Casting rumors fly as filming of new James Bond to start in March

Published 27.12.2018 21:53
Updated 28.12.2018 08:00

Film fans have been able to count on at least one thing since 1962: James Bond will return.

The iconic sentence was first seen in the final credits of the secret agent's big-screen debut, "Dr. No," and has been in every official Bond film since - most recently 2015's "Spectre."

After several setbacks and corresponding delays, filming for Bond's 25th adventure is set to finally begin March 4. It will likely be the last time Daniel Craig reprises his role as the famous secret agent - chances are even good his Bond will be killed off this time.

In the final scene of "Spectre," Bond was seen driving away in an Aston Martin DB5 with an impish grin. Next to him was Dr. Madeleine Swann, the daughter of his old nemesis, Mr. White.

Bond had protected Swann from a killer sent by the evil Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz, and then they kindled a romance that went beyond 007's usual amorous escapades.

Director Cary Fukunaga has confirmed to the Daily Mail that French actress Lea Seydoux is set to play Swann in the upcoming film as well. According to the Daily Mail, Craig had personally asked Seydoux to reprise her role.

Seydoux's return would mark only the second time in the franchise's history that a Bond girl has come back to play the same role.

Thus far, British actress Eunice Gayson, who died in 2018, is the only one with that distinction, playing Sylvia Trench in "Dr. No" and 1963's "From Russia With Love," in which she was a minor character.

It appears then that "Bond 25" will be a direct continuation of "Spectre," whether Waltz will also reappear remains unknown.

Craig, who turns 51 in March, apparently has a say on the important decisions regarding the film. According to media reports, he is partly responsible for the fact that director Danny Boyle decided to leave the project in August after differences of opinion. Such a scandal had never before happened in the long history of James Bond films.

Producer duo Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson however quickly found a top-level replacement for Boyle in Fukunaga.

The 41-year-old Fukanaga, who thrilled critics with the TV series "True Detective" and drama "Sin Nombre," is also a novelty in this franchise, serving as the first U.S. director to lead a Bond film.

"There will be the things in the Bond-verse that you have come to expect," he promised during an interview with the Inquirer newspaper.

"I can't say too much, though."

Fukunaga has indicated that several old acquaintances from the secret service will make a return - Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomi Harris as Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw as Q - though there has yet to be an official confirmation of the reprisals.

Wishaw, recently in "Mary Poppins Returns," was cautious when asked if he would be in "Bond 25."

"I'm told so, but it is so secretive and weird that I can't tell you," he said on The Graham Norton Show.

For the time being, the cause for the reported spat between Craig and Boyle, which also led to screenwriter John Hodge leaving the project, remains a secret. "Creative differences" was the official reason.

The Sun tabloid reported that the source of the spat was Boyle's refusal to kill off Bond. The Independent wrote the opposite.

If Fukunaga allows Bond's death in the upcoming film, it would be a spectacular end to the Craig era, who began his stint in 2006's "Casino Royale" with Bond having to first earn his license to kill.

Speculating over possible 007 successors has been going on for years.

Despite his name often being tossed around, Idris Elba definitely isn't it, and Tom Hiddleston probably also isn't in the running. A female Bond is not even seen as an option. "Game of Thrones" star Richard Madden is the latest to have his name thrown in the ring.

That decision won't be made, however, until a few years from now. And maybe it'll be Craig again after all. "I think this is it," Craig told U.S. talk show host Stephen Colbert in August 2017 in announcing that he would star in "Bond 25." However, Craig has never clearly stated that he would not take on the Bond role again.

So fans can only count on one thing: When the next Bond film rolls into theatres in 2020, that famous sentence will be in the credits. James Bond will return.

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