When in 2005 Daniel Craig was chosen to be the new James Bond, the seventh in history, there was a lot of criticism and not a few jokes. Many disliked Craig having blue eyes and fair hair (no one has ever seen a “blonde Bond,” some wrote). There were also those who spoke of him as a “James Bland” (from the adjective “bland“: Dull, insipid, insipid). The Daily Mirror he even went to interview someone who was really called James Bland, and that guy said, addressing Craig through the pages of the questionable tabloid, “I’d be a better Bond than you.” They followed – as Craig began filming Casino Royale, the first film he was going to be Bond in – criticism that he looked like he was sunburned from too much sun on the set in the Bahamas, and more that he wouldn’t be able to drive with the manual gearbox and swim well.
Casino Royale it came out in 2006 and it did very well, far better than Death can wait, the last of the four films in which Bond was Pierce Brosnan. They went even better Quantum of Solace, Skyfall e Spectre, that as well as Casino Royale they also had good reviews and helped revive and change the character of Bond. It is still early to talk about the proceeds of No Time To Die, the 25th film in the series and the last in which Bond is played by Craig. And anyway, due to the pandemic it will be impossible to relate them to those of the four previous films.
Certainly, however, despite the initial criticisms (which in their own way have always been there, for every Bond from Sean Connery onwards) in the years of Craig, the character of Bond has regained relevance and those who manage the rights have earned a lot of money. . Now that it is certain that Craig will no longer be Bond, we must therefore choose a new one, and this choice brings with it a series of implications and opportunities to revive, again and again, the character of Bond and everything around him.
“Every time a new actor becomes Bond,” he told BBC Jaap Verheul, author of an in-depth academic anthology on the cultural impact of the character, «the film series takes the opportunity to recalibrate itself with the ideology of the audience it wants to reach».
Bond has always been and will probably continue to remain male and British, and it is quite likely that he will continue to drive Aston Martin, drink Vodka Martini “agitated, not stirred”, exercise his “license to kill” and try to save the world from the villain. on duty. Everything else, however, can change and evolve: in the names, in the ways, in the themes and also in the appearance. From this point of view, the Bond films are therefore interesting because, in their always remaining somewhat equal to themselves, they always change.
In Bond’s case, these talks are also made interesting by the fact that although the franchise is controlled by MGM, recently bought by Amazon, Eon Productions – the company led by the sons of producer Albert Broccoli – continues to control him at 50 percent and he has “inviolable creative control” and the final word on all things James Bond.
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There are many hypotheses on who the new Bond will be (it is among those things on which British bookmakers accept bets), but no certain information. All that is known is that producer Barbara Broccoli, daughter of Albert, has said two things: the first is that the new Bond will only be announced in 2022, the second is that the new Bond will be male. Always Broccoli said recently, taking up a point of view already expressed in the past: “We should create roles for women, not transform a man into a woman”.
In this regard (and without this being any kind of spoiler, given that it is already quite clear from the movie trailers), in No Time To Die there is a female character, played by Lashana Lynch, who, like Bond, is a “double zero” agent, and who therefore has the same professional qualification as her: the license to kill.
Among the actors nominated most often in the speeches on who could be the next Bond are Tom Hardy, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Robert Pattinson, Richard Madden, Henry Cavil, Regé-Jean Page (who made himself known with the Netflix series Bridgerton) and Idris Elba (who has been talked about for years, but recently said he’s not interested). But among the names mentioned when talking about the possible next Bond there are also actors such as Dev Patel and Tom Holland, born in 1996. Some actors are cited for their being British, others for their appearance and the characters they played, others still because they could represent an interesting twist in the type of character and masculinity represented by Bond.
As he pointed out Esquire in a long article that reviews a dozen possible next Bonds, it must also be kept in mind that “traditionally that of Bond is a role that makes actors who, before being him, were not at all important”.
The choice of the next Bond, however, will only be a starting point. From there, also depending on the type of actor chosen, a whole series of other aspects will have to be decided, all in their own way dependent on the type of choice made. First of all, who to write and direct the next film. In this case with much more concrete possibilities that there are a screenwriter or a director: for example, the names of Patty Jenkins, director of two films on Wonder Woman (but with a couple of other challenging films already to work on in the near future) or by Cate Shortland, director of Black Widow.
Beyond the names, there will then be a choice of what to tell and how to do it. Talking with BBC, Verheul gave the example of how Casino Royale had to deal with terrorism and a number of new geopolitical issues, and also with the style and success of a film like Batman Begins O The Bourne Identity, which were done with a much more realistic style than those of the Bond with Brosnan, in turn influenced by the success of a film like Die Hard. Now, he wrote BBC, “The geopolitical context is even more complicated than it was 15 years ago”, and among the issues that the new Bond may have to deal with are cyber warfare, disinformation and climate change, among others.
It is also likely that even with the next film he will try in his own way to reflect, and make his protagonist reflect, on what it means to be Bond in the twenty-first century. Something that to a lesser extent had already begun in the films with Brosnan: where the protagonist was defined by M, his boss played by Judi Dench, “a misogynistic and sexist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War.” How and with what intensity he will do it, however, will depend a lot on what type of Bond will be chosen.
We will also have to think about who will have to be Bond’s enemy, what it will be and what form the organization it will have to face will have. Here, too, everything stops at simple hypotheses. In re-proposing a theme already presented by others in recent years BBC he hopes, however, that, again for that thing of modernizing Bond, he will not choose, as has often happened in the past, an antagonist with some kind of facial deformation. An unoriginal choice, which among other things culpably tends to associate the deformity with something sinister, worrying and bad. BBC he even remembers how in this case steps were taken backwards rather than forwards. In the books written by Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond character, it was he, Bond, who had a conspicuous scar on his face.
A final and very relevant question is then linked to how Amazon could try to convince Eon Productions to transform the Bond franchise (which has produced 25 films in more than half a century) into a real cinematic universe. So, perhaps, with a series of stories parallel to the main one, but set in the same narrative universe. For example – but they are only hypotheses – with a film or a series starring the agent played in No Time To Die da Lashana Lynch.
Already a few years ago, for example, there were thoughts on a possible spin-off of the James Bond films all centered on the character played by Halle Berry in Death can wait. However, it was decided to keep the James Bond films something relatively rare, to be released every couple of years.
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