us guess the next release date. Mean­while Michael G Wil­son com­mented at the Brad­ford Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val that no fur­ther, sig­nif­i­cant work on Bond 23 has yet taken place:

The only news Wil­son broke about the next Bond film is that there is no news at all. He said there had been no sig­nif­i­cant work done on the next entry.

Marc Foster unlikely to direct Bond 23 January 5th, 2009

In speak­ing with First Show­ing, the Quan­tum of Solace direc­tor, Marc Fos­ter, revealed that he is not keen on return­ing for the 23rd James Bond movie, despite an offer:

“They offered me the next one, but at this point the pres­sure is so intense — it’s a year of not hav­ing a life. And I don’t know if I want to do that again. It’s lit­er­ally not hav­ing a life, and I mean that, it’s not exag­ger­ated. I feel like life is short, you have to find a balance.”

Who should direct the next Bond movie?

Daniel Craig on the future of 007 January 5th, 2009

In Decem­ber 2008 Com­ing Soon had the oppor­tu­nity to catch up with Daniel Craig, quizzing him about Quan­tum of Solace’s crit­i­cal reac­tion and the future of James Bond:

CS: What more do you want to do with Bond? What other parts of him would you like to explore?
Craig: Well, I gen­uinely think we’ve got a blank page now. We’ve fin­ished this story off. “Quan­tum of Solace” was exactly the right thing to do. We started some­thing with “Casino Royale” and we wrapped it all up with “Quan­tum of Solace.” We’re ready to begin again and we can do what we want.

CS: So you think that the next one will be a throw­back to another Bond era?
Craig: Sub­marines and outer space!

CS: Are you all still look­ing at unused Ian Flem­ing story ele­ments, since that worked so well in “Casino Royale?“
Craig: Yeah, but there’s noth­ing left. It’s all done unless some­one finds a dirty man­u­script under the couch at [Fleming’s Jamaican estate] Gold­en­Eye, we’re stuffed.

Daniel Craig has also been speak­ing to Col­lider about Bond 23:

“We’ve fin­ished this story as far as I’m con­cerned. We’ve got a great set of bad guys. There is an orga­ni­za­tion that we can use when­ever we want to. The rela­tion­ship between Bond and M is secure and Felix is secure. Let’s try and find where Mon­eypenny came from and where Q comes from. Let’s do all that and have some fun with it.”

“We don’t know when we’re going to do the next Bond. Nobody’s think­ing about it at the moment. We’re giv­ing it a rest for the moment. If I can squeeze some­thing in next year I will…but I haven’t fig­ured out what that’ll be yet. But noth­ing in the cold.”

Bond 23 Trivia January 4th, 2009

As a start­ing point for this James Bond blog I present to you the Bond 23 trivia listed on IMDB. The con­tent on IMDB for movies in pre-production is often unre­li­able and infor­ma­tion sources are very rarely cited, so take each of these with a pinch of salt. To sur­mise, it has been implied that writ­ing shall begin in Jan­u­ary 2009, with rumors sug­gest­ing that Ian Fleming’s ‘007 in New York’ short story could be the basis of the plot. Mon­eypenny and Q may be set for a return, per­haps explor­ing their pasts. A late 2010/2011 release date is cur­rently on the cards.

* There has been a sug­ges­tion that Olga Kurylenko may return in this movie or the next Bond movie after.

* Pro­ducer Michael G. Wil­son has stated that pre­lim­i­nary work will start on this movie in Jan­u­ary 2009.

* Ian Fleming’s short story “OO7 in New York” is rumored to going to be the basis for this film. It was first pub­lished in the The New York Her­ald Tri­bune in 1963 and then in the US edi­tion only of Fleming’s ‘Thrilling Cities”. It was first pub­lished in the UK in Novem­ber 1999 in The Sun­day Times mag­a­zine sup­ple­ment as a tie-in with the film release of the Bond movie The World Is Not Enough (1999). It’s work­ing title was “Reflec­tions in a Carey Cadil­lac” and it’s orig­i­nal title was “Agent 007 in New York” when pub­lished in the NY Her­ald Tri­bune. The story fea­tures a Bond Girl called Solange, a name which was used for a char­ac­ter in Casino Royale (2006). For the first time in 2002, the short-story was added to the “Octo­pussy and The Liv­ing Day­lights” com­pendium which includes these two short sto­ries plus “The Prop­erty of a Lady”. This was the first time that the short story was pub­lished along­side other Bond short sto­ries. “OO7 in New York” is the short­est and also arguably the least well-known of all the Ian Flem­ing James Bond short-stories. The story is famous for rep­re­sent­ing two story ele­ments: (1) it includes James Bond’s only lit­er­ary shop­ping expe­di­tion and (2) it includes his recipe for scram­bled eggs.

* It is likely that the crim­i­nal orga­ni­za­tion QUANTUM will fea­ture in this film after being intro­duced but anony­mously in Casino Royale (2006) and also appear­ing but revealed in Quan­tum of Solace (2008). The pro­duc­ers have stated that it is their inten­tion for QUANTUM to fea­ture as a reg­u­lar foe of James Bond.

* Quan­tum of Solace (2008) direc­tor Marc Forster has men­tioned that he isn’t plan­ning on signing-on to direct this movie.

* There have been appar­ently con­flict­ing reports relat­ing to whether this movie will be released in 2010 or 2011, the stu­dio favor­ing the for­mer with pro­ducer Michael G. Wil­son men­tion­ing the latter.

* This will be the 23rd James Bond movie in the EON Pro­duc­tions offi­cial series and the 26th James Bond film overall.

* Daniel Craig is con­tracted to do three pic­tures with an option for a fourth and so this will likely be his third time play­ing James Bond. It is pos­si­bly the case that this movie could be Craig’s final play­ing James Bond. Report­edly, an Octo­ber 20, 2008 inter­view appear­ing in Hol​ly​wood​.com states “Craig could stay on for a fourth movie as well, but it’s not likely” with Craig quoted as say­ing: “I can’t see doing it beyond another movie”.

* If Judi Dench returns for this movie, it will be her 7th out­ing as M. It has been touted that this might be Dench’s last time play­ing M in the series.

* Whether this film is released in 2010 or 2011, it should be noted that 2012 is the 50th Anniver­sary of the EON Pro­duc­tions James Bond fran­chise. There will no doubt be some cel­e­bra­tions of this birth­day mile­stone as there was with the series 40th Birth­day when Die Another Day (2002) was released forty years after Dr. No (1962).

* This movie is not expected to be a direct follow-on from Quan­tum of Solace (2008) and Casino Royale (2006) which the for­mer was a direct sequel to the lat­ter. Pro­ducer Bar­bara Broc­coli has said that the series “will go on to other dif­fer­ent sto­ries from now on.” How­ever, there still is likely to be the appear­ance of the QUANTUM orga­ni­za­tion, but with dif­fer­ent vil­lains. More­over, Broc­coli has also hinted at the pos­si­bil­ity of a tril­ogy, which means a con­nec­tion with Casino Royale (2006) and Quan­tum of Solace (2008), say­ing that “I think in some way, he will go after the [Quan­tum] orga­ni­za­tion. So in that sense, it may become a tril­ogy, but we haven’t really struc­tured it that way.”

* It has been touted that this film will be shot in New York. In the pub­lished Ian Flem­ing sto­ries, James Bond goes to New York in “Live And Let Die”, “Dia­monds Are For­ever”, “Goldfin­ger” and the short story “007 in New York”. In the movies, he went there pre­vi­ously in Live and Let Die (1973).

* Report­edly, this is expected to be the first James Bond movie released after the Sony-MGM stu­dio part­ner­ship. This is allegedly due to a legal agree­ment which was made when Sony formed a con­sor­tium to buy the MGM stu­dio four years ago in 2004. Quan­tum of Solace (2008) and its pre­cur­sor Casino Royale (2006) have both been MGM / Colum­bia Pic­tures co-productions and both stu­dio logos are seen at the start of each film. For Bond 23 (2010), MGM is expected to return to being the Bond franchise’s sole exclu­sive stu­dio. How­ever, it has been touted that Sony may be stay­ing on.

* With the use Quan­tum of Solace (2008), an orig­i­nal Ian Flem­ing James Bond story title for the Bond movie made prior to this, there now remains only four unused orig­i­nal Flem­ing titles that could pos­si­bly be used as a title for this film. These are “The Prop­erty of a Lady”, “The Hilde­brand Rar­ity”, “Risico” and “007 in New York” (aka “Agent 007 in New York”).

* There has been a strong sug­ges­tion that this film may be filmed in New York. Inter­est­ingly, the 007 Mag­a­zine has reported a time when in the early days of try­ing to film what would become Never Say Never Again (1983), the fol­low­ing 1975 Bond movie New York loca­tion scout occured: “In 1975 McClory [i.e. Kevin McClory], accom­pa­nied by Sean Con­nery, trav­eled to New York in order to scout loca­tions for their new 007 project then enti­tled James Bond of the Secret Ser­vice. The script, co-written by McClory, Sean Con­nery and Len Deighton (thriller writer and cre­ator of the Harry Palmer char­ac­ter immor­talised on screen by Michael Caine) included scenes inside and out­side the Statue of Lib­erty, where the vil­lain­ous SPECTRE has a secret base from where they launch robotic sharks to keep away any pry­ing intruders.”

* The char­ac­ters of Miss Mon­eypenny and Q, who have not appeared in the last two Bond movies Casino Royale (2006) and Quan­tum of Solace (2008), are said to be return­ing in this movie. Saman­tha Bond, the last actress to play Mon­eypenny, has said that she won’t be return­ing to the role. As such, a new actress would likely be cast when/if her char­ac­ter returns to the series. Pro­ducer Michael G. Wil­son has allegedly hinted that Mon­eypenny will return but Q may/will not.

* Vari­ety colum­nist Liz Smith wrote this in her col­umn on Wednes­day 10th Sep­tem­ber 2008. The piece is about this movie being filmed in New York using its Pri­mola Restau­rant as one of it’s loca­tions: “WHO WAS that blond stun­ner who froze forks mid-air at the posh Pri­mola eatery in N.Y.? Oh yes indeed, it was Daniel Craig, 007 him­self. The studly Daniel was accom­pa­nied by his pro­ducer Bar­bara Broc­coli. (She is the daugh­ter of ‘Albert “Cubby’ Broc­coli’, who co-produced all the James Bond films until his death in 1996. Bar­bara took over and now has a “license to film.”) Daniel and Bar­bara talked about the next Bond epic, part of which will be filmed — for the very first time! — in New York [sic, Live and Let Die (1973) was par­tially filmed in New York]. Pri­mola itself will have a lit­tle cameo. Maybe Daniel just wanted to see if the restau­rant could han­dle those shoul­ders of his.”

* Writ­ers are sched­uled to begin the film script by the end of Jan­u­ary 2009.