You can sense the growing excitement in the air again. Given the upcoming premiere of No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s fifth and final turn as 007, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and the general release at the end of September of the movie to British cinema screens, the UK’s media has been gearing up again for the return of Ian Fleming’s iconic spy.
With the release of each new James Bond movie, EON and their backers invest much effort into mounting a comprehensive media campaign, including in the weeks prior to the film hitting the big screens. It is essential to tease audiences and get them excited. After a couple of false starts due to the Covid pandemic, this media strategy has become even more important. Much depends on Bond wooing back his loyal fans and 007 is seen by the industry as a key part of reinvigorating cinemas and regaining some sense of ‘normality’ after all the damage exerted by Covid-19 in the last year or so.
The British market, naturally, is a key part of this. Newspapers in the UK in the last few days have been featuring arts highlights for this coming autumn (fall) and, inevitably, the new James Bond adventure is high up on those lists. And rightly so.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper, for example, in its G2 arts supplement on 24th August, put Craig’s gun-toting Bond prominently on the front page of its autumn arts preview and noted inside: ‘Daniel Craig is hanging up his Walther PPK, his tux and sky-blue swimming briefs and bowing out of the 007 role with the latest Bond thriller. Veteran Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have teamed up with Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge for what is purportedly a funnier, savvier Bond for Craig’s last hurrah’.
The newspaper’s film critic Peter Bradshaw also supplied a separate short article on what cinema may look like after the impact of Covid-19 and, inevitably, this included reference to the new James Bond film. Bradshaw noted how the autumn will see new films mixed in with product delayed from the distant ‘before times’ of pre-Covid. And, at one stage, he reflected with humour that: ‘If the forthcoming James Bond film were to be pushed back again, there could be rioting in the streets. Or, at any rate, an unruly crowd of 007 fans, film journalists and industry professionals might run through central London gibbering. Bond is the gold standard of British cinema’.
The Spy We All Love
Similarly, the UK’s London Times newspaper (28th August), in its ‘Coming Soon! What to Watch’ section in its Saturday review supplement, featured on its front cover a large still of a determined looking Craig as Bond riding his motorbyke through an Italian town in the new movie, and inside the supplement asked: ‘What kept you, Mr. Bond? After a string of Covid-inflicted false starts Daniel Craig’s swansong as 007 is finally here. Craig was recently named as as the best paid actor in Hollywood, his $100 million salary boosted by two Knives Out sequels. Before we see him again as Benoit Blanc, however, he’ll play Bond one more time…’. The piece was also accompanied by another still of Craig, this time looking suave in his tux alongside Ana de Armas, standing in a bar.
The same day (28th August) also saw the front cover of the ‘Review’ supplement of the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper adorned with a large still of Craig’s smart grey-suited Bond emerging from his (Living Daylights) Aston Martin in a London street and crossing the road: ‘Ah, Mr. Bond… We’ve been expecting you’. According to the Telegraph, the new movie, which it called ‘Daniel Craig’s much-delayed swan song’, sees 007 ‘hauled out of retirement to deal with Rami Malek’s terrorist demagogue’.
All this is no doubt just a taste of what is to come in September, as the UK’s media gears up for the hugely anticipated return of our favourite screen hero. To echo the comments above, we have been expecting you, Mr. Bond. Welcome back!