Next 007 film canceled – lamenting the fate of my two favorite Bonds

Even if you’re not a fan of the Bond franchise, you probably heard about MGM studio’s money troubles, which inevitably led to the next Bond movie being in limbo. Well, as of this week, the movie is permanently canceled. UK Newspaper Daily Mirror reported that the 23rd Bond film that was scheduled for release by 2012, is axed due to a serious cash crisis. “MGM is drowning under a reported £2.4 billion of debt as it desperately searches for a buyer,” the paper says. It’s a pity really, as for a brief period, Bond 23 sounded so promising with reports of talented director Sam Mendez (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) possibly at the helm, and acclaimed screenwriter Peter Morgan’s (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) penning the script.

Well, this isn’t the first time MGM studio halted productions of one of the world’s most famous movie franchises. After Timothy Dalton’s Licence to Kill was released in 1989, there was a six year gap between that and the next one, Golden Eye in 1995, with Pierce Brosnan as his replacement. Dalton was quoted in IMDb saying “I was supposed to make one more but it was canceled because MGM and the film’s producers got into a lawsuit which lasted for five years. After that, I didn’t want to do it anymore.” Now, of course there were also reports that given the dismal box office take of Licence to Kill, the producers were ready to replace him. But I tend to believe Dalton’s take on this one and that it was indeed MGM’s financial woes that prevented him to do his third outing as Bond.

Dalton in The Living Daylights

If you read this blog long enough, you know Dalton is my favorite Bond before Daniel Craig came along. In fact, as I said here, both Craig and Dalton epitomized that merciless grit and ruthlessness like no other Bond before them (as well as after because Brosnan was sandwiched between them). Dalton was clearly way ahead of his time as Craig took all the credit for doing what he had started. So, it’s ironic that now they seem to share the same fate after all. Licence to Kill wasn’t nearly as well-received as Dalton’s first Bond flick The Living Daylight, just as Quantum of Solace didn’t quite live up to its predecessor Casino Royale (though Quantum was still quite successful at the box office).

Craig in Casino Royale

All this makes me wonder: why is it that the gritty Bonds don’t last? Of course I’m not saying that these setbacks are the fault of the actors, but still, it’s a curious predicament, isn’t it? Curious and sad as well, as I’d love to have seen each of them do at least 3-4 Bond movies! Ideally Brosnan would do just two, and erase the last two movies he did from our memories!

So, what’ll happen to the franchise? Many theories are swirling that perhaps this is the end of the road for the world’s most famous spy. Guardian UK posted an article weighing the pros and cons of ditching vs. keeping the franchise, though its title suggests that the writer is probably in favor of ending it. Rubbish I say, this franchise has been around for so long and so profitable that I doubt it’s going anywhere. I’d say they should just take their time, what’s the rush anyway, it’s not like we HAVE to see a Bond movie every other year. I don’t mind waiting a few years until they can come up with a real solid script, a skillful director, and of course a worthy actor to play Bond, as this delay inevitably means we’ve seen the last of Daniel Craig as the suave superspy.

Fellow Bond fan Andy @ Fandango Groovers Blog suggested Colin Farrell as Bond, which is a nifty idea, but I’d like to throw a couple other names out there: Henry Cavill and Tom Hardy. I think they’re both talented British actors who can tackle the role. If looking great in a suit is the pivotal test, methinks Henry passed with flying colors, as you can see in the Dunhill commercial pics. He is on the young side at only 27 however, so Hardy at 33 might be the better pick of the two. Having transformed himself into Charles Bronson (the British criminal, NOT the Deathwish actor) in the biopic Bronson, we know the dude can be a gritty tough guy who can kick even Jason Bourne’s arse. And his role as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights proves he’s got that ‘vulnerability’ factor, too. Speaking of Fandango Groovers blog, perhaps the producers should listen to Andy’s two excellent suggestions for a ‘re-imagining’ of the 007 flick: check ’em out here and here. I’m definitely keen on the idea of an older Bond figure (Dalton) acting as a mentor to a younger spy. While they’re at it, why not get Alan Rickman as the dastardly villain, since Hans Gruber is pretty much everyone’s favorite bad guy. Alas, the idea of Dalton ever coming back is obviously zilch to none. But we fans can dream, right?

So what do you think folks? Any thoughts about this whole Bond franchise fiasco?