James Bond International Fan Club News Letter For July, 2011

Dear colin

Newsletter                                                        July, 2011
To India With Love?
Interesting news emerged in June that Tariq Anwar, the editor of the recent smash-hit film 'The King's Speech', may be joining Bond 23. In an interview with the Indian Telegraph, Anwar revealed that Bond 23 director Sam Mendes had sounded him out about 'whether he would be interested' in doing the next 007 movie: 'That would be different', Anwar told the Telegraph, adding: 'I will do Bond'. Anwar and Mendes have worked together before. Their first collaboration was on 'American Beauty', which brought Mendes to fame as a director. Anwar's work on 'The King's Speech' was nominated for an Oscar. Meanwhile, further news emerged on a possible Indian location for Bond 23. In the April JBIFC Newsletter, we noted unconfirmed reports that the famous Konkan Railway on the Indian coast had been floated as a possible filming location. New reports from India (again still unconfirmed) have now claimed that EON Productions have been in negotiations for a deal to shoot for three weeks at the 'Big ND Studio' in Karjay, near Mumbai (formerly Bombay). The large complex offers substantial outdoors space together with air-conditioned facilities, and would also be ideal for complex stunt-work. The highly successful 'Slumdog Millionaire' filmed scenes in the same studio in 2008.
Who Will Be The 007 Women In Bond 23?
We already know that one vital female role in Bond 23 has been officially cast: Dame Judi Dench will return as the ever-redoubtable 'M', head of MI6. Daniel Craig has also dropped some tantalising hints since he last donned the shoulder-holster that he would personally like to see the return of the character of Moneypenny to the series (or should that be 'advent', given that Craig's Bond was a reboot?). But who will take the other leading female roles in Craig's next 007 adventure later this year? As we noted in the May JBIFC Newsletter, following recent reports from internet source Ynet that representatives for the Israeli model turned actress Esti Ginzburg had been sounded out by the Bond production team, and that they had invited Ginzburg to audition for the part of 'an exotic woman', new information emerged in June about another potential candidate for a role. British actress Naomie Harris has also been linked to the production. A spokesman for EON confirmed that the 34-year old actress had met with the film-makers, but no deals have been made.
The Spies Who Watched Her
Harris, who was born in London, trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and her latest movie is 'The First Grader', shot mainly on location in Kenya. The movie has gone down very well with the UK's film critics. She first came to prominence in the 2002 TV adaptation of Zadie Smith's novel 'White Teeth'. She is probably best known to UK and other film fans for her role in Danny Boyle's apocalyptic movie '28 Days Later', and also as voodoo woman Tia Dalma in two of the swash-buckling 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies (numbers two and three). She has also starred with Pierce Brosnan (in 'After the Sunset'), Jamie Foxx (in Michael Mann's 'Miami Vice'), and Keanu Reeves (in 'Street Kings). More recently, she has been appearing on stage as Elizabeth Lavenza in Danny Boyle's acclaimed theatre production of 'Frankenstein' at the prestigious National Theatre, in central London. It is easy to see why the Bond team have been interested in her work. The UK's media seem to be marking her out as a name to watch. The UK's Independent newspaper, for example, gave her a big profile on June 17 as part of the publicity drive for 'The First Grader', and hinted that she was 'secretly ecstatic' to be in the running for a role in Bond 23. Interestingly, in an interview in the BBC's Radio Times magazine ('Bond girls are forever', June 18), when asked more directly about the possibility of a part in Bond 23, she responded: 'Nothing is confirmed, but I would love to be part of the Bond movies. What makes them work is that they are responsive to the times'. She also said that the Bond movie today now 'appeals to all generations, ages and sexes'.
More Another Day
There was even more for Bond fans to chew over when Naomi Harris appeared on the BBC 'Breakfast' TV news programme on June 21, again being interviewed about her role in 'The First Grader'. At one point, she said she had met the producers and Sam Mendes for an audition, but had not seen the Bond 23 script as it is 'top secret'. The audition used the script from the previous Bond movie 'Quantum of Solace'. Later that day, she confirmed to BBC Radio-1's 'Newsbeat' that she had indeed met Sam Mendes and had read scenes from 'Quantum'. She revealed: 'My audition was really great actually because it's so top secret, the whole Bond thing. I hadn't realised how top secret it was'. She continued: 'I've auditioned for a lot of things before but never for something where you can't see the script. I auditioned with a scene from Quantum of Solace'. Naomi admitted that she had no idea what role she might be up for, but added that she hoped it is a traditional Bond girl.
MGM/SONY Confirm Bond 23 Release Dates
Early June saw some official news on the key Bond 23 opening dates. In a press release issued from London by MGM and SONY Pictures Entertainment, dated June 2, 2011, the dates for the release of Bond 23 were confirmed. According to the brief press communiqué, the UK release date for the next 007 movie has been set for Friday, October 26, 2012, with the film opening on that date at the famous Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, in the centre of London, and in cinemas across the UK and Ireland. The US opening has been set for November 9, 2012. The MGM/SONY statement also confirmed the return of Daniel Craig as James Bond, Judi Dench as his boss 'M', and Sam Mendes as the director. The movie will be based on a screenplay written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan. The press release also revealed that David Arnold will be returning as the music composer. The press release added that Bond 23 is in pre-production, and 'will commence production' in November, 2011, twelve months prior to the release of the film.
John Barry Memorial Concert Wows Fans
A special John Barry Memorial Concert was held at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday, June 21. The concert was organised to help raise money for the new John Barry Scholarship for new music students, which is also being partly funded by the Dana and Cubby Broccoli Foundation. On a rather rain-soaked summer evening in central London, James Bond fans attended in substantial numbers alongside many John Barry aficionados. Special guests at the event included Sir Michael Parkinson, Jonpatrick Barry, Laurie Barry (Barry's wife), Sir Michael Cain, lyricist Don Black, composer Nicholas Dodd, former 007 Timothy Dalton, current Bond composer David Arnold, Sir George Martin, Sir Richard Attenborough, and Dame Shirley Bassey. As a measure of the high esteem in which the late, great composer was held, the orchestra for the special evening was the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The evening was also interspersed with various clips from a BBC Omnibus documentary about Barry's work. Highlights of the special evening included a recital of Barry's favourite poem by Timothy Dalton, a special one-off performance of 'Tick the Days' by David Arnold (lyrics by Don Black), and fantastic renditions of 'Diamonds Are Forever' and 'Goldfinger' by Bassey. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say the applause was so loud and appreciative for Dame Shirley that the roof of the Royal Albert Hall probably shifted an inch or two! Barry's wife and son took to the stage at the end of the concert as the orchestra played an excellent version of the famous James Bond theme.
Golden Voice
The BBC announced on June 22 that they have made a drama about the life of Dame Shirley Bassey, to be broadcast on BBC-2. According to a BBC news release, the new production will show Dame Shirley's 'difficult rise from poverty to international stardom'. As well as the Bassey drama, BBC News and Entertainment also announced that the autumn schedules for the BBC network will include a new spy drama called 'Page Eight', written and directed by Sir David Hare, and starring Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Rachel Weisz, and Ralph Fiennes as a British Prime Minister. Fiennes, of course, has also been the subject of recent Bond 23 casting rumours.
Broccoli's Delight: Bond Producer Wins Damages
It was announced on Wednesday, June 15, that James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has won substantial undisclosed libel damages from the UK's Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers. These concerned false claims made in August, 2010, that she misused public funds when she was chair of the board of directors of 'First Light', the registered charity which helps young disadvantaged people to break into the film industry. Her solicitor told the High Court in London that Broccoli found the allegations 'deeply upsetting' and harmful to her reputation. In a statement made after her win, Barbara Broccoli said that it was 'very important' for her to get a correction, and added: 'I am very committed to my work with the charity, First Light, and I am delighted that all of these damages will assist in funding film-making projects for kids from all backgrounds across the country'.
Deaver's Delight: Carte Blanche Rides High
Basking in the positive critical reactions to his new Bond thriller 'Carte Blanche' while on the last legs of his recent whistlestop tour of the UK to help launch the book (see our May Newsletter), Jeffery Deaver quipped that he is 'one up' on his fictional hero: as a 'speed freak' and proud owner of a Porsche 911, Deaver has reached speeds of 160mph on the track, exceeding Bond's highest documented speed: 'But then I'm not chasing someone with a gun'. He also revealed that, by coincidence, he purchased his Porsche in 007's favourite car colour of battleship grey, and a long time before he knew he would be following in Ian Fleming's writing footsteps. According to sales figures released by The Bookseller, Deaver's new Bond adventure rapidly raced up the charts and reached no.2 in the UK's fiction bestseller charts by the end of the week ending June 4. Deaver is currently busy promoting the recent US release of the novel, and has indicated he may be open to penning another 007 thriller at some point.
The Lowdown on Spy-Fi
A recent edition of ScifiNow (no. 52, 2011), a science fiction and fantasy magazine published in the UK by Imagine Publishing, carried an interesting article entitled 'The Complete Guide to Spy-Fi'. The concept of 'Spy-Fi', combining spy fiction and science fiction, has really taken off in recent years, and the article illustrated how the 007 films have played a prominent role in this. From the beginning, with films such as 'Dr. No' and 'You Only Live Twice', the filmmakers were 'reacting to the political and technological climate surrounding them' (such as the Cold War), and, following the 1960s, Bond was one of the few remaining entries in Spy-Fi entertainment. The space-based 'Moonraker' (1979) continued this tradition. Spy-Fi themes returned in 'Goldeneye' (1995) when villain Alec Trevelyan hijacked a Russian satellite weapon. The magazine argued that 'Die Another Day' was also a nod at the Spy-Fi genre before 007 returned to earth with a bang in the gritty 'Casino Royale', a revamp of the franchise.
The Property of a Lady
It could be straight out of Ian Fleming's fictional world, and he may even have seen one or two of the secret files at some point when he was serving in Naval Intelligence. Newly declassified files recently released by the UK's National Archives at Kew, West London, in April contain some fascinating details about how the Nazis planned to poison chocolate, sugar and Nescafe coffee as part of a Second World War sabotage operation. According to the MI5 (Security Service) files, German spies were equipped with just about everything from poison pills disguised as aspirin to cigarette lighters that could emit lethal fumes when ignited. The documents also describe a belt-buckle which contained a two-barrelled .32 pistol, which pointed directly to the front. Female Nazi agents were supplied with potentially lethal 'microbe' weapons hidden in handbag mirrors, and their instructions were to use these against top-ranking officials in Allied-occupied parts of Germany during the final stages of the War. The Nazi leadership also planned to plant sleeper agents around the world after the War ended, their objectives being to provoke global unrest and lay the foundations of a 'Fourth Reich'. Sir Hugo Drax would certainly be thrilled...
007 and Counting
Amongst the gems at a vintage movie poster auction held in London on June 15 was a fascinating prototype poster for 'Diamonds Are Forever' (1971), an image that was never used for the final marketing campaign, but looked similar to the one eventually deployed. The unique hand-painted poster (Lot no.302) sold for nearly £80,000 in the sale, which took place at the famous Christie's auctioneers in South Kensington, London. The original artwork for the poster, painted by Robert E. McGinnis, was signed by the artist. After the Wednesday afternoon auction was over, Rachel Reilly, a Christie's movie specialist, commented: 'We are delighted with the results of the sale, particularly the world record price achieved for the original concept artwork for Diamonds are Forever, which sold for £79,250'. She added: 'The sale featured over 30 original James Bond movie posters dating from 1962 through to 1985'. Overall, the James Bond section of the auction made a breathtaking total of £131,546, which proves, said Reilly, 'the enduring appeal and popularity of the famous and iconic British secret agent'. Other famous film posters in the auction included ones for 'Casablanca' (1942) and 'Lawrence of Arabia' (1962). Robert McGinnis painted posters for five Bond films, and in November, 1999, to celebrate the release of 'The World Is Not Enough', the Sunday Times commissioned him to paint a special James Bond cover for their magazine.
Did You Know?
Speaking to the same Sunday Times magazine for their 'A Life in the Day Of' page in November, 1999, one-off Bond George Lazenby said: 'I regret that I turned down Diamonds Are Forever. The only silver lining was that I met my wife and had a couple of kids - I wouldn't have done that had I gone on to do another Bond. But my career would have been much better off.' He added: 'They actually wanted me to sign for seven years. Seven years to me then was a lifetime. The contract was an inch and a half thick. It covered everything, from how to cut your hair to how to behave in public'.
Bond Bits: Brief News Items You May Have Missed
Geoffrey Rush, publicising entry number four in 'The Pirates of the Caribbean' series ('On Stranger Tides'), was quoted in the London Evening Standard on May 19 as saying he believed the pirate franchise could go on as long as the Bond series. Given some of the critical reactions to the latest instalment, Rush is being (let's be diplomatic) perhaps a little optimistic...
The JBIFC was sad to learn of the death of actress Janet Brown on May 27, who had a small role as the Prime Minister in 'For Your Eyes Only' (1981). It follows the death of actor Graham Crowden in October, 2010, who also had a small role in Roger Moore's 'back to basics' Bond movie...
Why does the UK's ITV-1 network treat its Bond film screenings so poorly? Bank Holiday Monday May 30 saw another outing for the classic 007 adventure 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' (1969), perfect for a rainy afternoon. However, the moving scene where Bond discovers his new wife has been shot was frankly ruined when a promo for a celebrity programme was flashed up on the screen, and to add insult to injury the credits at the end were also trashed with a voice talking over them...
The UK's music channel VH1 showed a programme called 'Duran Duran: The Official Top 20' on June 4, narrated by Phil Clifden, which showed the top 20 most popular tie-in videos to the band's songs during their illustrious career. The Eiffel Tower video for their theme to 'A View To A Kill' (1985) came in at no. 6, while 'The Reflex' came in at no.1...
Eva Green, who played Vesper Lynd in 'Casino Royale', gave a lengthy interview to the Sunday Observer newspaper's magazine on June 6 and also appeared on the magazine's front cover. Given to promote her role as the mysterious Morgan in the new TV series 'Camelot' (which started transmission on the UK's Channel-4 on June 11), Green at one point in the interview said she'd had little idea of the cultural significance of Bond until she found herself on set and being asked to give interviews in the middle of filming: 'For the English, it's like royalty!', she said, adding: 'Now I know it's a big deal'...
Kermode and Mayo's film review, which is broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live every Friday afternoon, featured extracts from classic film scores on June 10, performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at Manchester's Salford Quays. The extracts were from a shortlist of the greatest film scores specially compiled by a jury of six appointed by 5 Live, which included film expert Andrew Collins. Collins made a strong case for 'You Only Live Twice', and found an immediate consensus on his choice. In fact, in the final shortlist of eleven scores, two Barry themes were present: 'You Only Live Twice' and 'Midnight Cowboy'...
And speaking of 'You Only Live Twice', an episode of the UK's Channel-4 auction programme 'Four Rooms', broadcast on Tuesday June 14, at one point featured a member of the public trying to persuade one of the four dealers on the show to make him an offer for an original suit worn by Sean Connery in his fifth Bond movie. Surprisingly, he was unsuccessful...
What kind of art do real spies like? This was the question posed by the UK's Independent newspaper on June 17, which noted that former MI6 (SIS) chief Sir John Scarlett has revealed that SIS officers have been buying up the work of James Hart Dyke, who was allowed to spend a year with the organisation, capturing their daily life on canvass. Interestingly, one piece has some white circles on it which looks suspiciously like a nod to the James Bond gun-barrel opening! The art is currently on sale at London's Mount Street Galleries...
Stunt artists of the world unite! The organisers of the Academy Awards in Los Angeles have again refused to create a new Oscar to honour their work, despite a plea by key stuntmen and women in the latest round of a 20-year campaign for an Oscar for Best Stunt. Backers of the campaign include Steven Spielberg. As many fans know, the Bond films in particular have made extensive use of stunt co-ordinators. Come on, guys, why not create an Oscar?...
Dame Judi Dench, who will play 'M' again in Bond 23, has received a Fellowship from the British Film Institute (BFI), in recognition of her contribution to cinema and television. The award is the highest accolade the BFI can bestow...
Many congratulations to Daniel Craig and Rachael Weisz, who were married in a secret ceremony in New York on Wednesday, June 22. Although some newspapers were unsure whether it was a hoax, a representative for Weisz confirmed the ceremony had indeed taken place...

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