So now we know. In a special press call held live from the 007 Soundstage at Pinewood Studios, in England, director Sam Mendes revealed this morning (December 4) the long-awaited title of the new James Bond movie: SPECTRE. Speaking with EON producer Barbara Broccoli standing alongside him, Mendes hinted that he did not have to go into details about the title for James Bond fans – for obvious reasons.
SPECTRE is, of course, the name of the criminal organisation that first appeared in Bond author Ian Fleming’s 007 novel Thunderball (1961) and was also a presence in the EON movie franchise from the very first Bond movie, Dr. No (1962). The head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, also appeared in shadow in From Russia, With Love (1963) and Thunderball (1965), and then appeared as a full character for the first time in You Only Live Twice (1967), played by Donald Pleasance.
Mendes unveiled the Bond 24 ‘SPECTRE’ logo design on a screen in front of the excited audience, a distinctive and dark image with a bullet hole in the title. He then unveiled James Bond’s brand new vehicle for the movie, an Aston Martin DB10, which the director referred to as ‘a thing of beauty’ and said had been specially developed for the movie by the Aston Martin company. Mendes promised audiences would see what it is capable of in the movie.
Mendes said the new movie would be in production for seven months and, in addition to Pinewood Studios, locations will include Rome, Mexico City, Morocco, the Alps in Austria, and central London. They had broken rehearsals to stage the press call today, and full filming will commence on Monday morning, December 8.
The SPECTRE director then proceeded to list the members of the production team on the new Bond movie, many of them returning from Skyfall. New additions to this highly successful team will be Lee Smith as editor, and Hoyte van Hoytema as cinemaphotographer. Mendes also confirmed that the music for the movie will be once again be in the hands of Skyfall composer Thomas Newman.
The leading cast members were then invited to take to the stage. Rory Kinnear will return as MI6’s Chief of Staff Bill Tanner, Ben Whishaw as ‘Q’, Naomi Harris as Miss Moneypenny, and Ralph Fiennes as the new ‘M’, a role he inherited at the end of Skyfall. A surprise new addition to the Whitehall team for this movie will be Andrew Scott, who will play a Whitehall boss named Denbigh (as late as yesterday, the UK media were speculating that Scott, best known for his role as Moriarty in the BBC TV series Sherlock, would be a villain in the movie).
Mendes then introduced the new leading cast members of the movie: German-Austrian actor Christoph Waltz (as Franz Oberhauser), Dave Bautista (as a henchman named ‘Mr. Hinx’), French actress Lea Seydoux (as Madeleine Swann), and Italian actress Monica Bellucci (as Lucia Sciarri). It must have been a particularly satisfying moment for Belucci, as the beautiful Italian actress had once tested for Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and has often been spoken of as an ideal Bond woman. The cast were then joined on stage by 007 himself, Daniel Craig, who is playing James Bond for his fourth time.
Finally, some tantalizing clues were given about the plot of the new movie in the EON press release issued earlier today: “A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While ‘M’ battles political forces to keep the Secret Service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE”.
Bond, so to speak, is well and truly back!