PART FOUR: GET RE-SET, GET READY…GO?
In March 2020, No Time to Die received a setback. Its release date was delayed from April to November because of a coronavirus pandemic. Major markets, including China and Italy, were hit hard by the disease. The virus was in the early stages in the U.K. and U.S.
As a result, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (James Bond’s home studio) and Universal (handing international distribution) rescheduled the 25th Bond film made by Eon Productions.
A new chapter in the Bond 25 saga had begun.
March 5, 2020: The Screen Daily website has a story about how the coronavirus may cause changes in movie release dates. It contains some No Time to Die nuggets: 1) Universal, the movie’s international distributor, only got one day’s notice from Eon and MGM about NTTD’s postponement. 2) The delay to November will be “a logistical and costly feat. The entire set of international release dates has had to shift with the US to preclude piracy and keep alive the momentum of a simultaneous global release that satisfies fans everywhere at the same time.”
March 5, 2020: Haphazard Stuff has an interesting reaction post (not a video) about the newest Bond 25 delay. Among his points: All the money spent on that Super Bowl ad looks wasted.
March 5, 2020: Being James Bond does its second video in as many days.
March 5, 2020: The Hollywood Reporter, citing people it didn’t identify, says MGM’s choice was taking a $30 million to $50 million hit by moving No Time to Die to November versus a potential $300 million hit by sticking with April (and a number of markets with closed theaters).
March 5, 2020: The Sun puts out a story claiming that Daniel Craig “appears to have had a change of heart” about coming back as James Bond for a sixth 007 film.
March 5, 2020: The Wrap, a U.S. entertainment news site, puts out a story similar to The Hollywood Reporter’s. The Wrap story is based on Bond box office history. Bond films get less money from the U.S. and more internationally than other franchises. Because of the coronavirus, No Time to Die’s international box office would be lower with an April release.
March 6, 2020: Cary Fukunaga, in the story section of his Instagram account, signals he is “all done” on No Time to Die. The short video shows 19 months of meetings displayed on a computer screen but not much ahead from now.
March 6, 2020: Bill Maher, on HBO’s Real Time program, makes a joke about No Time to Die’s delay because of the coronavirus. The brief segment ends with an altered version of a NTTD poster to read, “November Is a Better Time to Die.”
March 7, 2020: Daniel Craig hosts Saturday Night Live. The first half-hour includes an uneven skit with Craig as Bond freaking out as he goes on a winning streak while gambling. Immediately after, there is a No Time to Die spot with a key change — the last shot notes the movie won’t be out until Thanksgiving. NBC and Universal (NTTD’s international distributor) are owned by Comcast. Later, during the “Weekend Update” segment, there’s an item about No Time to Die’s delay. One of the anchors jokes that the release should have remained in April but the title changed to “Time to Die.”
March 8, 2020: Saturday Night Live posted the Craig skit on YouTube. I’m putting here because the joke was it was a “preview” of No Time to Die.
March 9, 2020: Haphazard Stuff releases a video outlining the bright side of the newest No Time to Die delay.
March 9, 2020: GQ publishes (no doubt having scheduled it back when the movie was to come out in April) an interview with Daniel Craig. He says NTTD is his last Bond film film. Also, lots of buff photos of the actor.
March 9-10, 2020: Revised Daniel Craig character poster surfaces. (I saw it in separate tweets by the MI6 James Bond website and @antovolk). Besides the revised date, Craig/Bond’s gun has changed from the previous version.
March 14, 2020 (date I came across it): C California Style publishes a feature story on Lea Seydoux. Among the NTTD quotes: “But there’s a lot of emotion in this Bond. It’s very moving. I bet you’re going to cry, if you like to cry. [When I watched it,] I cried, which is weird, because I play in it.” There are photos of Seydoux wearing expensive clothes and jewelry.
March 16, 2020: Vulture, the entertainment website of New York magazine, publishes a feature story about how the No Time to Die song came about. Story says Hans Zimmer was among those involved in approving the song.
March 19, 2020: Nokia posts an advertisement on YouTube featuring Lashana Lynch as Nomi. It appears to be the first in a series of such ads.
March 20, 2020: Philadelphia Style magazine publishes a feature story on Billy Magnussen, who plays CIA agent Logan Ash in No Time to Die. (The Logan Ash character name also is included in the cast list in the IMDB.COM ENTRY.) Meanwhile, there must be a chain of these publications. The same story was posted by Modern Luxury Manhattan.
March 26, 2020: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail has a story saying No Time to Die doesn’t need major reshoots and the film is pretty much locked down.
Week of March 23 (not sure of exact date): Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer reports 2019 year-end financial results. Christopher Brearton, the chief operating officer, tells investors on a conference call that moving No Time to Die’s release to November was the right move at the right time. CLICK HERE to read The Spy Command’s account of his remarks. MGM makes a similar comment on page 3 of the financial report. The report adds MGM will have higher marketing costs because of the move.
April 1, 2020: Harper’s Bazaar publishes feature story on Lea Seydoux. It repeats one of the No Time to Die talking points that the movie “had to adapt”to changing times. “We are not here to please Bond’s sexuality,” she says at one point. The article also mentions, again, that Phoebe Waller-Bridge contributed to the script. Also, Seydoux describes her Madeline Swann character as “a real woman, and an interesting woman. That’s what we needed.” I guess there haven’t been interesting women characters in Bond films before.
April 5, 2020: Cary Fukunaga, exchanging messages with fans in an Instagram post, says No Time to Die is done, no further tweaking is happening. I was using the website and had trouble finding it. @antonvolk, using the Instagram app, got a screenshot (which he embedded in THIS TWEET). He embedded other images from the Instagram post IN THIS TWEET.
April 20, 2020: Interview magazine publishes an interview with Cary Fukunaga. The director says No Time to Die was a rugged project. “It’s felt like climbing up a mountain every day without ever seeing the summit,” he says. The director also says he had not seen every Bond film before signing on for the project. “I don’t think I became a fan of the franchise until Casino Royale. Prior to that, my only in-depth James Bond experience was at my cousin’s house playing Golden Eye.” Finally, he says Barbara Broccoli had a big input concerning female characters in the film. “The inclusion of a new female 00 agent had come from Barbara…The female characters in the film, who they are and what they stand for, was definitely something Barbara had already had in mind. “
April 24, 2020: Variety reports that MGM has laid off 50 of its 750 employees while United Artists Releasing (the joint venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures) has furloughed a third of its staff. Both moves are related to the closing of theaters because of COVID-19.
April 28, 2020: A spat breaks out between financially troubled AMC Theaters and Universal. The latter released an animated movie, Trolls World Tour, on premium video on demand because of the coronavirus pandemic. Univeral talked up how successful that turned out. AMC responds by saying it won’t show Universal movies in its theaters. (CLICK HERE to see The Hollywood Reporter’s story on this.) What does this have to do with No Time to Die? AMC owns the Odeon theater chain in the U.K. Universal will be distributing NTTD in the U.K. We’ll if anything comes of this.
April 30, 2020: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail has an item in his weekly column saying that “some studio executives are now thinking” that No Time to Die’s release “should be pushed back even further” from its current November date. However, a lot of other movies have rescheduled their releases for 2021 and there may not be many decent dates to choose from.
May 2, 2020: Calvin Dyson does a fan video about the AMC/Universal conflict and the possibility No Time to Die might be delayed again.
May 5, 2020: A publicity still of Ben Whishaw as Q is released via a tweet by Eon’s official 007 account.
May 10, 2020: An interview with No Time to Die production designer Mark Tildesley as part of the Masterclass video series is posted. He reveals a few No Time to Die secrets. He says a 250-foot rocket and a Russian gulag set were being built when Danny Boyle was directed. He says a small set inside the 007 Stage was blown up but the force of the blast ricocheted off the walls of a concrete tank, blowing the roof and side panels of the 007 Stage. The designer also said that yes, there was an effort to do design homages from previous Bond films. The NTTD comments begin around the 35:40 mark.
May 15, 2020: The Sun and the Daily Mail, citing reports filed by B25 Ltd., said the final production budget of No Time to Die was 199.5 million British pounds. The cost would have been 47 million more pounds but that amount was saved because of tax breaks designed to encourage production at U.K. studios.
Updated entry: You can read the filing for yourself by CLICKING HERE. The actual spend was 199.47 million pounds.
Week of May 11: I don’t have the exact date, but MGM held an investor call about first-quarter results. In the prepared remarks, Chief Operating Officer Christopher Brearton said No Time to Die release plans haven’t changed. There was only one question in the Q&A portion and it didn’t concern No Time to Die.
May 29, 2020: Fans notice an oddity in the IMDB.COM CAST LIST for No Time to Die. It includes Alex A.J. Gardner as “Young James Bond.” There are a number of reasons to be skeptical. Gardner, born in 2000, has a website. (“Currently available for auditions!”) It lists a South Carolina phone number. Gardner also has an IMDB.COM ENTRY. That says he’s 6-foot-2. That’s four inches taller than Daniel Craig. On top of that, he looks nothing like Craig. (Gene therapy, a la Die Another Day?) It seems likely an IMDB.com user was having some fun editing the No Time to Die entry. In any event, a screen capture is below.
May 31, 2020: The Alex A.J. Gardner/Young James Bond listing is removed from IMDB.com’s entry for No Time to Die.
June 3, 2020: The MI6 James Bond website publishes an article based on a selection of No Time to Die call sheets that have been put up for sale on EBay.
Among the disclosures:
–Billy Magnusson’s CIA agent character will be an opponent to Bond.
–Safin’s lair is a submarine pen. (This sounds similar to a story idea pitched by Cary Bates, a writer for DC Comics, during prodiction of The Spy Who Loved Me.)
–Scott Z. Burns was listed as a writer with director Cary Fukunaga. Burns later was denied a credit.
–The script has a late scene. Per the article, quoting a script draft: “Nomi pilots Madeliene and Mathilde to safety with island in the background.” Who is Mathide? Could this be similar to the Japanese child fathered at the end of the You Only LIve Twice novel?
June 6, 2020: The Daily Mail publishes a story based on the call sheets sold on eBay. The story concerns the last point above. If you click, the headline gives it all away.
June 10, 2020: Being James Bond posts a video about the spoilers. The first part (roughly 3:40) explains why fans didn’t like how the spoilers were revealed. That portion includes blurred out headlines. After that, Being James Bond discusses implications of the spoilers. The host gives fair warning before that portion begins.
June 11, 2020: Calvin Dyson comes out with his own reaction video about the No Time to Die spoiler. Like the Being James Bond Video, Calvin has a general discussion at the start and then (after an appropriate warning) goes into details.
June 12, 2020: IMDB.COM’s list of No Time to Die release dates now lists Nov. 20 for the U.S. Previously, it was Nov. 25 (day before Thanksgiving).
On the first page of IMDB’s NTTD listing, it refers to the Nov. 20 U.S. date as “expected.”
Is this legit? Who knows?
June 13, 2020: The Nov. 20 release date is legit. Eon’s various social media accounts, including its Twitter feed, confirm the new Nov. 20 date for the U.S. The U.K. date is still Nov. 12.
June 14, 2020: The Sun comes out with a story saying Eon is considering a spinoff involving the SPOILER that emerged in early June. Phoebe Waller-Bridge would be involved in this spinoff, according to The Sun. I’m not saying any more in this entry.
June 23, 2020:: Variety publishes an interview with Hans Zimmer about his 2020 movie projects. He touches upon how he brought Steve Mazzaro in as a co-composer for No Time to Die (even suggesting Mazzaro should have his name first in the credit) and recruiting guitarist Johnny Marr.
July 2, 2020: On the same day, two fan videos, one from Calvin Dyson, the other from David Zarisky, examine whether No Time to Die will meet its November 2020 release date:
July 6, 2020: Empire magazine in an online post, releases another No Time to Die still.
July 9, 2020: Empire has a new issue that includes new No Time to Die stills (including the one above). A tweet by @springhousese has others of the new stills.
July 9, 2020: The Sun publishes a story saying a decision on a new No Time to Die release date may come by the end of the month.
July 16, 2020: The James Bond MI6 website publishes a story saying MGM and Universal are considering pushing No Time to Die to a “Summer 2021 release window.”
July 22, 2020: A new No Time to Die still is released via the official 007 Instagram account. h/t @NO_TIME_TO_DIE
Aug. 12, 2020: Linus Sandgren is the guest on the Team Deakins podcast. In the last five minutes, Roger Deakins (Skyfall’s cinematographer) asks Sandgren what attracted him to No Time to Die. Sandgren says the script is “very emotional” and that he clicked with director Cary Fukunaga. Sandgren also says he started scuba diving after watching Bond movies.
Week of Aug. 10, 2020: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer conducts an investor call. Christopher Brearton, the company’s chief operating officer, lists No Time to Die as still being set for a November release. He uses the word “currently.” But he also says, “We continue to monitor and adjust the timing of our remaining 2020 (film) slate.”
Aug. 17, 2020: Aston Martin says it is bringing out two limited-edition cars to celebrate No Time to Die: The “Vantage 007 Edition,” with a suggested retail price of £161,000 (about $211,000), and the DBS Superleggera, with a suggested retail price of £279,025 (about $365,700).
Aug. 19, 2020: A new publicity still is released of Rami Malek playing Safin via Intagram. h/t @NO_TIME_TO_DIE
Aug. 31, 2020: MGM puts out a tweet noting that No Time to Die was filmed in Jamaica.
NO TIME TO DIE sees James Bond return to Jamaica. It’s the third time the country has been used as a location as parts of DR. NO and LIVE AND LET DIE were also filmed there. @007 pic.twitter.com/F3WTUo1cV4
— MGM Studios (@MGM_Studios) August 31, 2020
Aug. 31, 2020: Bond-related emoji return on Twitter with certain hashtags. #JamesBond and #BondJamesBond generate a 007 logo while #NoTimeToDie generates an Aston Martin DB5 emoji. This only happens when somebody (studios in this case) pay for it. Similar emojis could be seen early this year ahead of the April release date. They went away when the movie was delayed until November. Fans speculate that a new trailer is coming and/or the movie will make the November release date.
Aug. 31, 2020: GQ publishes an interview with Rami Malek. The main No Time to Die tidbit is that director Cary Fukunaga spent a lot of time talking to Malek before the actor agreed to come on board for the 25th Bond film.
Sept. 1, 2020: Eon’s official James Bond Twitter feed publishes a post with a new No Time to Die trailer and says there will be a new trailer on Sept. 3.
Sept. 1, 2020: Being James Bond posts a reaction video to the poster.
Sept. 2, 2020: Eon’s official James Bond Twitter feed publishes a post with a 10-second teaser for the new trailer.
Sept. 2, 2020: MGM, not known for its social media skill, puts out a tweet to engage Bond fans. It reads: “Tweet us the last thing you texted someone and we’ll tell you which James Bond villain you are.” James Bond is spelled as #James Bond, which generates a 007-logo emoji.
Sept. 3, 2020: The new No Time to Die trailer debuts. It emphasizes action and large stakes, with the lives of millions in the balance.
Sept. 3, 2020: The Calvin Dyson YouTube channel has a favorable reaction to the trailer.
Sept. 3, 2020: Being James Bond also posts a reaction video.
Sept. 4, 2020: Once more, pre-orders for the No Time to Die soundtrack are being accepted. It’s being billed as being by Hans Zimmer, but it’s actually by Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro. The cover art is the poster released on Sept. 1.
Sept. 14, 2020: The official 007 Twitter feed of Eon Productions posts a tweet that embeds a short video. Rami Malek and director Cary Fukunaga comment about Malek’s Safin character. Many of the scenes from the movie have been in previous trailers and commercials. The tweet still says No Time to Die is coming out in November.
Sept. 14, 2020: A new international No Time to Trailer surfaces. It shows highlights of the Daniel Craig era before getting to NTTD scenes. (Similar to some You Only Live Twice trailers that showed scenes from previous Bond films.)
Sept. 16, 2020: Yet another new No Time to Die poster is released online.
Sept. 22, 2020: The Daily Mail publishes a story saying Lashana Lynch, playing Nomi, participated in a photoshoot to promote a new Nokia smartphone. Nokia is one of No Time to Die’s corporate sponsors.
Sept. 22, 2020: The 90-second Nokia ad is online. (h/t @NO_TIME_TO_DIE)
Sept. 24, 2020: Omega comes out with an online promotional video for No Time to Die. There are a few shots not in previous trailers (along with lots of insert shots of Omega watches).
Sept. 25, 2020: The Wall Street Journal publishes a story saying No Time to Die now is the major hope for theaters wanting to lure customers back amid the pandemic.
Sept. 28, 2020: Eon Productions, in a Twitter post, announces a No Time to Die podcast that begins Sept. 30. The new podcast has a page on Apple podcasts with additional details, including how it will be a six-part production.
Here’s a promo video that accompanied the announcement.
Sept. 28, 2020: Being James Bond has a reacton video.
Sept. 29, 2020: As part of a promotion with Bollinger, another No Time to Die still is released.
Sept. 29/30, 2020: The first episode of the official No Time to Die podcast goes out during the evening of Sept. 29 in the U.S., Sept. 30 in Europe and other regions. It features comments from Daniel Craig, Cary Fukunaga, Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson and the writing team of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
Sept. 30, 2020: The Bond Experience does a video review of the podcast.
Sept. 30, 2020: Eon’s 007 feed on Twitter announces with No Time to Die music video with Billie Eilish will be out on Thursday, Oct. 1. The Billie Eilish Twitter feed also has an announcement that adds the video will be out at 12 noon New York time.
September (precise date unknown): Suttirat Anne Larlarb, No Time to Die’s costume designer is interviewed on the Behind the Seams podcast. The 67-minute podcast is about her career generally and she doesn’t talk much about the Bond film. But she did say all the constant script changes complicated her job. She spent 18 months on the project.
Oct. 1, 2020: The No Time to Die music video debuts with some additional shots from the movie.
Oct. 1, 2020: A list of the tracks on the Hans Zimmer No Time to Die soundtrack appears on Zimmer’s website. The list shows up elsewhere. The title for track No. 16 may refer to something from an Ian Fleming novel.
Oct. 1, 2020: A YouTube video of the first track of the soundtrack, the film’s gunbarrel music, is posted by multiple YouTube users. The arrangement sounds very similar to the SPECTRE gunbarrel (longer so corporate logos can shown) with Johnny Marr playing electric guitar.
Oct. 1, 2020: YouTubers Calvin Dyson and Joseph Darlington put out reaction videos to the No Time to Die music video.
Oct. 2, 2020: DHL, “official logistics partner” of No Time to Die, puts out a promotional video for the movie. (I wonder if it may get yanked. Read on.)
The timing proves not to be the best because…
Oct. 2, 2020: No Time to Die is delayed to April 2, 2021, according to an Eon announcement.
The Bond 25 timeline will return…the saga continues in PART V: TRY, TRY AGAIN.