We’re deep into a Cold War phase of the Bond 25 news cycle, with, frankly, nothing of substance to report and nothing from EON Productions since announcing Danny Boyle’s departure. This is actually for the best, giving the producers breathing space to restore some sense of order behind the scenes while everyone else plays guessing games with hints that sneak out.
Today a report in Deadline seems to give us another peek behind the curtain. Speaking in Abu Dhabi, actor Saïd Taghmaoui (Sameer in last year’s Wonder Woman) claimed that Boyle had cast him as the lead villain, a role that was now in doubt subject to any new direction the movie might take:
"I literally just received a message saying: ‘If they go Middle East, it’s you. If they go Russian, it’s someone else.”
Setting aside the distinct possibility that putting this information out in public might prove to be a good way to definitely not get the gig, the possibility of a change hints at both the direction of the story and what’s now happening to it. MI6 Headquarters reports that Hodge was reworking an earlier script by seasoned Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, which is now receiving further rewrites. Although this is at odds with Boyle and Hodge having brought something wholly new to the table, it matches up with reports of Tomasz Kot being cast as a Russian villain and hints at a bait’n’switch in which the pair had their concept taken from them once they were onboard and presented with a known commodity in the Purvis and Wade script. Stranger things have happened, and seeing as both men are far too professional to run around complaining, we’ll probably have to wait a few years to find out the truth.
In the meantime, there’s a kind of phony war being conducted in a tabloid press getting itself in a frenzy of unsourced reporting, some of which feels like EON putting ideas out there to measure the public response. Chief among these is the immensely dumb concept of killing Bond at the end of Bond 25 (ostensibly leading to a Dr. Who-style regeneration), but there’s also talk of which other Bond movies Bond 25 could riff on: this is rather redundant, as all recent Bonds have riffed extensively on their forebears.
Other than that, Bond 25 is still without a director, although the recent announcement that Craig will be appearing in Rian Johnson quickie Knives Out suggests the shoot, although not the release date, will be pushed back slightly. Of the contenders, Hell Or High Water and Outlaw King director David Mackenzie recently said that while he’d met with Barbara Broccoli, Bond 25 wasn’t currently on his agenda, while Yann Demange (director of ’71 and White Boy Rick) says it’s the furthest thing from his mind. Still to be ruled out according to Variety are American Animals’ Bart Layton and The Defender’s S..J. Clarkson, currently in pre-production on Untitled Star Trek Sequel.
Chances are we may not know exactly who'll be directing Bond 25 until the traditional pre-shoot press conference, but that’s not going to stop us speculating in the meantime. Nor should it stop you speculating: given the names that have already ruled themselves out, who’s your next pick for the hot seat? And how exactly do you think it went down in the EON offices? Do you think the Doctor Who ending is a good idea, and can you show your working? Chime in below.