Aside from some boardroom maneuvering at MGM (which, quite frankly, felt a bit too inside baseball to run until the story had shaken itself out a bit more), we’ve been short of Bond 25 news since Danny Boyle confirmed he was in the running with a new John Hodge script, but friends, the Bond news winds may have finally changed.
To recap, MGM chairman and CEO Gary Barber was kicked out a couple of weeks ago, apparently as a result of a board-level dispute over the future direction of the company, which controls 50% of the Bond franchise. Today, THR is reporting that MGM may be offering itself for sale, essentially using the Bond franchise as bait. Suddenly everything becomes a lot clearer: assembling a Bond package including Daniel Craig and Danny Boyle immediately removes a lot of perceived risk for potential suitors who will be looking for the $1bn worldwide box office of Skyfall (rather than the $880m SPECTRE managed) and might have balked at previous front-running director Yann Demange’s lack of experience ... especially if, as I suspect, Boyle can turn in a Bond movie on a less extravagant budget than the $250m SPECTRE admitted to. Sony’s said to be leading the pack, presumably keen to increase the 25% of profits its existing distribution deal granted while funding half the production costs. My guess is this part of the story is going to move very quickly, and we’ll then see a domino effect firming up Bond 25 in short order.
A tidbit at the end of THR’s story claims that Boyle’s deal is now done, according to “a source”, which leads us onto the fun part: rumours about what exactly is in the draft Bond 25 script which John Hodge has allegedly completed. Now, this comes with very heavy qualifiers as it’s coming from a Reddit poster, but they’re saying Bond will be going up against a female villain (a first for Craig) who has a personal connection to Bond, a role for which Boyle is looking to cast an A-lister and currently both taking and scheduling meetings with “the usual suspects”. Furthermore, there’s a young female MI6 agent Bond is mentoring: she may have been cast already.
Sketchy stuff for now, but – again, we’re taking this all with a pinch of salt – it sounds like the kind of complete change of direction that will justify the ditching of whatever was in the Purvis and Wade script (which is doubtless going to keep Bond scholars occupied for years to come) and wash away that SPECTRE taste while giving Craig’s run as Bond a unique finale.
Plenty to talk about here: who are your picks to buy MGM, or your fantasy casting choices for these two female roles? And what is this villainess’ connection to Bond?