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Bond 25: Daniel Craig Brings Waller-Bridge on Board for Helping With Endless Rewrites

Updated on May 11, 2019
Sayan C profile image

Sayan is a film enthusiast and has a degree in mass media from Mumbai University. He is a practicing filmmaker and writer from Mumbai.

(From left to right): Daniel Craig, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge
(From left to right): Daniel Craig, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Since its announcement back in mid-2017 and Daniel Craig’s dramatic turnaround to reprise the role of the famous suave British agent 007, Bond 25‘s (tentatively titled) production is in full swing or should I say in full ‘chaos’.

The film bore the production title of ‘Shatterhand’ which led many to speculate that it would be based on Raymond Benson’s 2001 novel Never Dream of Dying. But the author tweeted that he hadn’t entered into any dealings with the producers but would love to see the same. As of now it is touted to be an original story.

The franchise’s regular writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade wrote the initial screenplay that has since been under several re-writes and the same is still underway.

Ace directors like Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049), David Mackenzie (Starred Up, and Hell or High Water) and Yann Demange (‘71) were all considered after Sam Mendes refused to come back for a third time.

Danny Boyle
Danny Boyle

“I learned quite a lot about myself with Bond. I work in partnership with writers and I am not prepared to break it up”, he said.

Producers Michael G. Wilson Barbara Broccoli roped in Oscar-winner Danny Boyle amidst much fanfare, who was very closely competing with Denis Villeneuve, after the latter announced his passion project, the Dune series.

Boyle bought on board his longtime collaborator John Hodges to rework on the script from the scratch. While the studio initially approved this move, things later changed.

With Bond 25 being rumored to be Craig’s final film in the franchise, there were discussions about killing off the character in a ‘dramatic fashion’. Boyle supposedly wasn’t ready for it.

He however maintained that the reason for his departure after spending months working on, what was going to be the finished draft, was he didn’t want to work with another writer.

“I learned quite a lot about myself with Bond. I work in partnership with writers and I am not prepared to break it up”, he said.

It seems ever since 2015’s Spectre, the franchise has been in development hell. Now with Boyle’s exit, the movie is on even wobbly grounds. According to inside sources, the production has gone on floors based on a loose script and outlined dialogues for the current schedule and they (the makers) may have a huge task up hand in the post.

The producers, in an attempt to bring the project back on track, rehired Purvis and Wade to produce a new script.

Even with the recruitment of an equally prestigious Cary Joji Fukunaga (Jane Eyre, and Beasts of No Nation) to helm the twenty-fifth installment, things aren’t going so well. The script is being constantly rewritten during production and a team of writers are tasked with constantly formulating new dialogues – resulting in the movie being described as a “well-polished shit show”.

It all seems to have stemmed from Craig’s displeasure with the initial script being offered to him as in his own words he “…just want[s] to go out on a high note...”

Bond 25: On location with Daniel Craig in action.
Bond 25: On location with Daniel Craig in action.

He added, “Of course, we wouldn’t be movie-makers or creative people if we didn’t have an eye on what was going on in the outside world.”

And so in a bid to speed up the production, Craig has requested Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Killing Eve, and Fleabag) to liven up the script with her “wit and quirkiness”.

Last month at the film’s press conference in Jamaica, Craig upheld Bond as a character who was always adapted for the times. He added, “Of course, we wouldn’t be movie-makers or creative people if we didn’t have an eye on what was going on in the outside world.”

Fans of Waller-Bridge love her compelling, fully-realized women characters and hope that she brings the same to the Bond franchise, which has long been scrutinized for their outlandish testosterone filled outings with dollops of casual sexism thrown in here and there.

However Waller-Bridge opined that “Daniel’s films have had really fantastic Bond girls, so it’s just keeping up.” She also said that she hoped to sneak in some feminist humor in an otherwise masculine action-adventure.

She promises to make the women “feel like real people” in this new film.

“It’s such an exciting story and it’s just been a thrill to work on”, she added.

Cary Joji Fukunaga (director)
Cary Joji Fukunaga (director)

Currently Bond 25 is going through extensive re-writes with even Craig joining Waller-Bridge and Scott Z. Burns (Contagion) along with franchise veterans Purvis and Wade to help finish the job.

Fukunaga revealed that, when the film picks up, Bond is not in active service and starts his journey in Jamaica. This makes sense considering that Spectre ended with Bond and Madeleine (La Seydoux) driving off together to some undisclosed destination. But Bond’s peace is short-lived when his old friend, Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission is to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected and that leads Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with a dangerous new technology.

Bond 25 filming in Jamaica
Bond 25 filming in Jamaica

Recent reports claim that the after an extensive schedule in Norway in addition to the sound stage and location work in UK, the team would gear up for a massive action sequence in Southern Italy (rumored to be the film’s climax).

On this project, MGM Pictures is partnering with IMAX to deliver the grandest and the most spectacularly fitting conclusion to Craig’s run on the franchise.

The film will mark Daniel Craig’s fifth outing in the titular role and is being joined by Oscar winning Rami Malek, who is playing the villain.

Other newcomers in the franchise includes Billy Magnussen (Maniac), Dali Benssalah, Ana De Armas (Blade Runner 2049), David Dencik and Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel).

Returning cast members include Naomi Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Ben Wishaw as Q, La Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann, Ralph Fiennes as M, Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter, and Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner.

With an earlier opening date of November 8, 2019 being postponed due to multiple reasons, the film is finally en route to an 8 April 2020 release.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Sayan Chakraborty

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