A couple of years ago, the twenty-third adventure of British super spy James Bond was well on its way to existing. Daniel Craig was set to reprise his role as agent 007, screenwriter Peter Morgan was set to deliver a finished script that he promised would be a "shocking story" and Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes, he of 'American Beauty' and 'Revolutionary Road' fame, was set to call action behind the camera. Then MGM had financial woes. Then MGM declared bankruptcy. Then nobody knew what was happening with Bond 23.
Now the next Bond movie has become a financial necessity, a key marker on the road to pulling MGM out of debt, with hopes of having the finished film in theaters by November 2012. But what's changed? Who's still involved? What's going on over there?
Well, according to the lovely Kate Winslet (via The Playlist), Mendes, who she is currently separated from after a lengthy marriage, is still attached to take on the project and is already planning the necessary move to London to prep the film.
The full quote from the lips of the lovely Oscar winner:
"Sam is doing the next Bond film, all being well, and we'll all be in England if that happens. It's such a massive commitment for him and it's not fair for him to commute backwards and forwards to New York from London. It would be impossible. The children will be there with me."
Is this the first time a scoop about a major action blockbuster has come about because of a woman announcing her plans to keep her children close to their father? Maybe. According to Ms. Winslet, Sam Mendes is still very much on board the next Bond motion picture, so now we can resume the fruitless debate over whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing .
For the record, the answer is neither -- the producers always call the real shots on the Bond movies. The director's job on a Bond film is to just show up and tell the cameraman when to start rolling. An "artistic choice" like Mendes may feel like a mistake after Marc Forster's fumbling of 'Quantum of Solace,' but the Bond team have a habit of learning from their mistakes from film to film. They just tend to find brand new mistakes to make.
But wait, there's more!
The original article mentions that Mendes and the Bond team have already had several meetings to discuss potential casting, with Simon Russell Beale apparently emerging as a frontrunner for a unspecified role. If you haven't heart of Beale, that's okay...let's just say his filmography is, er, limited. However, the same can't be said about his work on the British stage, where he has been called the "greatest stage actor of his generation." Not to mention, he has frequently collaborated with Mendes on the stage, lending a bucketful of credence to this little rumor. And while we're here, just take a look at the guy. You can't say that face doesn't scream BOND VILLAIN. The Playlist suggests that he could be play the leader of the evil organization Quantum, which Bond has been attempting to dismantle over the course of the past two films.
If all goes according to plan, Bond will be back in action in a little under two years. If there's one thing history has taught us, it's that you just can't kill agent 007. Not with a gun, not with an atomic bomb, not with legal entanglements and not with the bankruptcy of the company that funds his excursions. James Bond will return. He will always return.