It’s almost two years to the date since its planned original release date thanks to international lockdowns, but finally, the much anticipated 27th James Bond film arrives in cinemas tonight marking the end of Daniel Craig’s tenure in the role since taking over from Pierce Brosnan back in 2006. The film looks back into the past, explores the present, paying tribute to the 15 year arc and finale performance of Craig.
Michael G. Wilson is producer of the James Bond film series together with his sister Barbara Broccoli who worked on many of the franchises’ films including assistant directing The Spy Who Loved Me, executive producer on Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View To A Kill, The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill, all of which he co-wrote. He became producer with his step-father Albert R. Broccoli on A View To A Kill continuing with The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill. Wilson and his sister produced the hugely successful GoldenEye, followed by the next eight Bond films including Skyfall and Spectre. He is currently chairman of EON Productions.
“I think [No Time to Die] is by far the most personal story, alongside On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Casino Royale,” says Broccoli. “It is a fitting and very emotionally satisfying conclusion to Daniel Craig’s character arc.”
Not surprisingly, No Time To Die proved an emotional project for all of those involved, especially for Craig himself. “When I stop and think about what we have achieved over five movies, it’s really very emotional; it’s been nearly 15 years of my life,” says Craig. “And I felt with No Time To Die there was a story to finish off and lots of loose ends that we needed to tie up. I feel we’ve done that. I’m immensely proud of it and I am immensely proud of the huge collective effort that goes into making a Bond movie. Being just a small part of that has been an honour.”
The final scenes Craig shot were at Pinewood Studios, known as the offical home of the Bond films with the sound stage used for The Spy WHo Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, For Your Eyes Only, A View to A Kill, Die Another Day and Casino Royale, to name a few. All of the crew rostered on and off that day came in to see the conclusion of a chapter in James Bond history, which became emotional after Daniel Craig said a few words once they wrapped.
Daniel Craig has portrayed a unique version of Bond in comparison to his predecessors unlocking the humanity of the character throughout his five films. Up until this point, James Bond films featuring Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan acted as standalone adventures with continuity found in supporting characters and rivals tying them all together. Quantum Of Solace (2008) picked up immediately after Casino Royale (2006), which had tracked Bond’s initiation into the life of a double-O agent. Skyfall (2012) slotted into the series to reveal important aspects of Bond’s early life. No Time To Die, begins in the aftermath of Spectre (2015) where the film’s conclusion saw Bond (Craig) and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) drive away in the Aston Martin DB5 and the satisfying end and climatic twist that plays out wouldn’t have been able to achieved without the incremental build up that has taken 15 years to set up as a new modern Bond was explored in Craig’s rendition.
For all his excellence in certain fields, Craig’s Bond is not infallible. He is not the hero of myth and legend; he has much to learn. Bond is a multifaceted hero with successes tempered by occasional failures in a contrasting mixture of light and dark. He is a loner and yet he has learned to let people in. He has loved and he has lost. He lost Vesper Lynd. He lost M. And he wears those injuries for all to see.
“I started it like that with Casino,” describes Craig, . “That was how we went in and that was a lot of what defined the way I have played this wonderful character. I wanted Bond to look like a killer and I wanted him to behave like a killer because that’s what he is, an assassin; that’s what he was written as. But I wanted a modern take on that.”
The final film drew ideas and themes from the universe of Bond’s rich history. Spectre has evolved from a group of criminals to a mafia inspired syndicate maneouvring to pit world super powers against each other like the time they tried to instigate a war between the United States and Russia in You Only Live Twice. So it was a nice salute to the past when they re-emerged with ties to Daniel Craig’s films after falling off the canvas in the 1970s after Diamonds are Forever.
“It’s been a lot about the relationships and how those relationships affect him and how they change and steer his life.” reflects Craig, “Whether it’s with the villain or whether it’s the people he works with, this movie has tackled that head on. And the biggest themes are love and trust. You can’t really get much bigger than that.”
The introduction of Nomi, the first black woman to appear as a double-O agent in the franchise’s 60 year history harks back to GoldenEye which is the last time Bond worked with another such agent.
In describing his approach and the story of No Time to Die, Director, Cary Fukunaga says that James Bond is definitely put “in emotional situations he’s not been in before while the action unfolds.” On location shoots were very precise with sequences filmed in Norway, Italy, Jamaica, London, UK and Denmark.
The ending is a shocking and unexpected and it will be interesting to see how the story continues from that point, particularly with the revelation that completely changes the character forever. Wilson and Broccoli have said in interviews that they intend to let Daniel Craig celebrate the end of his stint before looking into contenders to take over, but some of the names swirling have been interesting. From Tom Hardy (Venom) to Henry Cavill (Superman), Rege-Jean Page (Bridgerton), Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders), Sam Heughan (Outlander), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), Dev Patel (Slum Dog Millionaire), Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott), Clive Standen (Vikings).
No Time to Die opens tonight Thursday 11 November – check local listings for session times.
Behind the Scenes Images Courtesy © 2021 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.