After many delays and a director quitting, production is finally ramping up fast on Bond 25.  

As usual with a Bond movie, the speculation is rampant about everything from a title to the performer of the theme song.  We know that Cary Fukunaga becomes the first American to ever direct an entry in this franchise.  

A Fukunaga, not yesterday.

We know that rewrites have been underway with Bourne Ultimatum writer Scott Z Burns in the hot seat to polish the story.  What else do we know?

We Meet Again Blofeld?

The announcement of Shatterhand as the working title got many Bond fans all over excited a few weeks ago.  As any Bond aficionado can tell you, Dr. Guntram Shatterhand is an alias used by Blofeld in the novel You Only Live Twice.

 

In the book, a morose and ineffective Bond is about to be fired by M.  

He is unable to get back in the saddle after the assassination of his new bride at the hands of Spectre within hours of their wedding in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  He is no longer capable of meeting the standards M expects in his operatives.  

These threads were semi-used in Skyfall, but with the news that Madeline Swann is returning in this installment does this mean she won’t make it past the opening titles?  

Will the makers more heavily mine the plot of the Fleming book to close out Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond?

In the book, a substandard Bond is given an easy mission to attempt to salvage his career.  He is sent to Japan to negotiate with Tiger Tanaka, the head of the Japanese Secret Service, for a captured Soviet coding system.

In the course of this seemingly simple assignment Bond discovers the killer of his wife is in hiding in Japan.  Using the alias, Blofeld lives in an old feudal Japanese castle surrounded by a “Garden Of Death” full of rare, poisonous plants, deadly snakes and even a lake full of piranha.

Will Daniel Craig step into the Garden Of Death?

Will elements of this much-loved canon finally make it to the big screen other than Blofeld’s pet piranha?

Working Title Hopes Dashed

Speculation was rife that the working title would also be the final title.  Shatterhand has often been mentioned as a potential Bond title ever since they ran out of Fleming novel titles with The Living Daylights.  

It’s been a fan favourite for a while.

However, at a recent event, Barbara Brocolli stopped that idea dead in its tracks when asked for an autograph.

Mama, Just Killed James Bond

Word on the street is that Rami Malek, hot off his Oscar for the role of Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, is in final talks to play the villain, who will be blind.  The villain?  A villain?  The only villain?

Will Blofield return with a different look as was traditional in 007 adventures of the past? No Christophe Waltz this time around?

Where To This Time?

According to Variety, there is one thing that is set.  The ancient south-eastern Italian town of Matera will reportedly provide the location for the film’s opening pre-titles sequence.

Once a neglected slum, the Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano districts of Matera are now a picturesque tourist hotspot.  Prehistoric whitewashed caves from the Paleolithic era underpin a historic town of cafes, street markets and a maze of alleyways, looping streets, arches, piazzas, and courtyards. 

Wonder Woman, The Passion Of The Christ and the remake of Ben Hur all previously filmed here.

As production ramps up even further, expect more news about what is in store in Daniel Craig’s 007 swansong.

Bond 25 will be released worldwide on April 8th, 2020.

48 COMMENTS

  1. Spectre sucked. There’s no point following on from it because it fell completely flat. They won’t top Skyfall or Casino Royale running with a troubled production like this. And Not-Freddie-Mercury couldn’t take a punch from Brie Larson far or less Daniel Craig. Bond needs a THREAT, not a ‘high-functioning’ millennial-baiting ‘cerebral challenge’ or some such pathetic, jittery BS.

    Make an aggressive full-on standalone with Craig and the *right* director (ie: MARTIN CAMPBELL), or gtfo and give Dan ‘The Guest’ Stevens his shot in a 60’s-set reboot series. Anything less is treading water or taking a step backwards.

    Just pop the check in the mail, Barbara. Thanks.

  2. I have that edition of You Only Live Twice. Now that’s how you design a fucking cover. As I recall the purpose of Blofeld’s garden of death was that wealthy Japanese people would pay to go there to commit suicide. Which doesn’t seem terribly evil as Bond villain schemes go.

    • I think it was more of an embarrassment to the Japanese. A face thing. Shatterhand was living there quietly on the run from the British. He wasn’t scheming, if I recall. He was hiding.

    • Always liked the sequence in the book:

      Bond kept close to the boundary wall, flitting like a bat across the open spaces between clumps of bushes and trees. Although his hands were covered with the black material of the ninja suit, he avoided contact with the vegetation, which emitted a continually changing variety of strong odours and scents amongst which he recognized, as a result of ancient adventures in the Caribbean, only the sugary perfume of dogwood.

      He came to the lake, a wide silent shimmer of silver from which rose the thin cloud of steam he remembered from the aerial photograph. As he stood and watched it, a large leaf from one of the surrounding trees came wafting down and settled on the surface near him. At once a quick, purposeful ripple swept down on the leaf from the surrounding water and immediately subsided. There were some kind of fish in the lake and they would be carnivores.

      Only carnivores would be excited like that at the hint of a prey.

      Beyond the lake, Bond came on the first of the fumaroles, a sulphurous, bubbling pool of mud that constantly shuddered and spouted up little fountains.

      From yards away, Bond could feel its heat. Jets of stinking steam puffed out and disappeared, wraithlike, towards the sky. And now the jagged silhouette of the castle, with its winged turrets, showed above the tree-line, and Bond crept forward with the added caution, alert for the moment when he would come upon the treacherous gravel that surrounded it.

      Suddenly, through a belt of trees, he was facing it. He stopped in the shelter of the trees, his heart hammering under his ribcage.

      Close to, the soaring black-and-gold pile reared monstrously over him, and the diminishing curved roofs of the storeys were like vast bat-wings against the stars. It was even bigger than Bond had imagined, and the supporting wall of black granite blocks more formidable.

      He reflected on the seemingly impossible problem of entry. Behind would be the main entrance, the lowish wall and the open countryside. But didn’t castles always have an alternative entrance low down for a rearward escape? Bond stole cautiously forward, laying his feet flat down so that the gravel barely stirred.

      The many eyes of the castle, glittering white in the moonlight, watched his approach with the indifference of total power. At any moment, he had expected the white shaft of a searchlight or the yellow-and-blue flutter of gunfire. But he reached the base of the wall without incident and followed it along to the left, remembering from ancient schooling that most castles had an exit at moat level beneath the drawbridge.

      And so it was with the castle of Doctor Shatterhand – a-small nail-studded door, arched and weather-beaten. Its hinges and lock were cracked and rusty, but a new padlock and chain had been stapled into the woodwork and the stone frame.

      No moonlight filtered down to this corner of what must once have been a moat, but was now grassed over. Bond felt carefully with his fingers. Yes! The chain and lock would yield to the file and jemmy in his conjurer’s pockets.

      Would there be bolts on the inner side? Probably not, or the padlock would not have been thought necessary. Bond softly retraced his steps across the gravel, stepping meticulously in his previous footmarks. That door would be his target for tomorrow!

      Now, keeping right-handed, but still following the boundary wall, he crept off again on his survey. Once, something slithered away from his approaching feet and disappeared with a heavy rustle into the fallen leaves under a tree.

      What snakes were there that really went for a man? The king cobra, black mamba, the saw-scaled viper, the rattlesnake and the fer de lance. What others?

      The remainder were inclined to make off if disturbed. Were snakes day or night hunters? Bond didn’t know. Among so many hazards, there weren’t even the odds of Russian Roulette. When all the chambers of the pistol were loaded, there was not even a one in six chance to bank on.

      Bond was now on the castle side of the lake. He heard a noise and edged behind a tree. The distant crashing in the shrubbery sounded like a wounded animal, but then, down the path, came staggering a man, or what had once been a man. The brilliant moonlight showed a head swollen to the size of a football, and only small slits remained where the eyes and mouth had been.

      The man moaned softly as he zigzagged along, and Bond could see that his hands were up to his puffed face and that he was trying to prise apart the swollen skin round his eyes so that he could see out. Every now and then he stopped and let out one word in an agonizing howl to the moon. It was not a howl of fear or of pain, but of dreadful supplication.

      Suddenly he stopped. He seemed to see the lake for the first time. With a terrible cry, and holding out his arms as if to meet a loved one, he made a quick run to the edge and threw himself in. At once there came the swirl of movement Bond had noticed before, but this time it involved a great area of water and there was a wild boiling of the surface round the vaguely threshing body. A mass of small fish were struggling to get at the man, particularly at the naked hands and face, and their six-inch bodies glittered and flashed in the moonlight.

      Once the man raised his head and let out a single, terrible scream and Bond saw that his face was encrusted with pendent fish as if with silvery locks of hair. Then his head fell back into the lake and he rolled over and over as if trying to rid himself of his attackers. But slowly the black stain spread and spread around him and finally, perhaps because his jugular had been pierced, he lay still, face downwards in the water, and his head jigged slightly with the ceaseless momentum of the attack.

      James Bond wiped the cold sweat off his face. Piranha! The South American fresh-water killer whose massive jaws and flat, razor-sharp teeth can strip a horse down to the bones in under an hour! And this man had been one of the suicides who had heard of this terrible death! He had come searching for the lake and had got his face poisoned by some pretty shrub. The Herr Doktor had certainly provided a feast for his victims. Unending dishes for their delectation! A true banquet of death!

      James Bond shuddered and went on his way. All right, Blofeld, he thought, that’s one more notch on the sword that is already on its way to your neck. Brave words! Bond hugged the wall and kept going. Gun-metal was showing in the east.

      But the Garden of Death hadn’t quite finished the display of its wares.

      All over the park, a slight smell of sulphur hung in the air, and many times Bond had had to detour round steaming cracks in the ground and the quaking mud of fumaroles, identified by a warning circle of white-painted stones.

      The Doctor was most careful lest anyone should fall into one of these liquid furnaces by mistake! But now Bond came to one the size of a circular tennis-court, and here there was a rough shrine in the grotto at the back of it and, dainty touch, a vase with flowers in it – chrysanthemums, because it was now officially winter and therefore the chrysan-themum season.

      They were arranged with some sprigs of dwarf maple, in a pattern which no doubt spelled out some fragrant message to the initiates of Japanese flower arrangement. And opposite the grotto, behind which Bond in his ghostly black uniform crouched in concealment, a Japanese gentleman stood in rapt contemplation of the bursting mud-boils that were erupting genteelly in the simmering soup of the pool.

      James Bond thought ‘gentleman’ because the man was dressed in the top hat, frock-coat, striped trousers, stiff collar and spats of a high government official – or of the father of the bride. And the gentleman held a carefully rolled umbrella between his clasped hands, and his head was bowed over its crook as if in penance. He was speaking, in a soft compulsive babble, like someone in a highly ritualistic church, but he made no gestures and just stood, humbly, quietly, either confessing or asking one of the gods for something.

      Bond stood against a tree, black in the blackness. He felt he should intervene in what he knew to be the man’s purpose. But how to do so knowing no Japanese, having nothing but his ‘deaf and dumb’ card to show?

      And it was vital that he should remain a ‘ghost’ in the garden, not get involved in some daft argument with a man he didn’t know, about some ancient sin he could never understand. So Bond stood, while the trees threw long black arms across the scene, and waited, with a cold, closed, stone face, for death to walk on stage.

      The man stopped talking. He raised his head and gazed up at the moon. He politely lifted his shining top hat. Then he replaced it, tucked his umbrella under one arm and sharply clapped his hands. Then walking, as if to a business appointment, calmly, purposefully, he took the few steps to the edge of the bubbling fuma-role, stepped carefully over the warning stones and went on walking.

      He sank slowly in the glutinous grey slime and not a sound escaped his lips until, as the tremendous heat reached his groin, he uttered one rasping ‘Arrghh!’ and the gold in his teeth showed as his head arched back in the rictus of death. Then he was gone and only the top hat remained, tossing on a small fountain of mud that spat intermittently into the air.

      Then the hat slowly crumpled with the heat and disappeared, and a great belch was uttered from the belly of the fumarole and a horrible stench of cooking meat overcame the pervading stink of sulphur and reached Bond’s nostrils.

  3. Spectre sucked. There’s no point following on from it because it fell completely flat. They won’t top Skyfall or Casino Royale running with a troubled production like this. And Not-Freddie-Mercury couldn’t take a punch from Brie Larson far or less Daniel Craig. Bond needs a THREAT, not a ‘high-functioning’ millennial-baiting ‘cerebral challenge’ or some such pathetic, jittery BS.

    Make an aggressive full-on standalone with Craig and the *right* director (ie: MARTIN CAMPBELL), or gtfo and give Dan ‘The Guest’ Stevens his shot in a 60’s-set reboot series. Anything less is treading water or taking a step backwards.

    Just pop the check in the mail, Barbara. Thanks.

      • I thought it was perfunctory, obligatory, amateur-hour shit right across the board. Crap story, crap villain, crap casting, CRAP writing and even a crap car (way to lose your mojo, Aston Martin…). Worst of all it was mind-numbingly, leg-achingly boring. The only things that saved it were Bautista’s menace and brutality, and the fact that everyone involved has pro-level skills so it turned out looking like classy crap instead of just crappy crap.

        Skyfall had a blinding ending. A perfect setup. Why they didn’t just run from there is a complete mystery and an epic, epic fail.
        Know what else was an epic fail? Casting Monica Bellucci -MONICA FREAKING BELLUCCI!!!- as a BOND GIRL, and *not* having Bond hook up with her…

        I mean… WHAT the holy FUCK?
        …Do they need us to draw them a god damn diagram or something?!!???

        There’s zero point following it up with a sequel. It’s tainted product. I like Craig as Bond but they badly need to do something seriously robust, or something wildly different, or just hang it up.

      • I thought it was perfunctory, obligatory, amateur-hour shit right across the board. Crap story, crap villain, crap casting, CRAP writing and even a crap car (way to lose your mojo, Aston Martin…). Worst of all it was mind-numbingly, leg-achingly boring. The only things that saved it were Bautista’s menace and brutality, and the fact that everyone involved has pro-level skills so it turned out looking like classy crap instead of just crappy crap.

        Skyfall had a blinding ending. A perfect setup. Why they didn’t just run from there is a complete mystery and an epic, epic fail.
        Know what else was an epic fail? Casting Monica Bellucci -MONICA FREAKING BELLUCCI!!!- as a BOND GIRL, and *not* having Bond hook up with her…

        I mean… WHAT the holy FUCK?
        …Do they need us to draw them a god damn diagram or something?!!???

        There’s zero point following it up with a sequel. It’s tainted product. I like Craig as Bond but they badly need to do something seriously robust, or something wildly different, or just hang it up.

      • The first half was great as a setup, the second half fell apart spectacularly. The ending (both of them) is so inept that it boggles the mind. Waltz was a terrible choice to play Blofeld and making Bond and Blofeld long lost brothers is just flat out retarded.

        • They weren’t brothers. In the books, after Bond’s parents died in a climbing accident in Switzerland Oberhauser looked after him and taught him to ski.

          The movie made Blofeld Oberhauser’s son.

          But they fudged the explanation so badly loads of people thought that they were brothers.

          That was fuck up number one.

        • They weren’t brothers. In the books, after Bond’s parents died in a climbing accident in Switzerland Oberhauser looked after him and taught him to ski.

          The movie made Blofeld Oberhauser’s son.

          But they fudged the explanation so badly loads of people thought that they were brothers.

          That was fuck up number one.

          • No I know, I said brothers so as to not go into the whole explanation in a brief comment. Basically adopted brother. There were some terrific ideas in it, but they basically fucked up the payoff. The stupidity of the ending actually angered me. It was SO lazy. The studio knew there were major problems…there was a bunch of stuff about it in the leaked Sony emails. As far as I remember they rushed it into production without the script being completely done and had to do almost continuous rewrites throughout. You probably know more about it than me though.

          • The lack of any special features on the retail DVDs told you everything you needed to know about their confidence in the movie. As soon as the cameras stopped rolling, they stopped spending on it.

          • So when I went o see SPECTRE and the projector broke before the last 30 minutes could show. I picked it up on b-ray but I still have never finished watching it. Guess I don’t need to, hahahahahahah!!!!

      • I thought it was perfunctory, obligatory, amateur-hour shit right across the board. Crap story, crap villain, crap casting, CRAP writing and even a crap car (way to lose your mojo, Aston Martin…). Worst of all it was mind-numbingly, leg-achingly boring. The only things that saved it were Bautista’s menace and brutality, and the fact that everyone involved has pro-level skills so it turned out looking like classy crap instead of just crappy crap.

        Skyfall had a blinding ending. A perfect setup. Why they didn’t just run from there is a complete mystery and an epic, epic fail.
        Know what else was an epic fail? Casting Monica Bellucci -MONICA FREAKING BELLUCCI!!!- as a BOND GIRL, and *not* having Bond hook up with her…

        I mean… WHAT the holy FUCK?
        …Do they need us to draw them a god damn diagram or something?!!???

        There’s zero point following it up with a sequel. It’s tainted product. I like Craig as Bond but they badly need to do something seriously robust, or something wildly different, or just hang it up.

        • They need to watch the Mission impossible movies. These are basically doing what the Bond films SHOULD be doing. Bond films should NOT be this hard to pull off.

          • Yep. With Fallout the Mission Impossible movies topped the genre, hands down. Zero contest. And they’re free to do whatever they want and make it all up as they go along. Bond movies *have* to be Bond movies, whatever else they are. It’s a prison they can’t ever escape.
            And they’ll *never* cast anyone as hard core as Cruise lol. There simply isn’t another fulltime maniac out there who’ll gleefully risk his life like that for people’s entertainment. Not even close.

            I hate to say it, but I just think Bond’s had its time.

          • I’ve said for years they need to make Bond films period dramas set in the 60’s. The hat, the clothes, the guns , music and entire culture “works” because spies are all about the cold war. With no cold war….well, it doesn’t quite work.

          • I think they can easily do something similar to MI within the Bond framework, it’s basically the same plot structure, you just throw in some of the Bond tropes. I disagree that Bond has had its time, but they may actually kill it if they keep this up. Stop being embarassed of the property. Stop trying to church it up. At their core they should always be fun action movies, if they stop being fun, then there’s no reason to see them. PS…fun action movies does NOT have to mean shitty like the Brosnan movies.

          • I liked Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. The sweet spot right now for them would be something like a cross between Casino Royale and Goldeneye. Keep it modern and bruising, but keep it light and fun too and yep, 100%, keep it unashamedly Bond.

            Get Martin Campbell, basically.

          • Yep. CR was the perfect balance.Craig actually seemed like he was having some fun. I actually liked quite a bit of Quantum and Skyfall, they just needed to make it all less dour.

          • Yep. CR was the perfect balance.Craig actually seemed like he was having some fun. I actually liked quite a bit of Quantum and Skyfall, they just needed to make it all less dour.

          • Loved every minute of Skyfall, but yeah, Casino Royale was bang-on authentic Bond through and through. Craig was reveling in proving the doubters wrong and you could feel it in every scene.
            I’d have made Campbell some kind of creative director after that point. He just seems to get it better than anyone else for the modern era.

          • The first big action sequence with the parkour guy is an absolute triumph. That’s the type of stuff that should be in every bond. Plus the addition of a bit of romance in the vein of From Russia With Love really tops it off. I wonder who will replace Craig…I shudder to think about it.

          • If you’ve seen ‘The Guest’, you already know who it should be. There’s absolutely no contest in my eyes.
            But they’re probably gonna stunt-cast it, or go with someone more obvious. If it’s not Dan Stevens, I think they’ll maybe struggle to keep it afloat.

          • If you’ve seen ‘The Guest’, you already know who it should be. There’s absolutely no contest in my eyes.
            But they’re probably gonna stunt-cast it, or go with someone more obvious. If it’s not Dan Stevens, I think they’ll maybe struggle to keep it afloat.

          • they should grow a pair and remake the old ones for the modern world if they don’t want to go retro. But it could be fun to see Goldfinger made today with a different twist on it. Or maybe a better version of Dr No.

    • Best potential Bond title out there is one of the chapter titles from Live And Let Die.

      Not THAT one!

      I mean “A Whisper Of Hate”

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