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IT'S PAINTING AND DRAWING HERE From Monday 25th. April
Dear colin The New James Bond Film Title is SkyFall
Newsletter October, 2011
Castle Royale: Scottish Location for Bond 23 The month of October has really seen things hot up when it comes to both news and rumours about Bond 23. One of the most interesting news developments came in early October, when the Press Association, together with the BBC and various other British media sources, confirmed that Daniel Craig's third Bond adventure will see some of its final scenes shot at Duntrune Castle in Scotland. The wind-swept castle, which is located in truly beautiful countryside on the Poitalloch estate near Lochgiphead, in Argyll, was scouted a few months ago by some members of the Bond 23 production team, and has now been chosen. Scottish clan chief Robin Malcolm, who owns the 5,000 acre estate, told the Daily Record newspaper that director Sam Mendes in particular 'had decided in his heart' to go for the atmospheric location, which can often experience tough conditions in the winter months. Appropriately for Bond devotees, the Castle is about 20 minutes from Loch Craignish, where part of the final boat chase was filmed by Terence Young and his crew for 'From Russia With Love' (1963). Fans of John Gardner's 007 novels will also appreciate the irony of Bond returning to Scotland, as Gardner's first Bond adventure Licence Renewed (1981) used the country for some key scenes (in fact, the villain, Anton Murik, Laird of Mulcady, resided in a Scottish castle!). Double-O-Snow Patricia Malcolm, who resides in Duntrune Castle with her husband Robin, told the British media that several days of filming on the new Bond film would start at the end of February 2012. In a series of surprisingly frank comments, she revealed: 'They are coming here at the end of February and are going to film for several days. They are using the castle - just the outside - it's going to be used for the end of the film. I think it's meant to be James Bond's ancestral home - he will bring all the villains here'. She said the film-makers want a winter scene, 'so they are going to bring their own snow', and she added: 'It looks as if they are going to construct the set and then blow it up. I think they are going to attack the castle from land and sea - there are going to be a lot of bangs and explosions'. Her husband Robin also told the media: 'I reckon it will be good for the economy of mid-Argyll. I have asked them to use local labour as much as they can and they will be staying locally. The number of cast and crew will peak at just over 200'. Responding to the latest Scottish location reports, EON Productions were quoted as saying: 'We have looked at various locations for Bond 23. We won't confirm anything until our start of production press conference some time next month'. Possible London Market Location for Bond 23 In mid-October the 'Bizarre' showbiz column in the British newspaper The Sun claimed that the first day of shooting on Bond 23 will be on November 7, it will involve some 'dangerous stunts' with moving vehicles, and that it will take place in a famous London meat market. The newspaper said (on October 15) that the sequence will involve Daniel Craig's 007 having to switch from a Range Rover to a Jaguar, while both vehicles are on the move, and that the sequence will be shot at London's Smithfield market. According to the newspaper: 'Traders at central London's Smithfield market are in for an exciting day as that's where the car chase is set to be shot'. Smithfield market, a famous wholesale meat market (one of the largest in Europe) is located in the Farringdon area, in the north west part of the capital city, and both it and the surrounding area have been used quite regularly in the recent past for both TV and general movie-making. A word of warning is need, however: it is difficult to know whether the details obtained by the Sun are accurate. Bridge Explosion in Bond 23? Just a week after it claimed that Bond 23 would have a car stunt sequence at Smithfield Market in London, the UK's Sun newspaper returned to the 007 rumour round on October 22 by claiming that Vauxhall Bridge in the city will be blown up in the movie. The newspaper's 'Bizarre' showbiz gossip page (written by showbiz editor Gordon Smart) also claimed that Daniel Craig's 007 'is required to have facial hair' in the film. In addition, Smart's report alleged that: 'The film is going to made on a shoestring budget in comparison to the last few'. Predictably, Smart's article was based on quotes from an un-named source, who included the comment about Vauxhall Bridge. If true, the latter snippet of information will probably be the most interesting for Bond fans. Vauxhall Bridge (over the River Thames) has been used twice before by EON (in 'Goldeneye' and 'The World Is Not Enough') and is, of course, near to the real-life 'Wedding Cake' headquarters of MI6, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service.The newspaper returned to the topic of Bond for a third time on October 27, claiming that the Bond 23 production team have been bulk-buying VW Beetles, with the intention of smashing up a few of the vehicles during the filming. The usual caution is needed, however, with all this: British red-top newspapers can often be very unreliable. Always Fine Work by Fiennes In JBIFC Newsletters and on our website this year, we have speculated on a number of occasions about whether the respected actor Ralph Fiennes has signed up for a role in Bond 23. If Sam Mendes has indeed managed to secure the services of the talented Mr. Fiennes, the new Bond movie will be gaining the fine skills of an actor who seems to be experiencing yet another set of high-points in his extensive acting career. His latest movie, 'Coriolanus', is being tipped for possible Oscar recognition. It was also announced on October 4 that Fiennes would be awarded a Fellowship by the British Film Institute in honour of his acting career. Fiennes said he was 'extremely honoured and delighted' by the BFI's accolade (which was presented to him later in the month on October 26, after a gala screening of 'Coriolanus' took place at the London Film Festival). Furthermore, his recent performance as Prospero in Trevor Nunn's stage production of 'The Tempest', which ended its run at the Theatre Royal in the Haymarket, London, on October 29, has also been showered with praise by most of the critics. Fiennes's performance on stage has been variously called 'virile', 'determined' and 'commanding'. Green Was Nearly Green Former Bond girl Eva Green, who played Vesper in Daniel Craig's first Bond film 'Casino Royale', recently revealed that a sick bucket was on standby on the set of her new movie 'Perfect Sense'! The film was premiered in London's Curzon Cinema in Mayfair, where Eva was joined by co-star Ewan McGregor and director David Mackenzie. Green plays a scientist who begins a love affair with a chef (McGregor) at the same time as the world is swept by an epidemic of a terrible disease which causes loss of the senses one at a time. Before losing their taste, victims are struck by an uncomfortable hunger and devour anything they can. Green revealed to the media at the premiere: 'That was quite intense. I had to eat flowers, lipstick, and toothpaste. But we had a bucket next to us... It was bonkers. But I didn't die'. Happy Birthday, Sir Rog! Sir Roger Moore, the third 007, celebrated his 84 th birthday on October 14 (he was born in 1927). Sir Roger, of course, holds the record for the number of times he played James Bond on screen: seven 007 films, from 1973-1985. Sir Roger's most recent film, A Christmas at Castlebury Hall, which co-stars Merlin actress Katie McGrath and was shot in Bucharest, will released in time for the 2011 Christmas season. The film will be shown on the Hallmark Cable Channel on December 3 and will be available on DVD at the end of the month.
For Very Special Services: New Book on Fleming's 30AU A new study about the wartime special assault unit 30AU, which was the brainchild of Ian Fleming, was published on October 6 by Faber & Faber. Entitled Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of 30 Assault Unit in WWII, is it written by historian Nicholas Rankin, whose previous works include the highly-praised Churchill's Wizards, a study of British deception techniques in World War Two. Rankin's new hardback investigates and sets out the history of a unit which specialised in gathering enemy intelligence before it was destroyed, lost or looted in the chaos of military conflict. Of all the plethora of special units and secret forces created in World War Two, 30AU has - until now - remained among the least known, and the new book will be of particular interest to those interested in Fleming's early career. A special launch event, attended by the author, was held on Wednesday October 5 at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London, not far from the flat where Fleming resided during the War. The JBIFC was able to insert one of our own special agents into the event. Rankin explained to the rapt audience that, in 1942, the then Lieutenant-Commander Fleming, who was assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty in Whitehall, London, 'had a brilliant idea': to set up a unit of authorised looters, who would go in with the front-line Allied troops and steal enemy intelligence and any examples of secret equipment. Known as '30 Assault Unit', the small team's final major coup was to seize the German Navy's archives, which provided invaluable evidence for the trials set up by the Allies to prosecute key Nazi leaders. Rankin also said that, in his view, Fleming's wartime service was one of the most significant periods in the young Intelligence Officer's life, and that these experiences were instrumental in shaping Fleming's later creation of James Bond's fictional world. All Time High: AU and Octopussy A particularly interesting theory put forward by Rankin in the final chapter of his new study of Fleming's AU concerns the short story 'Octopussy'. Rankin notes that the story, which was published posthumously in 1966, was called 'brilliant' by the novelist Anthony Burgess. Rankin's thesis is that the Bond author's 'last and somewhat neglected' story reads 'like a back-handed tribute to 30AU as well as a valedictory parable from the author'. Rankin points out that the central character in the short story, Major Dexter Smythe, has interesting similarities in character and physical health to Ian Fleming and that: 'Smythe, like Fleming, has been able to retire to Jamaica because of what he did in the war'. Smythe's involvement with the wartime 'Miscellaneous Objectives Bureau' (the 'MOB A Force') is also very reminiscent of the real-life AU. Reflecting on Smythe, Rankin poses the question: 'Is this Ian Fleming's final sardonic self-portrait?' For those who are interested in delving more deeply into the whole AU saga, Rankin generously provides a detailed 'Source Notes' section at the back of his book. Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of 30 Assault Unit in WWII is published in the UK by Faber & Faber, priced £20.00. ISBN 978-0-571-25062-2. George Baker (1931-2011): R.I.P. Staying on the subject of 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', we were very sad to learn in early October that the actor George Baker, who played College of Arms genealogist Sir Hilary Bray in the movie, had died. Baker, of course, also dubbed George Lazenby's 007 when the latter posed as Sir Hilary while a guest in Blofeld's lair in the Swiss Alps. Baker's other contributions to the 007 franchise were as an un-credited NASA engineer in 'You Only Live Twice' (1967), and as a Royal Navy Captain named Benson in 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (1977). Baker's long acting career included roles on stage, in film and on TV. On TV, he took roles in 'Dr. Who', 'The Persuaders', 'The Protectors', and in an episode of the cult series 'The Prisoner'. He also paid a gentle tribute to his Bond connection by playing the part of 'Jamus Bondus' in comedian Frankie Howard's satire of Roman times, 'Up Pompeii'. Baker's all-time favourite role on TV, however, was as Chief Inspector Reg Wexford in 'The Ruth Rendell Mysteries', which ran for 13 years (1987-2000). Intriguingly, not long after he started as Inspector Wexford in 1987, Baker revealed in interviews given to the British media that he had been a possible candidate to play James Bond in the early 1960s. This was also confirmed by Bond director Terence Young. Elementary, Mr. Bond: 'Sherlock' Writer Is 007 Fan The writer and actor Mark Gatiss, who has contributed highly-praised storylines to both the rebooted 'Dr. Who' and 'Sherlock' TV series for the BBC (and also played Holmes's brother in the latter), was a special guest on BBC Radio-4's 'Desert Island Discs' on Sunday October 23. He conceded that he is something of a Bond fan. Hosted by Kirsty Young, the programme each week invites a guest to choose eight of their favourite music recordings to take to a mythical desert island. Most of Mark Gatiss's choices, as he admitted, were quite melancholic. But at one point he said he needed something 'exciting', and chose John Barry's classic main theme from 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', a piece of music which Gatiss said he 'loves'. Later in the programme, reflecting on his acting career, Gatiss also said he was open to the idea of perhaps playing a cat-stroking villain one day. Diane Cilento: R.I.P. Early October also saw the very sad news from Sydney that the Oscar-nominated actress Diane Cilento, who was once married to James Bond star Sean Connery, had died in northern Australia, aged 78. She was a veteran of many films, TV shows and stage productions, and worked alongside such screen legends as Charlton Heston and Paul Newman. Cilento originally came from a town called Mooloolaba in Queensland, Australia, but her surname was apparently taken from the Italian town Cilento, from which her grandfather was exiled because he was a follower of the famous 19 th century Italian nationalist Garibaldi. Cilento left Australia at the age of 14 to go to America with her physician father, and at 16 she in turn left the USA for England and enrolled at RADA (the famous Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). After rising to screen fame in the 1950s, she later became involved with Sean Connery. Moreover, at one point she persuaded the young actor to go along with her to movement classes, which helped both of them to improve their physical acting presence. It is said that it was in these classes that Sean first developed his famous panther-like walk, a walk that so impressed the Bond producers and helped him secure the role of 007. It is also clear that Cilento was instrumental in persuading Connery to take the role of James Bond when it was offered to the then 31-year old actor. She married Sean, her second husband, in 1962. They divorced 11 years later. True Bond? Bond fans in the UK were able to recently catch another transmission on British cable TV of 'True Bond', a drama-documentary about the spy Dusko Popov, first broadcast in the UK in January 2009. Popov has often been pointed to as a possible role-model for Ian Fleming's James Bond, although the list of such candidates seems to grow with each passing year. But Popov's dramatic career as a real-life spy in World War Two may have indirectly furnished the Bond author with some ideas for his later fictional 007 plots. Fleming, who knew Popov well and was involved in setting up some of the espionage operations the Serbian-born Popov carried out, seems to have admired Popov's playboy lifestyle and his attempts to 'clean out' Nazi agents at the gambling tables in casinos in neutral Portugal. Indeed, the programme speculated about whether Fleming had possibly witnessed one such high-stakes gambling episode when he visited Portugal during the War and saw Popov at work, and may have later used it as the basis of his first Bond novel Casino Royale. However, there have been a number of theories about this from Fleming's biographers and nobody can be sure. The programme inter-mixed frequent poor-quality clips from the EON Bond movies with its commentary, but included some astute contributions from Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett, author of Ian Fleming (1995). Although there has been much speculation in the past about Popov's precise influence on the Bond author, Popov himself always remained modest about this and often reminded his interviewers that James Bond was based on a combination of different people admired by Fleming during the War. Interestingly, the programme included clips from a rarely-seen American TV interview with Popov, conducted at the time his memoirs (called Spy, Counterspy) were published in 1974. Popov died in 1981, aged 69. Did You Know? Popov's wartime codename was 'Tricycle', given to him by his MI5 (Security Service) handlers. When MI5's files on 'Tricycle' were finally released to the UK's National Archives at Kew, south London, in 2002, as well as lots of information about Popov's extensive use of 007-style microdots, invisible ink and secret contacts, the files also contained a strong hint that Popov had been given his codename because of his strong sexual appetite and his love of threesomes! Fleming would have been very amused. Bond Bits: Brief News Items You May Have Missed Sing another day: pop band 'a-ha', who sang the main theme song for 'The Living Daylights' (1987), and eventually split up in 2010, were briefly reunited at a memorial ceremony in Oslo on August 21 for the 77 victims of Anders Breivik's bombing and shooting spree in Norway... The singer Lulu, who sang the theme song to 'The Man With The Golden Gun', said she was 'humbled and thrilled' to be awarded the Sacla Women of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, which was announced in mid-October. Lulu added: 'When women roll up their sleeves, there is no end to what we can achieve'... Brokenclaw? Australian actor Hugh Jackman, 'Wolverine' in the X-Men movies, has admitted that, given the chance, he would now consider the role of 007 if it was offered. He told the Press Association: 'I got a call from my agent saying "There is some possible interest in you for Bond, are you interested?" At the time I wasn't. I was about to shoot X-Men 2 and Wolverine had become this thing in my life and I didn't want to be doing two such iconic characters at once... I think every male at some point thinks about playing James Bond so it was not right then, but it may be right if it comes back'... The UK's Daily Mail newspaper carried a short comment on October 21 from Joe McGrath, who directed Peter Sellers in the spoof version of Casino Royale (1967). According to McGrath: 'Peter negotiated an astonishing 3 per cent of the film, which I recently discovered has now grossed £120million. Amazingly, it's still earning money'... Gemma Arterton, Strawberry Fields in 'Quantum of Solace', sounded positively nostalgic when interviewed recently. Commenting on her role as a Bond woman and the news that Bond 23 is about to go into production, she said: 'They're just starting to make the next one and I'm so jealous that I died in the movie I was in because I'd love to do it again, it was so much fun'... From Bond to Bones? A press release to the world's media from New York on October 24 announced that former 007 Pierce Brosnan will return to television in a four-hour mini-series called 'Bag of Bones', based on Stephen King's best-selling ghost story, and produced by Sony Pictures. It will be screened on American TV on December 11 and 12... Well, is he or isn't he? Is Javier Bardem the villain in Bond 23? Judging from some comments from the man himself, it would appear he is now on board. In an interview transmitted on October 4, when asked about the next Bond movie, Bardem responded: 'I am very excited, my parents took me to watch the movies, and I saw all of them, and to play that is going to be fun. They chose me to play this man, but I cannot give you any details'. All will be revealed at the start of production media event to be held by EON in November... Sad times for fans of the BBC's hi-tech spy series 'Spooks' ('MI-5' in the USA). After 10 years, 10 series and 86 episodes, the final hour was shown on BBC-1 on Sunday, October 23. Intriguingly, however, MI5 boss Harry Pearce (played by Peter Firth), a kind of 'M' with attitude, was seen back at his job and desk in the final scene... A bearded Daniel Craig attended the premiere of the new Tintin movie on Sunday October 23, in which he has a role as the villain Ivanovich Sakharine. The Steven Spielberg movie was shown as part of the British Film Institute's London Film Festival. Daniel generously signed some autographs for fans in the waiting crowds...