Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

Recycling Bond Girls or: Pulling a Maud Adams

November 1, 2009

It’s not unheard of; Maud Adams played both Andrea Anders and Octopussy in the Roger Moore era of Bond flicks, and for good reason. I don’t think Eon Productions should abandon this concept, as there were a handful of Bond girls from previous Bond films who could still fill the role of a credible Bond girl today.

The Top 5 Girls Who Should Return

1. Sophie Marceau (Elektra King, The World Is Not Enough, 1999)
What a waste of talent. In my opinion, The World Is Not Enough was trash, despite being one of Brosnan’s better Bond flicks.  It’s a shame that Sophie Marceau’s wonderful acting abilities were wasted in this film. Though she played the part of Elektra King extremely well, I’d love to see her come back to the series in the form of a better-written, and more primary character. Perhaps the main Bond girl, instead of being over-shadowed by the bad acting and bouncing jugs of Denise Richards.

Sophie Marceau

2. Izabella Scorupco (Natalya Simonova, GoldenEye, 1995)
Though her talent wasn’t quite as wasted as Marceau’s in Brosnan’s debut film, GoldenEye, I’d still like to see her return in a stronger role. GoldenEye worked pretty well as a post-Cold War, 90’s action thriller, and so did the character of Natalya; if you’ll recall, she was basically a computer technician caught in the middle of all of the action. I wouldn’t mind seeing her return as a primary Bond girl who is more involved with the film’s plot, rather than just being a pretty face on the side. Scorupco’s a good actress, and it’d be nice to see her get a role that she deserves — seems like she’s been signing onto a lot of trash lately.

Izabella Scorupco

3. Rosamund Pike (Miranda Frost, Die Another Day, 2002)
As many will agree, Die Another Day was an absolute atrocity of a Bond film. Rosamund Pike seems like she had lots of potential in Brosnan’s final Bond outing, but it seems like the dynamic duo, Purvis and Wade, seemed to under-write the character. To me, there wasn’t much to Miranda Frost. Yeah, she betrays Bond … just like the Bond girl in the film before Die Another Day. And she sleeps with the villain … just like the Bond girl in the film before Die Another Day, also. That’s about all there is to her. Plus, her death allows Halle Berry to mutter the brilliant line, “Bitch.”

Rosamund Pike
4. Jane Seymour (Solitaire, Live and Let Die, 1973)
Not much to say here, other than she’s a great actress, and she’s looking as good as ever.
I guarantee that this wouldn’t disappoint fans at all.

Jane Seymour

 

5.  Olga Kurylenko (Camille, Quantum of Solace, 2008)
Quantum of Solace was given some mixed reviews after its release. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, I’m sure you can say that Olga Kurylenko’s performance was neither outstanding or horrific. Certainly, she did much better than some of the more recent, past Bond girls. The only problem was that it seemed she wasn’t written very well — a recurring theme with Purvis and Wade… hmm. Anyhow, I’d like to see her play a character with more depth. She’s certainly got the looks, also.

Olga Kurylenko

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Casting Bond #6: Part 3 – Clive Owen

September 12, 2009

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If Owen is cast as the next James Bond 007, it is expected he will sign a three picture deal with Eon Productions, with filming of Bond 21 to possibly begin in January 2006. No official announcements have been made, aside from MGM canning the 18/11/05 release date, but insiders believe a statement on Bond 21 could be made by mid-February.

The odds on Clive Owen being granted a licence to kill as James Bond #6 keep getting cut and cut by British bookmakers. Following his Golden Globe win for Best Supporting Actor in “Closer”, Owen’s odds fell to 8-1. His subsequent Oscar nomination for the same role then slashed his odds to 4-1.

Oscar-nominee Clive Owen has shot down recent reports that he’s a finalist for the role of James Bond in the upcoming Casino Royale. “They have never approached me,” Owen reportedly advised tonight’s episode of Access Hollywood. “It’s nothing but a rumor.”

Over the weekend, a couple of British newspapers ran stories that Clive Owen is set to be announced as James Bond #6. Plaguerizing earlier Internet reports from the Sin City premiere, both the Sunday Express and Sunday Star claimed “inside sources” had told them “Eon and Sony have finally come to an agreement”, and the “film will be a grittier, more realistic approach to Bond”.

Clive Owen had to be one of the most — if not, the most — popular choices for the role of James Bond #6. This top-notch English actor proved that he had the potential to be James Bond in a variety of films including: Croupier, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, and The Bourne Identity. In James Bond-fashion, he was even found putting the ‘pedal to the metal’ in BMW’s short films series.

Unlike the rest of the Bond #6 role contenders, Clive Owen had a good resume, and great potential — even more so than the actual James Bond #6, Daniel Craig, who only had a few *quality* major roles to his name prior to donning the classic tuxedo. His looks were very Bondian, though I can’t complain that Craig doesn’t look the part. Had Clive Owen been cast as Bond, I think he would’ve proved to be more of a Timothy Dalton-styled Bond, as opposed to the generic and often silly character portrayed by Pierce Brosnan.

I can recall Owen being a fan favorite around Bond fan forums, during the time of speculation. Unfortunately for the band wagon, though, Clive Owen never did make the cut. Is there a chance that he’ll ever be cast as James Bond? I highly doubt it. But, it doesn’t seem as if Owen has any hard feelings about the decision. In September 2006, Owen stated:

I think when Craig first took the part he got a pretty rough ride, which to a certain extent is inevitable because there are so many different people who have so many different ideas about something like that… You are never going to please everybody…  The thing that is really exciting is that he is a proper actor… He is not shallow or posing, they have cast a really serious actor and I think that when the film comes out everyone will see what a great choice he was.

Owen also took a couple of Bond-esque/spy roles, following the releases of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, including The International and Duplicity, acting alongside big names like Naomi Watts, Ulrich Thomsen, Julia Roberts, and Tom Wilkinson.

If you are curious as to what Owen may have looked like in the role of James Bond, though, you could always check out this fan trailer compiled by renowned editor Thomas Waldek. Perhaps it’ll provide you with a bit of closure…


James Bond in the Post-9/11 World…

September 11, 2009

Because today is the 8th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, I thought it’d be fitting to write up an article regarding Bond in the post-9/11 world.

The Twin TowersIn 1953, when Ian Fleming published his first James Bond novel, the twin towers were not yet in existence. As a matter of fact, James Bond would’ve never known of the towers until 1966, when construction of the structures began. And not until 1973 would Bond have seen them standing proud, side-by-side. James Bond might have seen them in the film version of “Live and Let Die”; perhaps while coming toward the Manhattan Bridge?

Either way, it’s odd, and quite remarkable, to think that a single fictional character has lasted so long to know the period of time in which the twin towers never existed, to when the towers were being built, to when the towers stood tall, to when the World Trade Center was bombed, to when the towers collapsed after being hit by two airliners.

Those eras are over now; today, James Bond is living in the post-9/11 world, which seems to be a very unstable world, at that. The characters of the Bond films are no longer crazed Russians hell-bent on taking over the world, or causing World War III. The time of mad men looking to extort the world’s super-powers are over. Now, James Bond goes after terrorists, their associates, and the new threats of the post-9/11 world. In Die Another Day, despite the film being absolute trash, James Bond goes after a power-hungry villain from North Korea; keep in mind that North Korea’s dictator still makes the headlines today, with his shifty nuclear weapons programs.

Attack on the Twin TowersYears later, a rebooted James Bond character makes a comeback in Casino Royale. The film, loosely based on Ian Fleming’s classic novel, takes the Soviet/Communist/Cold War plot and cleverly turns it into a post-9/11 plot. Le Chiffre doesn’t work for the Russians, but instead arms dealers and terrorists. James Bond even prevents a 9/11-esque attack in the film, by thwarting a plot to destroy an airliner. The world’s greatest secret agent is no longer a man who opposes fictional threats; instead, he’s now placed into very realistic scenarios.  Perhaps this is why many audiences found Casino Royale to be so down-to-Earth and realistic, especially after Die Another Day.

Following 2006’s Bond thriller, we were given Quantum of Solace, which introduced a very unique plot, still revolving around post-9/11 ideas. James Bond was now sent across the world to investigate a mysterious organization known only as “Quantum”. For me, this group rings a bell. Need a hint? How about Al-Queda? “Quantum” is like a modern-day SPECTRE, but carries the traits of a terrorist group like Al-Queda. A great example of this turned up last week; check out this link. This type of real-world scheme reminded me a lot of the evil scheme found in Quantum of Solace; terrorists getting a hold of money, by any means, to fund their lethal operations and private agendas.

Taliban FightersAs I mentioned, perhaps this is why our cinematic James Bond is no longer the humorous action hero found in the Brosnan era. Instead, Daniel Craig’s James Bond beats the piss out of henchmen and terrorists alike, with no remorse. Does this make him a rogue, or maverick, or senseless killer? Perhaps. But, you could only blame this on the world that we’re living in. Maybe during these tough and deadly times, this is the only way a secret agent could make it in the world. A “trust no one” policy, you could say — something James Bond has adopted since Casino Royale. After all, there was no tee-hee’ing when it came to crippling Le Chriffe’s terrorist funding operations, or eliminating a bent agent, or blowing a hole into the leg of the “Quantum” terrorism ring-leader.

Though he’s merely a fictional character, he’s certainly definitive. “It’s a cruel world…”, and James Bond, of all people, knows this. With trouble still brewing (and will always brew) in the Middle East, and Korea, what other means will James Bond turn to? Will he carry on this serious attitude? I’m sure he will, in one way or another.

My condolences go out to the families of the heroes and victims of 9/11. Rest in peace.

Casting Bond #6 ::: Part 2 – Goran Visnjic

July 4, 2009

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Croatian actor Goran Visnjic is being seriously considered as the sixth 007. He has reportedly been in multiple meetings with “Casino Royale” director Martin Campbell throughout March. It is understood that he is a favourite of Campbell to take over from Pierce Brosnan.

Established big- screen names such as Clive Owen and Dougray Scott are being overlooked in favour of this shortlist.

ER-hunk Goran Visnjic, 32, posh Henry Cavill, 22, Aussie Alex O’Lachlan, 28, and veteran Scot Ewan Stewart, 47, took part in a series of screen tests last week. They played out love scenes with Emmerdale’s Camilla Power – tipped to be a Bond girl.

There was a time in which many of us were sure that Goran Visnjic was going to be casted as James Bond #6. Martin Campbell seemed to like him, and the EON producers found him worthy of a screen test. But in the end, the role was given to Daniel Craig, of course — Why? Debbie McWilliams, the casting director for Casino Royale, told the Australian press in December of 2006 that Visnjic was “just too young”.

I think that Visnjic had the looks of a potential Bond actor. Actually, I think he was the best candidate of the Final Four. He was handsome, and not too bad of an actor from what I saw of him in ER. His resume wasn’t good though, and still isn’t. Ice Age, Elektra, and a cob-job made-for-TV version of Spartacus. If I saw that on someone’s resume, I suppose I wouldn’t hire them either.

But, his potential involvement with Bond wasn’t cut short when Daniel Craig was casted. Following the success of Casino Royale, a Croatian newspaper reported:

“when auditioning for Bond in Casino Royale, Goran Visnjic did such a good job he burned into the minds of the EON psyche. So powerful was his performance that he single handly won the role of next Bond Baddie in the upcoming Bond22 film with Daniel Craig.”

“It is rumoured that Goran’s agent has confirmed the star is working on something massive and will be taking a well earned break from ER in late 2007. It is rumoured that Goran will be playing Vesper Lynd’s former love interest and that his role will be sizable, meanacing and significant to the plot of the upcoming Bond adventure. Bond 22 is continuation of Casino Royale and will be forming a trilogy story for Daniel Craig’s rough and tough Bond.”

This obviously fell through, too, and we haven’t heard of Visnjic in the Bond news ever since.

I have to say, though – Visnjic does look a bit like actor Simon Kassianides, who played Yusef (Vesper’s lover) in Quantum of Solace.

Overall, I think Visnjic had a bit more potential than the other candidates. Surely more than that Ewan Stewart character. But obviously EON wanted to redo James Bond’s image, rather than having him look pretty-boy Brosnan. With the casting of Daniel Craig, it seems as if they wanted a bit more rugged, manly actor to play Fleming’s character. Keeping this in mind, and with his age thrown into the equation, Visnjic didn’t have much of a chance.

… By the way — how the hell do you pronounce Visnjic, anyway?

Goran Visnjic - James Bond #6 Candidate

Goran Visnjic - James Bond #6 Candidate

James Bond, the white secret agent…

June 20, 2009

During the past few years, the ideas of a black actor portraying James Bond have been tossed around. I believe recent ideas like this were started during the casting of Bond #6, with Colin Salmon’s supposed candidacy. Since then, “actors” like Will Smith, P. Diddy, Taye Diggs, and Jamie Foxx, have stood up and claimed they wanted to play James Bond.

Some may argue that the idea of James Bond being portrayed strictly by white actors is a racist idea. Some may also claim that with this fresh, new era that we’re living in, everything is possible – after all, look at America and their new President, right? Perhaps they’d say it’s time for the producers to break the formula. There are even excerpts from Ian Fleming’s “Live and Let Die” in which one could draw-up a conclusion about the author’s prejudices. Advocates for a black James Bond could use this against the producers to press for a change. There are plenty of possibilities, really.

I’ll say, though, that the idea of Bond being white is not a racist idea. It’s simply to preserve the essence of the character, and the creativity of the legendary Ian Fleming. Making him into a black man would simply put Fleming to shame and put his character to shame. Why? Well, not just because he’s black. Simply because that’s just how Fleming wrote his character, and that should be respected.

It’s obvious that EON has thrown around Fleming’s works like confetti, as far as the EON Bond series goes. However, making Bond a black character would be the icing on the cake – as if falling houses, surfing tidal waves, and Blofeld in drag weren’t enough.

One who sides with the idea that Bond should simply be a white character is not racist either. If you turned this around and made a prominent black character into a white character, then that’s when people would be yelling “racism!”, also.

On the subject of Fleming’s use of derogatory words to represent black people, I think that’s just how the world worked back then. I think a lot of evidence proves that Fleming was no ignorant, white-trash, black-hater. The words “nigger” and “negroes” were often used through out the years before, and after, the publication of Fleming’s “Live and Let Die”. Hell – there’s a poster for the cinematic “Dr. No” that reads, “Featuring negro film star, John Kitzmiller”. And over time, the words like that, I believe, have evolved into something much more serious than many thought they were in the 50’s. Today, the media [and associated terrorist organizations] will blow you out of the water for ever saying the word “nigger”, even if it’s not used in a derogatory form. The only way you can get away with saying it is if you’re Oprah or Steven Spielberg.

I think people look too hard at this issue, and try to find any slight bit of evidence just to shout “racism!”. If the production team were to release more information regarding this issue to the media [and associated terrorist organizations], they would have a field day with it. Fleming — a man that I’m sure that many people have NEVER heard of before — would line the entertainment world, briefly. He’d be stepped on, and spat on by political activists or celebrity activists who think they know what’s going on in the world. “Racist” would no doubt pop up, and Fleming would be made out to look like the bad guy, just because he wrote Bond as a white character, and uses the word “nigger” in one of his novels. Following this, due to pressure from radicals, EON would have to cast a black actor as Bond, just to make themselves look good. If they didn’t, you’d have P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, Fifty Cent, Jamie Foxx, and Bill Smith all over the entertainment news world, claiming how “it’s just not right”.

I’m surprised this hasn’t happened already, as a matter of fact.

And if you want to call me a racist for this, then so be it.

Tell that to all of my black friends, too…

Top 5 – Quintessential Fleming Thrillers

June 19, 2009

Below I’ve listed the top 5 Bond films that qualify as quintessential Fleming thrillers. In my opinion, these five films capture the essence of Fleming’s novels and legendary characters.

I’ve provided a small blurb for each, regarding why I consider it to be “quintessential”.

1. From Russia With Love – Perhaps one of the finest Cold War thrillers ever made. The second film of the Bond series, and also my second-favorite. This features another cast of brilliant characters, with an even more interesting plot than “Dr. No”. This is not only a must-see Bond film, but also a must-see espionage film.

2. Dr. No – The first Bond film, and what I consider to be the best. This Bond flick is made in true Fleming fashion. It contains some great espionage and detective work, a wonderful cast of characters, and a solid plot.

3. The Living Daylights – Though Fleming was long-gone in 1987, “The Living Daylights” pays a wonderful tribute to the Bond author. Timothy Dalton’s portrays Fleming’s character brilliantly, in a great Cold War thriller. If you take your Bond seriously, this is surely the one for you.

4. For Your Eyes Only – Moore’s finest Bond flick. Most of the film is taken seriously. The only downfall is its score. Otherwise, the film proves to follow Fleming’s short story, “Risico”, quite well. Great characters, and a very down-to-Earth and interesting plot. This is certainly a fresh, new start, following Moore’s out-of-this-world adventure, “Moonraker”.

5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – George Lazenby’s first and final Bond flick surely makes for a great Fleming thriller. Though I’m not keen on Lazenby’s acting, the other actors in the film make up for what he lacks — especially Diana Rigg. The film preserves many aspects of the novel and also features one of the best John Barry scores of all time. It’s surely a refresher from the over-the-top “You Only Live Twice” and takes a more realistic approach.

Casting Bond #6 ::: Part One – Ewan Stewart

June 15, 2009

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Final Four James Bond #6 Candidates
24th July 2005

Following last week’s reports that the search for the next James Bond has been whittled down to a shortlist of four contenders, this weekend the British press revealed who the final four candidates are: Goran Visnjic (33), Henry Cavill (22), Alex O’Lachlan (28 ) and Ewan Stewart (47)

… These are the four heart-throbs battling it out to be the next James Bond…

EWAN STEWART AGED 47

SON of Scottish music hall legend Andy Stewart – who had a hit in 1961 and 1989 with Donald Where’s Yer Troosers. First found fame in late-70s TV drama All Quiet On The Western Front. Has also appeared in The Professionals, Only Fools And Horses and The Bill. Film-wise, starred as First Officer Murdoch in Titanic. Other major film credits include Coll in Rob Roy. Married to actress Clare Byam-Shaw.

If you’ll recall, the headlines of many major news sites (Bond and non-Bond) once read that Ewan Stewart was a strong contender for the role of James Bond #6.

Now that we’re two films into Daniel Craig’s Bond career, with another on its way, I thought it’d be fun and interesting to revisit the news leading up to the casting of James Bond #6.

Ewan Stewart was surely an interesting casting choice. The only similarity he seems to hold with past Bond actors is that he was 47-years-old at the time, which is only about a year or so off from the age in which Roger Moore started his Bond career. The difference, though, is that Sir Roger looked the part, and looked younger than he actually was. Ewan Stewart was severely balding at this point in his career. Also, had he been casted, it would’ve been another year until production wrapped up. At least Sir Sean Connery started his Bond career out with hair.

I’m not sure what the producers were thinking at this point. It must’ve been quite a pathetic and confusing time for them.

Maybe they wanted to kill Bond off?

After all, in a film like that, a balding, stocky, and nearly 50-years-old actor would’ve perhaps fit the part — maybe Bond could’ve died of a heart attack? Or a henchman could’ve sniped him, easily — the glare from that bald head would’ve been a dead giveaway.

Maybe they wanted to do a flash-back sequence; Stewart would’ve played a retired, balding James Bond in his later years, while the film would flash back to a younger Bond’s experience at Casino Royale? Maybe they would’ve thrown a shag, mop wig on Stewart’s head for the younger Bond scenes? Who knows?…

Either way, whether you’re a Craig fan or not, I think you should be thankful that this casting option was rejected. Though I’m not a fan of the new direction that the series has taken, this casting would’ve surely made the series into a confirmed laughing-stock.

Goran Visnjic, Henry Cavill,  or Alex O’Lachlan, however, may have made for a different story…

Stay tuned for Part Two.

Ewan Stewart - James Bond #6 Candidate

Ewan Stewart - James Bond #6 Candidate