09 September 2018 808 Views

The Name’s Bait. Click, Bait! How to spot 007 themed FAKE NEWS. Better still: Score an easy web hit by MAKING some!

by James Murphy

Run away from James Bond Related Headlines that MIGHT be..’Fake-News’ 

As a possible new director for BOND 25 is about to be maybe named;  SJ Clarkson is being touted now as ‘THE FIRST EVER FEMALE DIRECTOR TO DO BOND’ (slight paraphrase there; no double meaning intended). Except? Nothing has been confirmed. And yet the rumour or possibility becomes a seemingly breaking, leading news story, which in turn trends and dominates the online landscapes; not just movie news but all outlets. Sky News practically LED with it. Why?

Because Bond is big business; not simply onscreen but in all media branches, across platforms. Couple that with a need to stand out in a saturated sea of online content whereby every click /hit counts? Write your Bond pieces. Write TEN of them. Even if it’s recycled, rehashed or just an outright LIE. Bingo! You have your result. The great thing about a Bond piece is that one need not undertake any original research or craft distinctive diction. You simply break a quasi exclusive / re-frame the obvious as erudite insight /write a lazy list.

‘Good for Bond. Bad for you’.

And here, in a kind of info-dump / tutorial, is a guide to spotting (and thereby, if needed, also composing) BOND CLICK-BAIT.  You’re most welcome. ‘Pay Attention’.

In no particular order, 007..follow these precise mission steps, leading from headlines/questions/answers we concocted for you at Q Branch..

THE DIRECTOR OF BOND 25 WILL BE..

This one will run and run until the next official announcement. It all started BEFORE Boyle was named. There was an assumption, reasonably so, that Sam Mendes might return and complete a trilogy of Bond films, having started with SKYFALL and continued in SPECTRE. Why not finish the job? Well, because he’d said all he needed to, frankly. And he closed the Craig era in a way. Yes, Daniel could return, but it would need to be a self contained adventure. No ties to story arcs and so on.

Next candidate? Christopher Nolan. Rumours always followed him since BATMAN BEGINS, which drew heavily on 007 imagery and ironically enough, mostly of the Brosnan /Moore variety for what was ostensibly a ‘dark, gritty REBOOT!’. The first indoor ride of the Tumbler Batmobile is very MOONRAKER and the aesthetic of Iceland and so on very DIE ANOTHER DAY? THE DARK KNIGHT in turn influenced SKYFALL and DARK KNIGHT RISES (itself similar to both Licence to Kill and The World is not Enough) clearly impacted the conclusion of SPECTRE. DUNKIRK also had a best of British vibe to it?

So yes, Nolan an obvious choice. Except that he’d insist on full creative control; it’d need to be a reboot and probably a period piece? If he did stick with Daniel Craig, then that Nolan Bond flick would be three hours long with a twist at the end? Perhaps Bond in the Craig era was actually the same agent as the one from the 60s; the ‘modern’ stuff had been an illusion, retold to visitors at an old person’s home, revealed at the very end, via a nurse, who turns out to be Eva Green’s Vesper, winking to the camera, as credits roll and the Bond theme begins again.

Or something LIKE that, no doubt? Plus he’d cost big bucks.

The departure of Danny Boyle has left the Bond team apparently pondering Edgar Wright (no! he’s a first rate editor but his ethos is that of the pop culture addicted wally; at odds with the lean machismo and pure pulp of 007?). SJ Clarkson is the one leading news now but even there, I am baffled as to how/why? Yes a woman directing Bond would be great! But surely go to Kathryn Bigelow or Mimi Leder first? SJ has never helmed a major action movie and her television output, though of the now and on message, is surely at odds with that of a super-spy male hero patriotic symbol of old?

In short: ANY headline declaring the new director is speculation at best, bollox at worst, until a truly official confirmation comes through.

Or just make up your own!

THE NEXT BOND ACTOR/GIRL MUST BE..

This one veers from fake news confirmations of Idris Elba playing Bond through to wish-lists of which actors could /should get the part. Idris would be fantastic; we all know that. Reality? They’d be better hiring him to direct, given that he is a massive star in his own right now and simply does not need his own action franchise when every other one out there is hiring him as baddies / supporting characters, thereby also allowing him to direct films and DJ on his own terms. That ship sailed. Sorry. Still think he’d ace it as a Red Grant style assassin against Craig’s 007, though. THAT is a fight I would pay to see!

Meanwhile? Click-bait writers are desperate to tie their reviews of B List television product to the proven draw of Bond gossip. Solution? Simple! Take whichever Game of Thrones / a n other actor has a ‘hard tough gritty domestic cop show’ of the week on BBC /ITV and call him ‘THE NEXT JAMES BOND!’. It’s a long and sorry list of poor actors both blessed and cursed by the association. I shan’t use their actual names, to spare them trauma. But in 007 spirit? Code-names COULD read like: ‘Tim Huddleston’, ‘Robert Modden’, ‘Kit Kat Hetherington’, ‘Downton Dan’ and so on. None of those have a shot, a whiff, a hope. Sorry.

It takes a LOT more than being in a Sunday night show with spies and glimpses of your bottom to win an audition to play the next James Bond. Just Sayin’, like. 

James Norton and Aidan Turner (actual names) are actors who did appear in television hits of the last 3 years or so and they DO have some credibility when the ‘would you be Bond?’ question is posed; in part because they manage to play things diplomatically yet firmly and one could picture them in Tux /fights/cars etc. Norton especially has an ability to play either civilised Tea with Vicar or sheer force of nature thuggery, via the odd period piece costumed Ball and THAT..THERE is the DNA of a solid 007 candidate.

 

In any event? Daniel Craig has one, maybe even two more movies in him. Heck: let him stay indefinitely and age in the role, promoted to M and selecting the next generation of spies, via his own occasional action scenes (same as they do, inexplicably for Ralph Fiennes as M today?). Or just sell the whole thing to multiple platform formats and give us concurrent iterations so no single actor gets monopoly ever again (Timothy Dalton once foresaw that outcome; wise man).

As for the girls? Well, the eternal ‘WILL THE NEXT BOND BE A WOMAN?’ crops up every few weeks. Answer: no. But the lovely Blake Lively is doing a movie with equally lovely 007 Producer, Barbara Broccoli and that could lead to a female led equivalent franchise to Bond. That’s quite sensible. And for years, they talked of spin offs for old Bond girls/women. JINX: THE MOVIE was nearly a ‘thing’. Thankfully, they made Casino Royale, instead (Vesper Lynd is a far stronger, more complicated woman; no slight on Halle Berry as Jinx by the way but Eva Green had more to play with textually, as Vesper?).

 

‘NEXT BOND GIRL’ lists are out there, everywhere, always. Tend to consist of the exact OPPOSITE of the classy, refined, elegant, sophisticated, sensual, credible actresses that defined the franchise of late. But nothing is impossible, I suppose and it’s always good for a laugh at the ‘journalism’ and flagrant self promotion on show when one sees Miss Z list du jour dressed as Ursula Andress rather than posing in a state of un-dress. Bless them. 🙂

 

I have the BEST Bond Girl ideas. Empirical Fact.

 

 (Sienna: It’s been a decade since our last meeting. I’m so sorry! Really. Tea soon and no excuses!)

 (Naomi: You are exquisite. Takes after her equally lovely Mother, I think? )

 (Nic: There is a part for you in a script I have totally written and finished. Yep).

 (I auditioned with Ms Pike, once. So Oxford legend has it. Wonderful Girl)

 (Actual still photo from me and girl driving away on holiday in 2012/13. Yep ;))

 

I still hold out hope for a BOND 25 whereby 007 marries Lea Seydoux but has one last affair with a Nicole Kidman /Naomi Watts/Sienna Miller/Rosamund Pike type..only for Lea to reval herself as the real Blofeld. But hey..that’s some quality CLICK-BAIT, right? 😉

 

THE BEST/WORST EVER/MOST UNDERRATED JAMES BOND FILMS/MOMENTS/GADGETS

 

The very fact that ANYONE would READ one of those pieces? Well it beggars belief, frankly. MAYBE if you want to open a discussion /debate /disagreement. Maybe. Or to bone up before a party that has a 007 theme? But it’s just lazy writing / You-Tube editing of the worst kind. Zero insight / innovation/research required. Because there is NO right answer! You like what you like. There are of course certain defining moments in Bond, for good and bad.

 

 

  • The Casino intro of Connery in Dr No 
  • Train Fight: From Russia with Love
  • Golden Girl on Bed/ Laser beam up his..in Goldfinger
  • Volcano Ninja raid in You Only Live Twice
  • ‘This never happened to the other fella’ /Opening Titles /  Tracey’s death in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • Crocodile jump in Live and Let Die
  • Union Jack parachute in Spy Who Loved Me
  • Airplane fight from The Living Daylights
  • Water-ski without skis /tanker chase from Licence to Kill
  • Bungee Jump in GOLDENEYE
  • Remote control Car in Tomorrow Never Dies
  • Boat Chase down Thames in The World is Not Enough
  • Parkour Chase/’The Name’s Bond’/pretty much any scene in Casino Royale
  • Car chase in Quantum of Solace
  • Opening Titles / ‘Tennyson’ scene in SKYFALL

 

 

Disagree with me? Course you do! Because this is not an exact science. Bosh out the best bits as YOU see them; which, incidentally, means one could invert it and pick the ‘worst’ and make them ‘best’ and vice versa, on infinite causal, paradoxical loop. Forever after. And a Day! One could make a case that DIE ANOTHER DAY is the best Bond film, ever (it is genuinely entertaining and stunning, visually / in sound / effects /editing; also note I say ‘could’ make a case for the film’s merits and not ‘should’ ).

By extension, one may love its para-surfing ice bergs scene. Go for it! It’s allowed. You may LOVE Bond dressed as a clown in OCTOPUSSY. Or firing lasers in space in MOONRAKER. One can LOVE the idea of a ret-con to all previous missions ending up as some extension of a domestic jealousy ‘the author of all your pain’ (spoiler: SPECTRE). And so on. Same for gadgets / set pieces. You may require a car that fires laser beams; I might prefer the simplicity of a key ring finder that blows up (both , incidentally, feature in The Living Daylights, thereby making it..among the best of Bond, imho). The lists make for great pub-talk /banter / discussion forum threads. But it aint, by any stretch of imagination, ‘journalism’.

THE NEXT BOND MOVIE WILL BE CALLED..A PREVIOUS ONE WAS ALMOST..A FUTURE ONE MIGHT BE..

IT DOES NOT MATTER! (no that is not the title..though..kinda has a Bond ring to it? Could work). Point is: title is almost an irrelevance. Almost! It is NEVER revealed, officially, until the press conference launching the first day of filming. Some strategic leaks might happen say 24 hours in advance of that; domain names might be registered and so on. But I bet vital parts of my anatomy to the effect that most leading articles ‘revealing’ the next Bond film’s title are speculative, at best.

BEYOND THE ICE was used, lazily, in articles, as an assumed title for what became DIE ANOTHER DAY (incidentally that final title choice was a nod to AE Housman; not a lazy cut/paste random Bond title generator product; Housman a favourite poet of Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse: who has much in common with the idiom of Fleming’s James Bond).

SHATTERHAND has long been suspected but it’s now all too easy and obvious. And it WON’T come from an unused as yet Fleming short story or a continuation author’s novel or fan-fiction. It need not match the 007 logo, either. So RISICO and Property of a Lady do not work any better than the very contrived Quantum of Solace (a film I love but which sadly had not one reference to the short story from which its name was nicked).

Great fun speculating, though, wot? Even dreaming up Bond titles as a game /contest. I still favour UNDER THE QUEEN’S PEACE. I just don’t go round touting that as exclusive ‘news’ (aka ‘lies’; aka ‘click-bait’).

When done with that train of thought? Journos sometimes go with ‘HEY! Did you know so and so was almost Bond?’ ‘The Bond film you never saw!’ Etc. I’ll summarise:

Henry Cavill tested. Cavill got down to the last 2 and was pipped, narrowly, by Daniel Craig. Cavill could /should/would be Bond again (top bloke; convincing in action; competent at romance /comedy; classy; has real life understanding of military ethos).

Lewis Collins, Burt Reynolds, Oliver Reed, and Adam West (RIP) were approached for talks. Michael Gambon, Mel Gibson and Liam Neeson were once considered, actively. Michael Praed was in the frame when The Living Daylights was briefly a ‘young Bond’ reboot film. Cary Grant and Patrick McGoohan turned it down. Clive Owen did not screen-test so far as we are all aware; but graciously acknowledges that his career was all the better for the speculation/hype. And yes. Sean Connery once worked on a treatment of what became Never Say Never Again that featured sharks in New York. He also toyed with a comeback as a baddie in a Kevin McClory rival revival to the ‘official’ EON Bond films of the 90s.

Bond baddies frequently come from the ‘almost Bond’ section of Hollywood. James Mason was offered Bond and turned it down so they came back to him a few years later with the the Hugo Drax part in the MOONRAKER movie of 1979 and he still..turned it down. Sean Bean was mooted for Bond; ended up as his would be nemesis in GOLDENEYE. Toby Stephens is the voice of Bond on radio and superb but started out as a 007 antagonist in DIE ANOTHER DAY. Hugh Grant was tipped by the Press to become the new Bond in ’94, just after ‘4 Weddings..‘ did so well and before Pierce was announced. I suspect Mr Grant will turn up as a baddie at some point: he’d be great.

I once tried putting myself forward for Bond around 2000/1. At Dinner. With a beautiful girl and Bond director John Glen and his lovely wife, Janine. In Oxford. I asked, directly. ‘Do you think I could be Bond?’.  John replied very diplomatically: ‘maybe a villain in a few years, James‘. Moments later, a girl at the table called out ‘JAMES! JAMES! Oh James!’. Mr Glen was sold at that point ‘If you can get girls to shout ‘Oh James’ across a room, maybe you COULD be Bond!’. Lovely memory. High Table. New College. (Hugh Grant is an alumnus, too). Must go back soon! Proves my point, though. No to Bond = YES to possible baddie 😉

As to the future? Well once again it just keeps repeating. ‘CAN JAMES BOND SURVIVE A POST COLD WAR WORLD?’ (Yes). ‘CAN A BOND FILM BE ‘OK’ IN A POST #METOO ERA?’ (Don’t be silly). To be fair those kinds of pieces at least touch on current affairs content, via 007. We’ll give them a pass. Plus, they are funny, frequently, albeit unintentionally. 🙂

 

THE NEXT JAMES BOND FILM MUST BE MORE DARK/LIGHT/LIKE KINGSMAN/MISSION IMPOSSIBLE/LOGAN/THE LAST EVER..ZZZZ

 

Occasionally, the Bond films DO get a much needed wake up call. The Jason Bourne series led, in some manner, whatever way one looks at it, to the rebooted rebirth of 007 in Casino Royale (2006). But the series would die (another day) JUST as quickly, were it to try keeping up with and adopting EVERY trend from each new franchise that in its own way already copied Bond for its very existence. So, click-bait writers need to stop with the ‘Bond needs to copy xyz’..

 

KINGSMAN trades on the idea of a refined snobbery and whilst they do package that with warmth and soul and fun? They have not an iota of the class or distinction defining James Bond. MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE-FALLOUT was indeed, THE best summer blockbuster this year and possibly, among the greatest action films of ALL time. But it amounts, essentially, to a sequence of amazing stunts, propelled by a larger than life star (Tom Cruise) in search of a non existent identity for a series that amounts to the title of a television show which itself was born from a love of..JAMES BOND!

Also: STOP this nonsense about ‘Bond DYING’. Will he bollox. Fleming toyed with the notion but even he brought his hero back, same way Conan Doyle did Holmes. End on a cliffhanger? Maybe. But DON’T KILL HIM. WHY would they do that, anyway? THINK about how many headaches it would raise in terms of continuity, fan outrage, box office backfires and so on. Yes, each actor has an ‘era’ and Daniel Craig’s has its own self contained timeline and tone.

But killing off Bond, even in that context? It’s..suicide! And yes, ‘Logan‘ did ‘dark’ and ‘death’. So what? He (Hugh Jackman as Wolverine) had at least a decade of adventures in him before needing to go anywhere NEAR that kind of material and will just be rebooted, anyway. It’s not an artistic, creative or original option anymore. ‘Dark’ does not mean ‘good’ anymore than ‘light’. It is story, plot, character and direction /editing/acting/score that make those qualities fly. And Nobody does that better than JAMES. BOND.

 

In short? If it is not an official announcement: then it is probably NOT actual ‘news’, but click-bait / #fakenews! And if it is not a reputable source of Bond reviews and discussion, then you are wasting your time even looking at it, other than for a good laugh /assurance that whilst not everyone can be James Bond, it seems everyone and anyone can now be a ‘writer’, online..

We recommend the following for QUALITY Bond related content:

007.COM

DO YOU EXPECT US TO TALK?

JAMES BOND RADIO

NOW PLAYING PODCAST

MI6-HQ.COM

COMMANDER BOND.NET 

HAPHAZARD STUFF

MOVIEVIRAL.COM 😉 

And we welcome YOUR suggestions, too.

BOND 25 is still on course, officially, for a November 2019 release date, with production scheduled to commence in December this year. For now? That’s all you ‘need to know’ 🙂

 

JAMES MURPHY WILL RETURN. JUST LIKE BOND! 😉 

 

 

 

 

 



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