Not much on the Bond 25 news front this week, just a non-solid rumor that Beyonce is being courted to do the theme song. What, are we gonna say no to that? No we are not. It’s not a particularly controversial opinion to say that the best Bond themes feature big, bold voices from female singers, and Beyonce is about as big as they get. We are filing this rumor under “into it.”
Assuming Bond 25 happens on schedule, and assuming Daniel Craig hangs it up afterward (I’m not ready to buy into the “two movies back-to-back” rumors), his run as 007 will surpass Sir Roger Moore’s as the longest - 13 years to Moore’s 12. Tantrum-y fans are grumpy that we aren’t getting a Bond film every other year, but I kind of like when the franchise’s return is framed as an event, a la Goldeneye, Casino Royale and Skyfall. A four-year gap isn’t a guarantee of quality, but I’ll take those odds over the Tomorrow Never Dies and World Is Not Enoughs of the series.
In other Craig news, seems like Logan Lucky didn’t really perform as its makers hoped it would. I think its fatal flaw is it’s kind of a minor film, and audiences seem to go for films of that size and scope less and less now. Sad! But it’s still a Steven Soderbergh heist movie, and the whole cast is pretty great. Craig especially is having a blast in it, visibly eager to do something, anything, outside his wheelhouse. It’s not exactly a high bar, but Joe Bang is probably his best non-Bond performance since Layer Cake. I think this will be one of those movies that folks will discover after the fact. It deserves it.
Speaking of Soderbergh, he once wrote this about On Her Majesty’s Secret Service:
“...certainly it’s the only Bond film I look at and think: I’m stealing that shit...”
Well, I recently rewatched Soderbergh’s Haywire and it appears that Soderbergh’s a man of his word (spoilers for Haywire, I guess):
Dynamite is continuing their 007 spin-offs with a Moneypenny one-shot, out this week. Like their Felix Leiter miniseries, this appears to be in-continuity with the canon created by Warren Ellis, and I quite liked Ellis’ take on 007's supporting characters. You can click here to see some preview pages, which offer a kind of flashback origin for Moneypenny (here explicitly written as a former MI6 field agent) cross-cut with a present-day assignment.
Last week I shared with you the lovely gift my BMD colleagues commissioned from artist Ibrahim Moustafa. The next day his rendering of me as 007 became all the more legit with the announcement that Ibrahim is writing and drawing a James Bond one-shot for Dynamite Comics called Solstice. A few images have been released; I’m only a little sad that he didn’t go with my likeness as Bond.
Here’s the plot:
007 accepts an unofficial mission. He travels to Paris, in pursuit of a Russian. But is Bond the hunter, or the hunted?
And here’s what the Eisner-nominated Ibrahim (Jaeger, High Crimes) has to say about the endeavor:
I am an absolute James Bond fanatic! I have a deep love of the character and his sense of duty within his world of smoky card rooms, tailored suits, refined tastes and eccentric villains. Like most, my affinity for the gentleman spy began with the film franchise, but the original literary version of Bond would eventually become my favorite iteration of the character. I was absolutely thrilled when Dynamite launched their James Bond series depicting Fleming’s Bond in a modern context, and the opportunity to tell a story within that setting is quite literally a dream come true for me. Working with editor Nate Cosby has been one of the most rewarding collaborations that I’ve had working in comics, and I’m very grateful to the folks at Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. and Dynamite for the opportunity to send 007 on a mission of my very own!
James Bond: Solstice will be out November 22nd. The line starts behind me.
A belated happy birthday to Sir Sean Connery! I'll leave you with a note about Connery, pasted from my introduction to a 2015 screening of Dr. No:
The James Bond film franchise did not enter the world in 1962 as the fully-formed blockbuster series you know today. Though its ads optimistically heralded it as “The First James Bond Film!”, make no mistake: Dr. No was a risky proposition for two independent producers who rolled the dice on bringing Ian Fleming’s gentleman spy to the silver screen. Though the property was a tremendously successful series of books, previous attempts to bring Bond to life on film had failed. One false move by these producers and the 007 series very well could have been DOA.
Good thing they cast Sean Connery.
After reportedly being turned down by Patrick McGoohan, Cary Grant and David Niven, producers Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned to the relatively unknown former Mister Universe contestant to play Fleming’s character, and an icon was born. 1962’s Dr. No offers lo-fi, smaller stakes than you might expect from a movie that launched a 55-year film series, but Connery was never better in the role than he is here. 32 years old, all sex and danger, Connery immolates the then-stereotype of the wan, prim & proper British film hero, invents the action star (and maybe the action genre), and changes film history forever. The early Bond films are glossy, old-school bits of cool, their budgets doubling and tripling with each successive entry, their plots growing more and more outlandish to match, but at the center of each is Sean Connery’s absolute sea change of a protagonist, a predator in a dinner jacket, too cool for any room in the world. George Lazenby opened the door to recasting, Roger Moore showed the role was open to different interpretations, and Daniel Craig might be rightly credited with making Bond vital again, but Connery is the reason we ever cared in the first place.