Sifting Through Bond 25 News and Rumors
By Jack Lugo
Since April’s Bond 25 press launch various media outlets have chimed in with news and rumors about the upcoming James Bond film due out in April 2020. It’s impossible not to notice that most of the stories gracing the internet and making the rounds on various James Bond social media forums have been overwhelmingly negative. I tend to be an optimist when it comes to Bond and usually the click bait tabloid news doesn’t really phase me much even though it has become frustrating keeping tabs on it all, especially given the long and winding road it has been since the release of Spectre in 2015. My frustration has generally been more about the cheap click-bait nature of the coverage Bond 25 receives from certain media outlets more so than with anything actually happening within the Bond franchise itself.
The one article that did phase me was The Daily Mail article written by Baz Bamigboye. While the Daily Mail is far from a trusted news outlet, Baz Bamigboye is a name Bond fans are familiar with from his long history of breaking Bond news. My immediate reaction was that if Bamigboye was writing a negative piece about Bond, then something must be wrong within the production of Bond 25 itself. Indeed, this story broke late at night for me just before I was about to go to bed, and I remember going to sleep thinking “Bond 25 is in deep trouble.” Bamigboye’s article says that Bond 25 still has no script, is being “endlessly re-written by a committee,” and that “the crew reckon they’re working on a well-polished s*** show.” This isn’t exactly what anyone wants to hear about the latest entry of one of their beloved franchises.
Now that some time has passed, the Bamigboye article doesn’t necessarily strike me as the doomsday scenario that it might have when it initially broke. For one thing, Bamigboye writes that he’s getting this information from a “film-making source.” This could be virtually anyone, even someone not connected to the Bond 25 production at all. Also, it really depends on what’s being re-written relative to when the shooting will take place for said re-writes. Bamigboye’s article conjures images of screenwriters cramming to complete scenes for the next day’s filming. What is likely happening is that Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Cary Fukunaga, and maybe Daniel Craig are collaborating on scenes that will be shot a month or two months from now or more. This wouldn’t be unusual for a big budget film especially since we don’t know the extent of the rewrites. Phoebe Waller-Bridge and whoever else is re-working the screenplay at this point are likely making dialogue changes and maybe a few structural changes. The plot outline and the action involved for most scenes are likely set in place by now.
The other thing that Bond fans have harped upon is this notion that “too many writers must mean Bond 25 will be a terrible film.” As of now, we know that the screenwriters credited at the time of the April press launch are: Neil Purvis and Robert Wade, Scott Z. Burns, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The Bamigboye article adds Cary Fukunaga and Daniel Craig to the mix although it remains uncertain whether either or both will ultimately receive a screenwriting or “story by” credit. Re-writes are always undertaken with the intention of IMPROVING the script so why shouldn’t Bond fans welcome the idea that the screenplay is being worked on? Well, it has to do with how the story is framed. The notion that it’s being “re-written by a committee” has a negative connotation but the truth is that most big budget movies are written by multiple writers – some of them credited, some not credited.
The Mirror recently published photos of Daniel Craig and Cary Fukunaga gesturing in Jamaica. Of course the gesturing means that they were having a “heated” discussion according to the article. This was almost laughable as this is clearly a case of the outlet wanting to make a bigger story out of the set photos they decided publish in order to generate more clicks. Nevertheless, it’s easy to see how these types of baseless articles influence the opinions of many on social media. Recent articles have been published implying that Bond 25 is doomed or that Daniel Craig is “whiney” and the conversation about Bond 25 has taken a negative turn within fan communities. The thing is that just about all these Daniel Craig-bashing stories are unsubstantiated. They all hinge on that one “slash my wrists” quote taken out of context after filming Spectre, and yet because of the one time he said this, we should ignore all the other times when he said he’s excited to play Bond.
Then of course, there’s the Sun’s exclusive story that Daniel Craig injured his ankle and that filming on Bond 25 was about to be “cancelled” according to its headline. Other outlets such as Variety and the Daily Mail picked up the Sun’s story basically repeating the story about the injury without any independent verification. The curious thing pointed out by the folks at the Mi6-HQ Twitter account was that Craig is described as wearing a suit at the time of the injury when there has been no indication that Craig was wearing as suit at all in Jamaica. Of course, the very next day the Sun hit the internet with another exclusive stating that Daniel Craig will be back to filming Bond 25 “within the week.” Turns out the ankle injury that meant cancellation just 24 hours before was now not that big a deal. The Sun basically got 2 exclusive stories out of the whole ordeal and a lot of clicks.
The Spy Command recently published an excellent article that spotlights some of the ways EON could have countered these tabloid stories. When Tom Cruise broke his ankle while filming Mission Impossible: Fallout, Christopher McQuarrie gave a reassuring interview basically setting the narrative surrounding Cruise’s injury. Although Cary Fukunaga set up an Instagram account to have some kind of social media presence while directing Bond 25, it would seem as if neither he nor EON are interested in controlling the perception that the production of Bond 25 is in trouble. This is definitely an area where EON could and should do better given how easy it would be to just post an update stating that Daniel Craig suffered a minor injury but will return soon.
There seems to be a narrative forming around Bond 25 implying that because of various production issues that the film will be awful. As Bond fans, we owe it to ourselves to judge Bond 25 on its own merits when it comes out and not let outside factors determine whether or not we enjoy the film. It might be a challenge to stay positive given all the negative press, which will likely continue. I think if you’re a fan of something, however, you should at the very least let the finished product determine your opinion instead of the tabloids. Needless to say that if Bond 25 turns out to be a great and successful Bond entry, then all of these negative tabloid stories about the production will be rendered meaningless.
article by Jack Lugo