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?
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31 thoughts on “Next 007 film canceled – lamenting the fate of my two favorite Bonds

  1. It’s an intersting point you make about the ‘gritty’ Bonds not lasting. I’m not so sure Craig’s fate (if indeed he is to make no more Bond movies) was anything to do with his box office numbers. Dalton always had his work cut out coming in after Roger Moore’s hapless, lightweight Bond as the franchise inevitably had to shift in tone. I think it has kept that more macho feel but unfortunately for me, the last Bond I truly loved was Goldeneye. So another change at the top and a little time off for 007 wouldn’t bother me too much.

    1. It’s just something that came to mind as soon as I heard it, a knee-jerk reaction if you will.

      I actually don’t mind Goldeneye, probably the best of Brosnan’s versions. Though I probably remember Xenia Onatopp more than Bond here, as do most guys I’m sure 🙂

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  3. Well it breaks by heart but I think I am too distraught to volunteer any new hopefuls…although I do think Michael Fassbender, in about 5 years might fit well into the role. I think Tom Hardy is a little too Pierce Brosnan and this series has had enough softies. We need more guys who can run though construction sites and crash trough drywall…but that’s just what I think.

    1. Fassbender! I knew you and are on the same wavelength Marc, he’d be a fantastic choice! I could easily swap Henry for him, but no I don’t see Hardy being Brosnan-like as he doesn’t come across ‘perfect looking’ to me. I don’t think he has trouble with the action stuff either (as he’s currently doing Mad Max), though that’s not something I’m overly concerned about for the role. Dalton wasn’t the most brawny or athletically robust (that honor would go to Craig), but he comes across as unflinching relentless and not afraid to die, which is a quality any super spy should have. Plus, his VOICE alone demands obedience 🙂

    2. I totally agree with the Michael Fassbender as James Bond thing too, that he’s like an older, more suave version of Cavill. His accent is to die for. He can do Bond as he is today. My only worry is that he’s too skinny, and with Daniel Craig as the previous Bond we’re expecting someone with Craig’s built.

      1. Actually, I prefer the leaner version of Bond, a la Dalton. I mean seriously, he’s a spy not a triathlete or body builder! I’m not too keen on the ‘speedo’ look of Craig, I’d rather have a classier Bond that’s not overly-physical, and I think Fassbender fits that perfectly!

        Btw, I see your point that Cavill isn’t polished enough yet, but I figure give him a few more years and more experience, he just might be able to pull it off.

  4. Vince

    I say let’s get the toupees out and bring back Connery and Moore!!! Sorry, I couldn’t resist… I do think that Connery first 3 bonds were pretty damn gritty and Dalton started bringing that back. What irks me is remembering a comment from Desmond Llewelyn stating how he thought Brosnan’s bond was more authentic to Dalton’s – yeah right.

    1. While you’re at it, might as well get Donald Trump then, he is the KING of toupee wearers! 😀 Yes, no qualms about Connery from me, but I think he overstayed his welcome when he did Never Say Never Again, as even any Bond fan can attest.

      Oh Q, what does he know anyway? Like you said, your friends always wanted to be Bond, but NOT Brosnan’s Bond. ‘Nuff said.

  5. Well now, Deadline is reporting the news is fake and that James Bond 23 is still in limbo due to MGM financial woes. Basically, it’s in the same situation it has been in for the past few months 🙂

    1. Ah I see, but the indefinite delay may still cost Daniel Craig’s third outing as Bond, just as Dalton lost interest after five years.

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  7. For some curious reason I’ve felt my own presence throughout this post, Flixy :)))))))))

    Hardy and Cavill are my first candidates for Bond as well. Brosnan was my favourite so far.

    1. He..he.. can’t say I’m surprised, Dez. Gotta disagree about Brosnan though, too much of a pretty boy. I think he’s ok as an actor, just not my favorite Bond.

  8. Firstly let me say thanks for the multiple plugs.

    As they say at the end of the movies “James Bond WILL return”. It is too profitable not to. MGM’s only decision is do they sell the rights to the movie as part of a fire sale to save the company or do they keep it to make the company more attractive to a prospective buyer. I think they will keep it meaning there won’t be a new Bond movie until they find a buyer.

    Now just to clarify I didn’t actually suggest Colin Farrell as Bond, he would be more a marketing gimmick before revealing the unthinkable, Timothy Dalton returning as an aging Bond.

    One thing the guardian got right is that “James Bond isn’t James Bond any more”. The Bond of the books is a cold hard bastard with a chip on his shoulder. The closest we have seen to him on film is Dalton. The best way to get back to that is a 1950’s/60’s set movie based on the original books.

    1. You’re welcome, Andy, but sorry for misinterpreting your post about Colin. Yes, it would seem ‘unthinkable’ to have Dalton back isn’t it? A shame really, as it’d be so brilliant! He could still be the ‘cold, hard bastard with a chip on his shoulder’ even as an aging Bond, and he’d teach the younger spy everything he knew. Oh well, in any case, one thing is certain, Bond WILL return! 🙂

      1. Interestingly regarding Colin Farrell, although I wasn’t suggesting him as Bond, I did get a few positive repossesses to him as Bond.

        I hadn’t hear the one about Christopher Nolan. That would be really cool. Seeing what he did to Batman would give me very high hopes for his take on Bond.

        1. Can’t say I’m surprised, he would make a good Bond. Though another Irish actor Fassbender is an equally great suggestion as well, and the fact that he’s not as well-known would actually make him a better choice.

          I’m so psyched to hear about Nolan wanting to do Bond. I was already so excited he might be involved in the Superman reboot, and now this? Not sure how he can fit it all into his schedule though. I think he should concentrate on Batman 3 IMO, and in the next few years, maybe realize his dream to do a Bond flick? He just might revitalize that franchise the way he did with Batman!

  9. Ted S.

    I still don’t know why Sony won’t buy all of MGM’s assets, I mean they co-financed and released Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and those two films made them quite a bit of cash. Maybe MGM doesn’t want Sony to take over their properties, who knows.

    I’m still hoping that Clive Owens will finally accept the role if say Daniel Craig decides to leave the franchise.

    BTW, did you read an interview with Chris Nolan where he gave a hint that he wants to direct a Bond flick? That could be awesome.

    1. I doubt Clive would ever accept the offer, I don’t think the idea ever appealed to him even though he seems to have played similar character (a spy) in his other films. Ever since I saw him in those BMW films I thought he’d make a hard-edged Bond a la Dalton, both of them have the right intensity for the role.

      Oh yes, I did hear about Nolan’s desire to do a Bond flick and tweeted about it. That would be awesome indeed. If there’s any director who can turn this franchise around for the better, it’d be Nolan!

  10. Eric

    Ruth, I was thoroughly enjoying all of your insight and articles until I came upon this one. It was a bold move stating that Dalton and Craig were the best Bonds. However, as a Bond historian, I have to disagree completely. The major factor that they both lack severely in is poise, which is what separates Bond from the unimaginative reproductions. I’m aware that I am one of the majority that believe that no actor has portrayed Bond accurately since connery. The novels by Fleming accentuate the minute, yet untrivial emotional characteristics that Connery brought to the character, and has only been portrayed closely a couple times since he left. Aside from the Connery flicks, I would say that Brosnan in Goldeneye most accurately portrayed the original character traits from the novels. (But definitely not in T.W.I.N.E., or D.A.D.) The problem with Craig is his Bond’s confidence. Craig’s bond is an oxymoron in a sense, in that he accurately portrays the cockiness, but underexaggerates the confidence. Moore was both cocky and confident, but to an extreme, and his interpretation lacked the ability to transform into seriousness when absolutely necessary.

    Actually the term that might better accentuate the novel persona would be charisma. Something that Dalton could could never get right no matter how hard he tried, and Craig never seemed to even attempt. It is a trait that Connery mastered, and has only been NEAR-duplicated a couple times since.

    (I’m not even going to comment on George Lazenby’s Bond, as that was one of the biggest farces in the history of cinema)

    I’m not trying to be argumentative. I just wanted to share my own two cents on the subject, no matter how unoriginal my viewpoints on the subject are. I thoroughly enjoyed your article, as I do all your articles, as this was a thought-provoking, well-structured view of the polar opposite of my opinions. Keep up the great work!

    By the way, Alan Rickman as a Bond villain is pure genius!!! (Hans Gruber being the greatest villain is something I absolutely agree with) I’d LOVE to see that! Now if only I could see Connery vs. Rickman 🙂

    1. Eric

      Forgot to mention that I’m also in the camp that endorses Clive Owen for the next Bond.

      The idea for Owen was first brought up by Brosnan, when he announced his Bond-Retirement and was asked by reporters who he thought would make a great replacement for him. Clive Owen then was asked for comment in the following days after Brosnans endorsement, and said that he would definitely consider portraying Bond if the studio was to ask him, but MGM never extended an offer to him, stating later on that they were more interested in finding a more relatively unknown actor, eventually Craig, to portray Bond. Casino Royale was decent, but after watching the incomprehensible, sad attempt at a Bond film known as ‘Quantum of Solace’, I’m glad that they might be moving on.

    2. Eric, I’m sure Ruth will respond with her thoughts but I thought I would get in first. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and yours appears well considered and measure but I have to say I disagree with a few of your points. Firstly it is easy to say that Connery was the best Bond, he certainly made the best Bond movies (I have said repeatedly that From Russia with Love is the best Bond movie) but he was not necessarily the best Bond. The reason his films worked so well is that on the whole they used original source material for their stories and were set in the right era. Bond it was conceived in a post war/cold war time and has the most relevance in the 50’s and 60’s. That short period from Dr. No (1962) to You Only Live Twice (1967) was the only time Bond was truly relevant. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) could have been the best bond film ever but George Lazenby was so wrong for the part it destroyed it. There were other good films Live and Let Die (1973) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) but they had moved a long way from the original character and were good despite Roger Moore not because of him. Casino Royale was the best Bond film since the 60’s and whilst I agree that Daniel Craig is a long way from what Bond was he is perfect for that film and he is the best man to play the part as an evolution from what it was nearly fifty years ago. I would also say Craig was not the problem with Quantum of Solace, it was simply a rubbish story. The director and cast did a good job with the crap they had to work with. Whilst Pierce Brosnan had the right look to play Bond he lacked the hard edges to his character and also suffered from having one fantastic movie and four really poor ones. Even Moore had better material than Brosnan to work with! Neither of Timothy Dalton’s Bond movies were great movies or even great Bond movies, they were very good but not great, but they did give us a character that I think Ian Fleming would recognise as Bond unlike Moore, Brosnan, Lazenby and probably Craig.

      Clive Owen was first mentioned back in the 90’s after the TV show Chancer and before Brosnan was cast. He then came to people’s attention again a few years later when he wore a tuxedo in the movie Croupier where he certainly looked the part as Bond. I would have liked to see him get the part a few years ago but think his time has probably past now. If you are interested click on my name to link to my Blog where you will find a category devoted to Bond where some of the above points have been mentioned previously.

    3. Hello Eric, I appreciate your straightforward yet courteous comment. First of all, let me clarify that I said two of my ‘favorite’ Bonds, not necessarily the ‘best’ ones, as they are so subjective. I realize that my opinion is in the minority especially when it comes to Dalton, but I stand by it. I’ve seen most of the Bond movies ever since I was a kid growing up with two brothers, and though I like some of Connery and Moore’s Bond films, there is something about the way Dalton interpreted the character that really appealed to me. I have to disagree with you that Dalton lacked charisma because to me, he’s got such screen presence and that ‘sense of danger’ lurking beneath his graceful, measured steps that I find irresistible. Even his voice demands authority! What I hear a lot from people is that Dalton’s Bond lacked humor, which I disagree, but be that as it may, I’d much prefer more grit than farcical one liners anyway.

      Ok, now that I got that out of the way. Funny how we both would like to see our fave Bond actor opposite Alan Rickman. Alas, I doubt that’d ever happen. But I’d settle with seeing Clive Owen with Alan Rickman since there is a glimmer of hope that might happen (that is if the producers are smart enough to convince Owen to take on the role!)

      1. Eric

        I’d definitely take Owen vs. Rickman. That would definitely be a must see.

        Fandango: Owen was talked about for bond then, but wasn’t considered for contract negotiations until Casino Royale, when broccoli and fleming would not include gross profit points in the contract, offending him. Probably led to his taking that spoof 006 role in “The Pink Panther”. My grandma took me to see that. I love every chance to go to the movies with my grandma and grandpa, but that movie was tough to sit through.

        1. Eric, yes I believe you are correct about the “considered for contract negotiations” timeline. He was the fans favourite for a time from about ten years ago and would have been my choice at the time. As mentioned i think his time has passed. Here is something I wrote about it last month.
          Ruth, As much as I love to see Alan Rickman playing a villain it wouldn’t work for Bond. With the bottom line more important than the movie itself they would create a cross between Hans Gruber and The Sheriff of Nottingham and result in a caricature rather than a character, it could be horrible.

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  12. Eugene

    I would love to see Jason Statham for the next few bonds. What do you think? Crank really got that edge, and this guy would be perfect

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