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Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Taylor-Johnson’

“This Never Happened To The Other Fella”

The continuity between Bond films has never been totally clear, but following the events of No Time to Die, Bond is set for a total reboot.  While I wouldn’t go as far as to call my headline clickbait, it is slightly misleading in that I am not here to talk about the next actor to play Bond.  There is already enough speculation about that, most of which comes from people who know as much about it as me, absolutely nothing!  The one thing I will say on the subject is look at the actors who have gone before; the part has never been given to a movie star.  Most of the actors became stars after they took the part but they started out as TV actors or from smaller movies. 

I have spoken before about how there is a missing movie in the Daniel Craig story arc.  Casino Royale gives us the young upstart becoming a 00 agent and learning some valuable lessons along the way. Quantum of Solace is a direct sequel that picks Bond up as a cynical and slightly jaded, almost broken man working through the loss and apparent betrayal of Vesper.  This (along with the Timothy Dalton movies) is probably the closest the Bond has got to the character in Ian Fleming’s novels.  Coming out the other side, moulded rather than healed, this is the complete and optimal James Bond, a cold, cruel, detached man, someone who appreciates life but doesn’t exactly enjoy it.  But then came Skyfall; taken on its own merit, its one of the best Bond movies, but it’s the wrong movie.  Skyfall depicts an older Bond past his prime, what we should have had was a more fun Bond in his prime, something like The Spy Who Loved Me or Goldeneye. 

This leads to the question how old should the next actor be?  Craig was 37 when he started out in Casino Royale, and 44 when past his prime in Skyfall.  Younger than Moore in his first film, and older than Connery in his last (EON) film.  But how old is Bond?  In Mookraker, Fleming’s third novel, Bond was 37, incidentally the same age as Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.  We know this as he states he is eight years away from retirement age of the 00 division, which is 45.  Independent scholars John Griswold and Henry Chancellor both constructed what they call “high-level chronology of James Bond’s life”, based on their findings this would make Bond 31 at the time of Flemings first story Casino Royale, and 43 or 44 by the final novel The Man With the Golden Gun.  But the character in the books was a fully formed character from the first book.  That’s not to say a younger Bond hadn’t been toyed with.  Timothy Dalton was considered for the part as early as 1968 when he was just 21.  He turned it down when he was around 25, as he felt he was too young.

The perception has always been that Bond is late 30’s early 40’s, in truth, the youngest actor to play the part was George Lazenby at 29.  The oldest was Roger Moore at 57, he was 46 in hist first appearance.  Realistically the actor could be any age depending on when within his life and career they wish to tell the story.  I have advocated the idea of bringing back a former Bond actor to play an older retired version of the character.  I originally suggested Timothy Dalton, but Pierce Brosnan would also work.  To go to the other extreme, we have Young Bond, a series of five novels and one short story by Charlie Higson and a further four by Steve Cole published between 2005 and 2017. When he started the project Higson was instructed by the Fleming estate to ignore the movies and continuation novels, and just use the original Fleming novels as canon.  He also used aspects of Ian Flemings childhood, and Bond’s obituary from You Only Live Twice.  While neither of these will form basis for the next movie, it does help illustrate the point that Bond could be any age.  There is a school of thought that suggests they shouldn’t over think it. Go with the best person for the film they want to make at the time.  Afterall, every incarnation of Bond has had to deal with issues that have resulted in changes to timing and casting over and above the best laid plans.  They have included contract (pay) disputes, actors who can’t act, unavailable actors, rights issues, a writer’s strike, and covid 19.

In conclusion, the actor who is chosen will go a long way to deciding what story they want to tell.  It may even go the other way, the actor may be chosen as he fits the story.  I like the idea of going back to the start and adapting the books in order set in the 1950’s and 60’s.  This won’t happen, but one thing that has been hinted at is a younger Bond, possibly a pre 007 Bond.  One of the actors linked to the part Aaron Taylor-Johnson is only 32 suggesting this is an option.  The biggest decision the filmmakers need to make is, are they going to make a series of films with a set character as they did for the for the first 40 years, or is he going to develop from movie to movie? In the words of Gareth Mallory:

Good luck, 007. Don’t cock it up”.

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Whilst watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them I rapidly came to the conclusion that Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Kowalski (Dan Fogler) are more interesting than the main characters.  This got me thinking of the supporting characters that have enhanced movies this year:queenie-alison-sudol-and-kowalski-dan-fogler

Rocky: Let’s start with the strangest, Rocky as a supporting character in a Rocky movie! Creed is a Rocky movie, but it’s also its own beast and Michael B. Jordan is excellent as Adonis Johnson/Creed and was unlucky not to receive an Oscar nomination, but Sylvester Stallone was fantastic as Rocky and truly was a supporting character.sylvester-stallone-creed

Ringer: The 5th Wave was a poor film with little to recommend it but Maika Monroe was brilliant as ever playing the most fun character in the movie.ringer-the-5th-wave-maika-monroe

Sheriff Chris Mannix: Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is a truly ensemble movie and it is hard to call any of the characters supporting, however, in a dialogue heavy movie one of the less well known actors stands out: Walton Goggins. Anyone who has seen Justified won’t be surprised.sheriff-chris-mannix-walton-goggins

Penelope Lannier: Like many people the first I heard of Dakota Johnson was Fifty Shades of Grey, like many people I thought she was the only good thing about the film.  In A Bigger Splash not only does she stand out, but she does it against some seriously amazing actors: Tilda Swinton, Marianne Lane, Ralph Fiennes.penelope-lannier-a-bigger-splash-dakota-johnson

Howard: 10 Cloverfield Lane: is a seriously leftfield sequel.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic in the lead but the film would have fallen apart without the brilliant John Goodman.howard-10-cloverfield-lane-john-goodman

Isabelle: In Louder Than Bombs, Isabelle Huppert is never less than sensational and has therefore set the bar pretty high for herself.  playing a dead character, we only see her in flashbacks, but she is the focus of the film and it wouldn’t work unless she is good.  The film is mesmerising and she is monumental.isabelle-huppert-louder-than-bombs

Tanya Vanderpoel: Margot Robbie‘s best moment in Whisky Tango Foxtrot is in the trailer.  To add to this she is supporting the brilliant Tina Fey in the first movie role worthy of her talents in years.  To be honest the offhand delivery of her line in the trailer is enough to give her a place on this list, but she also provides great support in to Fey’s lead.tanya-vanderpoel-margot-robbie-whisky-tango-foxtrot

St Clair Bayfield and Cosmé McMoon: If Meryl Streep gets within a mile of a movie she picks up an Oscar nomination, it is therefore hard to stand out in her presence, however, in Florence Foster Jenkins two performances stand out; Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg.st-clair-bayfield-and-cosme-mcmoon

Jane Clayton: The Legend of Tarzan: is a good old-fashioned action adventure film that was unfairly derided on release.  Alexander Skarsgård is good as John Clayton / Tarzan, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson do a really good job playing Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson.  However, I would happily have watched a movie about Jane played by Margot Robbie in one of three standout performances this year.jane-clayton-the-legend-of-tarzan-margot-robbie

Jillian Holtzmann: Ghostbusters is a week film.  Its problems have nothing to do with the casting or the gender of the stars and has everything to do with flabby direction and a week unfunny script.  To give an actress as talented as Kristen Wiig such a poor part is a crime .  There is one good thing about the film and this comes from the one actor I had never heard of; Kate McKinnon.jillian-holtzmann-ghostbusters-kate-mckinnon

Jake: Star played by Sasha Lane is the star (pun intended) of American Honey but the standout performance comes from the supporting cast as Shia LaBeouf finally fulfils the promise of the talented young actor we saw in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and glimpsed in Nymphomaniac: and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.american-honey-shia-labeouf

Miss Peregrine: Eva Green was the only good thing about Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, although she plays the eponymous role, she is a supporting character in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but a memorable supporting character.MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

Bobby Andes and Ray Marcus: Amy Adams is the focus of Nocturnal Animals, it will be a crime if she doesn’t pickup her sixth and seventh Oscar nominations for this and Arrival, but there are other standout performances that really make the film tick: Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.michael-shannon-aaron-taylor-johnson-nocturnal-animals

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