SPECTRE is the title of the 24th James Bond film, as announced this morning by director Sam Mendes at Pinewood Studios. Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, agent 007. Staffing MI6 once again will be Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner, Ben Wishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny, and Ralph Fiennes as the new M. Joining what Mendes referred to as “the MI6 Whitehall brigade” is Sherlock’s Andrew Scott as a new character called Denbigh.
Moving onto the “Non-British” members of the cast, Mendes introduced Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx before moving onto the “Bond Ladies” (that sounds so much nicer than “Bond Girls”, no?) - Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra and Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann.
The final cast member introduced this morning was Christoph Waltz, to whom Mendes referred as “the most important” member of the cast - before either declining or forgetting to mention Waltz’ character name. (The official 007 Twitter account didn’t get the memo; Waltz was listed there as playing “Oberhauser.”)
Today’s press announcement at Pinewood Studios held other new bits of info: Bond’s new ride was unveiled: the Aston Martin DB10, a sleek little number that’s been created specially for the film. SPECTRE will be shooting at Pinewood Studios in London, Mexico City, Rome, Tangier & Erfoud, Morocco, Sölden, Obertilliach and Lake Altausee, Austria. It will be released on November 6th, 2015. Nearly every crew member announced today is a returning one, with the exception of cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (who, it’s been mentioned elsewhere, will be shooting SPECTRE on film).
Eon's press release also contained a brief synopsis: "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."
What do you guys think? As I mentioned the other day, folding the villain name into the title is a tradition going back to the first Bond film in 1962 (Dr. No). So it’s hard to hate on SPECTRE for being unimaginative. On the other hand, if SPECTRE is dropped in the title, why are we being coy about a Blofeld reveal? It’s possible that the film might be setting us up to wonder if either Christoph Waltz or Andrew Scott might in fact be Blofeld. Now, if Scott's MI6 employee turns out to be Blofeld, that’s really close to what the producers of Sherlock did with the same actor on their show. So let’s hope not. (For the new kids, SPECTRE is the Special Executive For Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, and they're the organization behind Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever. More about them on BAD later today.)
Seeing all the MI6 characters on stage together got me kind of psyched to see more interplay with these characters. It's like Mendes came in a redecorated the shit out of a room Eon wasn't using. The director says on the Skyfall commentary that he's excited about the supporting cast now in place, especially Kinnear (who you might know as Frankenstein's Monster on Penny Dreadful) as Bill Tanner. For old-school Bond dorks, the support staff at MI6 can be a lot of fun, and that's coming along nicely here.
The casting of the Bond Ladies is really distinctive this time out: young Léa Seydoux is probably one of the most critically acclaimed actresses to play in a Bond film (Oscars don't count in England). And Monica Bellucci is the most mature, a scant three years' difference between her and Craig. I think this is cool!
Also cool: The way the bullet hole in the title treatment recalls the tentacled logo of the SPECTRE of old. I'm damn curious to see how the organization will be resurrected in the film. And I'm so, so hoping they don't screw this up. As I was blathering about on this week's podcast, each Bond's fourth go-round (Thunderball, Moonraker, Die Another Day) are all overstuffed, bloated, tipping into sillines - not really the best of the franchise. I really hope Mendes and this team break that pattern and deliver something special. It's certainly shaping up to look enormous.
While we’re here, congrats to commenter Chris Hall, whose What To Expect When You’re Ex-SPECTRE-ing was the clear winner of all submitted titles from the other day. Get in touch, Chris - I have some items from Q Branch to send your way.
Update: See the video @007 posted revealing the logo: