Eon to produce spy thriller, but what about Bond 25?

Variety has reported that Eon Productions is to produce a spy thriller based a book by Mark Burnell. But what does that mean for Bond 25?

Bond 25

According to yesterday’s article, indie studio IM Global is to finance The Rhythm Section based on the first of Burnell’s four Stephanie Patrick novels. Blake Lively is to star as the female assassin who loses her family in a plane crash.

As well as Eon Productions’ bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson producing the film, it will be directed by Reed Morano. IM Global co-founder Stuart Ford, Greg Shapiro and Mark Burnell will receive executive producer credits.

According to Ford:

“In Stephanie Patrick, Mark has created a unique female heroine who turns so many of the current cinematic clichés surrounding so-called ‘kick-ass’ female leads on their head”.

Source: Variety

It turns out not to be the first time a film has been planned based on the book. Back in 2005 New Line Cinema hired Burnell to write a screenplay of his book according to this blog post. Eon purchased the rights to another of Burnell’s novels back in 2009, but nothing ever came of that. It seems they were fans of the author though.

Recently there was a rumour that Eon were planning an expanded movie universe based around characters from the James Bond films. Could it be rather than an expanded Bond universe they’re actually planning an expanded espionage universe?

I haven’t read any of Burnell’s books, but while James Bond couldn’t co-exist in a universe populated by superheroes, perhaps there is room for a world with he and Stephanie Patrick.

The big question though, is what will happen with Bond 25?

If this goes into production shortly then surely that leaves no room for the next Bond film in the foreseeable future. And Eon is already supposed to be producing a historical war drama, which is expected to shoot later this year.

We were already expecting Bond 25 to go into production in late 2018 for a 2019 release, but even that seems like it may not be viable. Michael G Wilson is famous for wanting a break after each Bond film, but this seems like extra work piling up on his desk.

Perhaps all these other projects are because there is no studio to distribute a new Bond film. MGM has no distribution capability and needs a partner to help finance and distribution. But the longer it goes before a new Bond film gets off the ground, the more likely we’ll be looking at a new actor playing 007.

How those 1960s audiences were spoilt compared with a now four to five year gap between films.

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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