Tag Archive | "Sam Mendes"

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Ralph Fiennes Reports BOND 24 To Start Shooting In October

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Rich Drees


We know that the next James Bond adventure will be hitting theaters late next year – in October 2015 for audiences in the UK and November 2015 for ticket buyers in the US. And now we know when they’ll get to the work of shooting the film.

Ralph Fiennes, who featured in 2012’s Skyfall in a role that would definitely see him returning to the franchise, spoke to MTV News and told them when Bond 24 was set to start production. “It’s meant to start shooting in October.”

As is usual with the Bond franchise, details of the upcoming film’s storyline are closely guarded secrets and even Fiennes hasn’t a clue as to what will transpire. “I haven’t read a script yet, so I can’t tell you much… They’d probably swear me to secrecy anyway.”

The script is being worked on by Skyfall screenwriter John Logan. With Skyfall director Sam Mendes returning, odds are good that Bond 24 will live up to its predecessor.

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BOND 24 And 25 To Continue To Build Universe

Posted on 20 January 2014 by Rich Drees


One of the great things, at least in my opinion, has been how the rebooted James Bond franchise has moved away from episodic adventures of the classic British superspy and towards a franchise where each installment has consequences and a lasting effect on the character. Quantum Of Solace, the second film in the rebooted series, was a direct sequel to 2006’s franchise relaunch Casino Royale and followed up many plot lines left dangling at the end of that film. The world building continued in 2012’s Skyfall, which filled in much of Bond’s personal history as well as restored many classic elements of the franchise – specifically the return of Miss Moneypenny and gadget creator Q.

Skyfall screenwriter John Logan has been drafted back to service to help craft the upcoming, still untitled 24th James Bond adventure as well as the 25th installment and this past week, while at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour to promote his upcoming horror TV series Penny Dreadful, he sat down with the folks at IGN to dish a bit about what might be in store for agent 007 when his next film hits movie screens in 2015.

Logan first stared that plot specifics were of course being kept top secret, joking “All I can say about Bond is that I’m happily writing it. [Skyfall and Bond 24 director] Sam [Mendes] would rappel through the window and kill me.”

He also stresses that through Bond 24 and Bond 25, the franchise will continue to take classic elements from both the film series and Ian Flemming’s novel from which the movies sprang and contemporize them for modern audiences.

My goal is to write a great movie that’s appropriate, to build on what we did on Skyfall, but make it its own unique animal. The themes, ideas and the characters from Skyfall can obviously continue on, because it is a franchise, and it is an ongoing story. So I think there’s resonance from Skyfall in the new movie.

I grew up on the Bond movies. The first one I saw was Diamonds Are Forever, when I was a kid. I just loved them to pieces. I love all the elements, from the books — mostly from the novels; going back to Ian Flemming is where I started with Skyfall — and there’s certainly elements of the movies and the novels that we’ve brought into the new movie, as they did into Skyfall.

As to whether one of those elements may be the return of classic Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, which franchise producers Eon Productions recently finally locked down the rights to, Logan remained coy, replying “You know, I think our villain’s appropriate to the story we’re telling.”

The fact that IGN’s report states that Logan was talking about not just the upcoming Bond 24, but the following Bond 25 as well, harkens back to rumors that the films were going to be joined together in telling one, larger canvas story.

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Mendes Officially Signed For BOND 24

Posted on 11 July 2013 by Rich Drees


It is official, after weeks of “will he or won’t he” speculation, Sma Mendes is confirmed to direct the next, still untitled, James Bond film. Now there was some speculation as to whether Mendes would direct the next two films, there is no mention in the just released announcement pertaining to that second film.

CULVER CITY, Calif., July 11, 2013 – Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, EON Productions; Gary Barber, Chairman & CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Michael Lynton, CEO, Sony Entertainment, Inc, and Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment today announced that Daniel Craig will once again return as the legendary British secret agent in the 24th James Bond film and Sam Mendes will also return to direct the screenplay written by John Logan. The film is set for release in UK theaters on October 23, 2015 and in US theaters on November 6, 2015.

SKYFALL™, the 23rd James Bond film, took in $1.1 billion worldwide and set a new mark as the highest-grossing film of all time in the UK; it was the best-selling Bond film on DVD/Blu-ray and was the most critically acclaimed film in the history of the longest-running film franchise.

Commenting on the announcement, Wilson and Broccoli said, “Following the extraordinary success of SKYFALL, we’re really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan.”

“I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honour all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24. I very much look forward to taking up the reins again, and to working with Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for a second time,” said Mendes.

Barber added, “We are thrilled to reunite the extraordinary talents of director Sam Mendes with our star Daniel Craig for the next great Bond adventure.” He added, “As evidenced by the phenomenal success of our last collaboration with EON Productions and Sony, the incredible legacy of this 51-year-old franchise continues to amaze.”

Lynton and Pascal said, “It’s a privilege to work on the Bond films. EON, John Logan and Sam Mendes have come up with an extraordinary follow up to SKYFALL and we, along with our partners at MGM, can’t wait to share this new chapter with audiences all over the world.”

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Mendes Still In Negotiations For BOND 24 & 25

Posted on 26 June 2013 by Rich Drees


Every now and then we need to be reminded that just because it is reported that a creative is in negotiations with a studio for a project doesn’t mean that they are fully committed yet. Today’s reminder comes to us in the form of Same Mendes. Last night was the London premier of his stage adaptation of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. As the director walked the red carpet he was invariably peppered with questions about his return to the James Bond franchise to direct the follow up to last year’s blockbuster Skyfall.

Speaking with a number of outlets, Mendes gave variations on the same answer – that while talks with franchise producers Eon Productions but he wants to take a short break now that the musical is up and running before turning his attention to the Bond franchise.

While it is understandable that he would want a short vacation to recover from the exhausting work of mounting a stage musical, I have to suspect that Mendes is doing a bit of public negotiating. With Skyfall grossing $1.1 billion at the box office to become the highest-grossing installment of the franchise and the eighth-highest grossing film of all time, it is understandable that producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli would want to secure his services for the next few films. And Mendes knows that. It should be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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Will Sam Mendes Be Directing The Next Two James Bond Adventures?

Posted on 31 May 2013 by Rich Drees

Earlier this week, we learned that Skyfall director Sam Mendes was in talks to return to the James Bond franchise to direct the next installment of the franchise despite earlier having stated that other commitments would preclude further participation in the series. Now it turns out that Mendes is not only coming back for the 24th Bond film but most likely the 25th as well.

Roger Friedman over at Showbiz411 is reporting that the Bond franchise producers are actively discussing having the director helm the next two franchise installments, in a deal that will most likely see franchise star Daniel Craig through to the end of his time in the role of suave British secret agent James Bond.

It should be pointed out that Friedman appears to have an inside line to the Bond franchise as previously he was the one to break the news that Adele would be supplying the theme song to Skyfall, so take this news with that in mind.

With the Mendes-directed Skyfall grossing $1.1 billion at the box office to become the highest-grossing installment of the franchise and the eighth-highest grossing film of all time, it is understandable that producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli would want to secure his services for the next few films.

The possibility of Mendes directing the next two Bond films brings to mind the rumor from last year that Bond 24 and Bond 25 would be connected to form one big story. Craig denied that that would be the case, but with the producers looking to secure Mendes for both films, it does make me tempted to think that maybe that is what the producers have in mind.

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Sam Mendes In Talks To Return For BOND 24

Posted on 28 May 2013 by Rich Drees


Although he had claimed not too long ago that his schedule was too packed to take the job, Skyfall director Sam Mendes is now reportedly in talks to direct the next James Bond film after all.

Deadline has broken the news, just a few hours after a Variety report claimed that Bond franchise producers Eon Productions were looking at a number of high profile directors to take on the 24th installment of the British secret agent’s adventures including Nicolas Winding Refn, Shane Black, Tom Hooper, David Yates and Ang Lee.

Currently Mendes is is prepping a stage musical version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory for London’s West End and then a move to Broadway and claimed that it was those responsibilities that prohibited him from returning to Bond franchise. Apparently he got back in to contact with producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and the three have managed to work out Mendes’s scheduling concerns.

Since the Mendes-directed Skyfall grossed $1.1 billion at the box office to become the highest-grossing installment of the franchise and the eighth-highest grossing film of all time, it looks as if Wilson and Broccoli are willing to wait a year or so past their original 2014/2015 target date for Bond 24 to see if Mendes can get lightening to strike twice.

Currently, John Logan is working on the film’s screenplay, developed from an idea that he collaborated on with Mendes.

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Sam Mendes Says He Won’t Be Back For BOND 24

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Rich Drees

When you have a successful film, you want to keep the team together for the sequel. Unfortunately for the James Bond franchise, it looks as if Skyfall‘s team captain, director Sam Mendes, won’t be coming back for the film’s follow up.

Citing a number of projects already on his schedule, including two stage plays, Mendes told Empire that he would not be returning to take the British secret agent on another globe-trotting adventure –

It has been a very difficult decision not to accept [producers] Michael [G. Wilson] and Barbara [Broccoli]’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie. Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.

Well, this definitely flies in the face of previous reports that Mendes was “75 percent certain to return,” that circulated last month. When discussing that story, I did note that if he were to return for a new franchise installment it would have to wait until he finished with his two stage obligations.

So it’s a mixed bag for Bond fans. The next Bond installment won’t be delayed while Sam Mendes directs two plays, but it also means that Bond 24 won’t be directed by Mendes. Presumably the hunt for a new director is already underway.

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Sam Mendes “75 Percent” Certain To Return For BOND 24

Posted on 15 February 2013 by Rich Drees

With Skyfall‘s box office receipts now passing $1.1 billion, it is understandable that the producers of the James Bond franchise would like to replicate whatever magic the film had when assembling the production team for the inevitable next installment.

The most vital member of that team is undoubtedly director Sam Mendes, and according to the London Daily Mail‘s Baz Bamigboye‘s sources, that Mendes while the director “hasn’t firmly made up his mind about directing another Bond, I’m reliably told he’s ‘75 per cent’ of the way towards doing it.”

Purportedly, Mendes’s original reluctance to return to the franchise stemmed from the possibility that the producers were exploring the idea of making the next two Bond films one giant-sized connected adventure that would film back-to-back. Bamigboye states that such a plan would have amounted to a four-year commitment that Mendes was unwilling to make. But with that plan abandoned and Skyfall scripter John Logan having drafted “two treatment papers outlining a rough idea of the plot,” it seems as if Mendes is amenable to the smaller time investment.

It’s not as if Mendes is lacking for work. He currently has two upcoming stage productions hitting the London boards – Charlie And The Chocolate Factory opens in May and then King Lear at the National Theatre next January. of course, this would push a start date for a Bond film under his direction towards late 2014 and I don’t know if the franchise producers want to wait that long to get a follow up into theaters.

I will admit that I am sad to see that the idea to tell a two-film Bond adventure has been abandoned. Besides the cost-savingtaht I am sure the producers would welcome there is the opportunity to tell a really sprawling, epic Bond story. Hopefully, it is an idea that will get revisited in the future as it holds some great potential and the with the recent Casino Royale and Skyfall, it shows that the franchise is still open to try new things.

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What You Get With SKYFALL IMAX

Posted on 09 November 2012 by Rich Drees

The latest James Bond adventure Skyfall is not only breaking overseas box office records for the franchise in its initial two weeks of release, but it is also the first Bond film to be released in the IMAX format.

As the film opens around the US this weekend, fans may be wondering what extra they will be getting for the IMAX upcharge tacked onto their ticket. IMAX has released a comparison of how the film will look in the traditional 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and the 1.90:1 ratio for the IMAX release. (Click on the picture for a larger view.)

For IMAX purists, though, this is still a far cry from the format’s traditional 1.43:1 ratio screens and 70mm print projection. This is due to the film’s cinematographer Roger Deakins shooting the film with the Arri Alexa M digital camera rather than the bulkier IMAX film cameras as opposed to the IMAX sequences in The Dark Knight Rises and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which did use the cameras. Still, Deakins and Skyfall director Sam Mendes worked under the assumption that the film would be presented in both versions and framed what they shot accordingly.

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Why The MGM Bankruptcy Was The Best Thing That Could Have Happened

Posted on 12 October 2012 by William Gatevackes

Over its almost 90 year history, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, or MGM, has become a legendary name in the world of film. From film series ranging from The Thin Man  to Pink Panther  to James Bond series, from  movie musicals such as Singing in the Rain and The Wizard of Oz  to Best Picture Oscar winners such as Ben-Hur and Mrs. Miniver, MGM became known for classic cinematic fare.

Unfortunately, over the last several decades, MGM has become even more well known for its financial troubles. Year after year where box office bombs (Heaven’s Gate, anyone? How about Cutthroat Island?) outweighed box office successes and poor management decisions increased the studio’s debt. The once strong MGM entered a fight for its survival.

The years of financial struggle came to a head in 2009, as MGM CEO Stephen Cooper attempted to sell the studio to try and fend of bankruptcy. Even though MGM’s future looked bright–it still had rights to the newly rejuvenated Bond franchise, it had much talked about remakes of RoboCop and Carrie in the pipeline, and it owned a stake in the eagerly anticipated The Hobbit–and had a number of potential buyers, no deal could be reached for the sale. MGM’s  bankruptcy plan was approved on December 2, 2010.

As MGM entered bankruptcy, much of its operations came to a halt. Two films that were completed and set to be released–The Cabin in the Woods and Red Dawn–were put on hold, and development on the next Bond film and The Hobbit was delayed.

Typically, this kind of hiatus could be fatal for a film. Movies put on the shelf often stay on the shelf, and if projects are delayed, you typically lose cast and crew who can’t afford to wait for the project to restart. However, in this case, time spent in limbo did a whole lot more good than bad.

The Cabin in the Woods and Red Dawn were both scheduled to be released in 2010, but MGM’s financial troubles did away with that idea. By 2011, MGM was looking to sell distribution rights for the films. Cabin ended up at Lionsgate, a perfect fit for the horror homage/satire as the distributor is known for the horror films like Saw that Cabin was parodying. Red Dawn ended up at the relatively new FilmDistrict.

Both films had, at the time, young, unknown casts. This is where the delay helped because in between the time they were filmed and the time they were release, some of  the up and coming cast came up, so to speak.

Chris Hemsworth, who has a role in both The Cabin in the Woods and Red Dawn, was a relatively unknown Australian soap opera actor when he shot those films. His biggest American film role was a cameo in the Star Trek revamp as Captain Kirk’s father. But in 2011, he starred in Thor, one of Marvel’s “Phase One” superhero films. Thor tripled its production budget in grosses worldwide and established Hemsworth as a burgeoning superstar in the making and a hunky heartthrob for the ladies.

Red Dawn one ups The Cabin in the Woods when it comes to the little known actor to superstar quotient as it also has Josh Hutcherson in its cast. Unlike Hemsworth, Hutcherson got his start in Hollywood as a child actor and has an extensive resume to his name prior to shooting the Red Dawn, including the successful Journey to the Center of the Earth remake. But his casting as Peeta Mellark in the highly anticipated The Hunger Games adaptation shot him into super stardom as well. Unless something highly unlikely happens, when Red Dawn opens on November 21, it will feature stars from the highest grossing (Hemsworth and The Avengers) and third-highest grosssing (Hutcherson and The Hunger Games) films of 2012 in its cast. If even part of the audiences for those films carry over to Red Dawn, it should be a hit.

Another way the release delay should help Red Dawn‘s grosses is that it allowed the filmmakers to change the villain of the film from China to North Korea. In the time between when the movie was filmed and when it will be release, foreign markets, especially China, have become vital for a film’s financial success. Red Dawn should do much better in China now that their country isn’t the one viciously invading ours.

MGM made sure to keep hold of their interests in the Bond franchise and The Hobbit as they progressed through bankruptcy. Both projects were affected by the delay, but they too came out of the ordeal better than they went into it.

Development had started on Bond 23, which we now know is called Skyfall, before MGM entered bankruptcy. Sam Mendes was picked as director and Peter Morgan was chosen to write the script. However, when the project became delayed, Morgan had to leave the project before finalizing the final script. Rumor has it that Mendes worked on the script to the film during the time production was unable to go forward, calling on writers such as Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan to build up the characterization in the script.

Another benefit of the delay is that the film will be released in November 9, 2012, 50 years, one month and four days after the Bond franchise began with Dr. No. The anniversary was covered in all forms of media, and Skyfall was mentioned prominently in every article and news feature about the golden jubilee.  If the film was released years earlier, it would not have received the boon of so much free publicity. (The Cabin in the Woods also benefited with a load of free publicity due to its being released the month before The Avengers. In the promotional blitzkrieg for that movie, of course starring Hemsworth and written and directed by Cabin‘s co-writer and producer Joss Whedon, interviews would often refer to the earlier film, raising awareness of the film among a possible target audience).

While Skyfall lost a screenwriter, The Hobbit lost a director in the delay. Guillermo del Toro was originally slated to direct the Lord of the Rings prequel, but had to drop out when MGM’s financial quandary prevented the film from being green lit before the window del Toro allowed in his schedule for the film elapsed. The director’s departure left MGM and co-producers Warner Brothers searching for a new director. Eventually, the powers that be picked the executive producer of the film to take over as director.

Normally, when a producer replaces a talented and experienced director such as del Toro, the film is doomed with no hope for improvement. However, this time around, with no offense meant towards the skill and ability of del Toro, the producer will be an obvious improvement. Why? Because that producer is Peter Jackson, the man who brought Tolkien to the screen with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, winning three Academy Awards for its final installment, Return of the King.

With Jackson at the helm, The Hobbit trilogy will have a sense of continuity with the world Jackson built with Lord of the Rings. Again, no slight meant to del Toro, a director I admire and respect, something would simply be missing without Jackson in the director’s chair.

We are witness to the impossible happening–four films whose quality and/or box office potential were magnified by a studio’s bankruptcy. Too bad what happened to MGM was a stroke of luck, or else many other studios would pursue bankruptcy as a sure-fire way to turn their fortunes around.

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