Compiled by Bill Koenig
The development of the 25th entry in the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions has taken a variety of twists — with no doubt more to come.
What follows is a summary (with links) to some of the more noteworthy, including a few that ended up being the equivalent of dry wells.
A few days after SPECTRE finished filming in 2015, Craig gave an interview with Time Out London where he said he’d rather “slit my wrists” than play Bond again. One problem: The interview wasn’t published until Oct. 9, just as the SPECTRE publicity machine was gearing up for the movie’s release.
Time Out didn’t even play the quote very high in the story, mostly presented in question-and-answer format. The context seemed pretty clear that Craig was tired and didn’t want to think about doing another 007 movie very soon. But other outlets, when summarizing Craig’s remarks, often led off with the “slash my wrists” quotes.
As a result, the question whether Craig would return was a recurring theme in coverage for months.
For the purposes of this timeline, we’re starting the following spring when things began to intensify. There’s a lot of ground to cover and this timeline doesn’t necessarily get every turn of the screw.
For example, the U.K. press wrote up seemingly every change made by British oddsmakers whether Craig was coming back and who might replace him. Given that the bookies don’t actually know what’s going to happen, this timeline dispenses with that nonsense.
May 18, 2016: The Daily Mail, in a story not written by Baz Bamigboye (who, over the years, had a number of Bond scoops proven correct), reports that Daniel Craig turned down an offer of 68 million British pounds to do two more James Bond films.
May 19, 2016: The BBC says in a short story that “authoritative Bond sources have independently confirmed to BBC News that Craig hasn’t made any decision about his future as 007, and that ‘no decision is likely to be made for a while.’”
May 31, 2016: The RadioTimes website says Susanne Bier, director of The Night Manager television miniseries, was being considered to direct Bond 25. Tom Hiddleston was the star of the miniseries, and he was among those seen as a possible Craig successor.
June 17, 2016: 007 Magazine, in a Facebook post, says, Daniel Craig “has walked away from the Bond role” and that Tom Hiddleston filmed a screen test. Over the two days, other 007 fan sites (The Book Bond and James Bond Radio) weigh in on the subject. The Book Bond says Craig is gone while James Bond Radio says the opposite. See THIS JUNE 20, 2016 SPY COMMAND POST for a summary. In that post, the link to a post in The Book Bond site is now dead. A June 20 post at The James Bond Dossier also summarizes the different posts.
July 22, 2016: The Sun quotes a source it doesn’t identify as saying Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli “is not going to be rushed into a Bond and wants to work on two other film projects next year. It will give her time to work out a script and try to convince Daniel to maybe return.” It also says Bond 25 won’t be out until late 2018 “at the earliest.”
July 28, 2016: The Page Six gossip operation of the New York Post quotes a source saying, “No casting for the next James Bond movie will be decided on until the deal for the distribution rights has been done.”
Sept. 3, 2016: Radar Online claims that Sony is offering Craig $150 million to do two more James Bond films. One problem: Sony’s contract to distribute 007 movies expired with 2015’s SPECTRE.
Sept. 9, 2016: Vanity Fair reports the $150 million figure in the Radar Online story “is as fictional” as Scaramanga’s third nipple. It also quotes a source it doesn’t identify as saying MGM CEO Gary Barber “hit the ceiling” when he saw Craig’s “slash my wrists comments” back in 2015. According to the story, negotiations were still ongoing and the matter of who’d play 007 in Bond 25 was still undecided.
Sept. 17, 2016: The Mirror claims that director Guy Ritchie had meetings with Eon to discuss directing Bond 25.
Sept. 30, 2016: Eon’s Callum McDougall, who has received an executive producer credit on the last four 007 films, tells the BBC that Craig is “without question” Eon’s top choice to play Bond in Bond 25
Oct. 7, 2016: Daniel Craig is interviewed at a New York City event sponsored by The New Yorker magazine. The James Bond Radio website has a post that includes a video. “There’s no conversation going on because genuinely everybody’s just a bit tired,” Craig says.
First-half November, 2016: MGM CEO Gary Barber, on an investor call, lists Bond 25 as among the company’s “premium franchise titles” that will come out “over the next few years.” No specific date is provided.
Dec. 11, 2016: Page Six of the New York Post says Craig’s appearance in the play Othello, which is being produced by Barbara Broccoli, is part of a plan to get the actor back for Bond 25. The story quotes a source it doesn’t identify that the play is intended to a) let Craig stretch himself as an actor and b) entice him back to play Bond.
Dec. 16, 2016: The Mirror is at it again, this time claiming that MGM brass are “panicking” because they haven’t heard from Craig in over a year regarding Bond 25. They story says MGM wants Bond 25 out in late 2018.
Feb. 22, 2017: Page Six of the New York Post says Craig will return as Bond. “Hollywood know-it-alls who know it all categorize this hard-to-catch play as a ploy,” the item says. “He says he hates filming those Bonds, but he knows he loves those Benjamins.”
Feb. 24, 2017: The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal separately report that MGM spent much of 2016 negotiating to sell itself to a Chinese buyer. The Journal adds a critical detail: the talks broke off late in the year and the deal won’t happen. The Post updates its story to note that. Given that MGM controls half of the Bond franchise, such a sale would have had a big impact on the 007 franchise.
March 9, 2017: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail report that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been hired to write Bond 25.
April 3, 2017: Page Six of the New York Post reports that Daniel Craig will return to play 007 in Bond 25.
April 20, 2017: The New York Times reports that five studios, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Annapurna pictures were seeking a deal with MGM to distribute Bond 25.
June 23, 2017: Jeff Sneider, editor of The Tracking Board website, says in a post on Twitter that, “I’ve heard the Broccolis have caught Universe Fever and would love to explore other corners of the Bond franchise… simultaneously.” This generates several stories on entertainment websites.
June 30, 2017: Sneider talks about this more on his online show Meet The Movie Press. Sneider doesn’t come across as a 007 expert. He, for example, endorses the “code name” theory that each screen Bond represents a different person, not different actors playing the same role. (Bond 25 talk begins around the 2:12 mark.)
July 24, 2017: Eon Productions and MGM, in separate announcements, say that Bond 25 will have a U.S. release date of Nov. 8, 2019. However, there is no announcement about a lead actor or distributor. The announcements confirm that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been hired to write the script.
July 24, 2017: The New York Times says Daniel Craig is coming back to play 007 in Bond 25. The story doesn’t mention the earlier stories n the New York Post.
July 25, 2017: Phil Nobile Jr. pens a story in Birth. Movies. Death about the recent Bond 25 developments. He concludes with this passage: “On the less official front, I have read thoughts from someone I believe to be close wth the production that the Broccolis are looking to do one more Bond then sell the franchise off, a la George Lucas/Star Wars/Disney. If that comes to pass, it will be interesting times indeed for Ian Fleming’s gentleman spy.”
The story causes a stir on Twitter. The MI6 James Bond website suggests that Nobile is on to something.
“@bmoviesd would love to say there’s nothing to this but we can’t,” the website said in a post on Twitter.
As of Feb. 15, 2018 (when this timeline was being compiled), nothing else about this angle has surfaced.
July 26, 2017: Deadline: Hollywood reports that Denis Villeneuve, Yann Demange and David Mackenzie are the “frontrunners” to direct Bond 25. Variety reports the same day that Demange is the leading contender
July 29, 2017: The Mirror says Bond 25 will be based on a 007 continuation novel by Raymond Benson titled Never Dream of Dying. Benson says on social media that he was never contacted by the Mirror and that he can only assume the story was a fabrication.
Aug. 6, 2017: The Sun claims that Daniel Craig is “on the verge” of signing to play 007 in two more Bond movies.
Aug. 15, 2017: Daniel Craig, during an appearance on The Late Show on CBS, says he will return to play Bond in Bond 25. Earlier in the day, during radio interviews, he said he still didn’t know.
Aug. 21, 2017: The New York Daily News says Craig was lured back by Barbara Broccoli, in part, by the notion he’d be the longest-serving Bond actor.
Sept. 4, 2017: The Page Six gossip operation of the New York Post says Bond 25’s plot involves Bond falling in love and getting married only to see his wife get killed.
Sept. 6, 2017: The Hollywood Reporter says in a story that Apple Inc. and Amazon are interested in a distribution deal for James Bond and might try to gain control of the franchise. THR’s main rivals, Variety and TheWrap, don’t follow the story. Nor do The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, both of which follow Apple and Amazon closely.
Sept. 21, 2017: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail says on Twitter that Craig is said to be “keen” on having Denis Vileneuve direct Bond 25.
Oct. 14, 2017: The Mirror says Daniel Craig wants Monica Ballucci, who played a small role in SPECTRE, to return for Bond 25.
Oct. 26, 2017: The Facebook page of Talky Movie posts a short video where Christoph Waltz, who played Blofeld in SPECTRE, says he won’t be in Bond 25.
Oct. 31, 2017: MGM and Annapurna Pictures announce a new joint venture that will distribute each other’s movies. However, Bond 25 is not part of the deal.
Early November 2017: Denis Vileneuve tells the 4 Quadrant podcast he’s busy working on a movie version of Dune and doesn’t have the time to do Bond 25. “It’s a matter of timing, I guess,” he says on the podcast.
Nov. 12, 2017: Deadline: Hollywood reports the MGM-Annapurna distribution joint venture is “thisclose” to wrapping up a deal to distribute Bond 25 in the United States.
Nov. 14, 2017: On an investor call, Gary Barber, CEO of MGM, says the Bond 25 distribution issue isn’t resolved. “Distribution plans for Bond 25 still have not been announced and we are continuing discussions with a variety of potential partners,” he said. “We look forward to sharing more details on Bond 25 on future calls.”
Dec. 2, 2017: Archivo 007, a fan website, says Christopher Nolan is “more than likely” to direct the next James Bond film.
Dec. 3, 2017: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail says on Twitter that Nolan wasn’t doing Bond 25 “wasn’t doing it when I spoke to him on Friday!”
Dec. 14, 2017: Walt Disney Co. announces it is purchasing most of the assets of 21st Century Fox, including the 20th Century Fox studio. That would appear to take Fox out of the running to distribute Bond 25. It also raises what will happen to future 007 home video distribution. Fox currently has that contract.
Mid-December 2017: Barbara Broccoli is interviewed by the THR Awards Chatter podcast at The Hollywood Reporter. She says she still doesn’t know who will direct Bond 25 and that MGM’s Barber “is leading this whole crusade” regarding the movie’s distribution. The Eon boss also said her heart “was breaking” before Craig decided to return to play 007. The interview lasts almost an hour. She’s more forthcoming about her Bond career than the new project. This DEC. 15, 2017 POST AT THE SPY COMMAND summarizes the interview.
Dec. 29, 2017: Eon’s non-007 drama, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, receives a limited (four-theater) release in the U.S. As of Feb. 15, 2018, its total U.S. box office totals $423,454 and its widest release was in 107 theaters.
Jan. 29, 2018: Eon’s non-007 spy film, The Rhythm Section, is forced to shut down production temporarily, The Hollywood Reporter says. The reason is that star Blake Lively needs surgery for a hand injury. Other outlets confirm the news.
Feb. 5, 2018: Deadline: Hollywood reports The Rhythm Section may resume production in June. Deadline says the movie’s release date of February 2019 hasn’t changed. The film is to be released by Paramount.
Feb. 18, 2018: Christopher Nolan, in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, says he’s not directing Bond 25. “I won’t be,” he said. “No, no categorically.”
Feb. 19, 2018: Samuel Goldwyn Films buys North American rights to Nancy, another non-007 drama from Eon, Variety reports. Goldwyn plans “a traditional theatrical release” sometime in 2018, the entertainment website says.
Feb. 20, 2018: Variety reports that Danny Boyle, who had directed Slumdog Millionaire, may direct Bond 25. Boyle directed a segment of the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies where Daniel Craig appeared as Bond with Queen Elizabeth.
Feb. 20, 2018: The Tracking Board, another entertainment news website, has a story saying Danny Boyle “is the frontrunner” to direct Bond 25.
Feb. 21, 2018: Deadline: Hollywood comes out with a story saying the situation is more complicated. The entertainment website says John Hodge, screenwriter of the Danny Boyle-directed Transpotting, is working on yet another Bond 25 script. It reportedly incorporates ideas from Boyle and Hodge. If Eon and MGM approve the script, that would be the version that Boyle would direct, according to Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. If the answer is no, Eon and MGM go back to whatever Purvis & Wade have cooked up. As THIS POST ON THE SPY COMMAND POINTS OUT, this is similar to what happened with Quantum of Solace.
March 1, 2018: The Hollywood Reporter comes out with a story that seems to cast doubt on Danny Boyle directing Bond 25. The story says Boyle “and Love Actually screenwriter Richard Curtis are teaming for an untitled comedy just set up at Universal.”
The story adds this: “Rumors swirled in February that Boyle was a candidate to helm the new James Bond movie, but that project remains in flux thanks to a stalled director search. Insiders say that this music-inspired comedy will be Boyle’s next movie.” The rumors cited by THR appear to be the Variety and Deadline stories about Boyle.
March 1, 2018: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail reports the Boyle-Curtis project is “a picture built around the music of The Beatles.” There’s no mention of Bond 25.
March 1, 2018: Deadline: Hollywood also runs a story on the Boyle-Curtis project. But it has this passage: “Boyle is currently balancing this project with the James Bond script he is working on with John Hodge, which Deadline lifted the lid on ten days ago.”
March 5, 2018: The Hollywood Reporter says Yann Demange now “is teaming up with Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams for HBO’s Lovecraft Country. Demange will direct the first episode of the supernatural racial drama and exec produce it as well.”
March 8, 2018: Baz Bamiboye writes the following on Twitter: “
#DannyBoyle will direct next #007 film #Bond25 late this year after shooting #allyouneedislove for @Working_Title – as long as Bond screenplay by #JohnHodge meets approval. #BarbaraBroccoli #Michael G.Wilson & #DanielCraig “willing” this to happen.”
In effect, Bamigboye is saying all of the above is true.
March 8, 2018: Bamigboye has a story on the Daily Mail’s website a couple of hours later. First paragraph: “James Bond star Daniel Craig is pulling out all the stops to ensure that Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle can complete a Richard Curtis Beatles movie musical in time to take charge of the new Bond film by the end of the year.”
March 11, 2018: In a classic bit of “click bait,” The Sunday Express speculates whether or not Daniel Craig’s 007 will die at the end of Bond 25. The paper doesn’t say that will happen. It just asks if it could because Danny Boyle is said to be directing. It also cites the example of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine dying at the end of 2017’s Logan. The paper also doesn’t credit rival outlets concerning Boyle and Bond 25.
March 14, 2018: Danny Boyle, in comments to Metro, confirms everything: He plans to direct Bond 25, that John Hodge is writing a script, if the script goes well, production will begin at the end of 2018. Boyle also confirms he’s doing the musical, which he’ll direct first.
March 15, 2018: The Associated Press posts a video of Danny Boyle commenting about working with John Hodge on a Bond 25 story.
March 19, 2018: Gary Barber, CEO of MGM is leaving the company, the studio announces. Deadline: Hollywood reports that Barber was asked to leave by the board of directors over disagreements about corporate strategy. MGM controls half of the Bond franchise. This would seem almost certain to affect Bond 25 in some way.
March 21, 2018: The Hollywood Reporter, following up on the deposing of Barber, says Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson had a rift with Barber. THR, Variety and Deadline: Hollywood in separate stories describe how MGM chairman Kevin Ulrich wanted the studio to get bigger while Barber was looking to sell.
Later the same day, The Wall Street Journal weighed in with a story. It’s behind a pay wall so I couldn’t read it. However, one of the reporters, Ben Fritz, also sent out this tweet, quoting from a Broccoli-Wilson statement.
Didn’t mention in our story because not relevant to his firing, but “Bond” producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli issued a statement saying they “enjoyed a close relationship” with Gary Barber and “wish him all the best.”
— Ben Fritz (@benfritz) March 21, 2018
March 28, 2018: MGM reports fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 earnings. During a conference call with investors, the studio indirectly affirms the 2019 release date. Both Chief Operating Officer Christopner Brearton and Chief Financial Officer Kenneth J. Kay refer to “the return of James Bond in 2019” in their prepared remarks. Brearton, in response to a question, declines to comment about Bond 25 distribution.
April 4, 2018: The Hollywood Reporter says MGM may be prepping itself for a sale AND that Bond 25 distribution — domestic and international — is unresolved. The two issues are related, according to THR. “MGM is holding off because it is using the Bond rights as a carrot for whoever wants to buy the studio, a knowledgable source tells The Hollywood Reporter.”
The story’s last paragraph says Danny Boyle’s deal to direct Bond 25 is set.
“One thing is for certain, with the Bond 25 release date looming and director Danny Boyle’s deal done, according to a source, MGM will have to make some kind of move soon.”
April 9, 2018: Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz attend a charity event in New York. Craig briefly talks about Bond 25 but doesn’t say much more other than he’ll be in it. He ducks a question whether Danny Boyle will direct. The Associated Press posts a video on April 10.
April 16, 2018: Universal announces Danny Boyle’s other movie (now described as a comedy) will be released Sept. 13, 2019, according to stories in The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. THR says there is “speculation” the Bond 25 date of November 2019 will change. Variety says it’s “unlikely” Bond 25 will meet the November 2019 date. Neither provides additional details on the Bond 25 front.
April 17, 2018: The MI6 James Bond website says on Twitter that there’s something to what Variety said about Bond 25.
Variety is just reporting what we’ve been given a heads up to over the past few weeks. A lot of nervousness over the date being pushed.
— James Bond (@jamesbondlive) April 17, 2018
April 26, 2018: The Sun claims in a story that Bond 25’s release date will be delayed because Daniel Craig’s wife, Rachel Weisz, 48, is pregnant. Make of that what you will.
May 8, 2018: Variety, in a story about salaries of movie stars, says Daniel Craig is set to receive $25 million for Bond 25.
May 11, 2018: The Daily Mail says Craig’s reported $25 million contract for Bond 25 represents a pay cut of more than 50 percent compared to SPECTRE.
May 13, 2018: Omega Underground says Vic Armstrong, absent from the 007 film series since 2002’s Die Another Day, will work on Bond 25 as stunt coordinator. The website didn’t specify how it obtained the information.
May 21, 2018: Reuters, citing “five people familiar with the matter” reports that ex-MGM CEO Gary Barber is exploring making a bid for the studio. This (along with any change in MGM ownership) has the potential to affect Bond 25.
May 24, 2018: Deadline: Hollywood reports that Universal will distribute Bond 25 internationally while the MGM-Annapurna joint venture will distribute in the U.S. The website says production to begin Dec. 3, 2018, with the U.K. release on Oct. 25, 2019, with the U.S. release on Nov. 8, 2018 (same as previously announced U.S. date).
At midday (New York Time), the online show Meet the Movie Press devoted part of its May 25 edition to Bond 25 developments. The Bond 25 segment starts just after the 7:40 mark.
MAY 29, 2018: Daniel Craig is seen wearing a tuxedo with a film crew in Spain. TMZ speculates this is the start of Bond 25 production. TMZ’s phrasing (“for what appears to be the start of filming for his fifth 007 flick”) indicates it doesn’t actually know. The Daily Mail and Regio 7, a Spanish outlet, say it’s for filming a Heineken commercial.
June 2, 2018: The Mirror, despite its less-than-stellar accuracy record about Bond 25, says Helena Bonham Carter is a leading contender to play the villain in new 007 film. The tabloid quotes an “insider” as saying that “bosses want Helena more. At the moment they are just finalising the cast.”
June 8, 2018: The Guardian runs a feature about the Centre Point real building in London. Deep in the story, there is this passage: “Discussions are also believed to be under way with the director and producers of the 25th James Bond film about including the building in the film, which will be released next year. Suggested scenarios are understood to include having Bond land on the roof via parachute or helicopter.” No details how The Guardian obtained this information.
June 9, 2018: The Mirror, in typical tabloid fashion, says Daniel Craig is in training, including trying to lose some weight, to get ready for Bond 25.
June 12, 2018: CNN’s website runs a feature about 007 Elements, the James Bond museum high on an Austrian mountain. One of the people quoted is Neal Callow, who worked as an art director on four 007 films starting with Casino Royale. Near the end of the story he says he’ll be an art director on Bond 25.
June 13, 2018: Moody’s Investors Service cuts its debt rating on MGM, 007’s home studio, to Ba3 (or three levels into junk-bond status) from Ba2. Moody’s cites increased film and TV spending , including Bond 25.
June 14, 2018: Deadline Hollywood reports that MGM pays $260 million for former CEO Gary Barber’s MGM shares and stock options. In return, Barber agrees not “to engage” with MGM for three years. That precludes Barber from launching a takeover bid. A potential sideshow to Bond 25 is averted.
June 21, 2018: An Instagram post (since deleted) by the trainer of actor Mark Strong is posted by @Bond25Film and Phil Nobile Jr., editor of Fangora, on Twitter. (Note: This is in the order that I came across them; it is not an attempt to say who was first.) The original Instagram post had a video of Strong working out along with Bond 25 related hashtages (#bond25, #JamesBond, #Daniel Craig, etc. Speculation kicks in whether Strong, a friend of Daniel Craig, already has been cast in the movie.
June 25, 2018: Actor Jeffrey Wright goes on Reddit to answer questions from fans of the Westworld series on HBO. There is this exchange:
Fan question: “Any word on the next Bond? Have you been approached? You’re a fantastic Felix (Leiter).”
Wright: “It’s possible. Thanks.”
Date unknown (referred to me on July 4, 2018): Episode 4 of the Universal Joint podcast, devoted to Universal theme parks, discusses the prospects for a James Bond theme park attraction given Universal doing the international distribution of Bond 25. Discussion is, understandably, speculative. The hosts conclude nothing is likely until at least 2020. Discussion occurs within the first 20 minutes or so of the podcast.
July 11, 2018: James Bond-magasinet, a fan publication, quotes Bond 25 art director Neal Callow in an Instagram post as saying Dennis Gassner won’t be the movie’s production designer after all. The new production designer will be Mark Tildesley, who has performed that job on other Danny Boyle-directed films. Callow made the comments during the opening of the new 007 Elements museum in Austria, according to the fan publication. The post doesn’t make clear whether Callow said this in an interview or speech.
July 17, 2018: The Express runs a story quoting 007 veteran special effects man Chris Corbould as saying (at 007 Elements) that he’ll work on Bond 25. The story doesn’t specify what day Corbould said this. The paper says Corbould made the comment in a “roundtable interview.”
July 17, 2018: The MI6 James Bond website publishes a casting call for Bond 25. No character names were included. Parts were a “male leading role” (age range 30s-60s) who’s Russian; a “female leading role” (age range 30-45), also Russian; and a “male supporting role” (age range 35-55) who is “Authoritative, cunning, ruthless & loyal.” He is also Maori.
July 19, 2018: The MI6 James Bond website runs a story about new production designer Mark Tildesley. It adds this detail: “Dennis Gassner was expecting to work on Bond 25 and had started preliminary work on a script by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.” (emphasis added) The MI6 story doesn’t reference the earlier James Bond-magasinet repeort.
Aug. 10, 2018: Justin Kroll, a writer for Variety, provides an update. He is referring to a Daily Star tabloid story that rekindled the Idris Elba-James Bond fires.
Real BOND Update: Barbara Broccoli and EON currently meeting with actresses and actors for Bond Female lead and Villain for BOND 25, what they are not doing is thinking about who would replace Craig when Craig hasn’t even started filming this film yet
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) August 10, 2018
Aug. 21, 2018: Eon puts out a short statement that Danny Boyle is no longer directing Bond 25 because of “creative differences” with the director.
Later Aug. 21, 2018: Let the speculation begin.
James Bond Radio:
Aug. 22, 2018: Being James Bond also came out with a fan video analyzing the Boyle situation.
Aug. 22, 2018: The Telegraph publishes a story saying Boyle quit Bond 25 over a dispute about a Russian villain character. “(O)ne industry source told the Telegraph the split was due to a fall out over whether to cast Tomasz Kot as the lead villain. The 41-year-old Polish actor stars in Cold War, a love story set in 1950s Europe, and was described as a ‘left-field’ decision for a Bond enemy.” The story also has this tidbit: “Boyle insistence on bringing an entirely new team, including his established writing partner John Hodge, infuriated Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, another industry source told the Telegraph.”
Aug. 22, 2018: The Mirror weighs in with a story saying that writer John Hodge is no longer working on Bond 25. It quotes a spokesperson for Hodge (not identified by name).
Aug. 22, 2018: The Sun enters the Bond 25 sweepstakes. The tabloid says there was tension between Daniel Craig and Danny Boyle and tension over John Hodge’s script generally.
Aug. 23, 2018: The Hollywood Reporter, citing sources it didn’t identify, says Bond 25’s release date will be delayed. The entertainment news outlet doesn’t provide a specific date, but says the 25th 007 film could be pushed back to late 2020.
Aug. 23, 2018: Variety also weighs in with a story. “Word around town is that it’s back to the drawing board for the creators of the new 007 adventure after Boyle and his co-writer, John Hodge, delivered a draft of the script that didn’t meet the approval of producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, as well as star Daniel Craig.” Variety says there may be a search for yet another “auteur” director.
Aug. 23, 2018: Deadline: Hollywood says Bond 25 hasn’t “abdicated” its release date yet and it’s possible if a director is signed within 60 days it can still meet the fall 2019 date.
Aug. 24, 2018: The Daily Mail publishes a supposedly behind-the-scenes account of how Boyle quit. The story says Purvis and Wade’s script was titled Shatterhand and it was a remake of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service/You Only Live Twice. Boyle met with Eon in December 2017 and presented his idea that everyone was excited about. But when Hodge presented his script, it was deemed too radical. According to this account, Boyle had disagreements with both Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig. The story is not by Baz Bamigboye, normally the Mail’s to-go person on Bond.
Aug. 25, 2018: The Mirror proclaims that, “James Bond movie bosses are to hold crisis talks to avoid a FIVE-YEAR gap between blockbusters.” Not much in the way of actual details. The story claims MGM is insistent on a 2019 release while Barbara Broccoli (according to unnamed source) won’t be rushed.
Aug. 25, 2018: The Guardian runs a story about Yann Demange (remember him?) saying the director is “very flattered” he’s been mention in speculation about possible replacements for Boyle as Bond 25 director. I bet he is.
Aug. 26, 2018: The Sun publishes a story claiming that Danny Boyle quit because Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig “are believed to have wanted to Bond to die in a ‘spectacular finale’, according to sources” while Boyle responded by calling the idea “ridiculous.”
Aug. 26, 2018: The Times, Rupert Murdoch’s “respectable” British newspaper to go along with his tabloid The Sun, had its own Bond 25 story. The article mostly bemoans the influence of money on movies. (Earth to entertainment writers: Studios have always cared about money.) But it includes a Sun-worthy piece of speculation attributed to an unnamed source. (“’Boyle would probably have made Bond gay and got him to do two hours of painting, while the studio wanted a Bond film,’ an industry insider who has worked high up on countless British blockbusters tells me.”) It also claims that there is a crew “in Namibia scouting for locations to build sets for a scene planned by Boyle. It is now stranded.”
Aug. 27, 2018: The Bond Blog, citing the Production Weekly website, says Shatterhand has been registered as a title for Bond 25. The Bond Blog, published out of Europe, has an Aug. 28 date on its post. But it was still Aug. 27 in the U.S. when I came across it.
Aug. 27, 2018: Haphazard Stuff has a video summarizing recent developments (such as they are) on Bond 25.
Aug. 28, 2018: The James Bond International Fan Club runs a story with the headline “Bond 25 still on track.” A somewhat more accurate headline would be “Bond 25 seeks to remain on track.” For example, it says “the JBIFC understands it EON hopes to be able to make an announcement about a replacement director very soon. Moreover, according to a number of sources, the film-makers are determined to keep production on the movie on schedule for a planned 2019 release, once a new director is in place.” (Emphasis added.) Until there’s a new director on board (and how quickly hired) nobody knows whether it will keep to the 2019 release date. Keep in mind this is a fan club.
Aug. 28, 2018: The official Eon James Bond site (www.007.com) redirects users to the 20th Century Fox Movies website. No explanation available as of 6:30 p.m. New York time.
Aug. 29, 2018: Reader @CorneelVF on Twitter points out that Fox actually owns the 007.com domain. It’s possible the site is just down for maintenance. In A TWEET he provides screen captures that provide information about the domain name.
Aug. 29, 2018: The official Eon James Bond website is back online by early afternoon New York time.
Aug. 29, 2018: Vanity Fair publishes an online article comparing Bond 25 with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (two high-profile projects where the directors of record departed). Regarding Bond 25, there’s this passage, citing a source who isn’t identified by name: “With Bond, the director was jamming them with a script that wasn’t good enough. And [the producers] won’t stand for that. Moving the movie is easier.”
Aug. 30, 2018: A website called Film New Europe carries a story where Polish actor Tomasz Kot confirms he was considered for the Bond 25 villain’s role by Danny Boyle. However, Kot said he has no way of knowing whether his possible casting resulted in disagreements between Boyle and Daniel Craig (as some of the British tabloids said). The story presents a statement by Kot.
Aug. 30, 2018: Peter Bart writes a column for Deadline: Hollywood. It uses Boyle’s departure from Bond 25 as a “news peg” for a more general piece about British directors. Most of the column actually concerns John Schlesinger directing 1969’s Midnight Cowboy. But I’m including a link here anyway. Essentially, Bart argues Boyle is better off not directing the 007 film.
Aug. 30, 2018: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail finally weighs in on Bond 25. But he doesn’t have much to say in a column. The main tidbit is that the producers wanted to replace John Hodge. CLICK HERE to view his column. Bond 25 is covered in the last item.
Aug. 31, 2018: The Express has an interview with Dave Bautista, who played Hinx in SPECTRE. Regarding whether Hinx could return in Bond 25, the actor said: “But yeah still have kinda hopes…I hear it’s been pushed, so maybe there’s a…chance.” Not exactly definitive. Bautista adds he’d love to come back. I’m sure he would.
Aug. 31, 2018: The Sun has a story that the “likely” year-long delay of Bond 25 (because of Boyle’s departure) will give Daniel Craig more time to recover from a knee injury suffered during filming of SPECTRE. No new information is presented regarding a delay. The story also claims Craig will get 50 million British pounds ($64.8 million) for Bond 25. Color me skeptical on that last point.
Aug. 31, 2018: The Mirror weighs in with a Bond 25 story. It says Barbara Broccoli wants an “open ended” conclusion so Daniel Craig can be enticed back yet again for Bond 26. It also says the ending is inspired by the novel From Russia With Love when Bond was poisoned and appeared to die.
Aug. 31, 2018: A website called elu24 has a story saying Bond 25 has been looking at actors in Finland for the cast.
Sept. 3, 2018: Ad Age confirms that a Daniel Craig Heineken ad was filmed. However, it’s uncertain when it will debut. That’s because Heineken doesn’t plan to show it until about one-and-a-half-months before Bond 25 opens. An executive says “a slight delay is not going to be the end of the world.”
Sept. 3, 2018: The Daily Mail writes about an interview Danny Boyle gave to Radio Times a few days before the announcement he had exited Bond 25. Boyle reportedly said he was too much of a fan and knew the Ian Fleming books too well to comfortably direct a 007 film. “Although I think it’d be impossible for a Bond aficionado to write or direct a Bond film.” The burdens some of us must carry. Or, put another way, you didn’t think about this before you signed on?
Sept. 4, 2018: Deadline: Hollywood reports that Daniel Craig will begin filming a movie mystery titled Knives Out in November, the month before Bond 25 is supposed to begin filming. That suggests some kind of delay is likely but Deadline: Hollywood doesn’t come out and say that.
Sept. 5, 2018: Variety publishes a story that says Yann Demange (remember him?), Bart Layton and S.J. Clarkson are contenders to direct Bond 25. However, the Variety scribe, after the story is published, says it’s still a possibility that MGM and Eon may reach out to more prominent directors. That’s a prominent tidbit that probably should have been included in the original version of the story. Here’s his tweet:
Important note on my BOND story, there is still a chance Eon and MGM take a Hail Mary shot for a big name like Edgar Wright or McQuarrie. Similar thing happened last go around lined up names that werent necessarily A list and then took their shot at Boyle https://t.co/q87SWPNpwo
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) September 6, 2018
Sept. 6, 2018: The MI6 James Bond website publishes a story saying that Bond 25 production is moving along amid the director search. Sets are being built assuming the original schedule, MI6 reports. The website also says that John Hodge had been rewriting the 2017 Purvis & Wade script. See the Danny Boyle video above from March, where he appears to cast his and Hodge’s idea as something totally new, not just rewriting an existing script. What if the MI6 story is true? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that previous Eon press releases had accuracy issues.
Sept. 9, 2018: The National publishes a story about actor Said Taghmaoui. He says he had been cast as the Bond 25 villain by Danny Boyle. Now, he says he has been told if the villain is Middle Eastern but if the villain is Russian, he won’t. Taghmaoui obviously has a vested interest in how this turns out.
Sept. 12, 2018: A story in Morocco World News quotes Taghmouri as denying what he told The National and calling The National’s piece “fake news.” OK, whatever. I seriously doubt The National would totally make up an interview. But have it your way.
Sept. 13, 2018: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail reports that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are back to write Bond 25 with the departure of Danny Boyle and John Hodge. This is probably one of the least surprising developments in the Bond 25 soap opera.
Sept. 14, 2018: Via a British website called The List, Bart Layton says he is “in discussions” about the Bond 25 directing job. The List didn’t originate this. Rather, Layton made the comment on a podcast called TalkFILM. “”I am in discussions about it,” Layton said. “There’s nothing more concrete.”
Sept. 20, 2018: Eon announces that Cary Joji Fukunaga, 41, is the new Bond 25 director. The film now has a “worldwide” release date of Feb. 14, 2020. Production is scheduled to begin March 4, 2019.
Sept. 20, 2018: Collider Movie Talk begin an installment hashing out the news. The Bond 25 talk is at the start of the video.
Sept. 21, 2018: IndieWire, without specifying how it obtained the information, says Bond 25 is intended to be Daniel Craig’s From Russia With Love.
Sept. 28, 2018: The Birth.Movies.Death website publishes a feature story about actor Jeffrey Wright. Toward the end of the story, Wright again (sort of, kind of) teases he might have something to do with Bond 25. “They like to keep these things close to the vest. I’m really pleased to see that it’s back on track, and [smiles] they’re aware of the secret, confidential phone line that’s required to reach Felix. So they may or may not have used that to this point, and we’ll see what happens going forward.” OK.
Oct. 4, 2018: Andrew Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin, tells CNN that Aston will be part of Bond 25 without disclosing addition details. The CNN interviewer, Anna Stewart, puts the Bond 25 portion of the interview on her Instagram account. The bulk of the interview concerned Aston’s initial public offering of stock.
Oct. 5, 2018: Barbara Broccoli, in an interview with The Guardian, says James Bond is “a male character. He was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male.” During the period before Daniel Craig announced his return for Bond 25, there had been a lot of stories at various outlets speculating whether it was time to make 007 a female character.
Oct. 9, 2018: The Wrap publishes a story about turmoil at Annapurna Pictures’ film division. The company abruptly dropped some projects, including a movie about the late Roger Ailes of Fox News. Some top executives also left the company. Annapurna, of course, has the distribution joint venture with MGM that will release Bond 25 in the U.S. The story paints the deal with MGM as a bright spot.
Oct. 10, 2018: The Metro website in the U.K. runs a story (labeled “exclusive”) with some Barbara Broccoli quotes. She was apparently asked Bond 25 difficulties are responded, “Concerned with what?…No it’s film making. We’re very excited about Bond and can’t wait.” The rest of the story is background, including some quotes from the Oct. 5 story in The Guardian.
Oct. 13, 2018: The Mail on Sunday (Sunday edition of The Daily Mail) carries a story that it “understands that Bond producers are on the brink of approaching” actor Richard Madden, 32, about replacing Daniel Craig as James Bond. Presumably this means after Bond 25, but the article doesn’t explicitly say that. “It is understood that Barbara Broccoli, the executive producer at Eon Productions who has the final say on all Bond characters, is likely to approach Madden in the next few days.” The story is not by Baz Bamigboye. Eon isn’t known for long-term planning but we’ll see.
Oct. 15, 2018: A German-language, Swiss newspaper, Berner Zeitung runs a feature story about Stefan Zurcher, a crew member on Bond films going back to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Deep in the story he’s quoted as saying Bond 25 will begin filming in March in Canada.
Oct. 26, 2018: Bart Layton, while promoting another film, says he was asked about directing Bond 25 but turned it down. “It’s too big at this point. I don’t feel ready.” He also says the Bond franchise needs to be modernized and he’d like to be part of that some day. You can view his comments below starting around the 2:40 mark.
Oct. 29, 2018: Cary Joji Fukunaga, the director of Bond 25, gives an interview to IndieWire where he talks about 007 in general terms. He says his first Bond film was A View To a Kill. He also says you can’t pick one favorite James Bond film. Here’s a caveat to keep in mind: Sam Mendes said his first 007 film was Live And Let Die but the style of his two Bond films wasn’t remotely like that 1973 film.
Nov. 6, 2018: Deadline: Hollywood reports that Cary Fukunaga will co-write the pilot for a cable television series based on the 1985 film Explorers directed by Joe Dante. Fukunaga might even direct the pilot “should it get to that,” according to Deadline. No details on just when this writing effort will happen, whether it will occur before Bond 25 begins filming, etc.
Nov. 18, 2018: Cary Fukunaga gives an interview to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He says Bond 25’s script still is being written (by whom isn’t specified). Decision on major characters like Ben Whishaw’s Q and Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld haven’t been made. That Bond 25 will continue an arc that began in Casino Royale.
Dec. 4, 2018: Kristopher Tapley of Variety writes in a Twitter post that “it appears Linus Sandgren is shooting the next Bond.” As I type this, Tapley hasn’t written a story to that effect. If he can’t be bothered with doing a story, I can’t be bothered with doing a full post. So I did this update to the timeline instead. Sandgren photographed La La Land and First Man.
Dec. 4-5, 2018: On Dec. 4, a Norwegian-language outlet, Bergens Tidende, says an entity called B25 has applied for incentives for a 25 percent subsidy for costs of filming in Norway. The next day, an English-language outlet, Norway Today, has this passage:
“‘I can confirm that we have been in contact with representatives of the upcoming James Bond movie and that they want to record in Norway’ said Adrian Mitchell, film commissioner in Oslo to Dagsavisen newspaper”
Dec. 6, 2018: Bond 25 direct Cary Fukunaga tells the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye that Lea Seydoux of SPECTRE will make a return appearance in Bond 25. Also returning are Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw.
Dec. 7, 2018: Variety’s Justin Kroll writes that he confirmed the Seydoux news with a source. (Given how Cori Fukunaga made an on-the-record comment, why did he need an unidentified source? The oddities of the entertainment news business, I suspose. The scribe adds a couple of tidbits. He writes that Cori Fukunaga is “writing and directing” Bond 25. Bamigboye had described Bond 25 as being written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade with a lot of input from Fukunaga.
Kroll also writes:
–“Eon is looking for two other actresses — one would play an MI6 agent who works with Bond and another a mystery women — as well as the Bond villain.”
–“Rami Malek was being eyed for the villain role, but his schedule on the last season of “Mr. Robot,” which shoots from March through July, makes it unlikely that he will be able to take the gig, even if Eon offered him the part.” This last bit was attributed to “insiders.”
Dec. 7, 2018: IndieWire publishes a story saying Linus Sandgren confirmed he’ll photograph Bond 25.
Dec. 19, 2018: HL Entertainment reports that Alexander Witt will be Bond 25’s second unit director. Witt had previously handled that job on Casino Royale, Skyfall and SPECTRE.
Dec. 23, 2018: Namoie Harris publishes a year-end post to fans on Instagram, says she will be in Bond 25. h/t to .@Bond25Film, which in turn quote-tweeted Archivo 007.
Dec. 27, 2018: The New Yorker publishes a profile of reality-TV mogul Mark Burnett. MGM bought Burnett’s company (which produced Survivor and The Apprentice series with now-U.S. President Donald Trump). Deep in the story, there’s a passage about how Gary Barber lost his job as CEO of MGM. Barber closely monitored costs. Meanwhile, MGM Chairman Kevin Ulrich, “a financier whose private-equity fund holds a controlling stake in the company,” was less inclined that way. From the article: “People who know Ulrich describe him as someone who relishes the flashy perquisites of Hollywood moguldom.” Barber was interested in selling MGM while Ulrich opposed such a move. According to The New Yorker, “Burnett had made an alliance with Ulrich and got Barber kicked off the island.” The story will be in the Jan. 7 issue of the print magazine.
Jan. 1, 2019: A website called Geeks Worldwide says that Paul Haggis, who contributed to the scripts of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, submitted a Bond 25 draft dated Nov. 22, 2018. The short item says the Haggis draft “is labeled intermittent.'”
Jan. 4, 2019: Entertainment Tonight asks Rami Malek about whether he might play the villain on Bond 25. “We’ll have to see about that,” he replies in a video that accompanies the online story. “That’d be an actor’s dream…Who knows what will happen with that? I’m keeping tight-lipped.” ET’s online story discusses Mr. Robot. But the Bond 25 comments (such as they are) are picked up by British tabloid papers such as Metro on Jan. 6.
Jan. 8, 2019: Rami Malek verbally dodges when asked by Jimmy Kimmel on the latter’s late night show on ABC. Exchange begins around the 3:04 mark. I’ve set up the video below to start there when you click.
Jan. 18, 2019: The Sun says Barbara Broccoli isn’t considering any future Bond actors because she is “loyal to Daniel” Craig. The tabloid says Broccoli hasn’t given up on the idea of Craig coming back for Bond 26.
The Bond 25 Timeline Will Return