By Drew Taylor | The Playlist November 8, 2012 at 10:05AM
The one thing that is very apparent, from almost the first frame, is how different a Bond outing "Skyfall" really is, and this is something that Mendes was very adamant about. "I wanted to push the franchise into areas that it hadn't been before," Mendes said. "I felt what I had seen in 'Casino Royale,' was a Bond as an actor, capable of handling a much bigger personal journey." Looking back at the franchise, Mendes thought that it had gotten a little bit off-track, something which he wanted to try and course-correct. "I think there was a point around 'Moonraker' when it lost most of its thriller roots and went into more of an action adventure element and Bond became the kind of tape to string it all together." Mendes has an almost academic breakdown of where the franchise went. "He almost, from that moment on, had no journey at all. You have to be the reason we get to all these places. I'm being unfair to some of the movies in between, but in 'Casino Royale' Bond was back at the center again," Mendes explained. "He had emotional stakes and it was no coincidence that it was based on a Fleming novel. So to find that personal weight at the center of the movie was really important."
Celebrate The Franchise's 50th Anniversary Was Also Important To The Filmmakers
But, of course, "Skyfall" isn't all bold new ground (although there is a lot of that) – this is the fiftieth anniversary of the franchise, after all, and there are many tips of the proverbial hat to the spy's previous adventures. "'Goldfinger' is one of my favorite Bonds. We tried to include everything that we can. Certainly the conversation had at the beginning was, 'This is 50 years. We should mark it.' We had to reintroduce some things and introduce new ideas and celebrate it." (Keen-eyed Bond fanatics and casual observers of the franchise will both notice specific call-backs to previous entries.) In addition to reintroducing M and Moneypenny, Mendes had a very specific idea for the heavy: "I really wanted, even very early on, a flamboyant kind of villain, that dates back more to the early Bond movies." Naomie Harris, for her part, kept mum. When asked about what it was like taking over the mantle of Moneypenny, she demurred: "I can't answer any questions, I'm sorry."
Naomie Harris Says Danny Boyle Changed Her Life (Twice)
Naomie Harris has had a solid career, appearing in two "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, Michael Mann's big-screen "Miami Vice," Brett Ratner's "After the Sunset," and Michael Winterbottom's "Tristram Shanty: A Cock and Bull Story." But her big break came in the form of Danny Boyle's revisionist zombie thriller "28 Days Later." That role broke her out and paved the way for her career. And it turns out Boyle was also responsible for her "Skyfall" gig. "I was in a play called 'Frankenstein,' directed by Danny Boyle. And that is what Debbie McWilliams and Sam Mendes came to see and that's how they cast me," Harris explained. "So it's the second time Danny Boyle had changed my life." Even after she found out she had gotten the part, too, she couldn't tell anyone. "For two months I couldn't tell a soul because they were waiting for the Bond announcement. It was really difficult living with that secret." Still, it probably got her prepared to tackle a woman with mysteries of her own.