Welcome to this week’s “Just for Variety.”
With Daniel Craig’s reign as James Bond coming to an end with “No Time to Die,” this may be the perfect moment to give the franchise an overhaul. Perhaps the next James Bond could be female, Black or queer? “If they want to continue with this character and the franchise, I think you can explode it and do anything,” Ben Whishaw, who plays Q for the third time in the latest installment, tells me on this week’s episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast. “I don’t know what that should be, but it seems to me like it should be something quite radical, something really different. It’s got to change; it’s got to keep changing. We’re in different times now.” He knows that won’t be an easy task. “There will always be people who want it to stick to the way it was whenever ago, and they’re important, because they love these films,” Whishaw says. “But I think you can do both. You can honor the character and the tradition, and you can push it forward, too. And I think you have to, if it’s not just going to become a kind of museum piece.”
Whishaw says he’s relieved the studio insisted the film be exclusively released in theaters. “I’m happy for any film that gets a release at the cinema, but I think particularly something like this,” he says. “It’s not meant to be watched at home. It’s just something about the scale, the majesty, the whole experience of it.”
“No Time to Die” hits theaters in the U.S. on Oct. 8 after having its world premiere on Tuesday in London.
Until then, you can see Whishaw in “Surge,” a psychological thriller in which he stars as Joseph, an airport security screener who becomes unhinged and goes on a frenetic crime spree across London. There’s little dialogue except for a few conversations between Joseph and his co-workers or his off-kilter parents. “It’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea,” Whishaw says of the film, which earned him the world cinema dramatic special jury award for acting at Sundance. “Some people don’t want to be in that company, don’t want to be in that kind of energy. And I understand that. But some people, it will tap into maybe something that they feel.”
On the complete opposite side of the cinematic spectrum, Whishaw and I discussed the status of the third “Paddington” movie. He’s signed on to once again voice the toy bear. However, he hasn’t seen a script yet. It’s due to start filming next year.
Listen to the full interview with Whishaw above. You can also find “Just for Variety” at Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.
EXCLUSIVE: Kim Petras will headline Dreamland, Jake Resnicow and Pollen Presents’ LGBTQ New Year’s festival in Miami on Dec. 30 to Jan. 2. Also in the lineup are Todrick Hall, Sofi Tukker and Purple Disco Machine. … SIGHTING: Josh Duhamel having dinner at Tatel in Beverly Hills.
Jennifer Love Hewitt was ready to make an appearance on Amazon’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” the new show based on her iconic 1997 horror movie. However, JLH decided to skip it because she wasn’t keen on flying to the Hawaii set during the pandemic. Even so, showrunner Sara Goodman tells me that scattered throughout the eight-episode series are Easter eggs connected to Hewitt and some of the other original cast members, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Ryan Phillippe. “None of them are in it,” Goodman says. “We did not approach any of them, but there are little hints that they might exist in the universe.” Goodman admits that she initially passed on “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” “I feel like when you’re going to do a title that has that kind of heat behind it, that really defined that era, I wanted to make sure I could bring something that felt modern that also wasn’t going to be a fuck-you to it because eight episodes of people just running gets old,” Goodman says. But then she came up with a storyline — involving twin sisters (played by Madison Iseman) on the verge of high school graduation — that she could get behind that honored the original premise of a coverup of a fatal accident: “I figured out how to do it as a character piece, but with enough shout-outs to the movie that not everybody will hate me.” Also in the ensemble of young actors is Goodman’s son Ezekiel Goodman. “He said, ‘I think I should audition for your show,’” Sara recalls. “But I was like, ‘You’re not going to be on my show.’ Then everybody was like, ‘You really need to look at his audition.’” She actually looked at 500 actors for the part and submitted Ezekiel and several other hopefuls “because I didn’t want to only submit him, but everyone was like, ‘He’s it.’”
Bleecker Street’s “Mass,” an emotionally intense drama about two couples (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton; Reed Birney and Ann Dowd) brought together by a horrific tragedy was shot in just eight days after two days of rehearsal. “We all knew we had $12 and only 16 minutes to make this film,” Plimpton cracked at a Sarah Paulson-hosted screening of the film on Sunday at The London West Hollywood. None of the actors knew each other before production began, but Dowd said she immediately “knew that I loved them and I trusted them. I think it’s rare for that to happen so fast.”