Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

James Bond 23: Mendes' Skyfall Starts Shooting, Craig Joined by Finney, Bardem, Fiennes UPDATED

Photo of Matt Mueller By Matt Mueller | Thompson on Hollywood November 3, 2011 at 5:11AM

At a press conference in London’s Whitehall district Thursday, director Sam Mendes confirmed the swirls of rumors surrounding Bond 23, from the new title to casting. Matt Mueller was there.
1
Skyfall 007 Cast

At a press conference in London’s Whitehall district Thursday, director Sam Mendes confirmed the swirls of rumors surrounding Bond 23, from the new title to casting. Matt Mueller was there.

Confirming weeks of speculation, with producer Michael G. Wilson calling it “the worst kept secret in London”, the title of the 23rd official 007 adventure was today unveiled as Skyfall. The choice of location was deliberate, according to Mendes: Whitehall, Britain’s corridor of power, will play host to “a large section of shooting” on the latest James Bond production, which officially begins on 7 November.

Fifty years to the day from Sean Connery being announced as the original 007, Mendes introduced Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, returning as M for the seventh time, Javier Bardem as the new outing’s chief villain, and the two Bond girls, French actress Berenice Marlohe and British actress Naomie Harris. Confirmed for roles but not in attendance were Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw.

Mendes quickly settled two things: contrary to rumour that the film would favour drama over spectacle, Skyfall will feature “plenty of action”; and the mysterious Quantum organisation which has hovered SPECTRE-like over Craig’s first two Bond films, Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace, has been jettisoned for Skyfall, which the director classified as a standalone adventure not linked to any of Ian Fleming’s 007 works.

Wilson denied reports that the budget had been scaled back after Quantum Of Solace, the most expensive Bond movie to date, failed to perform as well as Casino Royale. “It’s in the same range as the last film,” he insisted. “We haven’t had to sacrifice anything.” The only locations confirmed were Shanghai and “other parts” of China, Istanbul and “other parts” of Turkey and “the wilds of Scotland”, so it certainly appears there will be less globetrotting than in Solace. (No mention of India, which at one point was expected to play a significant part in the new adventure, including a train-top set-piece.)

007 press launches are always cagy affairs, and this one proved the same. Marlohe and Harris were allowed to utter one line about their characters before Eon’s brusque moderator silenced them (Marlohe: “I play a glamorous, enigmatic character called Severine”; Harris: “I play a field agent called Eve”). Asked about being chased to play villains in big productions, Bardem (whose character name wasn’t revealed) retorted, “Who says a villain is a bad person?” and declared it “a pleasure and an honour to be here.” A question about what physical training the actors had engaged in prompted the Spanish star to joke, “I’ve been learning the English vowels”.

Plot details were unforthcoming. Mendes, who will be working alongside his Jarhead/Revolutionary Road Director of Photography Roger Deakins and Jarhead/Road To Perdition production designer Dennis Gassner, promised “lots of surprises” in the story, which he credited to Neil Purvis, Rob Wade and John Logan (no mention of Peter Morgan, who was known to be working on Bond 23 at one stage). “It has all the elements of a classic Bond movie,” said Mendes.

A question about whether the Oscar-winning director’s appointment combined with the high-pedigree cast signified an intention to take the franchise in a more highbrow direction was greeted with laughter by Craig, who exclaimed, “No, the opposite!” As for the title Skyfall, Bond gatekeeper Barbara Broccoli said “it has some emotional context which will be revealed in the film.”

Next year marks 50 years since the release of the very first Bond escapade, Dr. No, with Wilson declaring that “Sony, MGM and ourselves” are looking at a lot of opportunities to celebrate the franchise’s golden anniversary next year. He also revealed that a documentary is currently in production that will look back over the entire history of the series.

Press conference updates are on Twitter @007. Here's the official Facebook page

This article is related to: Box Office, Directors, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Franchises, Media


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.