With the 23rd installment in the James Bond series set to begin shooting today – an impressive feat, considering the film almost didn’t happen at all thanks to MGM’s financial woes – director Sam Mendes and the production team felt this was as good a time as any to have a press conference revealing some key details about the film. And while a lot of the reveals were things we already knew, at least we can finally stop calling the movie Bond 23.
Yes, the latest entry in the longest running movie franchise in history finally has a name. The new film will be entitled Skyfall, which astute Bond fans will realize is a name not tied to any of Ian Fleming’s novels or stories. It’s a title that “has emotional context which will be revealed in the film,” according to producer Michael Wilson. We like the title. It’s a much better name than the last film’s ludicrous Quantum of Solace.
For those wondering what Skyfall might relate to, a synopsis has turned up:
“Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.”
Sounds interesting – a more personal Bond film is certainly something we can get behind. However, since Mendes is saying this is a standalone story – something this synopsis seems to confirm – those waiting for all the loose ends of Quantum of Solace to get tied up will apparently have to keep waiting.
Aside from that, Wilson and Mendes also confirmed much of the film’s casting. Early rumors that Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, and Javier Bardem would take on key roles in the film were correct, and they’ll be joined by Bernice Mahole, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, and others.
Bardem spoke briefly about being a bad guy, waxing philosophical on the topic. “Who told you a villain is a bad person? For me, it’s an honour to be at this table for many reasons. It will be fun to do.”
This quasi-philosophical take on the character could be more proof that Mendes is set to make a Bond film that bucks with the traditions of the series and aims to tell a deeper, more nuanced, story. Clearly rumors that he’s planning a film that drops the action levels in hopes of garnering Oscar nods is ludicrous, but the director did speak briefly about how he’s approaching the action sequences in Skyfall.
“The action is part of the main body of the film. Every decision is mine. The action needs to co-exist with the drama.” This means all of those big-budget set-pieces Bond fans adore can still exist – they just need to justify that existence through events in the greater story as a whole. We’re not sure why anyone would be even remotely concerned or upset about that – it’s just good storytelling.
While the press conference certainly answered a few important questions and confirmed some key details that we’ve been speculating on for what seems like ages, it also raised new questions, as well. Naomie Harris, long reported to be the film’s Moneypenney, is now reportedly playing a field agent named Eve. Does this mean early casting reports were wrong or is there some twist here we’re all not aware of? If Harris isn’t Moneypenney, then who is?
Mendes and the producers were also coy about who Fiennes and Albert Finney would be playing because they thought fans would recognize the names of the characters and that would spoil part of the story. This will certainly make more people subscribe to the “Fiennes is the new Blofeld” theory, but there’s no concrete evidence to support the idea at this point.
So, there you have it – a veritable ton of new James Bond goodies. Skyfall begins shooting today in London and will also head out for location filming in Istanbul, Shanghai, and the Scottish Highlands before landing in American theaters on November 9th of 2012. Let us know what you think of the new title and casting in the comment section below.