It’s been four years since the last James Bond film “SPECTRE” hit the big screen as internal issues have plagued the latest installment in the lucrative franchise. Fans can rejoice as it will only be one more year to see what is currently being called “Bond 25.”
The 25th James Bond movie and Daniel Craig’s fifth and final installment as 007 is heading home to Jamaica.
Craig, Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, and director Cary Fukunaga on Thursday launched the film from the Caribbean island nation where Ian Fleming wrote all of his Bond novels. It was hosted at Fleming’s GoldenEye estate. Where the still-untitled movie will be partly set in Jamaica, which was also a setting in “Dr. No” and “Live and Let Die.” GoldenEye is owned and operated by Island Outpost, founded by Chris Blackwell who formerly owned Island Records. GoldenEye will not be used as a filming location for Bond 25.
Wilson wrongly commented, “I can’t remember the last time we had a title when we announced the beginning of a film.” Any hardcore Bond fan knows that “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall,” an “SPECTRE” were all announced at their official press launch.
Fukunaga told fans that Craig, who plays the super spy as a hard-drinking bruiser, was his favorite Bond. “I want to make sure that this run of films…have a really great next chapter and just keep upping the ante so whoever is next has a harder job,” he said.
Rami Malek, fresh off his Oscar win for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” is joining the cast as the villain. Malek was working in New York and couldn’t join the cast and crew in Jamaica where they shot the promo at Bond creator Ian Fleming’s Goldeneye estate. “I will be making sure that Mr. Bond does not have an easy ride of it in this, his 25th outing,” said Malek.
This Malek casting actually stole some of the spotlight from the news event.
Craig has said this will be his final turn in the tuxedo. When the 51-year-old actor first confirmed his return for Bond 25, he said: “I just want to go out on a high note.” But Broccoli and Wilson, in an interview by phone from Jamaica, said they aren’t ready to contemplate a new 007 yet.
“We’re very happy with the Bond we have in Daniel Craig. He’s just been phenomenal in the role,” said Broccoli. “I really just don’t want to even think about if and when we have to replace him. We’re excited to have him back and thrilled he decided to come back. We’re just going to set about trying to make the best Bond film ever and not think about the future.”
The movie finds Bond out of active service and enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. That changes when his CIA friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) turns up asking for help. Their mission is to rescue a kidnapped scientist.
“We’ve got quite a ride in store for Mr. Bond,” promised Broccoli. She also left a few breadcrumbs about what that ride might entail, telling viewers that the film will start with Bond out of active service and on holiday.
“He’s enjoying himself in Jamaica,” said Broccoli, who added that the production has built an “extraordinary” house for the famous agent and his license to kill. The official log-line states that “[Bond’s] peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.”
Aside from Jamaica, filming locations include Italy, Norway (where some shooting has already taken place) and London, with studio production based at Pinewood Studios outside London. Returning cast members include Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris. Production will begin Sunday. Any 007 fan knows the secrecy behind each installed in the franchise. At one point, Naomie Harris, set to return as Moneypenny, was asked innocuously if she’d be joining Bond in the field only to wave the query off as giving “way too much information.”
Bond films have usually been announced in Britain but this time, the cast and filmmakers flocked to Fleming’s Goldeneye villa in Jamaica for a livestreamed announcement.
Delays and disagreement have made for an especially long break between Bond films. The last one, “Spectre,” came out in 2015, when it made more than $880 million worldwide in ticket sales. Part of that was caused by a directing change. Danny Boyle was initially set to helm the film, but he departed last year over creative differences.
Broccoli and Wilson declined to address rumors that the split was over Boyle’s reported plans to kill Bond at the end of the film.
“It was sort of a mutual agreement that the collaboration just wasn’t working out,” said Broccoli. “So we parted very amicably and we’re looking very much forward to his next film (‘Yesterday’) which is coming out soon.”
The cast will include returning actors Lea Seydoux (Dr. Madeleine Swann), Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter), Ben Whishaw (Q), Rory Kinnear (Tanner) and Ralph Fiennes (M). Newcomers include Lashana Lynch, David Dencik, Ana De Armas and Dali Benssalah. The producers confirmed a scoop that Billy Magnussen has joined the cast
The team behind the franchise said Bond has remained relevant because they are willing to shake things up while remaining true to Fleming’s take on the secret agent. “We do update the stories and we do update the plots, but we stay true to the character,” said producer Michael G. Wilson.
The script is written by Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, along with regular Steven Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the British actress-writer of the series “Killing Eve” and “Fleabag.” Waller-Bridge, whom producers said was brought aboard by Craig, is just the second woman to ever write a Bond film. More than 50 years ago, Johanna Harwood co-wrote “Dr. No” and received a story credit for “From Russia With Love.”
“Spectre,” the 24th James Bond film, was a global box office hit, opening #1 in 81 territories around the world, including the U.S., and earning $880 million at the global box office. The film broke a new all-time box office record in the UK with the biggest seven-day opening of all time at $63.8 million. “Skyfall,” the 23rd film in the series, earned $1.1 billion worldwide.
Bond 25 is due out April 8, 2020.