Ev­ery­thing we know about the next 007 movie

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CULTURE - By FRED HEFFER

07 will re­turn ... on Novem­ber 8, 2019, ac­cord­ing to a tweet put out by the James Bond Twit­ter ac­count. But, they ex­plain, this is only the US re­lease date, and British cin­ema­go­ers can ex­pect to be watch­ing the spy’s 25 th (or 24 th of­fi­cial) ad­ven­ture slightly ear­lier.

Be­sides the re­lease win­dow, de­tails are scarce. But here’s what we know so far:

Along with the re­lease date, we also know that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade will be on script duty. The duo have been writ­ing Bond films since 1999’s The World is Not Enough and over­saw the fran­chise’s tran­si­tion from the ex­cesses of the Bros­nan era to the Ja­son Bourne-in­flu­enced grit­ti­ness of Daniel Craig’s ten­ure.

Purvis and Wade have also col­lab­o­rated with John Lo­gan and Jez But­ter­worth on the most re­cent Bond films, so it may not be too sur­pris­ing if those play­wrights get cred­ited with re­vi­sions to the script.

An­other ques­tion is tone: un­der the di­rec­tion of Sam Men­des, Sky­fall and Spec­tre at­tempted to em­brace the vi­vac­ity (and oc­ca­sion­ally the hu­mour) of the Con­nery films. With Men­des con­firmed not to be re­turn­ing, the film may re­sume the full se­ri­ous­ness of Casino Royale.

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Good ques­tion. Speak­ing to The Tele­graph in Jan­uary, Purvis ad­mit­ted that they had no idea how to tackle Bond in a post-Don­ald Trump world. “I’m just not sure how you would go about writ­ing a James Bond film now,” the writer 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 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.”

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Of course, the script is only half the bat­tle. The film’s over­all feel will mainly de­pend on who plays Bond. De­spite claim­ing in 2015 that he would rather “slit his wrists” than reprise the role, sources re­port that Eon Pro­duc­tions are very con­fi­dent they can bring Craig back, and that all he needs to do is sign a con­tract; ac­cord­ing to some re­ports, a deal

3 Who is writ­ing? What will the plot be? Will Daniel Craig re­turn?

has al­ready been done. If that is the case, Craig won’t come cheap: it’s claimed that at one point he was of­fered $150 mil­lion to make two more Bonds.

But even sup­pos­ing that he is ready to play Bond again, it is likely that this will be Craig’s last time do­ing so. By 2019 he will have been in the role in films over a 13-year span, longer than any other Bond ac­tor with the ex­cep­tion of Sean Con­nery’s one-off ap­pear­ance in Never Say Never Again (1983). From a fresh blood per­spec­tive, this film would make sense as a send­off to the Craig pe­riod.

4 What about the sup­port­ing cast?

It also fol­lows then that the story of Craig’s Bond and re­cur­ring (or more ap­pro­pri­ately, sur­viv­ing) char­ac­ters should be wrapped up neatly. The mat­ter of which cast mem­bers are re­turn­ing can tell us a Sky­fall.

lot about the story even in the ab­sence of other knowl­edge.

Spec­tre (2015) re­vealed Ernst Stavro Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz, to be the “au­thor” of all of Bond’s suf­fer­ing from Casino Royale on­wards. Though he was cap­tured, it seems im­prob­a­ble that the pro­duc­ers would waste time and money in­tro­duc­ing the fran­chise’s most fa­mous vil­lain, only to ig­nore him one movie later.

Waltz has ad­mit­ted to feel­ing that he didn’t “nail” the char­ac­ter first time around, but his Blofeld spent most of the film con­ceal­ing his iden­tity, and do­ing very lit­tle in the way of world dom­i­na­tion. Per­haps a more ad­ven­tur­ous script (and a lot of money) will get him back for sure.

The Craig films have also spent more time ex­plor­ing Bond’s (seem­ingly doomed) ro­man­tic arcs, but so far no Bond girl has made it alive into the se­quel. It ap­peared that this cycle had been bro­ken by Spec­tre, when Bond es­caped with Lea Sey­doux’s char­ac­ter, the Ves­per Lyn­d­sub­sti­tute Madeleine Swann. In a world where no cine­matic uni­verse wants to be inat­ten­tive to fe­male au­di­ences (even the Bond films), it’s very prob­a­ble that Sey­doux will also make a re­turn.

Ad­di­tion­ally, it won’t be too much of a sur­prise if Ralph Fi­ennes’s M, Naomie Har­ris’s Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw’s Q are also as­sist­ing Bond. Th­ese in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the char­ac­ters are get­ting set­tled in and it makes lit­tle sense for them to be gone, es­pe­cially when prior in­cum­bents in those roles were long term Bond fix­tures.

As is stan­dard pro­ce­dure on Bond films, at least one lo­ca­tion for Bond 25 has ap­par­ently been found long be­fore a word of the script has been

5 Where will it shoot?

typed. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports in Fe­bru­ary, the Croa­t­ian city of Dubrovnik has been in “ad­vanced ne­go­ti­a­tions” to host the pro­duc­tion. Dubrovnik is also used as a lo­ca­tion in Game of Thrones.

The direc­tor with the most mo­men­tum/ wish­cast­ing be­hind him is Christo­pher Nolan, who talks reg­u­larly about his love of the char­ac­ter and in­flu­ence taken from the se­ries. With Dunkirk re­leased he would be ex­pected to have his next film due in 2019/20, so it’s a win­dow he could fall right into.

He has also ad­mit­ted to talk­ing to the Bond pro­duc­ers Michael G. Wil­son and Bar­bara Broc­coli, who would surely be keen to draft him given the likely rev­enue and crit­i­cal praise his at­tach­ment could at­tract. The only qual­i­fier is how much cre­ative con­trol the pro­duc­ers are will-

6 Who will di­rect?

ing to give Nolan, who usu­ally writes his own scripts, or col­lab­o­rates with his brother Jonathan.

Danny Boyle is an­other well­known British direc­tor who may also be con­sid­ered “due” the hon­our of di­rect­ing one of the most well­known British fran­chises, and with Sam Men­des’s prece­dent, the se­ries’s pro­duc­ers may have no prob­lems del­e­gat­ing di­rect­ing du­ties to an­other au­teur film­maker.

Or could it be Paul McGuigan, the Scot­tish direc­tor re­port­edly favoured by Wil­son and Broc­coli af­ter they pro­duced his forth­com­ing drama Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool?

Though Wil­son and Broc­coli pre­fer to hire British (or British con­nected) di­rec­tors, they could also be tempted by De­nis Vil­leneuve, the direc­tor of Si­cario, Ar­rival and this year’s Blade Run­ner 2049, who has ex­pressed in­ter­est him­self.

FRAN­COIS DUHAMEL / AP / SONY PIC­TURES

Daniel Craig as James Bond in the ac­tion ad­ven­ture film

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