mercredi 23 juillet 2014

Bond24 – the elusive one

Here we go again ...

It's July the23rd , and the next James Bond film is due to start production in about three months – according to the Sony Press communique of a few months ago .
Except …

It is now well known that filming could start around December , for various reasons ( meaning the initial world wide release dates might suffer too from that delay ) .

Let's sum up the various causes of this delay .

First , the film was announced without its director .
Skyfall Gold platinium Sam Mendes was adamant about it and wouldn't come back to direct the next one . This was the first blow to the Broccoli / Wilson scheme , who decided in an unusual move for Eon to … Wait for its cherished director to change his mind .

The ploy worked and a few months later , versatile Sam Mendes came back with a big smile and was announced officialy as the director of Bond24 . We were then already in 2013 , and still without a proper script .

Few were his actual comments about the storyline of said movie – which was to be devised by his own scriptwriter John Logan ( who already did some polish on the script of Skyfall ) .

The director spoke about ' unfinished business to attend to , a new beginning , blablabla … ' . In short : not a single indication about things to come .

Consequently the duo responsible for the writing of the past five Bonds , Ms Purvis & Wade , graciously decided to bow out of the series ( well , the ' consequently ' is from me , but I guess egos were prevailling at the times ) .

This very month the Daily Mail revealed that the writing duo was rumored to have returned to the franchise to add some punch to John Logan’s script.
It is understood that the story is still an original one from Logan but that Purvis and Wade are on board to give it a review .
This is great news ( since the writer of this piece consider the script of SkyFall as the pinacle of the work of mrs Purvis & Wade ) , but can lightning strike twice ?

On other matters now . Tabloïds around the world have reported ' screen tests ' for actors / actresses to appear in Bond24 .
Synnove Macody Lund, Norwegian actress known for her part in  Headhunters (2011) leaked the news that she had screen tested for a secondary Bond girl role in Bond 24. James Bond fan-site MI6 says that screen test for the production are happening throughout Scandinavia and Birgitte Hjort SorensenIda Engvoll and Disa Östrand have been tested.

Stunt coordinator Gary Powell confirmed he was already working on action sequences for the movie .
Norway had been mentioned for a while for a major action sequence , but it seems the production finally decided to go in the Austrian Alps instead ( much to the chagrin of the Norwegian Film authorities ) . We can now only assume that 007 will don his skis again ( which he gadn't done since Chamonix Twine chase in 1999 ) . 
As far as location scouting goes , the best news came this very week , with confirmation that filming should take place in Roma .

Roma Lazio Film Commission executive , Luciano Sovena , confirmed to Italian press that the movie will be shot on location in Rome at the end of this year if all goes well.

Whilst admitting the city has not seen a lot of film action in recent years, Sovena was excited that 007 will be coming, but paperwork still needs to be done.
"I met the producers of the Bond series, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson," said Sovena, "and we discussed the project. One of the key scenes, among the most spectacular in the film, will be a car chase in Via Quattro Fontane. I'm already excited. I hope that the City streamlines the procedures for the granting of permits, it would be a shame to miss this great opportunity because of the bureaucracy."
Since StarWars episode 7 is actually fiming at Pinewood Studios , it is not known though if Bond will manage to secure his legendary HQ at the 007 stage ...
So far , so good . The film seems to be on good tracks .

As of today , August the 1rst , truth finally went out when the Daily Mail openly revealed that the final script - polished  ( enhanced, and ' subtantially modified '  ) by ms Purvis & Wade had just been delivered to Eon , for a Shooting start of November / December 2014 .

Can't wait to hear about the official Press conference ( initially set for mid october , but I very doubt it now ) and the start of filming of the main unit ...

( illustration is not an official MGM/Sony picture - but a Fan work ) 

samedi 16 novembre 2013

It's detente , comrade . Peace at last between Eon and the Kevin McClory family

MGM and the producers of the James Bond movies have finally acquired all of the rights to the 007 franchise. 
After a legal battle royale that has gone on more than 50 years, the studio and Danjaq today announced they now have all of the rights and interests to the British spy held by Kevin McClory and his estate. 
McClory worked with Bond creator Ian Fleming and writer Jack Whittingham on a script for the very first James Bond screen adventure in the late 1950s - the trio formulating a generic 007 script titled " James Bond of the Secret Service " , which Fleming would then use as the main basis of his novel ' Thunderball ' ( omitting to mention the input of his two colleagues, and thus leading to a legal action which will ultimately cause his own death )  . 

McClory would later claim he helped created a number of iconic elements of the Bond world and gave the character a more movie-friendly persona. No details of the agreement or a settlement have been released. 
However, I’ve learned that the agreement over the long-standing dispute was finalized between the parties in the last two weeks.

vendredi 27 septembre 2013

Going SOLO

26th September 2013: James Bond is going Solo  in William Boyd’s new novel.

SOLO is published in the UK by Jonathan Cape. 

The book was unveiled last wenesday at the Dorchester Hotel in London ( where incidentally Roger Moore was introduced to the World Press as the new James Bond back in 1973 ).

Yours truly was amongst the distinguished members of the International Press and had the honour of asking the writer the very last question at the Press conference ( something about creating a fictionnal country as the setting of the new book ... )

Writer William Boyd also took part in his first public event this very evening at the Southbank Centre , as he talks to GQ Literary Editor Olivia Cole about the experience of creating his own James Bond novel and his interest in 007′s creator, Ian Fleming.  
Introducing the event will be special guest, Lucy Fleming, Ian Fleming’s niece.
On Monday 30th September Boyd will be at the Lyceum in Edinburgh, in discussion with David Robinson, Literary Editor of The Scotsman.



( From the Ian Fleming Publication website ) 
SOLO, the brand new Bond novel by William Boyd, was launched in style at the Dorchester Hotel on London’s Park Lane this morning.
Amidst TV crews and crowds of Bond fans, the first seven copies of the novel – SOLO #001 to #007 – were signed by the author and then transported through London to Heathrow airport in a convoy of seven classic Jensen cars, Bond’s motor of choice in the new book. Each book, encased in a perspex briefcase, was escorted by a BA stewardess.
They were given the red carpet treatment at Terminal 5, where they were met by a British Airways captain before being stowed in a secure safe ahead of their international departure to Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Zurich, Los Angeles, Delhi, Cape Town and Sydney. Each book was strapped into the cockpit throughout the flight, and will be hand delivered upon arrival by the plane’s captain to a dedicated contact – including the international publishers of the book, and, in LA, Ian Fleming’s great-nephew Robert Laycock.
The setting of the launch mirrored the opening of the new book, where Bond – a veteran agent at 45 – celebrates his birthday with an evening of gambling, drinking and fine dining at The Dorchester. And, of course, he meets a beautiful woman…

- See more at: http://www.ianfleming.com/solo-launch-at-dorchester-hotel/#sthash.ZqEoyKPi.dpuf
SOLO, the brand new Bond novel by William Boyd, was launched in style at the Dorchester Hotel on London’s Park Lane this morning.
Amidst TV crews and crowds of Bond fans, the first seven copies of the novel – SOLO #001 to #007 – were signed by the author and then transported through London to Heathrow airport in a convoy of seven classic Jensen cars, Bond’s motor of choice in the new book. Each book, encased in a perspex briefcase, was escorted by a BA stewardess.
They were given the red carpet treatment at Terminal 5, where they were met by a British Airways captain before being stowed in a secure safe ahead of their international departure to Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Zurich, Los Angeles, Delhi, Cape Town and Sydney. Each book was strapped into the cockpit throughout the flight, and will be hand delivered upon arrival by the plane’s captain to a dedicated contact – including the international publishers of the book, and, in LA, Ian Fleming’s great-nephew Robert Laycock.
The setting of the launch mirrored the opening of the new book, where Bond – a veteran agent at 45 – celebrates his birthday with an evening of gambling, drinking and fine dining at The Dorchester. And, of course, he meets a beautiful woman…

- See more at: http://www.ianfleming.com/solo-launch-at-dorchester-hotel/#sthash.ZqEoyKPi.dpuf

jeudi 1 août 2013

Solo cover revealed today !

Cover revealed for new James Bond novel, Solo

As anticipation builds for the publication of the new James Bond novel, Solo by William Boyd, Jonathan Cape is delighted to reveal the official cover today, Thursday 1 August 2013. They have also announced that British actor Dominic West will be the narrator of the audiobook edition of Solo.
The cover, which has been designed by renowned Random House Creative Director Suzanne Dean, features a stunning retro-inspired die-cut design including, amongst other things, bullet holes. Dean took her inspiration from the 1960s setting of the book and design heroes including Saul Bass, who was also the inspiration for Random House’s Vintage Classics Ian Fleming series.
In true James Bond style, the primary colours and bullet holes of the dust jacket hint at danger, adventure and espionage – whilst removing the outer dust jacket playfully reveals a red hardcover printed with bullet burns and a gecko, a reference to James Bond’s African mission in the book.
Suzanne Dean, who has been praised by authors including Julian Barnes and whose other work includes the covers of Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, commented on her design:
‘A new Bond cover needs to do a lot of things at once. It needs to appeal to literary and commercial audiences, both fans of the original 14 Fleming books and film fans. It needs to reflect both the content of the novel and capture the reader’s imagination.
‘William Boyd has chosen to set Solo in 1969, and achieving this period feel was one of my core aims when designing the cover, whilst also ensuring that the book retained a fresh and contemporary lay-out.  I didn’t want just to depict a cinematic image, but rather to try and reflect the essence of Ian Fleming’s original novels as well William Boyd’s own take on James Bond.’
A version of this cover will also be featured on the audiobook edition of Solo, read by Dominic West. West is perhaps best-known for his roles in the HBO series The Wire, BBC Two series The Hour and, most recently, BBC4’s biopic Burton and Taylor, where he played the title role of Richard Burton opposite Helena Bonham Carter. Richard Cable, Managing Director, Vintage Publishing, comments:
‘We are thrilled to have such a distinguished actor as Dominic West reading Solo.  It’s the perfect combination of reader and text. Audio listeners are in for a real treat!’
Suzanne Dean’s full statement on the design of Solo
‘A new Bond cover needs to do a lot of things at once. It needs to appeal to literary and commercial audiences, both fans of the original 14 Fleming books and film fans. It needs to reflect both the content of the novel and capture the reader’s imagination.
William Boyd has chosen to set Solo in 1969, and achieving this period feel was one of my
core aims when designing the cover, whilst also ensuring that the book retained a fresh and contemporary lay-out.  I didn’t want just to depict a cinematic image, but rather to try and reflect the essence of Ian Fleming’s original novels as well William Boyd’s own take on James Bond.
Inspiration came from my design heroes Paul Rand, Alvin Lustig and Saul Bass, all of whom were practicing in the sixties and whose style evokes a sense of the time. Saul Bass, a graphic designer and filmmaker, was perhaps best known for his design of film posters and motion-picture title sequences, including PsychoThe Man with the Golden Arm, and North by Northwest. He once described his main goal for his title sequences as being to ‘try to reach for a simple, visual phrase that tells you what the picture is all about and evokes the essence of the story’. Alvin Lustig rejected the typical cover design that summarised a book through one general image. His method was to read a text and get the feel of the author's creative drive, then to restate it in his own graphic terms.
I used the title of the book – Solo – as my starting point. In the book, Bond goes on an unauthorised solo mission, recklessly motivated by revenge. I had always been keen, since finding out the title, that there might be a way to use the two o’s within Solo and link it to the zeros in 007.  I used the font Folio, a sans-serif font designed by Konrad Bauer and Walter Baum in 1957 which became popular during the sixties. It has a strong circular ‘o’ in its bold version, which formed an important feature within the design. In my design, the shadows thrown by the overlaying letters suggest hidden danger and tension, whilst the final ‘o’ in Solo suggests a door, or an escape route. The die cut holes in the dust jacket are an abstraction of bullet holes, and represent a pivotal part of the novel. The holes on the Solo cover reveal a flash of the red binding below; when you remove the dustjacket, the binding playfully reveals a gecko – a reference to Bond’s African mission in the book – and burn holes from the bullets, giving drama and an interactive expression to the whole package.’
 

jeudi 25 avril 2013

Jamais plus Jamais ( Never Say Never Again ) French blu-ray edition released at last


Never Say Never Again : French Blu-Ray edition ( release date : April 2013 )

After the 2011 USA DvD release of that ' other ' Bond , Fox Video & MGM joined forces to offer a Blu-ray version for the French market . Hooray .

Every decent James Bond Fan in the world is aware of the peculiar background story concerning this movie .

Not part of the official Eon cannon , and thus not including all the usual gimmick ( opening gunbarrel and all ) , the film was launched at Summer 83 opposite ' the Bond of the moment ' , Octopussy .

It succeeded at the B.O almost according to plan ( the Roger Moore entry having the upper hand , but just slightly ) , and fuelled Kevin McClory with enough confidence to keep announcing in the Trade medias the iminent production of other Thunderball-based movies in the next decades ( none of them , including an animated version of the story ) never materialised , as we all know .

As a regular 007 movie , the film still missed some crucial elements . A sharper Peter Hunt / John Glenn type of editing , a shorter version ( 15 mm could be dropped from the final print without problem ) , a better soundtrack ( don't get me started on that , please … ) .

But 30 years later , it's interesting to note that many of the foolish ideas of the NSNA screenwriters have then been mysteriously adapted by the Eon franchise in the course of their own recent movies .

In Skyfall, for example , we see a beaten up , tired ( and slightly older ) James Bond trying to pass the physical tests to be reintegrated into active duty ( which is precisely what Bond does at the very beginning of NSNA - at the request of the new M ) .

And the ' Evil Queen of Numbers ' nickname of M in Goldeneye is a direct wink towards Bernard Fox' s own ' interpretation of M, infatuated with stats and numbers  …

So what of this Blu ray edition ?

Encoded AVC at 2:35 with a 16/9th ratio ( compatible 4/3 ) , the image is superb .

The three documentaries already present on the 2011 US DvD version have been added , and they formed a truly great bonus of their own . Candid interviews with the crew & cast reveal the tortuous way the film production suffered , and the basic day-by-day struggle to simply be allowed to shoot a scene according to the peculiar legit status granted to Kevin McClory .

Of course , having Sir Sean Connery 's own recollection of the affair would have been the cherry on the cake but nonetheless those three mini doc ( approximatively ten minutes long each ) are really top of the state .

And would be sufficient enough for any decent Film fan to buy that disc – James Bond fan or not .

French release date : April the first 2013 . Priced at 14.99€

Acknowledgments Emile Imbert ( Cartel Communication )
                                Helena Conway ( TourismIreland.com )




lundi 15 avril 2013

Si Vive Solo Due Volte !!

William Boyd announces title of new Bond book at The London Book Fair

William Boyd, whose James Bond continuation novel is set to be one of this year’s publishing highlights, has today announced that his book will be called Solo.

The announcement came on the opening day of The London Book Fair, where Boyd is Author of the Day.

He explained his choice of title:

‘Sometimes less is more. For me as a novelist the simple beauty of Solo as the title of the next James Bond novel is that this short four-letter word is particularly and strikingly apt for the novel I have written. In my novel, events conspire to make Bond go off on a self-appointed mission of his own, unannounced and without any authorization - and he’s fully prepared to take the consequences of his audacity.
The journey Bond goes on takes in three continents – with the main focus honing in on Africa. It’s what happens to Bond in Africa that generates his urge to “go solo” and take matters into his own hands in the USA.
Thus far and no further, at this stage…’


He continues: ‘Titles are very important to me and as soon as I wrote down Solo on a sheet of paper I saw its potential. Not only did it fit the theme of the novel perfectly, it’s also a great punchy word, instantly and internationally comprehensible, graphically alluring and, as an extra bonus, it’s strangely Bondian in the sense that we might be subliminally aware of the “00” of “007” lurking just behind those juxtaposed O’s of SOLO…’

Very little else has been revealed about the book at this stage, other than that it will feature a veteran secret agent, with Bond aged 45. It will be published on 26 September in the UK by Fleming’s original publisher, Jonathan Cape, an imprint of Vintage Publishing, part of The Random House Group, in hardback, ebook and audio editions. HarperCollins will publish the book in Canada and the U.S. on 8 October.
Except ... Bond fans around the world will certainly remember ' Solo ' was the original title of Ian Fleming's venture into Television production . And that , due to legal pressure from mrs Broccoli & Saltzman - not quite keen on having the name of a minor character from the novel ( and then upcoming film ) Goldfinger used as the title of a new TV series , resulted in the series original title having to be hastily changed before actual U.S airing , to become the less subversive ' The Man From U.N.C.L.E ' ...

‘We are delighted to be announcing Solo as the title for the new James Bond novel on the day on which William Boyd is celebrated as Author of the Day at London Book Fair. The few of us with the good fortune to have read Solo can testify that Will has written an absolutely brilliant book and we look forward with mounting excitement to a huge worldwide publishing event on September 26th. The timing of the announcement is particularly apt as we mark the 60th anniversary of Jonathan Cape’s first publication of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.’

The 60th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was on 13 April. 
Si Vive SOLO due Volte !

mercredi 3 avril 2013

Sixty years ago ( almost ) ... James Bond was born !

Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel turns 60 on 13 April 2013.

Published on 13 April 1953 by Jonathan Cape, Casino Royale introduced James Bond, Special Agent 007, to the world. The first print run of 4,728 copies sold out within a month. Following this initial success, Fleming went on to publish a Bond title every year until his death in 1964. 

It is in Casino Royale where 007 first utters the immortal line ‘Bond - James Bond’ and where Bond first reveals his recipe for the famous martini cocktail, christened the ‘Vesper’ after the first Bond girl, Vesper Lynd. The artwork for the original cover was designed by Fleming himself, decorated with a heart motif to reflect a playing card.  

The first American pocket edition , apparently unsure of the original title , decided to go for a rather Mickey Spillane type of title ' You Asked for it ' .

In 2012, Casino Royale returned to its original publisher, Jonathan Cape, with a Vintage Classics edition featuring a new cover design inspired by the original, and an introduction by Alan Judd. Vintage also publish the rest of the James Bond collection and Fleming’s two non-fiction books.

To this day, Fleming’s Bond novels have sold over 60 million copies and have inspired a hugely successful film franchise. 
Eon Production’s 2006 film adaptation of Casino Royale with Daniel Craig is one of the highest-grossing Bond films in history.

Later this year a new James Bond novel, written by bestselling author William Boyd, will be published by Jonathan Cape. The book, the title of which is yet to be revealed, will be published in the UK on 26 September 2013: www.jamesbondthenewmission.co.uk.

( Remerciements :  Katy MacMillan-Scott)