×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bond in battle royale

007 team mulls major shakeup in franchise

With the announcement last week that Paul Haggis will write the next James Bond film, the question arises: What film?

Eon Prods. — along with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson — and MGM/UA have been touting an imminent start for “Casino Royale” since 2004.

But with the new scribe starting over, it’s dubious how realistic evenNovember 2006 is.

And the bigger questions: Whether Bond will stay the same or head in a new direction — and what influence a new studio (Sony) will have on the venerable franchise. The original “Casino” was a spoof on Bond, unlike the new version.

The vitality of actioners like Universal’s two “Bourne” films as well as the mockery of pics like “Austin Powers,” are forcing the Bond group to mull a rethinking of the format. One possible scenario would borrow from “Batman Begins,” by going back to Bond’s origins.

“Casino Royale” is meant to be far more than an update of Bond; it’s the revelation of the ur Bond — one going on his first mission, without any baggage.

Popular on Variety

Haggis’ rewrite is expected in a few months time, and Martin Campbell is firmed as director. But that tight production schedule brings up the question of casting.

Speculation on the Internet and British press has centered on sexy, charismatic leading men like Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig and Julian McMahon.

But others suggest it will be a black Bond, played by Colin Salmon! Or it will be a downy-cheeked Bond, played by 22-year-old Henry Cavill! Or a fresh-from-TV Slavic Bond, played by “ER” star Gorin Visnjic!

A nasty bridge-burning spat with the previous 007, Pierce Brosnan, became public last month, with the thesp telling Entertainment Weekly he was dumped from the role and that he was glad to be free of its “cheesy” jokes.

Brosnan apparently had been seeking $25 million plus 5% of the gross, as well as certain bonuses — demands that led to the Broccolis’ rethinking of the role and the franchise.

The Broccolis’ restrictions on compensation are turning off some stars (no gross points, thank you) and the three-pic commitment has young thesps a little edgy. (Playing Commander Bond hardly guarantees a launch into stardom, viz George Lazenby.)

And then there’s the question of a new studio.

Aside from “Spider-Man,” Sony hasn’t had much luck with sequels lately (“Bad Boys 2,” “Stuart Little 2,” “Charlie’s Angels 2,” “XXX: State of the Union”). It would love a new franchise.

The Broccolis are famously protective and cautious about Bond, but Sony execs are sure to have their own ideas about the series. Haggis is a bold choice, given his “Million Dollar Baby” adaptation and original “Crash” (which he also directed). But how bold do the Broccolis want to get?

More Film

  • MADRID-CONTENT-CITY-RAUL-BERDONÉS

    Secuoya, Planeta Launch Madrid Content City, Site of Netflix’s First European Production Hub

    Spain’s Secuoya Studios has teamed with publishing giant the Planeta Group to expand Madrid Content City, the audiovisual complex that hosts Netflix first European Production Hub. Madrid Content City will multiply by a factor of seven its current operating area of 22,000 square-meters (236,806 square-feet). In total, Madrid Content City will span 140,000 square-meters (1.5 [...]

  • Imogen Poots

    'Black Christmas' Star Imogen Poots on Why Male Horror Fans Should See Slasher Remake

    “Black Christmas” is the second remake of the 1974 slasher classic, which centers on a group of sorority sisters stalked by an unknown murderer. While the original had the female protagonists (SPOILER) offed, in this one, the women fight back. “It’s been called a re-imagining of the original, and I think, in ways that the [...]

  • Imogen Poots as Riley in "Black

    'Black Christmas': Film Review

    “Black Christmas,” a low-budget Canadian horror movie released in 1974, was a slasher thriller with a difference: It was the very first one! Okay, there were more than a few precedents, from “Psycho” (the great-granddaddy of the genre) to “The Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” to Mario Bava’s “A [...]

  • David Benioff, D.B. Weiss. Creators and

    'Game of Thrones' Creators to Develop H.P. Lovecraft Movie at Warner Bros.

    Following their exit from the “Star Wars” universe, “Game of Thrones” co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have found their replacement pic, signing on to produce an untitled thriller based on the graphic novel “Lovecraft” for Warner Bros. It is unknown if they will also direct the project, but they’ve already set Phil Hay and [...]

  • Little Women Greta Gerwig BTS

    Greta Gerwig and 'Little Women' Crew Mix Modern and Classical

    Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Sony’s “Little Women,” a new look at Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved 19th-century classic. Eager to pay tribute to her artisan colleagues, Gerwig says, “It was a joy for me to work with all these people. It’s a movie that’s impossible to create without world-class artists. They killed themselves for me!” [...]

  • Honey Boy

    Shia LaBeouf's 'Honey Boy' Adds Unusual Twist to Oscar's History With Kids

    Hollywood has made many terrific films about childhood, and many about filmmaking. Amazon’s “Honey Boy,” which opened Nov. 8, combines the two: A movie with a child’s POV of the industry. That unique angle could be a real benefit during awards season, and the film’s backstory — with Shia LaBeouf as the main attraction — will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content