With the days counting down before Bond 24 starts filming I thought it might be interesting exercise to find out the thoughts of other Bond website owners and bloggers. So, last Saturday I started going through my 007 contact list and from that night onwards the replies trickled in.
The full Q&A is presented below in the order in which they were received and as expected the opinions sometimes vary greatly. Two things to note:
- The only person to have seen any of the replies until now is me. Where similarities exist they have not been directly influenced by previous answers.
- The first four answers were received before a rumour concerning Christoph Waltz’s character surfaced in the media.
Potential Spoiler Alert: Concerning that rumour, if you really don’t want to know it (although I doubt you’ve missed it) you’d better not read on.
What are you most looking forward to on Bond 24?
Matt Sherman, Bond Fan Event Organizer: Some exotic locations and the recently announced appearance of outstanding actor, Christoph Waltz.
Matt Spaiser, an expert on the tailored clothing in the James Bond series (The Suits of James Bond): I’m looking forward to seeing a new wardrobe in the new Bond film, especially after the failures in Skyfall‘s tailoring. At the very least, a new wardrobe will give me more to write about.
Edward Biddulph, author of the blog, James Bond memes, and the James Bond cookbook, Licence to Cook: I’m looking forward to the Austrian scenes and the promise of some top skiing action, perhaps of the like we haven’t seen since For Your Eyes Only. Bond belongs on the slopes, and it was only a matter of time until Daniel Craig’s Bond got the opportunity.
I hope that the Austrian elements of Fleming’s Octopussy short story will be in the script. While the story itself isn’t snow-bound, there’s potential in the story, which I think is among Fleming’s finest writing, for snow-set action.
Jake Del Toro, my co-host on the Q-Branch Podcast: I try not too let myself get carried away with thoughts of what the finished product will be like so the thing I look forward to the most is the feeling of anticipation as the BBFC rating appears on screen on opening night and announces the film imminent start.
Ben Williams, journalist, screenwriter, and James Bond aficionado (MI6 HQ): Honestly, I’m hoping for a much more coherent narrative. I genuinely thought Skyfall was a lot of fun and a real crowd pleaser, but its story was riddled with more holes than Bond’s incongruous DB5.
I hope that we get a film that is closer to Casino Royale in terms of character development and narrative cohesion.
Bill Koenig, The HMSS Weblog: Curious to see the direction the Bond films take after Skyfall.
Marketto, who runs James Bond Brasil: The Gun barrel in the beginning of the movie; Mallory (M) in his new old style office; A fantastic car chase; More Bond Theme in action sequences
Mark O’Connell, writer and author of Catching Bullets – Memoirs of a Bond Fan (available from all good stockists): The development stepping stones… the title announcement, cast confirmation, the first few stills, the first teaser trailer and then hearing the song for the first time. Oh, and the poster.
I am not one to get too excited about the video blogs featuring a day in the life of a Range Rover as seen in the current Bond so don’t pay too much attention to guestimates about plot and incident. It will be great to see how Eon and the Bond team follow up Skyfall and I think they will be doing so with a big statement of a film that really stands head and shoulders with Bond’s 2015 box office cousins (The Force Awakens, Avengers II, Jurassic World, Inside Out).
Joan Casanovas, founder of Spanish website Archivo 007: An epic adventure with James Bond against SPECTRE/QUANTUM featuring Blofeld (or Quantum’s chief).
Tom, from James Bond Radio: I’m most looking forward to seeing Bond walk through those double leather padded doors and sitting opposite M to receive his mission details. Having Ralph as M was an inspired decision and I can’t wait to see their dynamic together.
Anders Frejdh, Swedish expert and collector. Bond scholar since 1985 after seeing TSWLM on VHS. Founded From Sweden with Love in 2004: Ever since the financial mega success of Skyfall I’ve wondered how any film maker can top that with a Bond (and I guess that is something the producers are fully aware of too). All I’m hoping for is a classic Bond defined by great stunts and a good story.
Me: The locations mean it’s largely going to be a European Bond film. Hopefully there won’t be too much hopping from one country, a lot of the pleasure of Fleming’s books and the early films is taking in the locales. Also note Edward’s answer, above, which was ahead of the Christoph Waltz story which does link Bond 24 to Octopussy.
Morten Steingrimsen, film journalist and editor of The Norwegian James Bond Magazine (“James Bond-magasinet“), one of Norway’s biggest James Bond fans/experts: The list is very long … For example: The cinematography (by Hoyte Van Hoytema), the production design (Dennis Gassner), the stunts (coordinated by Gary Powell), the action sequences (Alexander Witt), the acting (Craig, Fiennes, Whishaw etc) the locations (Austria, Maraokko, Italy and Mexico, in addition to England).
But I also hope that Bond 24 has a number of surprises. The fact that Sam Mendes returns as Bond director, is something I really look forward to. I think he did a brilliantly job on Skyfall. Hopefully he will make another great Bond movie. In many ways I think Sam Mendes is the new Terrence Young.
I believe Sam Mendes can build on the success of Skyfall.
And what are you not looking forward to so much?
Matt Sherman: I fear the recent emphasis in the Bonds on drama and “art” may remove some of the fun.
Matt Spaiser: I’m not looking forward to the new film likely repeating the mistakes of Skyfall‘s poor tailoring. The sloppy shrunken suit is more popular than ever!
Edward Biddulph: Can’t think of anything off hand.
Jake Del Toro: All the daft press stories that plague Bond productions.
Ben Williams: All I can hope is that there is more time and consideration given to the script. I hope we see a film that is well-paced and has some room to breathe between the action, and that there are reasons for things being in there other than to fulfil a perceived audience expectation.
Bill Koenig: Not especially looking forward the press conference. Last time, it was clear the principals didn’t want to be there, acted as if they resented being asked questions.
Marketto: Until now, everything is exciting for me.
Mark O’Connell: Clocking that end caption that reads “JAMES BOND WILL RETURN” as it is never soon enough!
Joan Casanovas: Moneypenny/M in the field, NO gadgets at all, only one Bond affair and Bond’s past.
Tom: Hmmmm…I really wasn’t a fan of the dialogue in Skyfall. To me it felt forced and was more ‘trying to sound cool’ rather than actually being quality dialogue. I also thought the one liners were too forced and wedged in there for the sake of it. I just don’t think it works with Daniel’s Bond. One or two here and there but no more.
Anders Frejdh: How is it possible not to look forward to a new Bond film?
Me: Mainly the kind of stories that appear in the media, such as “Bond ditches vodka martinis for Heineken” (although that one got me a radio interview to put things right) or the one from this week “Bond ditches Aston Martin for Fiat”.
What do you think of what you’ve learnt about Bond 24 so far, or is it too early to say?
Matt Sherman: Too early.
Matt Spaiser: I’m glad to see Sam Mendes back as the director, since I think he was able to get a more human performance from Daniel Craig than in Craig’s first two Bond films. And it’s exciting that Christoph Waltz will be in the film.
Edward Biddulph: So far so good. EON has put together a good team – the writers, camera crew, and of course the director – which together represents a lot of great experience, whether within the world of Bond or on other films. The settings are varied, and the casting rumours are exciting.
Jake Del Toro: I actively try to avoid anything that could be spoilery but so far I reckon I’ve learned that possible locations are Austria, Rome and Morocco. Also that Christoph Waltz has been cast and a lot of people are speculating that he could be Blofeld. I’d say that’s unlikely as Blofeld would surely be a recurring character and I can’t see him being tied to a multi picture deal with the Bond franchise.
Ben Williams: As always in the lead up to a new Bond film there are tidbits of information that are revealed, or that leak out, about what the film will contain, where it will be shot, who is being cast. Whilst it’s always entertaining to wonder what we’ll eventually see, and the mooted return of Blofeld is an interesting notion, I think that it’s pointless to speculate too wildly at this juncture.
Bill Koenig: Too early to say definitively. Curious to see if various reports – rebooted Blofeld, Moneypenny as more of a sidekick than secretary – pan out.
Marketto: I think is going to be as great as Skyfall was. Taking Craig’s Bond to places he never been before, like the snowy mountains.
Mark O’Connell: No comment (!). Seriously, a lot of things develop and evolve on a Bond movie so what was correct four months ago may not be the case now.
Joan Casanovas: Indeed it is too early but, by now, everything sounds fine. Especially Christoph Waltz rumour as Blofed, he would be the ultimate Bond nemesis.
Tom: Still too early to say, though if the Franz Oberhauser/Blofeld rumours are true, I think I will most likely dissolve into fits of uncontrollable joy.
Anders Frejdh: Everything I’ve heard and read so far looks very promising based on what we’ve found out about the cast and crew. Being Swedish, I can’t wait to see Stockholm based Hoyte van Hoytema’s work on filming the piece and hear Per Hallberg’s input on the sound.
The ‘news’ that Blofeld will return would be expected in the case they’ve decided to give us a classic-style Bond a la 1960’s. It also makes sense to tie in with the current time-line in Bond’s on-screen life.
Me: The delay because of the script problems caused me concern at the time, although it may be a positive that they took the extra time.
Morten Steingrimsen: Based on what I know, it seems that Bond 24 will be a classic Bond movie.
The traditional gun barrel at the start of the film has been absent from the entire Daniel Craig era. How do you feel about that and should it be returned to the start in Bond 24?
Matt Sherman: At the start would be thrilling, but it’s only a few seconds of screen time, really.
Matt Spaiser: I feel that the gun barrel should return to the beginning. Without the gun barrel at the beginning it’s not a proper Bond film. There was no reason for it not being at the beginning of Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. I didn’t buy the excuses people made for it being stuck on at the end. It shouldn’t be negotiable.
Edward Biddulph: I admit I’d rather see the gun barrel restored to the start of the film, but I can understand why it hasn’t been. We have to remember too that there are many cinema-goers who were introduced to Bond through the Craig films, and so don’t particularly expect to see the gunbarrel. For them, it’s not an essential part of the Bond experience. That said, if the film did open with it, I wouldn’t mind betting that audiences will erupt with cheering.
Jake Del Toro: During Daniel Craig’s first two films I didn’t really miss it but the start of Skyfall feels incomplete without it. I really want to see it back at the start of the film where it belongs.
Ben Williams: For many, the gunbarrel is an intrinsic part of a Bond film. Its look, its pacing, its position, they are all aspects that Bond fans will argue over at length.
Personally, it doesn’t really bother me, although I thought the Casino Royale gunbarrel was inspired.
Bill Koenig: I’ve seen some fans say something like, “What would rather have, a gunbarrel at the start or a great movie?” I think that’s a false choice. I’m skeptical it will be at the start of Bond 24, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.
Marketto: IT MUST BE IN THE START OF THE FILM. 🙂
Mark O’Connell: I know some people hold biblical importance to the gunbarrel sequence and obviously it has its iconography, but it is only 30 seconds in a two hour film. And a director like Mendes has already proved that whilst he wants to make a Bond movie the audience expects, he also wants to put his stamp on it and if a slight moving of one 30 second coda gets proceedings away fro the fingerprints of countless 007 directors before him then more power to his elbow.
Joan Casanovas: It worked great with Casino Royale, as a complete reboot of the franchise. It was ok with Quantum of Solace, as it closed a plot and, from them, James Bond started to be the real 007. Perhaps would have worked with Skyfall but indeed looks repetitive with the first corridor scene. Definitely, the gunbarrel in Bond 24 must be at the beginning.
Tom: I definitely, definitely, definitely want it back at the start of the movie. I’ve missed it so much during the Daniel era. My gut feeling tells me we won’t see it back until the next guy picks up the Walther.
Anders Frejdh: Honestly, I don’t bother that much as long as it’s either at the beginning or the end. On a different note, I’m sure it’ll be back in the beginning sooner or later.
Me: It should definitely be at the start. I liked how it was done in Casino Royale and could live with it done in a similar way in future films, but tacking it on at the end makes no sense to me. I’d rather get rid of it completely than have it at the end.
Morten Steingrimsen: It should definitely be at the start of the film. The gun barrel at the start of the film immediately creates a good feeling!
In Skyfall the secondary characters played a much larger part than earlier films. Do you think that was a positive move and should we see more of M, Q and Moneypenny in Bond 24?
Matt Sherman: I think Daniel Craig is a smart actor and even allowed other actors to upstage him in certain Skyfall scenes. However, consider the film titles “The Adventures of M” and “Moneypenny, Secret Agent” and you’ll see how a Bond film is supposed to be about Bond’s journey and not that of minor characters.
Matt Spaiser: I’m glad the subsidiary characters played a big role. In the old movies it was always welcome to see M, Q and the Minister of Defence outside of the office. Ralph Fiennes is an excellent actor and was fantastic in Skyfall, so I look forward to seeing more of him. For me, his suits tailored by Timothy Everest were a highlight of Skyfall. I think they’re the nicest suits we have seen in a Bond film since Roger Moore wore Douglas Hayward suits in the 1980s. For the other characters, I just hope Q has matured this time around.
Edward Biddulph: Well, we watch a Bond film for Bond, not the other characters. When the story demands, however, the other characters do have place, and in a way the prominence of M and others reflect the fact that spy work these days is as much about as what’s going on back at headquarters (eg computer-based surveillance), as it is about operatives in the field. It’s just not as exciting.
Jake Del Toro: No, Bond should be about James Bond. As a one off I didn’t mind smaller characters getting a bigger role but it should not be the norm. If there is a great story to be told in which these characters need greater prominence then that is fine but the story should dictate their roles within it not the other way round.
Ben Williams: I think it is inevitable that they will have a somewhat expanded role. It’s difficult to expect actors of the calibre of Fiennes, Whishaw, and Harris to be satisfied with playing characters that will have little ongoing character development. However, I also believe that this shouldn’t be done arbitrarily at the expense of the narrative. So, I suppose it will ultimately come down to whether the story requires it.
Bill Koenig: I’m not sure. In one post I referred jokingly to how Bond 24 may see Team Bond, with a sidekick Moneypenny and possibly M getting out into the field. Judi Dench getting so much screen time definitely changed the dynamic of the movies. Spreading it around three such characters has the potential to do that even more.
Marketto: Sure. But I’m not sure about Moneypenny. I’d like to see her in the office again, flirting with Bond.
Mark O’Connell: Of course casting Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw in that key trinity of Bond roles was a slick, welcome move. Aside from Moneypenny, the trio didn’t play that much or a larger part. They were just used adeptly and skilfully, which is the great luxury Eon Productions and Sam Mendes have right now with that palette of actors ready in the wings.
I am sure we will see more of Q, M, Moneypenny and maybe even that tufted leather door.
Joan Casanovas: It was indeed a positive move to introduce those characters in this new James Bond era, now it is not necessary to give them a much larger part.
Tom: Definitely. It’s good to have Q and Moneypenny back. I thought they handled the gadget side of things really well. It could so easily have turned into a cheese fest, but I think it worked out great.
Anders Frejdh: Could be both ways but I see no problem in the fact that has happened since those parts have been played by some of the finest actors around. Everything boils down to the script and if that is good as long as the character and elements of James Bond are there, why not?
Me: I’m not a fan of having too many characters involved in the field, however it may reflect reality. Give Bond his mission, send him to do the job and goodbye to M, Q and Moneypenny until Bond 25.
Morten Steingrimsen: James Bond needs to be in the center. But with so good actors as Fiennes, Whishaw and Harris, I think the director should take advantage of their talent.
Say you were given the task of selecting an artist for the Bond 24 theme song. Who would you choose and why?
Matt Sherman: I’ll make an oddball choice here and say Rick Astley, who was rumored for a Bond title years ago but has a sensuous voice with power and with a tremendous range from low to high. He’s more than a voice and brings a lot to the production and authoring of his music. He would be interesting.
Matt Spaiser: I’m not familiar enough with current musicians to select an artist for the theme song, but I hope that David Arnold will return and write the theme song so it can be carried through the soundtrack for the film. It always makes for a satisfying score when the title theme can be carried through the film.
Edward Biddulph: Muse. It’s time for a rocky number again on the lines of Live and Let Die or You Know My Name. In the past, I would have suggested Queen, but Muse will do just as well.
Jake Del Toro: David Bowie. I think his voice and style would be a great fit for Bond.
Ben Williams: I thought Adele was an excellent choice for Skyfall, although I don’t think it really showed her at her best.
I’d welcome her return, but I would also love it if Muse got their shot at doing the theme. I thought Supremacy was fantastic and, although I think Adele’s theme was better suited to the film, it was a shame that they missed out for Skyfall.
Honestly, I think a British artist is the way to go, and there are a lot of talented individuals and groups to choose from.
Bill Koenig: I’m not sure.
Marketto: Michael Bublé, he’s the man for a theme tune.
Mark O’Connell: It’s a hard one to call. Adele proved that astute casting and big casting can work for a Bond tune, but so many factors circle that decisions nowadays.
I would not be surprised to hear Adele’s name again in connection with a Bond. Sam Smith is an appropriate, rumoured name too but we shall see.
If it was my gig to choose… I would go for some big sounds like Depeche Mode or the Rolling Stones. Or see what Kylie, Goldfrapp, London Grammar or Lady Gaga could do with it.
Joan Casanovas: It is difficult to say as it would depend on the film mood. Perhaps Adele again would be a good/safe choice.
Tom: I think Lana Del Rey could do a good job. I also think The Killers could serve up something great, provided they adapted their sound to be a little more traditional and less synthy.
Anders Frejdh: All I can say about this is… If the concept of classic Bond should be fulfilled I can’t think of anyone better Shirley Bassey. If not possible to get her, I’d stick with Adele.
Me: I struggle with this. I’m not a huge fan of Adele’s Skyfall, (although it is on my iPhone all the same) but most of my musical choices don’t fit well with Bond. Arctic Monkeys might do, as they have shown they can be quite versatile but Alex Turner’s voice can be a bit iffy. I read an interview once in which Turner claimed the first tune the Arctic Monkeys guitarist learnt to play was the James Bond Theme, so they’re obviously fans!
Morten Steingrimsen: I hope that Adele returns.
Daniel Craig is contracted to film one more after Bond 24. Do you think he’ll stick with it and how much longer do you think he’ll be in the role?
Matt Sherman: He certainly could do one more and it would be nice for the producers to get 25 done ASAP or else recast. Fans don’t care, frankly, that actors want to do other stage and film projects. They want their Bond to do Bond!
Matt Spaiser: I think Craig will stick with a fifth Bond film, but I don’t think he will do any more than that. Unlike Roger Moore, Craig prides himself on being a versatile actor and knows he can do far more than Bond. He will get bored of it.
Edward Biddulph: After the huge success of Bond 24, as I’m sure it will be, I’m sure he sign on to do another one. But he’ll hang up his Walther PPK after that.
Jake Del Toro: I hope he does one more providing the gap between Bonds 24 & 25 is no more than 2 years, then it’s time to get someone else in.
Ben Williams: I can’t possibly predict that. I imagine that he will play it out to the end of his contract and after that, who knows? I think as long as he still enjoys playing the character and feels capable of doing so, then he should keep at it. Criticisms of age and relevance have always dogged Bond actors as they go further into their tenure, but you simply can’t please everyone all the time. As long as he’s happy and the producers are happy, then I’m sure we’ll see Daniel continuing to play Bond well into the future.
Bill Koenig: I think he’ll do Bond 25. I’m not sure what happens next. Even if he’s ready to move on, I don’t think Barbara Broccoli will be.
Marketto: I believe he will do Bond 25 and Bond 26, nothing more.
Mark O’Connell: Craig’s Bond is doing okay. It seems wrong to be thinking of looking for a new husband when the current marriage is in such a solid state. He has signed on for two more (including Bond 24) so there is nothing to doubt that would not be the case.
Joan Casanovas: I am afraid that perhaps he will be too old for the role after Bond 25. From then he will probably quit (or will be retired).
Tom: I think we’ll get Bond 25 and then he’ll bow out. Unless the producers have difficulty finding the next actor, I guess there’s a chance they could lure him back for one more provided they give him a shitload of money.
Anders Frejdh: Well, if I were him I’d stick with it as long as I could. Apart from a money making machine, he’ll be more and more immortalized as an actor for every film. I’m sure he’ll do a couple more if the scripts meet his approval.
Me: I’m not so sure he will be around for Bond 25. It’s mainly gut feeling, but unless Eon can commit to releasing Bond 25 within 2 years of Bond 24 I have the feeling Craig will feel enough is enough. After Skyfall, Bond 24 has a mountain to climb and it is going to be hard to top it. There is only so much money he can need and may want to pursue other film and stage projects.
Morten Steingrimsen: Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond actor. Therefore, I hope he plays 007 in several Bond films after Bond 24.
If it were announced tomorrow that he were to quit as 007, who would you put forward as the new James Bond (excluding yourself)?
Matt Sherman: Clive Owen has the look and has played Bondlike roles before, and well. I think Benedict Cumberbatch is an extraordinary actor, and if he worked out a bit and they could make his hair and clothes just right he is young enough to take on the role for many years to come.
Matt Spaiser: Benedict Cumberbatch would make an excellent Bond. He has the refinement and the looks.
Edward Biddulph: Not sure. A few years ago, I would have said Jack Davenport, but I think his boat has sailed.
Jake Del Toro: I hope it’s someone fairly unknown that no-one has thought of but if I had to chose right now I’d go with Henry Cavill.
Ben Williams: As a moderator on MI6 Community, I have seen this question posed numerous times and have seen literally hundreds of suggestions put forward, from the sensible to the out right insane.
For me, an actor playing Bond should look the part, have a strong, masculine presence, and be able not only physically perform the action, but also be capable of giving us insight into his emotional state. I really can’t think of a current actor who is of the right age who could do this right now.
I have often suggested that British male model David Gandy would make a good Bond, but whilst he looks the part, whether he can act is an entirely different matter.
Bill Koenig: At one time, I’d have said Henry Cavill, but I don’t think that’s possible now. I think he’s too big physically now. And with all these Superman-related movies he’s contracted for, he’s going to have to maintain that bulk for the foreseeable future. Plus, he’s done UNCLE (though that won’t be out until August 2015) and he’s going to do a project called Stratton through his own production company. I honestly can’t really focus on this until Craig is actually gone. The answer is probably different in 2015 than it would be in 2018 or later.
Marketto: Have no idea.
Mark O’Connell: I would still not rule out Henry Cavill. Dan Stevens and Nicholas Hoult would not be wrong either but the usual genius of the new Bond casting is it is often someone left of field. Damian Lewis has also worked on another Eon film this year and his wife (Helen McCrory) has already served her time on a Bond.
Joan Casanovas: Excluding myself?? Damn,… not sure…Henry Cavill?…not sure…
Tom: Michael Fassbender…though he’s way to big to take on the role now. Watching X-Men: First Class, I think he’d be an amazing Bond, maybe even better than Daniel.
Anders Frejdh: Due to the fact that Daniel Craig is a great actor I’d rather not. (My personal choice before he was announced was Clive Owen, now I don’t even bother to think how he could have done is better than DC has done.)
Me: I honestly don’t know. It’s a real shame they can’t work to the same schedule as the Sean Connery era and knock out a film every year without compromising quality. Those days are over though.
Morten Steingrimsen: I trust that EON makes a wise choice. Most preferably, I would like an unknown British actor.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Matt Sherman: Hear the fans, Eon Productions, and get Bond 25 done soon as well as Bond 24!
Matt Spaiser: I’ll have a lot more to say when pictures of Daniel Craig in his new suits for Bond 24 surface.
Edward Biddulph: My title prediction: Property of a Lady.
Ben Williams: To me, it just seems incredible that, more than half a century after Dr No was released, we are still seeing Bond films being made. It is a testament to the enduring appeal of Fleming’s creation. I think that Bond fans are incredibly fortunate that the legacy of Bond continues and we are given that alluring promise at the end of each film: James Bond Will Return.
Bill Koenig: The Bond films sometimes go awry after a big success (Moonraker after Spy Who Loved Me, Quantum after Casino Royale). I’m also curious to see if the Christopher Nolan influence present in Skyfall continues in Bond 24.
Marketto: Bond forever.
Mark O’Connell: I wonder if Bond 24 will put a big Christmas smile on a lot of Bond fan’s faces.
Joan Casanovas: Bond is back!!!
Tom: Fingers crossed they get it right in Bond 24. Less CGI, better dialogue, lesson one liners (quality over quantity) and some classic Fleming elements would be my recipe for a great film.
Anders Frejdh: Personally, I have no desire to know every little detail about a new film before seeing it as it totally ruins the first-time experience.
Me: Thanks to everyone who participated in this Q&A!