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Posts Tagged ‘Damian Lewis’

james bond no time to dieAs the promotion of next spring’s No Time To Die, the 25 James Bond movie gets underway, the merry go round of who will replace Daniel Craig as 007.  The first thing I would say is that I am only talking about male actors, Bond is a man,  and as M (Judi Dench) says in GoldenEye “a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War”.  There have been many suggestions that Ian Fleming’s character was actually a closeted or repressed homosexual.  This isn’t as outlandish as it sounds.  The books were written at a time when it was illegal to be gay.  A gay friend, who knows a lot more than me on the subject once told me that the secret services actively recruited gay men at this time.  Putting all this aside, the character would change too much if a woman were cast.  That’s not to say there isn’t room for a female 00 agent.  I would love to see a different film within the same universe.  That said, EON Productions are making a rare departure from Bond with The Rhythm Section due for release early next year, before No Time To Die.  Based on Mark Burnell novel of the same name the film promises to be a more gritty and realistic take on the genre.  Blake Lively stars as Stephanie Patrick an accidental/reluctant spy.  The film has an estimated $50 million budget, as a new property, this is considered a big risk, Bond 25 however cost five times that and will be expecting to smash $1billion in ticket sales.  I hope the film does well for two reasons, the second book is the best in the series, I would love it to see it adapted.  Secondly it would help the idea of a female 00. mark burnell the rhythm section

Back to Bond:  I understand Tom Hiddleston is still favourite, and for my money a good choice.  Tom Hardy, never seems far from the conversation; great actor but I don’t see him as Bond.  Sam Heughan seems to have come out of nowhere, and is the favourite of some bookies.  I didn’t know who he was and had to look him up.  This is often a good thing when it comes to Bond, an A list actor has never been cast in the role.  This also bodes well for lesser know actors: James Norton, and Jack Lowden, as well as TV stars Aidan Turner and Richard Madden.  It isn’t so great for big names: Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, and Chris Hemsworth.  Of the three my pick would be Fassbender who would make a great brooding Bond in the vein of Timothy Dalton.  Elba would have been a good choice, but I feel the ship has sailed.  At 47, he would be in his 50’s by the time his first movie came out, and his 60’s by the third or fourth.  Hemsworth, I would discount for two reasons: I personally would prefer to see a British or Irish actor in the part, and I would rather see him in more comedic roles.bond

Other actors getting odds of 10/1 or better include Jamie Bell, Cillian Murphy, Henry Cavill, Damian Lewis.  Bell, I don’t see as Bond, I can’t explain why.  Cavill, I think that ship has sailed.  Murphy, I would never have considered, but think he would be an interesting choice (even better if he used his Peaky Blinders accent!).  I’m warming to the idea of Lewis, just as he seems to be dropping out of contention.  The two others who seem to have dropped out of contention are Benedict Cumberbatch and Henry Golding.  Cumberbatch probably comes with too much baggage, If you mention the name of any of the actors who have played Bond: Connery, Lazenby, Morre, Dalton, Brosnan, Craig; Bond is the first think you think of. Cumberbatch is already Doctor Strange and Sherlock Holmes.  As for Golding, he has dropped out the race as quickly as he entered it.  From what little I have seen of him, he seems to have the looks and the charm, but I haven’t seen anything to convince me he is a very good actor.bond2

So who will be the seventh James Bond?  Probably either nobody from this list, or one of the lesser know actors.  But as strange as it sounds, it doesn’t matter that much.  George Lazenby aside (50 years ago), they have never chosen a poor actor.  How good or bad the films are rests with the script and direction.  I have always maintained that Timothy Dalton is the best Bond, he plays the character closest to the one in Ian Fleming’s novels, but he didn’t make the best films.  With GoldenEye (1995) Pierce Brosnan made one of the best Bond films, but his subsequent films ranged from poor to terrible.  This was purely down to the scripts, and nothing to do with the actor.

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The interesting thing will be the setup.  Will Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw return?  From one point of view, I would like to see them back as they are all great, on the other hand, a clean reboot with a new whole cast would be interesting too.  I like the idea of doing something different, either, going back to the books and making a 1950/60’s set period spy movie.  Or a modern day version, but going back to the start, Bond Year One!  A movie about a younger Bond being recruited.  I have also for a long time advocated bringing back Timothy Dalton, or even Pierce Brosnan to play an older retired Bond.

Given the timescales these movies work to, I would expect to see Bond 26 in 2024/25. 

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The Spy Who Loved Me from yesterday was a repost from three years ago. When I originally posted the treatment for a movie based on the un-filmed Bond novel (the film of the same name is not based on Ian Fleming’s novel) I promised a similar idea based on Moonraker. Better late than never here it is after three years.

So you think you know Moonraker? As the great Ross McG from Ross v Ross once said, ‘Oh, Star Wars is huge! Lets put Bond in space with Moonraker!’ That’s not far off the mark. But back in 1955, just ten years after World War II and during the Cold War Ian Flemings’s third Bond novel was very different. The only way this would work as a movie would be to reboot the series and set the movie in the 1950’s, something I have wanted to see for a long time.

M asks Bond to join him at his club, Blades to sit in a game of bridge. Millionaire businessman Sir Hugo Drax has been winning a lot of money, M suspects him of cheating and wants to know why. Bond confirms M’s suspicions and turns the tables by cheating himself winning a large sum of money.

The mysterious Drax was a British soldier who made his fortune in the aerospace industry after being injured and suffering amnesia during World War II. A national hero because of his backing for the Moonraker project, Britain’s first nuclear missile intended as a nuclear deterrent during the cold war. (Britain’s first nuclear missile the Blue Streak was actually announced around the time the novel was published). Bond is sent to Drax’s factory near Dover to replace security officer working on the project who was shot dead. While there he meets Gala Brand, a beautiful (isn’t everyone in the Bond world) Special Branch agent working undercover as Drax’s personal assistant. It appears Bonds predecessor was killed to stop him revealing a sighting of a submarine off the coast. Bond also makes the surprising discovery (remember this is only ten years after the war) that all the scientists working on the Moonraker project are German. Meanwhile, Gala discovers the truth about the Moonraker, its first test flight will be aimed at the heart of London fitted with a Soviet nuclear warhead. She is captured and imprisoned in the building containing a beacon the missile will be aimed at.

Bond’s attempt to rescue Gala fails resulting in his capture and the destruction of his beloved Bentley. It is then that Drax, in true megalomaniac villain style reveals is back-story and his plans: he was not a British soldier and did not have amnesia. He was the leader of the commando unit (dressed in British uniform) that caused the explosion he was injured in. The amnesia, a cover story while he recovered in a British hospital. After the war he took up a new identity as cover but retained his Nazi beliefs and conceived the Moonraker to destroy London in revenge. In the process he also intends to make a killing on the stock market. To destroy all evidence Brand and Bond are moved to the area under the Moonraker’s engines just before it is fired. They promptly escape and with the help of Soviet Intelligence change the coordinates to redirect the Moonraker safely into the sea. Drax is killed attempting to escape in a Russian submarine. Bond meets up with Gala but is snubbed in favour of he fiancé.

So how have I come up with such a great story? Put simply I haven’t, this is not a treatment for a movie this is an overview of the plot lifted straight from the novel. So who would make it? Director Quentin Tarantino has often mentioned his interest in directing a Bond film. If anyone can make the 50’s setting work it is him. And to reboot the series again we need a new bond. Already a contender for the next James Bond, Michael Fassbender cemented his period credentials in X-Men: First Class and Inglourious Basterds. Gala Brand needs to be played by a talented and attractive British actress with Hollywood credibility, it has to be Emily Blunt. I’m not sure on who should play Sir Hugo Drax, maybe I am getting hung up on the red hair described in the Novel, but I am thinking Damian Lewis.

Financially rebooting the series to a 50’s or 60’s setting would be a huge risk that I can not see the studio taking. But artistically the franchise has already done all it can and said all it has to say, a new direction will give it new direction and new life. And if you are wondering the poster at the top is from a 2004 Internet hoax that claiming to have found 40 minutes of footage from an unfinished 1956 version of Moonraker directed by Orson Welles staring Dirk Bogarde as Bond, Welles as Drax.

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