Skyfall and a licence to print money as plans to start filming next Bond movie are already in motion
21:08 GMT, 25 October 2012
As Skyfall opens today in the biggest release ever for a James Bond film, plans are already well under way for the next 007 thriller starring Daniel Craig.
There was a four-year wait between Quantum Of Solace and Skyfall (Bond 23).
However, Bond 24 is already in pre-pre-production and the plan is for it to start shooting at Pinewood Studios around this time next year and be ready for cinemas in the autumn of 2014.
Money maker: Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, is likely to make more than 20 million at the box office
Screenwriter John Logan has been hired to write Bond 24, and he will pen it on his own.
On Skyfall, he was brought in by director Sam Mendes and producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to re-write the existing Skyfall screenplay that had been created by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
Purvis and Wade had worked on a total of five Bond pictures, starting with 1999’s The World Is Not Enough — which is a strong record — but they felt it was time to move on. ‘They’ve had a tremendous run,’ an executive associated with the pair told me.
The outline for Bond 24 is a closely held secret and so far just Wilson, Broccoli, Craig and trusted aides know the storyline for the film featuring Ian Fleming’s ‘blunt instrument’.
Fleming famously told the New Yorker, back in 1962, that he wanted Bond to be ‘an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened’.
Bond 24: The next Bond film will also star Daniel Craig and plans are already being made to start filming next year
‘I wanted him to be the blunt instrument,’ Fleming said, adding: ‘Now the dullest name in the world has become an exciting one.’ If he could see Bond now!
Skyfall will be showing in 587 cinemas in the UK, on more than 1,500 screens.
Peter Taylor, managing director of Sony Pictures UK, told me it was the studio’s biggest release ever. He boasted that Bond ‘is our greatest cultural icon’ and observed that everything was pointing to Skyfall being the biggest money-making Bond film ever.
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The rather unloved Quantum Of Solace took 15.4 million in its first weekend in 2008, but Skyfall has been enjoying phenomenal word of mouth and has (apart from a couple of dissenting voices) collected admiring five-star reviews, including the one I wrote for the Mail Online that was quoted around the globe.
Expect Skyfall, then, to take well in excess of 20 million between today and Sunday night. Many cinemas are squeezing in extra morning shows — including the BFI IMAX on London’s South Bank, which has a 9am showing today and an 8.30am performance tomorrow — to cope with the expected demand.
I saw Skyfall for the second time at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday, where more than 300,000 was raised to benefit the charities that support former and serving members of the three intelligence agencies, of which the Prince of Wales is patron.
It’s certainly on my ‘films of the year’ list, and I was struck by how astutely director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins melded their artistic sensibilities with a piece of gritty pop iconography to produce movie gold.
And the performances are all spot-on — from Craig at the helm, through Javier Bardem’s delicious villain Raoul Silva, to Judi Dench’s ruthless but vulnerable M.
Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes will begin negotiations over the next few months to set their return for Bond 24.
Harbouring a few surprises
Tim Rice is bringing war to London’s West End.
His musical version of From Here To Eternity — based on the best-selling James Jones novel, not the Oscar-winning movie — will begin previews at the Shaftesbury Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue from September 30 next year, opening on October 23.
New show: Tim Rice's musical version of From Here To Eternity will open at the Shaftesbury Theatre next year
The Olivier, Tony and Oscar- winning lyricist told me he’s confident the show will evoke the tragedy of the bombing at Pearl Harbour in 1941.
‘The heart of our musical is two love stories,’ says Rice. They’re set against the backdrop of America being forced to enter the war after the surprise attack that crippled the U.S. fleet in Hawaii.
Rice and his colleagues — the composer and co- lyricist Stuart Brayson, writer Bill Oakes and director Tamara Harvey — spent a long while securing the rights to Jones’s novel.
‘We didn’t have the film rights, because we didn’t want them,’ says Rice, adding that Fred Zinnemann’s 1953 film couldn’t include the sex and language that was in the book.
Not that it will all be in the stage show either, but there will be more of the novel, which captured the raw flavour of the navy barracks and the colourful goings-on in the bars off base.
Two workshops have ironed out a lot of kinks. And Rice has been in the musical theatre game long enough to know not to start rehearsals until the book is absolutely done and dusted.
He said the music will be contemporary.
‘No Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters,’ said the celebrated lyricist behind Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King, Evita and Chess.
A theatrical farewell to Attenborough
Michael Attenborough has been running theatres for 32 years.
Next year, he stands down as artistic chief of the Almeida, where he has been for more than a decade. Before that, he was in charge at Watford and Hampstead.
‘I joke that I’ve put a stop to my adultery,’ he tells me. ‘I’ll stop two-timing my wife next year and do freelance projects.’
Michael Attenborough, pictured centre, with Kieran Bew, Lisa Dillon, Samantha Spiro, Eddie Redmayne, Jonathan Pryce and Ray Fearon at the 10th anniversary performance of King Lear at the Almeida Theatre
One of those will be to direct a short film called Lovely Head, which was a present from writer Neil LaBute, with whom he has often worked.
Attenborough has also set up three productions for the Almeida, to be directed by others.
Lindsay Posner will take charge of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s adaptation of Henry James’s The Turn Of The Screw from January 17. Then, Matthew Dunster will direct Rodney Ackland’s Before The Party from March 21.
Last but not least, Lyndsey Turner will direct the world premiere of Lucy (Posh) Kirkwood’s Chimerica, from May 17.