Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Bond 24 will officially be called SPECTRE

Last week, at a grand unveiling at the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios, director Sam Mendes (Skyfall) revealed the title of the 24th James Bond film will be SPECTRE. As well as the one sheet below you can also check out an impressive motion poster on the films official Facebook page.

And, as Mendes intimated, Bond fans will know what that means. SPECTRE is, of course, the terrorist organisation that was a thorn in Bond's side throughout most of the early 007 films. It stands for Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge And Extortion, and is not to be trifled with.

Of late, SPECTRE has not had a presence in the Bond universe thanks to a long-running copyright battle between MGM Studios and the estate of Kevin McClory, the producer of Thunderball (1965) and the unofficial Connery Bond, Never Say Never Again (1983). That, however, was resolved in 2013, paving the way for SPECTRE to return to the Bond movies – and with it, presumably, its leader, the iconic Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Not so, at least according to today's announcement, in which Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) was confirmed as a cast member. His involvement has been rumoured for a couple of weeks, and it's been presumed that he will play Blofeld. Yet his character is called Oberhauser, according to the official press release.

But, that bait-and-switch has happened quite a bit in recent times – there's the John Harrison/Khan situation in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), the constant denials that Marion Cotillard was playing Talia Al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and of course the smokescreen that enveloped Naomie Harris in Skyfall (2012), where her character Eve was revealed at the last minute as the new Miss Moneypenny.

But while it would make sense to bring Blofeld back, and while Waltz would be a great choice to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Donald Pleasence (You Only Live Twice), Telly Savalas (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) and Charles Gray (Diamonds Are Forever), perhaps Mendes and EON, the James Bond producers, are building up to his reintroduction down the line. All will be revealed next October – and certainly the official synopsis hints at intrigue to be uncovered.

"A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE."

Waltz, double Academy Award® winner that he is, is the crowning glory of an excellent cast, the principals of which were confirmed today. Daniel Craig as Bond, of course, who will be joined by returning MI6 allies, Ralph Fiennes as M, Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q, and Rory Kinnear as Tanner. A new addition to the MI6 ranks is Andrew Scott (Sherlock) as a guy called Denbigh.

If Waltz is to be the bad guy, every villain needs a formidable henchman, and Mendes confirmed that Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy) will play a character called Mr. Hinx. It's been a long time since Bond faced off against hulking opponent and their encounters should prove memorable.

And of course, no Bond film is complete without the Bond girls. And SPECTRE's come in the form of Monica Bellucci (Irreversible) – surely a Bond femme fatale in waiting, if ever we saw one – and Léa Seydoux (Blue Is The Warnest Colour). It's certainly a cracking cast, filled with storied actors who should be able to bring depth and shade to the standard Bond archetypes.

The script for SPECTRE, which will also see 007 drive the new Aston Martin DB10, was written by Skyfall scribe John Logan, along with Bond stalwarts Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins is not part of Bond 24's team, with Hoyte van Hoytema (Interstellar) taking his place.

As the official press release also states, Bond will return to the snow once again, this time in Sölden, along with other Austrian locations, Obertilliach, and Lake Altaussee. And if that doesn't instantly make you think of the greatest Blofeld story of them all, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), we'll be very surprised.

SPECTRE is set for a 23 October 2015 release in the UK and a 6 November 2015 release in the US.

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