Full Guide to BOND 23 - The Facts and The Rumours

So, boys and girls, what do we know about the next James Bond movie – aka Bond 23 - and what at this stage is only guessing?

So, boys and girls, what do we know about the next James Bond movie €“ aka Bond 23? Well, there are €” as former US secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said (about something else entirely) €” some "known knowns". Then there are some known unknowns and, quite possibly €” although our head hurts just thinking about it €” some unknown unknowns€ and even€ Oh, look. Here€™s what we know for sure €” and what€™s just been made up in the press, quite frankly€ WHAT€™S THE RELEASE DATE? We do know this one! It€™s 26th OCTOBER 2012 in the UK; and 9th NOVEMBER in the USA. Book early to avoid disappointment. WHO ARE THE PRODUCERS? That would be BARBARA BROCCOLI and MICHAEL G WILSON. The distributors (and what a tangle THAT caused when MGM went into financial meltdown) are MGM and Sony Pictures. The MGM/Sony pairing has also been confirmed for Bond 24. WHO€™S IN IT? You€™ve probably been reading lots of stories about the long list of fabulous actors who will be starring in Bond 23. Hell we reported on every one of them. Well, forget all of those for the time being: DANIEL CRAIG and JUDI DENCH are, so far, the only confirmed cast members, reprising their roles as 007 and M respectively. Dozens of stories circulating have been stating, as fact, that Bond 23 will co-star Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes and acting wunderkind Ben Whishaw (from BBC2€™s The Hour), with Naomie Harris as the new Miss Moneypenny. Freida Pinto has also been wheeled out (again) in various leading lady rumours. Plus, RSC actor Simon Russell Beale, a friend of Mendes€™, has been linked to the production. And all of that sounds lovely: but the fact is that (and we can€™t say this enough) until EON send out an official press release/hold a press conference confirming all the above, it€™s just guesswork and rumour. Though Harris as Moneypenny does seem extremely likely and we know offers are on the table for Bardem & Fiennes (not sure about the others) to play characters because well, they have told us so themselves. WHO€™S THE DIRECTOR? We know this one, too! It€™s SAM MENDES, acclaimed ex-Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse in London and ex-hubby of Kate Winslet; and the man who directed American Beauty, Revolutionary Road, Jarhead and who worked with Craig on Road to Perdition. Mendes is not known for his action directing, but the fact that he€™s on board probably means that Craig won€™t be driving an invisible car. Thankfully. Craig says: €œHe (Mendes) has a fervour and energy to direct a Bond movie with a capital B.€ WHO ARE THE WRITERS? NEAL PURVIS AND ROBERT WADE (writers of the last four Bonds and not everyone€™s cup of tea, putting it mildly) have written the script (they also wrote Johnny English, don€™t you know). The fact that Purvis and Wade are on board probably means that Bond will be driving an invisible car (only joking: we can safely rule that one out). JOHN LOGAN (Gladiator, The Last Samurai, Star Trek: Nemesis) has been brought in as co-writer. As an aside, PETER MORGAN (of Frost/Nixon fame) was attached before Logan, but he left when MGM€™s financial situation halted the production in April 2010. Shame (as was the news that Paul Haggis - Casino Royale/Quantum of Solace - wasn€™t coming back). At an event in September, Morgan told a reporter that nothing is left of his script for Bond 23 €“ but that he understands his central hook, his big idea €” remains intact. WHAT€™S THE TITLE? Good question: it€™s the piece of info that everyone in Bond fandom is screaming for right now. Recently, there was an erroneous story that the title was going to be CARTE BLANCHE (the name of this year€™s continuation novel by Jeffery Deaver), which was promptly shot down by EON. Talking of which, EVERYTHING OR NOTHING (which is what Eon stands for) isn€™t Fleming, but would be good €” had it not already been used for a 007 computer game. Various fans seem to think THE UNDERTAKER'S WIND (a chapter heading from Live and Let Die rumoured to be Fleming€™s original working title for the novel) would be do-able. Hmmm. We just say to them: can you imagine the snorting pfnarr-pfnarr hilarity and farting jokes? So here€™s where we are. For the time being at least, it looks as though the filmmakers have jettisoned the idea of making up their own titles in the €˜Kill Another Day When You Die Tomorrow€™ mould (hooray!) and are going back to Fleming. They do right: Fleming wrote fabulous titles. Problem is, all but four of them (from short stories) have been used, so we are now at the barrel-scraping stage: THE PROPERTY OF A LADYRISICOTHE HILDEBRAND RARITY007 IN NEW YORK are the only four still available. 007 in New York can be dismissed immediately €“ it€™s dull, dull, dull, very un-Fleming (despite being written by him) and ties Our Hero to one location. Nah. The Hildebrand Rarity, as more than one messageboard poster has noted, sounds like a Robert Ludlum thriller (in the Fleming novel, it€™s a fish that chokes the villain). It€™s unlikely ever to be used... surely? Then again, the main thing to remember is this: if the filmmakers can use Quantum of Solace, they can use absolutely anything. A LOT of fans seem to like Risico, yet it doesn€™t really trip off the tongue (yes: neither did Quantum of Solace). In fact, I€™m not even sure how to pronounce it: Riss-iko? Riss-ee-ko? Ri-sikko? That could be problem because studios don€™t like ambiguity in their titles (€œTwo tickets for€ er.. Riss-ik€er€Riss-ee€ er the Bond film, please.€) The Property of a Lady, though? This has already been used as a sort of scene subheading in Octopussy (1983); and was also rumoured to be the title of Dalton€™s third, unmade JB film. And it€™s what Craig€™s Bond is to Dench€™s M. The downside: many fans are concerned that The Property of a Lady sounds more Merchant Ivory than Bond; although, like Risico, it would lend itself to the 007 motif that was used in the branding/logos for Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. ANY OTHER CREW MEMBERS YOU KNOW ABOUT? Not officially. Acclaimed Cinematographer ROGER DEAKINS hasn€™t been confirmed by EON €“ but he has confirmed himself on his own website, so we€™ll put his name in capital letters. The Bond website MI6 has said that TARIQ ANWAR, editor of Mendes€™ American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, will also be working on the production. WHO€™S THE COMPOSER? DAVID ARNOLD has been confirmed. But who is singing the title song? As yet, there is zip on this (but then it is rather early). Adele appeared on the Jonathan Ross Show in September and said she was going into the studio soon €œto record a theme€. When Ross started humming the James Bond Theme, she began to bluster and backtrack. She didn€™t exactly deny it, though (it would, however, be very early to be recording the title track). In September, a Serbian newspaper reported that cello player Jelena Mihailovic had been approached to write the score after a performance at the Cannes Film Festival. Umm. No€ WHO IS DIRECTING THE TITLE SEQUENCE? Director Marc Forster brought in the MK12 studio for Quantum of Solace (who changed the credits€™ font €“ at last); but Daniel Kleinman has been the title director of choice since Maurice Binder€™s death, working on GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day and Casino Royale. Not confirmed for Bond 23 as yet, mind. WHAT€™S THE PLOT? We€er€ don€™t know. After the critical mauling that Quantum of Solace received, the filmmakers might want to leave the whole Quantum story arc alone now and do something completely fresh and standalone. A lot of fans on the Bond messageboards certainly seem to favour that direction. WHAT ARE THE LOCATIONS? Rumours abound that India will be a location, with The Guardian writing on 7 September that the Indian Government has asked the filmmakers to a rewrite an €œillegal€ stunt sequence set on board a train. Turkey has also been mentioned (Turkish Culture Minister Ertugrul Günay is reported to have confirmed his country€™s participation) and South Africa, too. Eon, meanwhile, are keeping schtumm. IS MONEYPENNY IN IT? It hasn€™t been confirmed by EON at the time of writing, but it would make sense: the character provides a link to the early films, something which€™s Craig€™s movies have been missing. In July, Baz Bamigboye from The Daily Mail wrote a story stating that Naomi Harris (from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) has been cast as the new Miss Moneypenny. Eon haven€™t confirmed or denied. IS Q IN IT? Probably not. In a filmed interview with Jon Favreau (his Director from Cowboys and Aliens), Craig said that the filmmakers have thought about bringing the Q character back €œbut the problem we have with that€ is that trying to find something new and interesting (to do with gadgets) is really difficult. The technology is in the public arena now.€ In July, The Daily Telegraph€™s Mandrake column ran a story about Rhys Ifans joining the cast. This was taken as fact by some websites who posed the question €˜could he be playing Q?€™ When MTV asked Ifans if he WAS appearing in Bond 23 he told them: €œNo. I€™m not.€ IS FELIX LEITER IN IT? That would be great because Jeffrey Wright (who played Felix in the last two movies) is fabulous. But at the Toronto International Film Festival he told Coming Soon that he hasn€™t yet been approached and doesn€™t expect to be. IS MR WHITE IN IT? See What€™s the Plot? If he is, that would indicate that the whole Quantum story arc is continuing. WILL IT BE ANY GOOD? Your guess is as good as ours on that one. Craig, Mendes, Dench and Arnold, though. What€™s not to like, surely? Watch out for the press launch €“ sometime this autumn? €“ confirming official details.
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