James Bond Producers Reveal When They’ll Look For The Next Bond
Daniel Craig’s era is coming to an end with No Time To Die. Ahead of its release, James Bond’s producers have teased when they’ll start scouting for the next 007.
Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson stared down the world when they cast Craig as Bond. Backlash from the press and fans alike branded him ‘uncharismatic’, ‘ugly’ and resented the ‘rough, gritty’ and blonde direction of the franchise, leading to the emergence of DanielCraigIsNotBond.com and countless incendiary headlines.
As fate would have it, the world was not enough. From Casino Royale to Spectre, even when the films dip, he’s proven himself as one of the greatest Bonds of all time. ‘The time has arrived and we’re thrilled to be celebrating Daniel Craig and his final film. He’s just been a phenomenal Bond,’ Broccoli said.
Ahead of the release of No Time To Die, I sat down with the titanic producers, acting as custodians of Bond since 1995, Madeleine Swan’s Léa Seydoux and director Cary Joji Fukunaga to discuss the upcoming movie and the future of the franchise.
Iconicism isn’t in short supply for Craig’s run: the crane jump in Casino Royale; the rope-twirling barrel shot in Quantum of Solace; those cufflinks in Skyfall; the From Russia With Love fit and Bautista brawl in Spectre. Yet, Broccoli and Wilson find it hard to nail down a specific highlight of Craig’s tenure. ‘I think it’s his commitment, not just to the role but the films themselves,’ she said.
‘This is why Michael and I insisted he have a producer credit on the films, because he’s contributed so much to them. Not just as an actor showing up saying lines, but he’s been involved in the story and all aspects of the film. He’s given everything to these movies for 15 years, we just really wanna celebrate his achievement and thank him really.’
For a moment, his swan song wasn’t certain. While conceding his bluntness when faced with fans and journalists’ probes after Spectre, Craig honestly felt he’d had enough of Bond. ‘He said he didn’t want to do another one. So, we let him go,’ Broccoli said.
‘He threw his gun away at the end of Spectre, and we let some time past. We spoke to him again, and said, ‘Look – the story is not complete. There’s another chapter to go here.’ When he came around, he got really excited about what that last chapter could be. We all just came together to complete the journey, and that’s why we’re so proud of this film. It’s a great conclusion to the epic journey.’
Seydoux – one of the few female characters beyond the likes of Judi Dench’s M and Moneypenny to reprise their role, but also reminiscent Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in her relationship with Bond – is ‘really happy that it’s finally coming out, and we’re able to have a proper premiere’.
‘Because I’ve done two films, and it really felt like a family. I’m really happy for Daniel’s last film to come out in cinemas with the whole prestige of it. We need that. We need cinema, we need art,’ she said. Bear in mind, No Time To Die is hitting UK cinemas 576 days after its original release date.
Craig’s shoes may seem impossible to fill. He overcame immense criticism to become a generation-uniting spy, bringing together the killer instinct of Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton’s suave curtness and Pierce Brosnan’s wry wit. Whatever and whoever comes next will need to be ‘something special’, Seydoux says.
‘I’d love to see something new. I don’t know what, but something new. Daniel was already a big change, he was an unexpected James Bond at the time he was chosen.’
Fukunaga has been sitting on the impending hype of a movie for too long. ‘It feels like something that’s been an incomplete thing in my life for over 18 months now. When it does come out, however it performs, that’s it – that chapter is finally over,’ he said – but that’s not to say he doesn’t have ideas for the next Bond.
‘I have a pitch which I’ve said to Barbara and Michael, which I can’t tell you… because it’s a secret. I don’t know if they’re gonna take it. I ultimately think they’ll make their decision down the line with where they want to go and who they want to be the next Bond. But I do think the version of it I have in my head is pretty exciting. If that ever happens at a later date, I will reveal to you what it is.’
And, potentially echoing the likes of John Glen, Sam Mendes and Martin Campbell, the director would consider coming back. ‘I think if it provided the right creative challenge, definitely,’ Fukunaga said.
‘If you think about Martin Campbell and the difference between Goldeneye and Casino Royale, they’re quite different. For him to do Casino was probably a lot of fun. It would have to be similar for me; where a reinvention was happening.’
It begs the question: who will be next to play James Bond? Sitting with Broccoli and Wilson – seasoned pros when it comes to this sort of prying – they know I had to ask. However, I phrased it more delicately, asking if there were ‘any qualities’ they were looking for ‘ahead of the process of weighing up candidates for the tux’.
Broccoli turned it around on me. ‘Look, I mean… you have a great Scottish accent so maybe we could be looking at you,’ she said. They laughed when I said it’d be a childhood dream.
I then asked if they had a rough timeline for starting the hunt. ‘Sometime next year, maybe. We’ll see. Right now, we’re focused on this film and this film only,’ Wilson said.
‘I think… we’re aware of terrific talent out there in the world. We’re continually looking at talent for all kinds of roles, not just Bond. We like to canvas the people that are out there. Talent is one of the most exciting and exhilarating parts of being a film producer; discovering and working with talent. We’re always on the lookout for talented people,’ Broccoli added.
No Time To Die the 25th film in the series. There’s clearly still an appetite for Bond – pre-ticket sales in the UK are the biggest since Avengers: Endgame – but it’s hard not to wonder whether the franchise will ever come to an end, or if it’ll keep going indefinitely beyond Broccoli, Wilson, and maybe even me.
‘There are certain things every Bond movie has, whether it’s the iconic barrel moment, the title song, or Bond saying ‘Bond, James Bond’, or Q delivering devices, or at the very end of the film, ‘Bond will be back.’ I think that will always be there, until someone decides they don’t want to pay for it,’ Fukunaga said.
Broccoli and Wilson are confident Bond will never die. ‘I think it’ll live way into the future – because of people like yourself, people who’ve grown up with them and enjoyed them. He is a character who has withstood the test of time, we’re coming up to the 60th anniversary. He’ll be continually reimagined to fit the contemporary time he lives in. We believe in James Bond.’
Like Bond says, everybody needs a hobby – his will always be resurrection.
No Time To Die hits cinemas on September 30.
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