We're only a couple of months away from the release of No Time To Die, the 25th official James Bond film and the last in which Daniel Craig will duff up bad lads in the name of Queen and country. After this, he's hanging up his Walther PPK. That means not only that expectations for Craig's swan-song are heightened – he's now done the longest stint as Bond, having first taken given the 007 codename in 2006's Casino Royale – but the franchise's fans are all a-twitter trying to predict who'll be the next James Bond.
So it's time to take stock. Think of this as the 007 Situation Room, into which all our intel on the next Bond film will be funnelled, assessed and categorised. This is everything we know so far about No Time To Die.
The release date has been pushed back seven months over coronavirus fears
No Time To Die was slated for a 2 April release, but on 4 March the Bond Twitter feed announced it would instead arrive on 12 November.
Coronavirus wasn't specifically mentioned in the tweet, but given that 38 per cent of Spectre's box office takings came from countries currently curbing public events and gatherings, it's not an enormous leap of understanding. No Time To Die is the first major film to change its release schedule because of fears about coronavirus, and may set a pattern which other production and distribution companies will follow.
"MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, announced today that after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace, the release of NO TIME TO DIE will be postponed until November 2020," it read.
Bond fan sites MI6-HQ and The James Bond Dossier had called for a delay on the grounds of public safety and the prospect of a disappointing box office taking only the day before.
"With the Coronavirus [COVID-19] reaching pandemic status, it is time to put public health above marketing release schedules and the cost of cancelling publicity events," an open letter to producers read. It went on to describe an outbreak centred on the world premiere at the 5,0000-capacity Royal Albert Hall as "not the type of publicity anyone wants".
"The UK and US outbreaks are in their early stages, but if they follow the predictable pattern of other developed countries, the situation by late March and early April will not be conducive to the box office [profits]," the letter went on.
"Delay the release of No Time To Die until the summer when experts expect the epidemics to have peaked and to be under control. It’s just a movie. The health and well-being of fans around the world, and their families, is more important. We have all waited over 4 years for this film. Another few months will not damage the quality of the film and only help the box office for Daniel Craig’s final hurrah."
It's the longest Bond film ever
At 163 minutes – exactly two hours and 43 minutes in old money – No Time To Die will be fifteen minutes longer than Spectre, the previous holder of the record, according to the American film chain Regal. We had been led to believe that it could touch almost three hours when a Russian cinema chain suggested that much back in January, but since then the Dutch Pathé chain has also suggested it'll be two hours and 43 minutes on its booking portal. So! Two hours and 43 minutes it is.
Craig's tenure as Bond has been one of records. Not only have we now seen the two longest Bond films in that time, but Craig has become the longest-serving Bond of them all. He passed Sir Roger Moore's mark of 4,527 days in the role on 11 April 2019.
In a new teaser video, the No Time To Die director got on the hype train, promising that Craig's final spin as 007 "will be his most challenging and difficult" posting yet. He also mentioned that Bond has been retired for a full five years by the beginning of No Time To Die.
"It was essential to rediscover Bond: where is he?" he says. "After five years of retirement, who has he become? He's sort of a wounded animal struggling with his role as a double-0. The world's changed, the rules of engagement aren't what they used to be, the rules of espionage are darker in this era of asymmetric warfare."
On top of that, Fukunaga mentioned that "the people close to Bond, the people he considers to be family, are at great risk... it's a race, not only to save the world, but their lives." Interesting.
Billie Eilish's theme song has landed
Eilish's song for No Time To Die – also titled 'No Time To Die', fortuitously enough – has been released in full, and it's almost exactly what you'd expect from the Billie x Bond collab. There's a lot of whispering, plenty of doomy lyrics and strings. Oh boy, so many strings. Have a listen here.
It’s very, very Bond, and it’s very, very Billie. Obviously if you were hoping for a poppers o’clock banger you’re going to be disappointed, but stately elegance has been the way of Craig’s Bond themes since the unfortunate Jack White and Alicia Keys incident back on Quantum of Solace.
The days when the Bond song outlined roughly what happened in the first two thirds of the film are long gone, but it still feels like there are a few crumbs there. What can we glean from the lyrics?
"I should have known I’d leave alone,” it opens, “just goes to show that the blood you bleed is just the blood you owe." Judging by that, Dr Madeline Swann might be about to be unceremoniously binned or possibly killed.
Then there’s this, which sounds a lot like it could point toward the same dark secret in Swann’s past that we saw mentioned in the trailer: “Was I stupid to love you? Was I reckless to help? Was it obvious to everybody else that I’d fallen for a lie? You were never on my side.”
Perhaps most potent is the line: “Faces from my past return.” Ben Whishaw has already suggested that No Time To Die will touch again on storylines from all of Craig’s films, but could it also point to Rami Malek playing Dr No, as many fans reckon?
Lashana Lynch is a big fan at any rate.
What's actually going to happen in it?
Everyone in the Bond franchise presumably lives in fear of accidentally letting something slip in an interview or while chatting to a mate, and then being spirited away for an unceremonious sea burial somewhere in Scapa Flow. However, Ben Whishaw, who plays Q, has broken cover to give us a bit of a pointer.
"It's Daniel’s last film as James Bond, so I think what they can look forward to is a kind of summing up, I guess, of all of the previous Bond films that Daniel's done," Whishaw told Collider during a chat at Sundance film festival. "There are strands from all of the films in it, kind of reaching a conclusion."
We did already know from the trailer – and the fact that Léa Seydoux's Dr Madeline Swann is still knocking about – that No Time To Die would follow on directly from Spectre, but the hope that it might 'sum up' the entirety of Craig's time as Bond and reach back to Casino Royale and draw on plot points from way back then is very interesting. Whishaw also said that Cary Joji Fukunaga's style was very different to Sam Mendes' on Skyfall and Spectre.
"It was great," he said. "And you know what was amazing is that he treated it, or was able to approach it, it felt to me almost as if it were an independent film. You know? And it was quite improvisational… we didn’t do many takes. It was very light. Sometimes quite chaotic, but I’m very excited to see how he’s constructed the final film."
Is there a trailer yet?
Yes. Oh boy, yes there is. The clip shows 007 slamming the door of an Aston Martin, flying into the air on the back of a motorbike and strolling through what looks like a neon-lit nightclub in a suit (a scene that sounds like it could well have some of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's fingerprints on it). Plus! Blofeld's back. Anyway, let's just watch it.
All very mysterious. We've riddled out the trailer in more detail here.
Who's in it?
Obviously, Daniel Craig is back for a fifth film as Bond, and regulars from his tenure will be returning too: we'll see Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q and Jeffrey Wright as CIA agent Felix Leiter, as well as Léa Seydoux. New characters include Lashana Lynch's Nomi, a fellow MI6 agent who will take the 007 codename while Bond is off duty. Most importantly, there's Rami Malek as Safin, a "supervillain" who Barbara Broccoli described as "a nasty piece of work" who "gets under Bond's skin".
Alongside the trailer Sony have also released a series of character posters featuring members of the cast.
Who's written it?
Longtime Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade worked on a script before Danny Boyle was attached to direct, but then Boyle brought in his regular collaborator John Hodge, who did Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, and The Beach. But Boyle walked in August 2018, citing "creative differences". That meant Purvis and Wade's script was revived and reworked first by its original writers, then by Casino Royale writer Paul Haggis. Finally, it was given a polish and extra laughs by Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, at Daniel Craig's request.
So who actually is directing it?
Having helmed Skyfall and Spectre, Sam Mendes was in the early mix, but quickly ruled himself out. Christopher Nolan's name was discussed, but he demurred as well. Next, Denis Villeneuve passed, due to commitments with Dune. Danny Boyle signed on in February 2018, only to leave six months later. At which point, enter Cary Joji Fukunaga, who'd previously directed the good series of True Detective, and Netflix's Beasts of No Nation.
Who's doing the rest of the music?
The two Sam Mendes-helmed Bond films – Skyfall and Spectre – were scored by Thomas Newman (who also worked on Mendes's 1917, as well as doing the music for the rather dowdier espionage flick Bridge of Spies) but when Mendes vacated the director's chair, Newman's odds of returning went with him. Instead, Variety reports that superstar film composer Hans Zimmer is working on the music for No Time To Die, in place of American composer Dan Romer, who left over that reliable old standard, "creative differences".
He was a late draftee, joining the production just three months ahead of the film's release (scroll down if you're after the date No Time To Die hits UK cinemas) and he only took the gig because of his close relationship with Bond's producer, Barbara Broccoli, saying: "I never thought I would do this. I honestly never thought about it other than that Barbara Broccoli is a really dear friend, I just love her as a human being, very much."
Ordinarily, an eleventh-hour remix wouldn't bode well for the end product. However, there aren't many safer pairs of hands than Zimmer's. You know Hans Zimmer – he's Christopher Nolan's composer of choice, and did classic scores for Gladiator, the Dark Knight trilogy, Interstellar, Blade Runner 2049 and, er, Muppets Treasure Island. So get ready for a character to stand on top of a building while Zimmer's patented 'bwwwwWWOOOOOMMMMMP' goes off.
Zimmer will be joined in the recording booth by ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, who told the NME: “Part of the legacy of the Bond films is iconic music, so I’m very happy to be bringing my guitar to No Time To Die.” Don't expect a Hand In Glove-style take on the Bond theme, though (even if that does sound like a good way to freshen the franchise up). Marr and Zimmer have previously collaborated on Inception and The Amazing Spider-Man, both of which were light on jingle-jangle guitar riffs. Which was an opportunity missed, we say.
What's the set-up?
We know that at the start of No Time To Die, Bond is kicking back in Jamaica after the exertions of Spectre, and isn't on active service. However, Felix Leiter pops up to say hello and ask if Bond wouldn't mind helping him find a scientist who's wandered off. It soon turns out the scientist has been abducted, and Bond gets onto the trail of "a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology", according to Universal's synopsis. Plus, it sounds like we'll be digging into Madeleine Swann's mysterious personal history too.
Is it definitely Daniel Craig's last Bond film?
That's the presumption that everyone's going in with, and it certainly feels like the cycle might be coming to an end given that we'll be returning to the arc which started with his first film, Casino Royale. Given the heartwarming (and slightly inebriated) speech he gave at the wrap party, it seems that he knows he's come to the end of his shift as Bond. He's now inhabited Bond's suits longer than any other actor, so it would be a major surprise if he decided to return. But, as a 52-year-old Sean Connery in a wig once said, never say never again.
#JamesBond #NoTimeToDie #FilmProduction #Movie #BehindTheScenes— Springhouse (@springhousese) September 22, 2019
Production crew along with producer #BarbaraBroccoli and #DanielCraig had a wrap party last night in #Matera. Done filming in #Italy?, we're not sure. Look at the videos with Daniel's speech & the cool cake pic.twitter.com/wmVnHcCOv8
When's it out?
No Time to Die has a UK release date of 2 April, 2020, and a US release date of 8 April 2020.
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