Yes, we agree: Star Wars is amazing. It’s spanned 40 years, encompassing seven (soon to be eight) films in the main saga, with one (soon to be two) spin-off. Ten films in total. Planet Of The Apes is not too far behind with nine. Harry Potter? One less with eight. All very impressive. But then there’s Bond. James Bond.
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The James Bond film series launched in 1962 with Dr. No, and has been going strong for fifty-five years, showing no signs of stopping. A point driven home by the recent announcement of a release date for the twenty-fifth 007 adventure, currently titled Bond 25.
“It is amazing,” concurs Michael G. Wilson, who co-produces the series with his sister, Barbara Broccoli, whose father launched the series with Harry Saltzman as part of their EON Productions. “I don’t think anybody thought we’d be talking about the same company making these for 50 years. I think once a fictitious character becomes a part of the culture, they’ll come back like Sherlock Holmes does or Superman or Batman. But usually it's sort of wax and wanes and not a continuous thing. It’s not something anyone would have predicted, although they did start out making a series of pictures. Who would have thought [laughs]? It would have been very ambitious to think it would still be going on.”
Part of Bond’s longevity has been the ability of the producers to know exactly when to shake things up. Moonraker (1979), for example, was a very successful movie and also very fanciful. The next film, For Your Eyes Only (1981) was considerably more rooted in reality. Die Another Day (2002) was the biggest box office success of them all up until that time, yet it was, again, far too light for a Bond film and the next time audiences saw the character, he had transitioned from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig and ushered in a whole new era for the series.
“When you start going down a particular path, being more fantastical or more of a fantasy, what happens is that you realize that you start to unconsciously try to top yourself," said Wilson. "You get to a point where you have to realize to go on like this is ultimately going to lead to disaster. There's the old expression 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it,' but that doesn't apply to these kind of situations. You have to reinvent yourself before it gets broke."
Wilson continued to say, "With a guy like Daniel Craig, he's a very grounded guy. I think because he's such a great actor, you want to give him challenges, more of what he can do. Give Bond an interesting, emotional story for him. That's the challenge that we give the writers, and we've managed to keep on track with that. I think if you're ambitious about making it more than just an action fantasy, then the writing challenges are very hard indeed.”
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Daniel has (finally) confirmed that he will be back as agent 007, marking his fifth time in the role following Casino Royale (2006), Quantum Of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015). And this despite all the names dropped in the media on who would replace him, from Michael Fassbender to Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston and beyond.
Appearing on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to promote his new film Logan Lucky, the actor was asked by the show's host if he would be returning in the role, noting that given the current political and social climate in the country, we could really use him.
"I've been quite cagey about it," he told Stephen. "I've been doing interviews all day. People have been asking me, and I've been quite coy. But I kind of felt if I was going to speak the truth, I should speak the truth to you."
And just what is that truth? "Yes... I just want to go out on a high note, and I can't wait."
(YouTube Fan Trailer)
His return might be surprising to some, given that the day Daniel began promoting Spectre, the media was already asking him about the next 007 film. His response was that he would rather slash his wrists with a piece of broken glass than think about another film at that point. For some reason, everyone took the snark as intent, ignoring the fact that the guy was probably burnt out from a grueling filming schedule and months of promotion ahead of him.
According to London's Mirror, Bond 25 will be named Shatterhand and based on the Raymond Benson Bond novel Never Dream Of Dying, which was published in 2001.Wikipedia describes the novel as follows: "It begins when a police raid goes horribly wrong, killing innocent men, women, and even children. Bond knows the Union is behind the carnage, and vows to take them down once and for all. His hunt takes him to Paris, into a deadly game of predator and prey, and a fateful meeting with the seductive Tylyn Mignonne, a movie star with a sordid past, who may lead Bond to his final target — or his own violent end. Eventually it leads him to the Union's latest attack on society, which involves Tylyn's husband, Leon Essinger, and his new movie, Pirate Island, which stars Tylyn." This has not been officially confirmed but if true would be the first non-Ian Fleming Bond novel to be adapted into film.
EON Productions has announced that Mr. Bond will return to theaters on November 8, 2019. As per usual, it will reach theaters in the UK at that time, and follow everywhere else about a week later. This will be the second longest gap between 007 films in the franchise’s, by then, 57 year history, this one between 2015’s Spectre and Bond 25. The longest was between 1989’s Licence To Kill and 1995’s GoldenEye, which was due to legal issues. Before that, it was between 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun and 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me. For old-time fans this is kind of unacceptable. We’ve only got got so many Bond films left in us, so move it, people!
Fans of 007 have been wondering why there hasn't been much movement on the film before this. Part of it may be that producers Michael and Barbara were waiting for Daniel’s schedule to be free to fit the next film in, and part of it may be that they just haven't known which way to go following the mixed reaction that Spectre received from critics and fans.
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Neal Purvis, who with Robert Wade co-wrote every Bond film from 1999’s The World Is Not Enough through Skyfall, while also contributing to Spectre, recently offered up some of the potential challenges facing the new film creatively.
“I’m just not sure how you would go about writing a James Bond film now,” Neal said. “Each time, you’ve got to say something about Bond’s place in the world, which is Britain’s place in the world. But things are moving so quickly now that that becomes tricky. With people like Trump, the Bond villain has become a reality. So when they do another one, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the fact that the world has become a fantasy."
Since then, Purvis and Wade have been brought aboard to write, so it will be interesting to see exactly how they answer that particular question.
Update: According to Deadline, the short list of directors has been narrowed down to Yann Demange (the thriller '71 and the currently shooting White Boy Rick), Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) and David MacKenzie (Hell Or High Water).
When he concluded Skyfall, director Sam Mendes was pretty clear that as much as he loved the experience, he'd said everything he had to about Bond. That's raised the question of who will take his place, which in turn has led to rumors that it will be Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan (perhaps you know him from the Dark Knight trilogy or Inception). For his part, Christopher has commented in the past, "I've spoken to the producers over the years. I deeply love the character, and I'm always excited to see what they do with it. Maybe one day that would work out. You'd have to be needed, if you know what I mean. It has to need reinvention; it has to need you. And they're getting along very well."
Another candidate could be Chad Stahelski, recently represented on screen by John Wick Chapter 2, who, while promoting that film, commented, “I’m interested in projects where you can world create. To jump back into somebody else’s world where it’s already been around for so long would be scary. But if there was one property, that wouldn’t be a bad one to try and invest yourself…. I think the timing is good for a slight reinvention with a different perspective shift.” Given the energy of the John Wick films, that kind of infusion wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.
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As rumblings start to be felt regarding Bond 25, it seems that more than the world is at stake as no less than five studios are vying for distribution rights to the next 007 adventure. Although Sony has been distributing the films since 2006's Casino Royale, their license to distribute has expired. As a result, they now have to get in line with all the other interested parties to impress EON Productions' Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and convince them, along with co-owners MGM, that they're the right people for Her Majesty's Secret Service.
According to an article in The New York Times, besides Sony, the other studios vying for the rights are Warner Bros, Universal, 20th Century Fox and, surprisingly, Annapurna, the company behind such films as Her and American Hustle. The theory regarding the latter is that having Bond could be a game-changer for them.
This originally appeared on FHM.com.
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