Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions, together with Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., announced that the 23rd James Bond film will commence production in late 2011 for a worldwide release on November 9, 2012.
Daniel Craig will be returning as the legendary British secret agent, with Sam Mendes directing a screenplay written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan. The franchise had been on hold amid financial troubles, with MGM filing for bankruptcy protection last November.
Last month, after a very long and public process, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) confirmed that federal bankruptcy court had approved a prepackaged bankruptcy plan, allowing it to exchange its debt for control and working capital, putting films such as the 23rd James Bond movie and “The Hobbit” back on the table for MGM.
“MGM is emerging from one of the most challenging periods of its storied history. We are honored and inspired at the opportunity of leading one of Hollywood’s most iconic studios into its next generation of unforgettable filmmaking, global television production and distribution, and aggressively pursuing, developing and exploiting new digital entertainment platforms,” said Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of MGM.
Barber and Birnham of Spyglass Entertainment accepted roles as Chief Executive Officers of MGM in December 2010. Barber attended University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and has a strong financial background, having successfully steered Spyglass in its production and finance of “Memoirs of a Geisha”, “The Sixth Sense”, “Star Trek” and recently, “The Tourist”.
According to movie blog Deadline, the producers of the 23rd James Bond film have twice attended the West End production “Deathtrap”, in which acclaimed Shakespearean actor Simon Russell Beale is currently starring. This news lends credence to the rumour that Beale might be in the running for a ‘good guy’ role in Bond 23.
The press release also confirms long-running rumours that Sam Mendes would be directing Bond 23. Whilst it was never confirmed by the Producers of the James Bond films, or MGM, it was understood by industry experts that Mendes was in the running to direct the film, but had signed on to the production as a consultant to avoid a payment trigger from the bankrupt MGM.
Last month, the director’s ex-wife Kate Winslet gave scoop to UK tabloids that she and her children would be moving to England in order for the children to be closer to their father as he worked on James Bond 23.
James Bond is one of the longest running franchises in film history. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the EON Productions series of James Bond films. Now that Daniel Craig’s involvement is confirmed, it will be the longest gap between Bond movies without a change in the lead role.
Daniel Craig – who made his Bond debut in Casino Royale in 2006 – is the sixth actor to play the British secret agent in the official Bond series. Sir Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Sir Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan preceded him in the iconic role.
Craig’s debut, in Casino Royale, was the most successful instalment in the franchise’s 48-year history, taking $594 million at the global box office. The latest Bond screenplay has been written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan.
With both the “Batman” and “Spider-Man” franchises dueling it out at the 2012 summer box-office, MI6 previously predicted that there would be little chance of Bond 23 being released earlier than Autumn 2012.
The release schedule around the holiday season in 2012 is light, with the only two major releases (“Monsters, Inc. 2” and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II”) penciled in for November 2012. [via BBC, DeadLine and MI6 (UK)]