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  1. The CBn Dossier, January – March 007

    Jacques Stewart

    Welcome to the January – March 2007 CBn Dossier, a wrap-up of all the latest James Bond news and rumours. Coverage will be focusing on Casino Royale, Bond 22, current and upcoming literary 007 releases, and much more…

    This quarterly dossier is written by Jim. If you think that’s bad, it could have been much worse: he could have sung it to you.

    Cashino Royale

    The end of last year provided substantial critical acclaim for Casino Royale; the beginning of this one demonstrated its extraordinary financial success when it continued to shovel megadollars Broccoliwards. By the end of January, it had passed the $100 million mark in the UK, unheard of for a Bond film, and by March had outgrossed every other Bond film in the US and Worldwide to become the most successful of an already pretty frickin’ outrageously successful series. I mean, this was hardly “Help a starving Broccolus”, was it?

    Never mind picking which country to set the next Bond in; they’re now pretty much in a position to buy a country. Possibly not China, where the film opened in January (and whilst Italy had a two month wait, China had a forty-five year one; was Amazon delivering?).

    Ah!, the naysayers would cry (they mainly operate in monosyllables, and even “Ah!” is an exhausting intellectual demand) “Ah! (or, indeed, “Nay!”) But that does not take into account that when Thunderball was released in 1732, the dollar was worth 11p (although that’s pretty much what it’s worth now, nicht wahr?) and everyone on the planet and every single one of the twelvety billion types of beetle went to see Goldfinger at a time when for one British pound you could still buy a cinema ticket, a round of lager (whatever that may be) and the home journey fare on some vile rattling public transport contraption and still have change left over for a Life Peerage”.

    So what?

    OK, so inflation unadjusted, it’s the most successful Bond film ever. Adjusted, it’s about fifth or thereabouts, something like that (I lost interest). Maladjusted, with august bodies flinging numerous awards at it and people the world over still chucking coin, it’s a terrible flop.

    “Thank you for a successful boycott”. Oh, it was nothing really.

    Oh go on, have some more of our money, please

    Equally discourteous to records, the DVD release of Casino Royale has also been hugely lucrative, helped by many retailers in the USA lobbing rare memorabilia/ghastly tat out with each purchase and, in the UK, substantial price-cutting. ASDA, allegedly a “shop” (? no idea) in the northern tundra of England, has been selling the DVD for only £7.00 ($1,356.99 US). A word of caution: given that a couple of years ago in something calling itself Newcastle-upon-Tyne one could buy a “house” for 50 pence, this may not represent such good value. “Casino Royale DVD: fourteen times more expensive than your shack”; tough sell. Rampagingly inadequate bivouacery aside, it does appear to be jolly popular even if the Special Features have come in for criticism, which seems unwise because the more they are criticised, the more inevitable the “we listened to the fans and therefore decided to release an Ultimate Megalith three disc edition £26.99, don’t blame us, you wanted it” in about, ooh, June. God bless Casino Royale, and all who profit by her.

    Oh! Scars

    Maybe it was a tadgette optimistic, but there seemed to be some surprise around these parts that, despite its extraordinarily strong reviews towards the end of last year, Casino Royale didn’t receive any Oscar nominations (and what have things come to – and how happy are we that they have? – when “Bond film not nominated for Oscars”is actually a bit of a shock?), and therefore did not win any (I think that’s how it works).

    Still, Martin Scorsese would really have been left wondering who he had offended in a previous life if the James Bond series – y’know, that one with the metal-toothed giants, psychopathic midgets, upsetting acting and invisible cars – had come along and handed him his perennial and umpteenth smack in the nadgers.

    Anyway, there was still the BAFTAs on 11 February, and the British “Academy” seemed to have been muchly keen – in its “academic judgment” (watching some films) – to hurl nominations at Casino Royale. On the night, Bond fans the world o’er had fingers (gold or otherwise) and hooks and electronic turbogloves of death crossed. Bit of a shame that it only came away with two; Best Sound (sounds lovely) – how do they measure that? “That one was a nice sound, but I don’t like that sound as much, ooh take it away”? Is it about one specific, individual sound during the film – if so, which one? I think we should be told – and Best Newcomer for Ms Green (looks lovely). One could apparently vote for Ms. Green at the BAFTA website although the one time I tried my screen froze and all sorts of horrible things started happening. Doubtless I am very old and even more less of doubt (I know that’s grammatically suspect but it pleases me) there was a very simple solution but I suspect that it was something to do with computers and accordingly, even if very simple, additionally very boring.

    Raising the Standard

    Early February brought the news that Daniel Craig had been awarded the “Best Actor” prize at The Evening Standard Film awards.

    This is evidently a conspiracy by the British film industry to award prizes to its pals and to try to ensure that American producers stay in the UK despite the strong pound and this is why every Bond actor has always received this award… um…

    Um.

    An EMPIRE. Conquered. Fact.

    Best Film. Best Actor. Best Female Newcomer. Splendid. Frankly “they” can give Ms Green as many awards as they want; I know I’d like to give her one. Gloss tarnished a bit by there being no EMPIRE awards ceremony until November (when, presumably, the films of 2007 will be suitably garlanded (early money for Best Actor: Optimus Prime)), but it’s still a pretty substantial haul and is one “voted for by real human beings” unlike the Oscars, which are presumably voted for by a plate of Marmite sandwiches.

    All very good, but can you now please kill Pritpal, and very horribly? Ta.

    Also “something to do with computers”, the year started with the release of Charlie Higson’s third Young Bond novel, Double or Die, a zippy rip-roarer of a read. Instant review in the heading to this bit.

    With some nice – but thankfully not overwhelming – references to “other bits of Bond” and his traditionally fine sense of atmosphere and often brutal violence, Mr Higson has surprised many with this series which, if the standard is maintained with the remaining two books (release dates now announced), will probably be reflected on in years to come as “a sound idea, amazingly”. But most impressive amongst the successes of Double or Die – instant bestseller, 120,000 sold – is that IFP managed to keep the final title a secret until the unveiling on 3 January. Given that the Casino Royale script seemed to be freely available months before we witnessed Daniel Craig administering fragments of toilet cubicle to that spaniel-haired man, and yet this teensy bit of info about YB3 was kept under wraps until the last poss min, Eon could learn a thing or two from IFP about business. And that’s not a sentence I would have believed credible a handful of years ago.

    On that point, hasn’t the Bond world really been shaken up of late? Eon and IFP really motoring and producing product of substantial quality. Young Bond. Blond Bond. Award nominations. Award wins. Critical credibility. It all seems to have been revolutionised and yet it’s still here, and earning as much (and more) than it ever did. This new Bond age seems to be chugging along very merrily. We seem to be heading into Centenary Year in 2008 very nicely.

    While I’m on, being a Bond fan’s quite good now, isn’t it? A few years ago, in polite company, one could have been stoned to death – or at least been made to wear a tag around one’s ankle – if one announced that one quite, well sorta, liked (sotto voce) James Bond. An opinion as welcome as a lusty paedophile popping out of a birthday cake. Yet now, the social stigma seems to be lifting (although obviously a middle-aged man buying and reading a book aimed at children is fine … um) and maybe there will come a time soon when we don’t have to sign a register at the police station, wait for the rozzers to confiscate our secret hoard of “Roger Moore sings Megadeth: Unplugged” videos and have to suppress our inner desires by pretending to like Jessica Tandy films.

    What do you mean that’s only me?

    The Man with the Olden Gun

    Ian Fleming’s Colt .357 Magnum (some sort of gun, apparently) sold for $23,000 at auction in March. I shall now record my reaction to this vital news through the medium of dance.

    You’re too kind.

    Top Nobs Speak!

    Barb Broc and an assortment of Lamonts and Arnolds popped up all over the shop to chat about Casino Royale and Bond 22, all giving off a whiff of a vibe of not quite believing how well it all turned out. Our new safely ensconsed 007 also discussed his belief in the “importance of non-Bond roles”. Said instant millionaire Daniel Craig.

    Purvis and Wade also speak! (But who wrote their dialogue?)

    Seemingly unchastened by having inflicted Die Another Day upon a world too lovely to suffer, but doubtless buoyed up by the generous scoops of praise decorating Casino Royale, the two lads spent some time dealing with rumours for B-22. Moneypenny and Q aren’t that necessary, it would appear (bit odd that it’s taken twenty-odd films to realise this), and will appear only if the story justifies it (given that their repetoire of “stories” has included The World is Not Enough and DUD, approach this with extreme caution) and the Algerian loveknot may turn into an Algerian love triangle, although filming in Algeria could be a problem – there seems to be a subtle hint of war there at the moment (unless the Broccolis buy Algeria, which may be feasible). The “Algerian Boyfriend” thingy seems to be gathering pace, and the usual Goran Whassface and Jean Reno rumours are hoving into view; my money’s on Reno (rather than in Reno) and whilst I accept that he’s Moroccan not Algerian, we’ve all just been convinced that a Dane can play an Albanian so it shouldn’t be too hard.

    Of most interest to CBn members, never averse to speculating, was Pee and Dubya’s comment that Bond 22 won’t be based on Risico. Whilst the reason’s very obvious to we eleven fans of Carole Bouquet’s handlebar moustache, this has inevitably raised the cry “Ah!” (here they go again) “Ah! But they didn’t say it wouldn’t be called Risico!”. No, they didn’t. But, on that logic, they didn’t say it wouldn’t be called “The Adventure of the Gay Elvis” either. Accordingly, Bobby and Neily have confirmed by their silence the following:-

    • 1. James Bond’s middle name will be revealed. They didn’t say it wouldn’t be, so it will. Fact!
    • 2. Given that these are the persons responsible for “Christmas Jones”, expect the middle name to be something stooopid like “Waitrose” or “Wroughton” or “Grrr”.
    • 3. The villain will be a holographic representation of the Second Test match against New Zealand at Lord’s in 1994. They didn’t say it wouldn’t be, so it will. Fact!
    • 4. The girl will be called “Sony”. This one actually has an upsetting air of the inevitable about it. Might be played by Abbie Cornish, but might equally be played by 7-Zark-7 from Battle of the Planets.
    • 5. Giancarlo Giannini will return (this is great – always liked him). And Bond will kill Mathis by cutting him open below the diaphragm, eviscerating him and throwing him off a balcony, his organs splashing to earth… well, maybe not. But somehow, it’s so Daniel Craig.

    Actually, James Grrr Bond seems to fit. Reminds me of the sounds Mrs Jim was making watching Mr Craig walking out of the sea in the entirely non-gratuitous product placement for Daniel Craig’s rolled-up socks.

    Anyway, that’s Bee Two Two. Expect the script to be leaked online tomorrow.

    You’d think they’d be queuing up to do it

    But apparently not. Both Roger Michell and Martin Campbell discussed in January their high probability of not directing The Adventure of the Gay Elvis. Fair enough; with premiere after premiere and, given the splendid product, having evidently given of himself hugely, Mr Campbell probably feels like he’s been buggered by a rhino. Still, it’d be nice to have him back in a few years. CBn wishes him the best for the future.

    Of Mr Michell, he who set Notting Hill before me, thank you so very very much for that, the main point of interest was that TAGE (pronounced “Tadger” to those in the know) was due to start filming in January 2007 (rather than the likely start in January 2008) meaning that we would have a marketing man’s moist fantasy (what a truly foul thought) of a Bond film in 007.

    Stuff it – in 2007 you get the DVD, by Blu-Ray (I have no idea what this means, nor do I want to find out) or by valve or steam or however the lovely magic works; be happy with that, and perhaps some collectors’ cards for a stultifyingly large price. 2008, the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, will bring us Young Bond book 4, a bit more of Moneypenny’s diary, the second film of a finally critically respectable James Bond and the centenary novel. What more do you want, and what more, really, could there possibly be?

    Well, probably some more of the comic strips from Titan, the latest of which, Death Wing, was announced in January (as a replacement for the previously announced Nightbird). And, frankly, if you think Death Wing is as good a title as “The Adventure of the Gay Elvis” you can just poo off, yer bounder.

    On that centenary novel, I did hear – I have my sources, albeit sometimes provocatively unreliable – about an author who had been suggested. A national treasure, immensely erudite, darker than the surface suggests, ostensibly of the Higson ilk, and if you’ve read his stuff, more appropriate than it may first appear, but as it may come to nought I won’t bother telling you about the Stephen Fry rumour.

    Meanwhile, back at the plot, if Bond Tutu has no takers for a director, I’m quite prepared to do it if no-one else is available. I have my price – not in cash, it’s just in ensuring that Mrs Jim is kept away from Mr Craig. I have rarely seen her salivate so. [Note: rarely. Not “never”. You mind your own businesss, you mucky pup].

    A second helping of Haggis?

    Towards the end of March, Paul Haggis dropped/flung to the ground with wanton abandon some thunderous hints about any prospective involvement he may have with Bond 22; whilst general reaction to his contribution to Casino Royale (if a little hazy as to what exactly can be identified as his) has been extremely positive amongst CBn members, it falls upon the nasty man in the corner (me) to point out that none of those awards won have been for best screenplay, have they? Nurr. Well, not yet anyway – the Edgar ceremony is due in April.

    Whoever it is, they had better get a move on: it appears that there is currently no finished script and the thing is due to open on 7 November 2008 against the unutterably unpleasant-sounding Madagascar 2, and about a fortnight before Dumbledore Does Death. That’s only nineteen months from now. Nineteen months ago was August 2005 when there was confident predicting amongst some of the more delusional brethren about a last minute deal to reanimate Mr Brosnan; that just feels like yesterday. Accordingly, November 2008 feels like tomorrow. Get a move on.

    For Sale. Several Careless Owners. $924 million o.n.o.

    I know that Aston Martins are expensive, but that’s ridiculous. Don’t want one now. No, take it away. You can’t make me.

    Oh, go on then. If it means putting the children out to work rather than having them learn French or Heroin or YouTube or whatever schools do these days, then so be it. That paper round had better pay well, or there’ll be trubbel*.

    *this is how one of my twin sons (thirteen) wrote “trouble” in an essay. Thirteen! When I was thirteen I…

    Still hurts.

    Lest We Forget

    Before we get too distracted by all that is bright shiny and new, there were some films ‘n’ stuff before October 2006, y’know. In April/May there will be a Bond Film marathon “in” Manhatten; a second wave of individual Ultimate Edition DVDs of the first 20 films has been announced and the popularity amongst broadcasters for Bond film series does not seem to abate. And there were some Bonds before Ol’ Blue Eyes: the slightly-can’t-quite-put-me-finger-on-it unsatisfying Hot Fuzz was worth watching due to a smashing turn by Timothy Dalton; one forgets how good he was as Bond, and how good he wasn’t quite allowed to be. Even the supporting of Manchester City can be overlooked due to his magnificent voiceover work for Brain’s Faggots.

    Stuff what we done

    During the past few months, Paul gave us all some French on the increasingly sophisticated CBn podcasts, which was exceptionally kind of him and made an old man very happy. Additionally, CBn interviewed the creators of The Art of Bond and Licence to Thrill: James Bond Posters and, thanks to CBn member Genrewriter, looked back at what was for many of our members their introduction to James Bond, and for others a welcome re-introduction, 1995’s GoldenEye. An impressive and heartfelt series of articles, although one awaits the rejoinder of “Last Hurrahs: Diamonds are Forever, A View to a Kill, Licence to Kill and Die Another Day” with some nervousness, because they’re all rubbish*.

    *NB this is an opinion and not necessarily representative of a collective CBn view. Yet. Give me time.

    Sometimes we come in hard copy too: thanks to Ajay and chums, a number of members have had the opportunity of seeing themselves in print in the latest edition of the JBIFC’s excellent magazine, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. 007 Magazine is also excellent. Both are excellent. Splendid.

    Good.

    Additionally, CBn also looked at the A.S.P handgun, weapon of choice of John Gardner’s James Bond in many of his continuation novels in the 1980s and 1990s. CBn hastens to add that it respects the right and freedom of citizens of the United States of America to bear arms, and notes that this derives from protecting themselves from British reprisals during the War of Independence. CBn calls upon you all to put down your guns because – and you read it here first – CBn is pleased to officially declare that the War of Independence has ended. We have that power.

    And we have that power because of our numbers: during January, CBn achieved 8,000 registered members for its forums. If you haven’t yet joined, why not give it a try? Particularly popular threads in the early part of 2007 have been: “What colour is Roger Moore’s brain?”; “Moonraker – Splendid or not so splendid?” (clue: splendid); “Never Say Never Again: Bettering the Cultural Progress of the Planet or Just Cynical Money-Grabbing Bewiggery?” and “Have you pleasured her today sexy man here are pills“. But, seriously, we do appreciate all our members’ efforts to keep our fora the most erudite, amusing and downright sorta comfynice of their kind. Many thanks.

    Don’t forget to enter our competitions, either. None of them involve premium rate ‘phonelines but do seek an adult’s permission, particularly if that adult doesn’t want you on the computer because he wants to look at pictures of dolly birds.

    …and CBn member mccartney007 had a film out.

    On the Slab

    So, as we look forward to 007 in 007 (y’see what I did there? Do you? Do you? Grim, wasn’t it?), what will happen? Will Bond 22 find itself a director and a title, and a story? Will the centenary novel be related to Bond 22 in any way? Will Bond 22 film in Pinewood or Prague? Will Colin Salmon please stop being a silly sausage?

    Yes, No, Yes, No. But not necessarily in that order.

    ‘bye ‘bye.

    Related Links

    Jim @ 2007-04-02
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