The Film

Spectre_2Sam Mendes is following Skyfall (2012), the most critically and commercially successful Bond film to date, with another high octane 007 adventure with Daniel Craig returning to the role for the fourth time. Also returning to the series are Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory, the new M, Ben Whishaw as Q and Naomi Harris as Eve Moneypenny, 007 (all introduced in Skyfall) and Rory Kinnear as Tanner (who made his debut in Quantum Of Solace 2008).  This time Bond will face femme fatales and fiendish foes on another mystery spy thriller that takes him from internecine intrigue in Whitehall, London to the night time streets of Rome with more mayhem in Morocco and Mexico.

SPECTRE will mine unused element from the Ian Fleming short story, Octopussy, published posthumously in 1966. Here, Bond reveals that he was taught to ski in Kitzbuhel, Austria by a certain Hans Oberhauser. Oberhauser was a father figure to Bond when, having recently been orphaned, he happened to need one. Ian Fleming himself spent a large part of his post-Eton  years in the Austrian Tyrol town.

The Cast

Christoph Waltz will make a sinister new entry into the pantheon of Bond actors. His role is a mystery but it promises to delve deep into the Bond iconography updated for the Daniel Craig generation. After Mads Mikkelsen’s  Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006), Mathieu Almaric’s Dominic Greene in Quantum Of Solace (2008) and Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva (born Tiago Rodriguez) in Skyfall (2012), Waltz will be a splendid a.dition to a select group of actors. The German star follows the recent tradition of using top-notch European actors (Denmark, France and Spain above, respectively) to essay these roles.

This is not Watlz’s first brush with Fleming. He previously played a German spy in Anglia TV’s 1989 biopic of Ian Fleming titled “Goldeneye”, starring Charles Dance as the author and directed by Don Boyd.

Monica Belluci will play an Italian temptress, adding prestige to the lineage of Bond actresses. One of Italy’s finest actresses, Belluci’s casting completes a circle as she was originally sought for a role in Pierce Brosnan’s second Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Her mature beauty and operatic screen presence will make her a character to be reckoned with in the world of 007.

Léa Seydoux will play a seductive femme fatale in the film, following on from her illustrious career as one of the most sought-after actresses of her generation. She previously share screen time with Christoph Waltz in Quentin Taratino’s Inglorious Bastards (2009) and has done secret agent duty with Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2014).

American WWE Wrestler Dave Bautista, fresh from his hit debut in Guardians Of The Galaxy as Drax (no, not the Bond villain), will now play the physical heavy, Hinx in the Bond 24. He follows in the long tradition of henchpersons from the past including Harold Sakata’s Oddjob in Goldfinger (1964), the late Richard Kiel’s Jaws (whose real name was Zbigniew Krycsiwiki) in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979), Grace Jones’s Mayday in A View To A Kill (1985) and Famke Janssen’s Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye (1985).

Background

The title and various story elements originate from the troubled legal history dating back to the publication of Fleming’s 1961 Bond novel, Thunderball. It was acknowledged the novel contained creative contributions from producer Kevin McClory and screenwriter Jack Whittingham who were given credit in later editions of the book. McClory was attempting to make the first James Bond film but later partnered with Bond producers Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman for Thunderball (1965). As part of the complex settlement for the production of the film, McClory was left with remake rights for that film only. As such, he retained the rights to the characters and concepts from the novel. This gave birth, eventually, in 1983 to Sean Connery’s comeback film, Never Say Never Again, executive produced by Kevin McClory outside the fold of the official Bonds and Albert R Broccoli’s Eon Productions. Years of subsequent dispute were settled when on 15th November 2013, the McClory estate had formally settled the issue with the Bond producing entities who had now acquired the full copyright rights to the characters and concepts contained in the Thunderball screen materials.

Fan Reaction

For Bond fans, this is the best Christmas present, the return of James Bond and classic elements of the series with yet another classic title coined by Ian Fleming. This announcement is like opening the first window of a Bond advent calendar. Further windows will be: who will sing the song, the first trailers, the premiere. The announcement on the Albert R Broccoli 007 Stage was Bondian and exciting. Fans around the world love how the Bond history is being embraced but emboldened with a classic international cast, the return of the Aston Martin in the form of the stunning DB10 and yet there is still enough intrigue and mystery leaving us wanting more. The only thing better than this news would be Santa driving an Aston Martin sleigh.

SPECTRE is produced by Micheal G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for Albert R Broccoli’s Eon Productions and will be directed by Sam Mendes from a screenplay by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth Interestingly, both the director of photography, Hoyte van Hotema and editor, Lee Smith have worked with Bond director hopeful, Christopher Nolan. When SPECTRE is released on 6 November 2015, the highest number in adventure cinema will still be 007.

Ajay Chowdhury Esq.