The James Bond Fan Club Newsletter February 2013

Newsletter                                               February 2013
James Bond: A Celebration
What a month! February saw Skyfall win various awards, but two events in particular proved to be the icing on the cake. The evening of Sunday February 10 saw Skyfall pick up a highly prestigious BAFTA award in London, when the latest 007 adventure was given the ‘Outstanding British Film’ award. The James Bond producers were clearly over the moon at gaining this award, and Michael G. Wilson, in his acceptance speech, pointed out that the movie had broken the all-time box office record in the UK, and that ‘James Bond is loved throughout the world’. Sam Mendes also made a very gracious acceptance speech to the Covent Garden audience, emphasising all the hard work carried out by the ‘1,292’ people involved in the production of Skyfall. He also ensured that tribute was paid to the creator of James Bond, author Ian Fleming, the man who kick-started the whole 007 phenomenon.
Double-O Oscars
It was also certainly a night to remember at this year’s Oscars ceremony held on Sunday February 24 in Hollywood, the 85 th Academy Awards. Not only did Skyfall win two well-deserved Oscars (including one for Adele’s smash-hit theme song), but Bond fans were able to see two live appearances: a performance by Dame Shirley Bassey, who belted out her iconic Bond song Goldfinger (while dressed in gold!), and received a standing ovation from the audience, and also the first live performance of her award-winning song Skyfall by 24-year old Adele. In fact, in a sense, it was rather like the plot of Skyfall itself: a meeting of Bond’s past with Bond’s present, and a great way to celebrate the most successful film franchise in movie history. While the Bond film clips reel shown to celebrate the 50 th Anniversary of the Bond franchise was a little disappointing, the fact that two major Bond singers were present and performed live on stage more than made up for this. And it was also really great to see that Shirley Bassey and Adele Adkins were able to meet and chat backstage after the main ceremony. What a fascinating conversation that must have been.
Moneypenny on her Future
Naomie Harris, who played field agent ‘Eve’ in Skyfall, an early version of Miss Moneypenny, was interviewed at Edinburgh railway station after travelling there following the launch of a new Skyfall train in London on Saturday February 16. The special train, number 91007, was unveiled in a ceremony at Platform 007 at King’s Cross Station, to help publicise the launch Skyfall on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK, and Naomie, the Bond producers, and screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were in attendance to witness the debut of the new train. The Bond team then took the special train, which is run by the East Coast Trains company and is adorned with images from the new Bond movie, and travelled to Scotland. The idea was to mirror the journey of Bond and ‘M’ to Scotland, as taken in the climax to Skyfall. Speaking to MSN, Naomie said: ‘I never thought I would see my face on the side of a train. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and it’s beautiful what they have done’. She put the success of Skyfall partly down to Team GB’s triumphs at last year’s Olympics, and also to the enduring love for the MI6 agent, who celebrated his 50 th anniversary on the screen with the latest 007 film. At another point in the interview, she revealed that she would love to surpass the screen career of the original Miss Moneypenny, actress Lois Maxwell, who was at her MI6 desk until A View To A Kill in 1987 (her last appearance). Naomie said: ‘That’s quite some record. I’d love that, but who knows.’
Purvis and Wade Give Some Final Thoughts
The launch of the Skyfall train in London gave members of the media an opportunity to interview members of the Bond team on the four-hour journey between London and Edinburgh. One of the of the more interesting interviews to emerge from this was an interview with the Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, conducted by Chris Tilly, the Entertainment Editor for IGN in the UK, and was entitled ‘Skyfall Writers on Past, Present and Future of Bond’. When asked about the Skyfall train, Robert Wade responded: ‘We didn’t expect this to be the final chapter of Skyfall – actually being on a train named after the movie. It was 2 o’clock in the morning and we were trying to come up with a name for a grim house – an evocative name where you couldn’t tell what it meant. And that was the one that sort of fell out of the sky. And ends up being the name of the movie and a train. I wonder what it will be next!’ When he was asked whether the film’s finale was always going to be at the Skyfall estate, Wade said the idea for the house came very late in the day: ‘The original third act – which was in place for a year or more – was in a European city. And it didn’t have any resonance. And when we had the idea of Bond taking M to the home where he spent his unhappy childhood, it suddenly made sense. Everything clicked into place’.
Creating Bond 23 and the Role of Mendes
Wade also told Tilly that they went back to the books You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun ‘because those movies didn’t really reflect those books. There’s a lot of interesting stuff – it’s about Britain in crisis. Particularly You Only Live Twice’. When asked about the role of Sam Mendes, Wade said he was ‘extremely demanding’, and Purvis added that Mendes ‘was right there from the beginning when we were working the story out. So we were all heading in the same direction, which helps’. Purvis said that his favourite scene in the movie is when Silva (Javier Bardem) comes into the room and Bond’s tied up. The film goes up a notch at that point. At another stage in the interview, the IGN scribe asked the pair: ‘Would you like to see Mendes direct another Bond?’ Purvis commented: ‘Yeah, I think everyone would. But he’s a busy man’. Wade added: ‘It took a lot of work. A hell of a lot of work. I don’t know whether he’d want to’. Wade also pointed out that it was nothing to do with the production team as ‘it’s a really happy ship’. He continued: ‘It’s not that, it’s whether or not he’s got the energy’
On Their Own Future: Never Say Never?
As Bond fans know, the talented screenwriting duo recently announced their departure from writing for the Bond franchise. But some interesting themes emerged in Tilly’s interview. Turning to their own future, the IGN scribe asked Purvis and Wade: ‘Having written five Bond movies, is Skyfall your last?’ Robert Wade responded: ‘We don’t know. It’s our most recent one’. Neal Purvis added: ‘We’re not currently writing the next one, and it’s good for us to take a break, because we’ve been doing it for longer than Ian Fleming was writing Bond’. Wade then added: ‘We’ve done five of them, and they really do take up a lot of your energy. And in a way, that film is Bond finished, played out. Can he pull it out of the fire again? That was for us, a movie about us. In the end the film was good, so we felt it did well. And now we’re doing stuff that we couldn’t do because we were always doing Bond’. Tilly then posed the question: ‘So do you think you have more Bond movies in you?’ To this, Purvis responded; ‘Well, it’s nice not thinking about it, because we’ve thought about it nearly every day for 15 years. But it would be nice to look at it all again after a break. But it’s not our decision – you can’t just say “Oh, I think I’ll write another Bond movie”. It is a question of if you have something fresh to say about it. And I think we did say quite a lot with the ones that we’ve done’. Wade, rounding off the interview, added; ‘There’s still some Fleming – all that works is quite interesting, and a lot of it hasn’t been tapped. But it’s very difficult to do it because it’s period and you can’t do a period Bond’.
You Know the Name: Boyd’s Bond Is Near
Some very brief but intriguing new details have been released by Ian Fleming Publications (IFP) on the upcoming new James Bond novel written by William Boyd. It will be published in the UK on September 26, 2013, by Jonathan Cape (Fleming’s original publisher), which is now an imprint of Vintage Publishing. A new website has also been set up to help publicise Boyd’s new 007 adventure (or ‘new mission’), and this will be updated as further new details are released in the next few months. IFP confirmed that the new story will be set in 1969, and will have a slightly older James Bond (aged 45). It will also be something of a return to the ‘traditional’ version of Bond. The new website is:
Bond Novel is ‘finished and delivered’
On the eve of the London opening of his new play Longing, William Boyd was interviewed on the ‘Today’ programme on BBC Radio-4 on Thursday, February 28. He was asked questions both about writing for the stage and, inevitably, about his new 007 novel. He revealed that his new Bond story ‘is finished and delivered’. When asked whether he had had any of the actors who have played Bond on screen in his mind when he wrote his novel, Boyd said ‘no’. He said that he actually knows three of the actors who have played Bond - Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig - but he did not allow any image of their screen versions to influence his version. He pointed out that Ian Fleming had described Bond as looking like Hoagy Carmichael, and said he also remembered his own father playing Carmichael’s music, so he was fond of Carmichael’s image and it was that image that he kept in mind when writing his own version of James Bond. When he was also quizzed about whether he could reveal any new information about his Bond novel, Boyd said he could not say much as the ‘hit squad’ would be out to get him. He confirmed that it was set in 1969, and that Bond will be aged 45. He also pointed out that, as Bond lived in Chelsea (not far from where Boyd himself lives), there would be ‘a bit of Chelsea’ in his James Bond novel.
Bond Is Forever
The writer and Ian Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett made an interesting contribution to the Times Literary Supplement on February 8, with a piece entitled ‘Bond’s Books’, in which he reviewed the new book by Jon Gilbert called Ian Fleming: The bibliography, which was recently published by Queen Anne Press. This highly-detailed tome, which is retailing at an eye-watering £175, is an excellent candidate to be the ultimate book on all things ‘Fleming’ i.e. it is a thorough exploration and documentation of all Fleming’s written output, from his childhood right through to his death in 1964, including the Bond author’s numerous pieces of journalism and all the different drafts and typescript versions of the James Bond novels. Phew! Lycett noted in his review how Fleming was such a meticulous journalist, always interested in the finished product and overseeing, for example, all the dust-jacket paintings for his 007 novels. Lycett also noted various gems of information contained in Jon Gilbert’s book, such as some of the possible titles that Fleming toyed with using. The third Bond novel Moonraker, for example, was going to be entitled The Moonraker Secret, or even The Infernal Machine. Similarly, Goldfinger was originally entitled The Richest Man in the World. Lycett noted in his review that, with all its detail, the serious book collector Ian Fleming would have been delighted with Jon Gilbert’s new book.
Too Hot To Handle
Pressure of space meant that we could not cover this in our December or January Newsletters, given all the Skyfall news, but we felt we should still mention it. It is a classic case of a newspaper trying to make a mountain out of a molehill (as the English would say). In October the London Evening Standard tried to whip up some controversy over Albert Finney’s character Kincade in Skyfall, a character who was one of the best-kept secrets of the movie (not even appearing in the pre-publicity). The ‘Londoner’s Diary’ section of the Standard claimed that people had spotted a mistake in the film when Kincade had met Bond at his ancestral estate in Scotland and said ‘this is your father’s hunting rifle’. According to the Standard, this is an ‘Americanism’, because in Britain, we ‘hunt’ with hounds, not with rifles, but the weapon was in fact a shotgun. The paper claimed that, if Ian Fleming had been alive, he would have immediately spotted this ‘basic howler’. Really? The same newspaper returned to the supposed controversy about this on November 23, claiming that it had become a ‘hot topic’ among the UK’s landowners and gamekeepers. They quoted one person as saying: ‘In Britain we hunt with horses and hounds. We shoot with shotguns and stalk with rifles. In America they hunt with guns. If you said you were going shooting in America you’d probably be arrested’. Another countryside campaigner added: ‘In my view there is no such thing as a hunting rifle. It’s a dreadful solecism and it makes me very cross’. Well, gents, does it really matter? Have you forgotten it’s a film (or should we say a movie?), which involves a certain amount of suspension of belief?
Bond Leads the Way
Pay attention, 007. Research by the British Film Institute (BFI), made available in early February, revealed that, after something of a dip, British films bounced back in spectacular style in the year 2012. British films led the UK box office charts and took 32 per cent of the UK market. Cinema admissions also increased by almost one million - to 172.5 million in the year - the second highest in ten years, which was excellent news for British movie-making and the film industry generally. This meant that £1 billion was spent at the UK box office across the year. And (no surprise here) all this was helped enormously by Skyfall, which became the top-grossing movie in the UK in 2012.
You Only Write Twice: Barry Norman on 007
The BBC film critic Barry Norman, who had just made Dr. No and Skyfall two of his top 49 ‘Greatest British Films’ of all time in the BBC’s Radio Times magazine (see the February 9 issue), quickly returned back to the topic of Bond in the same magazine just a week later (on February 16), offering a review of the Blu-ray/DVD release of Skyfall. He made the case for Craig’s third Bond movie being the best Bond film yet. He claimed this was for several reasons, not least the fact that the movie ‘has gone back to basics’. He continued: ‘Like the early movies it has plenty of action, humour, stunts and special effects but little reliance on gizmos and gadgets’. According to Norman: ‘Best of all, though, it puts a particular emphasis on relationships, especially that between Bond (Daniel Craig) and M (Judi Dench). It was high time Dench moved out of the backroom and took centre station and here she does, because the story is as much about her as it is about Bond’. After analysing the plot, Barry concluded his review by saying: ‘So with Craig back on Casino Royale form and Dench being, well, her peerless self, you could hardly ask for more’.
A Job for SPECTRE?
Mind you, not all critics were kind about Skyfall when it was released on DVD. Ben Walsh, writing in the UK’s Independent newspaper, offered a notably grumpy and negative review of the movie on February 16, which only (grudgingly) perked up near the end of his assessment. Walsh claimed: ‘After a first hour every bit as dreary as Quantum of Solace, this wildly successful slice of Bond is rescued by Ben Whishaw’s amiable Q and by a bonkers turn... from Javier Bardem as the vengeful 00-agent hell-bent on offing M... Daniel Craig, on the other hand, just looks plain unhappy as Bond. Humour is very much off the menu in Skyfall but two gripping set-pieces – on the London Underground and in the Highlands – invigorate this po-faced adventure’. Po-faced? Ouch! We wonder, did Walsh see the same film as we did, or even understand Craig’s interpretation of James Bond? Anyway, we have tipped off SPECTRE’s assassination branch and they are sending a nice lady on a motorbike to visit him (apparently).
Nobody Does It Better
It has certainly been a bumper few weeks for James Bond fans, with two vital DVDs to add to the collection. The Bond documentary Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, which was released on DVD on January 28 in the UK (see the JBIFC’s January Newsletter), rapidly raced up the DVD sales charts in Britain and garnered a new round of reviews in the nation’s press, the vast majority being very complementary to the director, Stevan Riley. Similarly, when Skyfall was released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK a short while later, it, too, rapidly rose up the sales charts and is currently setting new sales records. There was also another round of very positive reviews of the 137m movie, too numerous to mention here. But the vast majority remained remarkably enthusiastic about the movie, about Craig’s performance as 007, the crisp cinematography, and about the directorial skills of Sam Mendes. Here’s just one example, from the UK’s Daily Mail (February 22): ‘Classiest of all the Bond movies, Sam Mendes’ huge hit regenerates the 007 franchise and is worth watching over and over again, if only for Roger Deakins’s cinematography, which is on the level of the finest art-house films. A gripping storyline and superior acting make this one to treasure’. We couldn’t put it better! The Mail also noted on February 22: ‘The Skyfall DVD has just been released and is already selling in staggering numbers’.
Did You Know?
The eye-catching montage painting of the six Bonds which was used to publicise Everything or Nothing on cinema posters (and now adorns the DVD cover) was a painting specially commissioned by the Bond producers from James Hart Dyke, who is also the official artist for the real-life MI6! The talented artist was given the highly unusual job some time ago to do a series of paintings of everyday episodes in the life of an Intelligence Officer, as a way of quietly celebrating the work of Britain’s famous espionage agency, which is based at Vauxhall in London (the HQ was also seen, of course, being blown up in Skyfall). According to our spies on the inside, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson saw James Hart Dyke’s depictions of the actual workings of the Secret Intelligence Service, and were very impressed. Who better, they thought, to portray Britain’s most famous fictional spy 007 for EON’s specially-commissioned anniversary documentary?
Bond Bits: Brief Items of News You May Have Missed
James Pond? Or an Aston that thinks it’s a Lotus? According to London’s Metro newspaper (January 29), it wasn’t so much skyfall as rainfall when a privately-owned Aston Martin DB5 came to grief in Britain’s extensive rainstorms in January. The £300,000 car was pictured in flooded waters in Oxfordshire, after its driver missed a warning sign and ended up rather stuck in a flooded road. There’s never an ejector seat when you need one...
Former Bond woman Gemma Arterton (Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace) was a guest on the BBC’s Graham Norton Show in the UK on Friday, February 15, as part of the publicity for her new action movie Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters...
At one point in the interview, Gemma told the host that she had belted a homeless man in the face after he grabbed her backside as she stood at a cash-point machine, and then she ran off! She said she felt a bit guilty about her response afterwards, but had learned some fighting moves while filming action sequences for Hansel and Gretel...
Olga Kurylenko, who played Camille Montes, the other Bond woman in Quantum of Solace, was interviewed on BBC radio recently about her role as Marina, a single mother involved in a volatile relationship with a geologist (played by Ben Affleck) in To The Wonder, the new film directed by Terence Malick. The Ukrainian-born actress appeared on BBC Radio-4’s Film Programme, broadcast on Thursday, February 21...
Malick has a reputation for keeping his actors in the dark about the plots to his films. Olga said that she said ‘yes’ to joining the movie straight away, and added that she would willingly film with the enigmatic and controversial director again, as the shoot was so unpredictable and ‘different’. Another Bond star, Skyfall’s Javier Bardem, also has a part as a priest in the new movie. Critics have given very mixed reactions to Malick’s new movie, either loving it or hating it...
Meanwhile, fans of Olga Kurylenko will be able to see her soon in two new upcoming movies which are currently now in post-production, Oblivion (2013), a sci-fi movie with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, and Empires of the Deep (2013), a story set in a mythical world concerning an unlikely love affair between a young human and a mermaid...
Rory Kinnear, who reprised his Quantum of Solace role as Bill Tanner in Skyfall, is taking to the live stage once again and will play the character Iago in William Shakespeare’s Othello, which will run at the National Theatre in central London from April 16 - July 6...
Theatre and Bond fans will also be able to see Dame Judi ‘M’ Dench and Ben ‘Q’ Whishaw together in the new play Peter and Alice, written by Skyfall (and Bond 24) screenwriter John Logan. Dench and Whishaw play the real people who inspired Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Certainly sounds intriguing. The play will run from March 9 - May 25 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London...
A new project for Craig? The showbiz columnist Baz Bamigboye, writing the UK’s Daily Mail on February 22, claimed that Daniel Craig and his wife Rachel Weisz are in closely-guarded negotiations to appear in a play on Broadway about a husband who cuckolds his wife. The play in question is Betrayal, Harold Pinter’s famous story about relationships and deceit. Daniel would play publisher Robert, whose wife Emma is having an affair with his close friend Jerry...
According to Bamigboye, the production of the play would be dependent upon several parts of a complex jigsaw fitting together, including casting, director, and, of course, Daniel’s commitment to the next Bond movie...
Craig was last on stage back in 2009, when he appeared with Hugh Jackman in A Steady Rain in Manhattan, which played to packed audiences. Rachel’s appearance in the new version of Betrayal would be her Broadway debut...
There remains much speculation about whether Sam Mendes will return to direct Bond 24, speculation which is being regularly reheated by the showbiz columnist Baz Bamigboye in the UK. In the Daily Mail on February 8, Bamigboye claimed that Mendes ‘is considering’ directing Bond 24 after he completes working with Simon Russell Beale in King Lear, which opens early in 2014 at the National Theatre in London...
Bamiboye returned to the topic in his column in the Mail on February 15, under the heading ‘Mendes has Bond back in his sights’. He claimed that, while Mendes hasn’t firmly made up his mind about whether to direct Bond 24, he is now ’75 per cent’ of the way towards doing it...
The Mail gossip columnist also claimed in the same article that Bond 24 screenwriter John Logan has written two ‘treatment papers’ outlining a rough idea of the plot for the next Bond movie...

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