1. The CBn Dossier, February '05

    By johncox on 2005-02-28

    John Cox

    Today CBn launches a new monthly column, The CBn Dossier, a wrap-up of all the 007 news and rumours for the month (and if you read carefully, a scoop or two). Each month a different CBn Team member will be writing The Dossier. Today it comes from “the pen of Zen.”


    Casino Royale (Bond 21)

    After more than a year of silence, Eon finally made an official statement (coincidently on the same day hell froze over). We have a title (thank you Eon for saving us from a bazillion “Beyond the Ice” rumors); we have a director (GoldenEye ‘s Martin Campbell); and now the news is all about location, location, locations! The sometimes reliable Daily Record has reported that Eon is considering using the Scottish Parliament as a double for the casino of Casino Royale. However, this story seems suspiciously like P.R. for a somewhat controversial building. What better way to turn your local white elephant into a monument of civic price than to feature it as a Bond locale? (Then again, didn’t the Millennium Dome also start out as a very early rumor?) Eon diplomatically said the location hasn’t been ruled out.

    Fan sites have also been buzzing about Fiji as a possible locale, but the Fiji Audio Visual boards says they have no idea of any interest. Still, fans warmed to his rumor in a big way; so maybe the good folks at Eon should ring up that commission and have a look-see.

    The real CR bombshell of the month was dropped by director Martin Campbell himself. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Campbell revealed that the 21st James Bond film will be a fresh start for the series, taking Bond back to the beginning and showing us his first mission as a recently minted 007. Yes, it’s “Bond Begins!” Not a fan of this approach myself. To me the essence of James Bond is a veteran, a man of experience, a man with friends, enemies, and lovers in every hemisphere. Then again, I didn’t see anything all that wrong with Moonraker, so maybe I should just “Leave it to the professionals, Ms. Bouvier!”

    Meanwhile, director Matthew Vaughn, who almost had the CR gig before Sony stepped in with the money and common sense to hire Campbell, now claims he turned down the project after it was delayed because he was committed to doing…well, that he didn’t say. He’s now writing THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. movie for Warner Bros. in which he promises to “Totally reinvent the genre.” Hey, an U.N.C.L.E. movie sounds great to me. Let’s just hope he and the studio that brought us Wild Wild West don’t totally muck it up.

    Screenwriters Purvis and Wade arrived in L.A. and had a close encounter with the CBn crew at a screening of Diamonds Are Forever in Hollywood. Are they here to work on Casino Royale? We didn’t ask (come on, it was “the boys” night off). However they may have leaked to us the very first CR spoiler — “Hope you guys don’t mind the space station we put in the end.”

    They were kidding — we think.

    The Bond #6 Search

    Is it going to be Julian McMahon, Daniel Craig, Rory McCann (who was he again?), or is the infamous AJB “insider” correct that the announcement of Clive Owen is imminent? Well, settle back for what may be a long wait. Word is the search for James Bond #6 is ongoing without a frontrunner in sight. Eon is considering faces both familiar and unknown. In that unknown category is Ingo Rademacher, who I can safely report will NOT be the man in the gun barrel, but it just goes to show that Eon is digging deep to find just that right “young” man for the job (yes, I’m afraid too).

    And speaking of the right man for the job, Variety editor-in-chief, Peter Bart, revealed in an unnecessarily nasty editorial that Pierce Brosnan negotiated himself out of the part by asking for $40 million (the UK press decided to raise the figure to $42 million; U.S. conservative mouthpiece “Human Events” raised it to $52 million — “fuzzy math” indeed!). We at CBn have heard a lot of much more modest figures; so I didn’t buy this at first. But then I got word that the figure is indeed correct! It now looks like Pierce’s repeated talk of the producers being in a state of paralysis might have instead been a bad case of sticker shock!

    Of course, PB was not asking for a $40 million paycheck upfront. He was proposing a “compensation package” that would include profit participation. Share the wealth, right? Wrong. Dollar signs are one thing to Eon, but a percentage sign is something else entirely. Just ask Sean Connery. Eon is reluctant to give its Bond stars profit participation, and this may have been the real reason (or excuse?) that Eon left “the billion dollar Bond” at the altar. That and there are those rumors that Pierce and Barbara Broccoli have been at each other’s throats since TND. Don’t mess with the iron lady, Pierce. Next!

    Oh, and Pierce confirmed on his official website that it’s really, truly, definitely, unquestionably, over. Goodbye, Pierce. We’ll miss you.


    The Literary Bond

    The official SilverFin website opened with a countdown clock ticking down to its March 3 release — but isn’t that a bit like Blofeld blowing up Kansas? (“The world may not hear about it for 10 years.”) Okay, it’s easy to rip on a series about a 13-year-old James Bond, but the publishers are putting a heck of a lot of promotion behind it; so they must feel pretty good about their debut Young Bond novel. Early reviews have been very positive. Shame the release of Book 2 has been pushed from October to January ’06.

    Author Charlie Higson talked about SilverFin and Young Bond series at length (including some juicy details about Book 2) in a recent CBn Interview. In this first (and so far, only) interview with a James Bond website, Higson was generous, candid, and funny, and this seems to have won him more than a few converts across cyberspace. Higson even revealed that he frequents Bond fansite forums and sometimes contributes under a pseudonym! Hmmm…let the guessing game begin.

    U.S. publisher Hyperion Books for Children recently put the entire first chapter of SilverFin online …only to quickly remove it after it was discovered by fans (with the help of a CBn main page story). Whoops!

    007 Gaming

    Electronic Arts (EA) was expected to make an official announcement about its next Bond game, James Bond 007: From Russia With Love, but that announcement never materialized. I suspect I know what the holdup is all about, but if I say anything, EA will kill me (or at least Athena won?t get her free review copy — in which case she will kill me). However, EA did preview game footage at the University of Florida. The footage featured Sean Connery in a jetpack. I think it’s fair to assume from this that the EA game will expand outside the FRWL storyline just a wee bit (in fact, I know it will).

    EA also said a second Bond game is in development at their L.A. studio (site of last year?s GoldenEye: Rogue Agent Community Day). I hope this is the original game Bruce Feirstein was working on until EA realized they wouldn’t have a new Bond actor in time for a 2006 release and shelved the idea in favor of the From Russia With Love remake…rethink…whatever the heck they are going to call it.

    The Toy Box

    Sideshow Collectibles unveiled their latest figure Moonraker Moore, at the New York International Toy Fair 2005. He looks great in his natty yellow Drax jumpsuit, and the first 500 pre-orders get an extra…extra (Bond’s cigarette case X-ray machine). This is a must buy for this guy!

    Sideshow is now shipping their Wai Lin figure and slipped CBn an early figure to review. Our review: Hubba-hubba! Sideshow has dramatically improved the articulation of their figures — of course, this only matters to you madmen who actually take her out of the box. Trivia note: Wai Lin comes with real human hair. Not sure whether this is cool or creepy, but it looks great! Now, if only they would stop binding their figures inside the box with a dozen twist ties. Those things drive me nuts!

    Sideshow has yet to officially announced their Pierce Brosnan HALO figure. CBn broke the news of this upcoming figure just as we did Wai Lin last year. While Sideshow didn’t deny the news (thank goodness), they’ve remained strangely silent. Could the Pierce situation have put the kybosh on this project? We would ask, but we’re shy.

    Good Works

    Talented artist and all-around cool guy, Jeff Marshall, joined with CBn and the entire online Bond community (well, one site told us to take a hike) to auction his own personal The Spy Who Love Me print signed by the stars. The starting bid was $200…and ended at $760.50! All the money went to the UNICEF: 2004 Tsunami Relief Fund…you know, the organization represented by that guy who used to play Bond? Seriously, of all the mischief we fansites get up too, this is some mischief we can be proud of.

    You Read it on CBn First

    Word is Sony wants Martin Campbell to wrap work on The Legend of Zorro by mid-June and start pre-production work on Casino Royale immediately. Sweet!

    Until next time…