BOURNE V BOND GREEN LIT

HOLLYWOOD – Following the success of Jason Bourne and Spectre, the world’s most famous secret agents and to appear in a new film provisionally entitled Bourne v Bond.

Matt Damon and Daniel Craig today announced in a joint press conference that filming is to begin this month on Bourne v Bond, the first mash-up of the Robert Ludlum and Ian Fleming characters, James Bond and Jason Bourne, since Quantum of Solace.

Matt Damon speaking EXCLUSIVELY to the Studio Exec had this to say:

Anybody watching Jason Bourne had to see that we’ve run out of steam. I mean the first Bourne film was good and then the second and the third were great but basically the same film done over and so what more is there that we can do? I was talking to Paul Greengrass and he asked what would happen if Bourne met Bond and that was the point where the lights seemed to come on.

Daniel Craig nodded, smiling:

We were at the same point. We watched Spectre and we thought, Wow! That looks really tired. It’s like we put all the fun stuff in the first ten minutes and then everything else was just m’eh! So when Matt and Paul called Sam and I were just knocked out. We met in a hotel the four of us and had a real story conference and what we came up with I think will be very exciting.

What did you come up with?

MD: In the broadest possible terms, it goes like this. Bond is sent after Bourne because British intelligence believe he is a threat to their national security, But it turns out Bourne has been framed by Spectre and Treadstone and Bond and Bourne must join forces.

So they’ll fight.

DC: Yes, they will. There’ll be real animosity there, but they realize at the last minute that both their mothers were called Martha.

MD: Isn’t that just…?

Amazing!

DC: Yes.

Bourne v Bond will be released in 2017.

Image courtesy of @ThePixelFactor.

QUENTIN TARANTINO TO DIRECT NEXT BOND

HOLLYWOOD – Quentin Tarantino today confirmed that he will be directing the next James Bond, although it is still unclear who the next Bond might be.

Following the news that Sam Mendes won’t be directing the next James Bond outing, speculation has been rife as to who will take over the job of helming the most successful and long running cinema franchise in the history of film.  It looks like today that question has been answered with an EXCLUSIVE interview with Quentin Tarantino.

So Quentin, it looks like you got the gig.

I did indeed. It’s no secret that I wanted to direct a James Bond film since the very beginning of the Daniel Craig years. I laid out my ideas very clearly: Casino Royale but done in period and very faithful to the novel. They took on half of that idea but since then I’ve not stopped talking to Barbara [Broccoli] and the 007 team and when it became clear that Sam Mendes wasn’t coming back then I thought I could step in once more.

So what will be the story and who will be Bond?

Let’s be clear about this. Barbara runs the show. I’m gonna throw in my suggestions and I’m gonna write the script but the direction of the story, the casting and all of that is out of my hands. I’m pitching a remake of Thunderball. It’s the film that was done a couple of times and for various copyright reasons it was never really resolved. And as for Bond I like the suggestion of Idris Elba and I love Michael Fassbender, but if I really had carte blanche I’d have Samuel L. Jackson. He’s so good. I mean suave and dangerous.

What are the chances that Daniel Craig might stay on?

I don’t know. We need to have that conversation and I know that he’s really all about the script so I’d be eager to sit down and talk him through my ideas. But I can also tell him right now that there’ll be a lot more swearing and a bit less violence. But the violence will mean more if you know what I mean. And I want to put in the humor again, like the old Roger Moore Bonds.

Thundermotherf*ckingBalls will be released in 2018.

MAX HEADROOM: THE MOTION PICTURE

LONDON – Max Headroom – the cult British TV film from 1985 – is finally going to get a big screen makeover in the capable hands of Sam Mendes and starring House of Cards chameleon Kevin Spacey.

The original film featured Matt Frewer playing a journalist, Edison Carter, in a dystopian future who investigates why couch potatoes are exploding while watching television. After an accident, Carter  is computerized and becomes the titular Max Headroom, a wisecracking TV host who helps boost ratings.

The original film was directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel  Jankell, the creative team guilty for  Super Mario Bros – widely regarded as one of the best films ever made. Max Headroom was entirely remade as a TV show with all the weird gory bits removed, but alas to little success.

The Motion Picture version has long been a dream of Sam Mendes,who hopes to follow up his success at rejuvenating 007 with yet another resurrection:

When I was making American Beauty me and Kevin Spacey would yak about how great it would be to make Max Headroom rather than waste our lives on the arse wipery that was American Beauty, that stinking bucket of sewer soup made film.

Spacey also marks his love of Max Headroom as an inspiration.

As a young boy, with nary an idea in my head as to what to do with myself, Max Headroom represented more than a character. It was the possibility to transform myself into a totally different being. You want to know who Kaiser Soze is? Max Headroom is Kaiser Soze.

Max Headroom is due to be released on April 17th, 2021.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE IS THE BEST BOND MOVIE EVER

HOLLYWOOD – Daniel Craig’s second outing as secret agent 007 Quantum of Solace has been widely reviled but is actually the best Bond movie ever.

I’m putting it on the line here. Everyone had high expectations for the follow up to Daniel Craig’s brilliant debut as James Bond Casino Royale. But when Quantum of Solace hit the screens in 2008 there was a sense of dismay as Bond went too Bourne, Marc Foster’s hyper kinetic direction and  a sense of general confusion marred what should have been a triumphant second chapter. Many blamed the script strike which had Daniel Craig and Mathieu Amalric  trying to put scenes together themselves in the absence of a finished draft, or over enthusiasm on the part of the producers to cash in on the success of the first film.

However, re-watching Quantum of Solace I have to say it is the best Bond movie ever.  My reasons? Okay, if you insist.

The idea of starting the film directly from the end of Casino Royale sets the stage for the whole Craig cycle of Bond films. Of all the Bonds, Craig is unique in creating a through line and giving his character some genuine depth and development. In fact, even in Quantum of Solace, we see Craig change and learn. The only problem with this is that almost every Craig Bond is an origin story. Except perhaps Spectre, but even… well SPOILERS.

The film starts at 90 MPH and continues in pretty much the same vein all the way through. I admit that the first time I saw the film I found it difficult to keep track but every repeated viewing is a revelation. The action sequences have no fat on them at all. The lean economy means that Foster’s version is the shortest Bond at only an hour and a half and there’s something truly admirable by the way it disposes of car, boat and airplane chases without lingering for a second or giving you multiple angles when one will do.The fights are suitably brutal and even Bond skipping out of a hotel is done with such careless elan as to deserve a round of applause.

The script. Okay, there was this whole thing about the writer’s strike, but I like the confusion, the murk is curiously fitting. And this is the Bond with the least quips, frankly a part of the whole franchise that reached its apotheosis with Goldfinger’s ‘shocking’ and has been on a law of diminishing returns ever since. With not much talking, the long winded exposition goes out of the window and instead we have a series of pithy summaries. M (Judi Dench) and Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) actually get some really interesting political scenes to play with and this is one of the more subtle Bond films when it comes to assessing the geopolitical role of the secret service in the pre-Snowden but post 9/11 world.

Olga Kurylenko is a great character and doesn’t sleep with Bond and the characters around Bond begin to form a consistently believable universe, including Matthias (Giancarlo Giannini) and Mr. White (Jesper Christensen). And although Skyfall was rightly praised for Roger Deakins’ cinematography, but Roberto Schaefer’s camera work is stunning. The scene at the Austrian Opera House is beautifully done, impressionistic almost with the soundtrack dropping out. All the locations are given a sumptuous treatment, with Haiti and Sienna captured marvelously, and never has the desert seemed so parched.

Okay I will admit that the exploding hotel is a problem and is where the film rather depressingly reverts to type. Something has to blow up towards the end, but a hotel seems a tad random and here we really feel the lack of ideas. However, that said almost all Bond films have disappointing finales where everything goes boom and the baddie gets his. Pyrotechnics taking over from any real sense of satisfactory conclusion. In fact it is the quiet coda in a snowy Russia which is the real conclusion of the film and a deeply satisfying one at that.

I recognize I’m swimming against the tide of Bond opinion here and will be happy to read any comments you might have below and respond to them, if I can.

For the review of SPECTRE CLICK HERE.

SPECTRE – REVIEW

SPECTRE – REVIEW: Daniel Craig returns for what might be his final outing as 007 in an entertaining James Bond adventure.

James Bond is in Mexico and doing stuff and M says ‘What’s going on?’ and then a slimy political type from the last Mission Impossible film goes ‘I’m going to take over. You’re all complete bobbins’ and then Bond is suspended and then he goes off and does stuff on his own and it all connects to all the other films and Monica Bellucci is in black and goes ‘oh meester Bond’ and he goes ‘yeah’ and they do it and then there are car chases and there is Rome and then Austria and then Tangiers and Bond never flies Ryan Air and now he’s with that girl from Blue is the Warmest Color and she goes ‘touch me and I’ll kill you’ and he goes ‘okay’ but later he touches her and she doesn’t seem to mind, which is called character arc, and then there’s Christoph Waltz and he’s okay and he goes ‘back story back story unexpected (totally expected) revelation and boom goes Bond, several times.

Is Spectre the best Bond? No, but it is the most ordinary one and I liked that. It didn’t have the freshness of Casino Royale, or the weird production drama and scriptlessness of Quantum of Solace. Nor did it have the grandeur of Skyfall. It felt like an episode, but a good one and although it’s a long film with a bit of middle aged sag in the middle, I liked spending time with the character and his little alphabet soup of friends.

Six Stars out of five.

For more Reviews, Click Here.

EVERYONE PREPARES TO LOOK SURPRISED WHEN CHRISTOPH WALTZ TURNS OUT TO BE BLOFELD

HOLLYWOOD – James Bond fans have been preparing their surprised faces when the inevitable revelation comes that Christoph Waltz is actually playing Blofeld in the new James Bond film Spectre.

Although the makers are being coy about the casting of Christoph Waltz, the chances are everybody already knows that Christoph Waltz is playing the famous recurring Bond villian Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of the criminal organisation Spectre, from which the new film derives its title. James Bond fan supreme C. told the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:

We’re all very excited about Spectre following the success of Sam Mendes’ Skyfall and because it is introducing a key element to the Bond mythology. The name being Spectre there has to be Blofeld. Blofeld has been played in the past by Donald Pleasance and Telly Savalas, among others, and we think that Christoph… I mean whoever plays him in this version will add an illustrious name to the gallery of Bond villains. It is going to be a real shock.

Fans of James Bond and Star Trek will be able to use the face they wore to watch Benedict Cumberbatch reveal himself to be Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Spectre will be released in October, 2015.

TERRENCE MALICK TO DIRECT BOND 25

HOLLYWOOD – Although Spectre hasn’t yet been released talk is already rife about the follow up Bond film, known simply as Bond 25.

Daniel Craig recently confirmed that he would be signing on for another two Bond films, which will make him the third most Bond of the Bond actors to have played Bond, after Roger Moore and Sean Connery.

A massive explosion of news on Bond 24 came with the confirmation that Terry ‘The Machine’ Malick will be taking on directorial duties for the latest installment of the most popular action franchises in cinema history. Malick first made his name with Badlands back in 1973 and then became notorious for the time between projects: there was a gap of some twenty years between Days of Heaven (1978) and The Thin Red Line (1998). 

Daniel Craig greeted the announcement with some confusion: ‘Are you sure?’ he asked. However, the producers have made a habit of taking directors from smaller independent films and giving them the reigns: Sam Mendes being the latest example of this.

Although Malick has not himself commented on this latest project, a spokesperson close to him said that ‘Terry is looking forward to exploring 007’s spiritual dimension. There will be guns, gadgets and girls, but there will also be whispered voice overs imploring an ineffable god for signs of grace as well as magic hour photography and perhaps even a dinosaur or two.’


Estonian composer Arvo Part has also been added to the team to provide a stirring minimalist soundtrack. The film is not due for release until at the earliest 2016 and so time enough for Terry (at his current rate) to make another 6 or 7 films.

FLUFFER’S 2014: PART 5

HOLLYWOOD – Sir Edwin Fluffer returns with his final installment of his 2014 yearbook.

Nov 1st I don’t know how he did it, but Kirk’s managed to get Mike Nichols to direct Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? To be honest I think he mentioned my name and called in a favor: Mike still owes me one after I let him use one of my legs on the poster for The Graduate. The look on Dustin Hoffman’s face still haunts me.

Nov 7th Just seen my dear old pal Michael Caine in Interstellar. I think that he agreed with me, the story really lacked something. From the opening scene you could tell exactly what was going to happen. I passed on the script when they said I couldn’t wear a pair of funny ears like Mr Spock in Star Trek, but that sort of thing always goes down so well in sci-fi.

Nov 19th Mike Nichols has died. I still remember when he fired me from The Birdcage for being too over the top! In the end he got darling Robin Williams to play it instead, and although I always enjoyed the subtlety he brought to the part it was a wasted opportunity really. I offered him the use of my giant chicken costume, but he was determined to manage without it.

Dec 1st Debbie Reynolds called. Apparently it says on the Internet that Kirk Douglas is dead! Apparently he was Spartacus and I never even knew. You would’ve thought he’d have mentioned it.

Dec 4th Got on the wrong bus and missed the photo call for this new Bond film I’m doing. I’ll be playing W, the Head of Health and Safety at MI7. Young Danny Craig’s got the lead again and Sammy Mendes is directing. They’ve dropped Dame Judi from this one: apparently they asked her to tone down the language on set and she didn’t take it very well.

Dec 17th Kirk Douglas phoned! It turns out he’s not dead after all! He just nodded off in front of Big Bang Theory and some idiot published his obituary by mistake. He had some bad news though: we’ve both been dropped from the Baby Jane remake. Apparently they’re going to shoot it with a couple of chaps called The Minions instead. It’s a shame really. After two Academy Awards, three knighthoods and counting I thought it would be a nice final curtain, but I may as well carry on for a bit longer. And let’s be honest, I need the money. The script for Police Academy: Next Generation arrived this morning, I’ll have a flick through that later…

For more of Sir Edwin FLUFFER, be a peach and Click Here.

HULK HOGAN TO FIGHT SAM MENDES

LONDON – The immortal Hulk Hogan issued a challenge to Bond director Sam Mendes today after Mendes decided against casting Hogan in an undisclosed role in the upcoming Bond 24.

“All my little Hulkamaniacs know the Hulkster is a man of his word but you Sam Mendes, you broke your word,” said an angry Hogan:

I came here today for one reason, to call you out Sam Mendes, to take you to task and when we step in the squared circle on December 14, pay-per-view, Madison Square Gardens. I’m gonna’ make you sing Sam Mendes, sing the power of the Hulkster, because this freak of nature right here is just beginning to swell, and when I get big enough, brother, there ain’t gonna’ be room for anybody else but me and all the Hulkamaniacs floating through my veins. So what you gonna’ do Sam Mendes, what you gonna’ do, when the largest arms in the world and Hulkamania, runs wild on you!

Sam Mendes was unavailable for comment as he is currently rehearsing a production of Chekov’s The Seagull at the National Theatre in London. However, he did issue this statement:

I am the dream killer, Hogan, the reaper of souls, the master puppeteer on the stage of fools. I am the only one who can see the big picture, the grand design. So take your bleeding heart somewhere else. I am the master of the house, I pull the strings around here. So I don’t care who the hell you are. If you’re in my way, you will get taken down, taken down to Chinatown.

Mendes vs Hogan will be live on HBO on December 14.

FX LINES UP MORE COEN BROTHERS SHOWS

HOLLYWOOD – Following the critical success of FX’s hit show Fargo, more Coen Brothers spin offs are being lined up for the Fall season.

There are currently three Coen Brothers shows in pre-production:

  • Hudsucker will follow the fortunes of Norville Barnes (Zach Braff), a young inventor who’s placed in a position of power by the conniving executive of the Hudsucker company, Sidney J. Mussburger (John Lithgow). An insider says, ‘This will be a Mad Men style period drama but also keeping the screwball comedy of the original.’
  • The Dude sees the return of everyone’s favorite bowler Jeffrey (The Dude) Lebowksi, to be played by William Hurt. The Dude opens a PI office with old pal Walter Sobchak (Hugh Laurie) and each week will investigate crazy cases from a series of LA style off beats, while at the same time trying to progress into the regionals of the Bowling League. An insider tells us: ‘This will be Hart to Hart for the millennials.’
  • Raising Utah sees slacker couple John Krasinski and Ellen Page kidnap a baby and start an epic journey across America. Sam Mendes will direct. An FX executive promises ‘It won’t be very good.’

All shows are due to premier in the Fall.

DISNEY BUY JAMES BOND

HOLLYWOOD – Closing a year that have seen the acquisition of Indiana Jones and Star Wars, Disney have gone on a last minute spending spree and bagged the 007 franchise as well.

The character rights of James Bond, M, Q and the longest running popular movie franchise will now be under the control of the House of the Mouse after Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli succumbed to an offer that was ‘just too good to refuse’.

Eon Productions issued a statement announcing the acquisition this morning.

It is with great pleasure and joy that we announce that Eon Productions and the rights to the James Bond series have been bought by the Disney Company. We are confident that this move will cement the future of the franchise well into the next century.

A spokesperson for Disney remarked:

We are delighted to have bagged 007 and we reassure all Bond fans that we won’t be changing this beloved twinkly eyed charmer at all. He’ll still be singing and dancing with cartoon penguins just as he has throughout his career as super spy and rescuer of kittens extraordinaire.

It  is understood that the takeover has happened in time for the next James Bond film, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Sam Mendes, to be released under the imprimatur of the Walt Disney studio. 

A Modicum of Whimsy is to be released in 2015.

CONNERY RETURNS AS 007

HOLLYWOOD – Sean Connery is to return as 007 in a new film, provisionally entitled Never Say Never Again Again. The film will be produced by Stig Pictures in direct competition with the Eon Productions official Sam Mendes directed, Daniel Craig Bond.

Barry Marbles, CEO of Stig Pictures, released a statement, which read:

For years Sean and I have talked about doing follow up to Thunderball, the rights of which have never been definitively decided. Well, he isn’t getting any younger, so the last time we were drunk, we decided if we were going to do it, we best do it straight away.

The plot will feature secret agent James Bond (Connery) being sent to a health farm by M (Helen Mirren) after a mission goes badly wrong. Here, he will sit in a comfy chair and reminisce to a sexy nurse (Catherine Zeta Jones) about earlier adventures, all of which will be shown in a series of flashbacks.

‘It’s going to be cheap,’ promised an excited Lee Tamahori who has been roped in to direct. ‘And, you know, quick. Three weeks tops. Which is two more than I used for Die Another Day. Ha ha ha!’

Never Say Never Again Again will be settled out of court.


SAM MENDES TO DIRECT HE-MAN

After the box office success of Skyfall, director Sam Mendes has been given a 250 million dollar war chest to finance his dream project, an epic black and white remake of the cartoon classic He-Man & The Masters of the Universe performed exclusively in ancient Sumerian.

It’s a great script,“ said an excited Mendes. “Myself and David Mamet have been working on it for well over a decade and we both agree that it’s our best work to date.”

Mendes admitted that the original drafts of the script were much too child friendly and he was struggling to make it work.

It was like Game of Thrones but without the violence and incest. It was only when I saw Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ that I decided it should be done in another language. After all the characters are from Eternia, not Earth, so it makes no sense that they would speak with an American accent. Originally I asked David to create an entire language from scratch but after he eventually stopped laughing and offered his resignation, we decided that Sumerian was the way forward.

That bold decision inspired Mendes to make further drastic changes.

Everything has been stripped down to the bare minimum. Originally it was going to be in 3D with masses of CGI and special effects but it’s going to be in black and white and no effects at all. In fact the only reason it’s costing so much is that we are building a life-size replica of Castle Grayskull in the Scottish Highlands.

Mendes also revealed that he already has his main cast in place.

Chris Hemsworth will play He-Man and Tom Hiddleston is Skeletor. I didn’t known Chris but I’m known Tom for years and his Skeletor is genuinely one of the most frightening characters in cinema history. He sent us an audition tape of himself dressed in a skull mask brutally murdering a swan and I knew immediately that he was the cold-hearted bastard we’d been looking for.

Despite the changes Mendes is sure that fans of the original series will enjoy his twisted version of the He-Man Universe.

If I had to compare it to another film, I’d say it’s like The Seventh Seal but much, much bleaker and the violence is so extreme we’ll be lucky to get a R-rating. Then there’s the incest, the bestiality and the murder and torture but it’s not all grim. Orko the magician makes an appearance and his rape scene mainly takes place off camera.

He-Man & The Masters of the Universe is due for release in 2015.

SKYFALL 2 RUMORS

HOLLYWOOD – It was probably inevitable that – following the billion dollar success of the Sam Mendes action  movie Skyfall – producers would want to cash in with a follow up and that indeed seems to be the case.

Mendes, however, has ruled himself out: ‘I think that story is finished. I can’t see anyway of continuing with what’s he called? Bond? Yeah, I can’t think of anyway which wouldn’t be formulaic.’
Daniel Craig – the actor who introduced ‘James Bond’ to the world as well as the slop that was Cowboys and Aliens – begs to differ.
 I’m interested in the character and I think there are possibilities, things to explore. We can take him to some different places. Both geographically and psychologically.

The Studio Exec had the opportunity also of asking Michael G. Wilson who produced Skyfall his views:

Michael G. Wilson

Of course we’ll be doing another film. There’s always the danger we’ll repeat ourselves but it is a danger we will do out utmost to avoid. While still delivering something which is familiar to fans.

Do you see a possible trilogy or even a franchise?

I wouldn’t go that far. I mean who wants to go and see the same character doing the same things again and again. We’re not imbeciles are we. No. I’d like to see the next film called Skyfall Part Two in the tradition of the Godfather. And if I’m following the tradition of the Godfather I definitely want to avoid a third film.

Skyfall 2 will begin production early in 2014.