James Bond unmasked: No Time To Die faced ‘difficulty’ being ‘contemporary’ before release

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Next year will mark 60 years since the late Sir Sean Connery brought James Bond to life in Dr No for the very first time. Since then, six other actors have tried to live up to the performance of the iconic Scottish star, who died of respiratory failure last year. Current Bond, Daniel Craig will portray the troubled British spy in his fifth and final 007 instalment No Time To Die.

The spy flick was originally due to reach cinema screens in April last year and has suffered three delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Last week, The Mirror reported that MGM – the film’s producers – have budgeted £10million for the premiere.

No Time To Die, which is the franchise’s 25th film, has not reached cinema screens due to fears about the spread of Covid-19. 

While some have argued the movie could have been released on streaming platforms – the Bond flick is yet to be seen. 

The film is currently scheduled for release in the UK on September 30 and October 8 for the rest of the world.

But after delays of more than a year, some fans are concerned the film might not live up to their expectations or still be relevant. 

This issue was addressed by producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who have spent their lives working on Bond.

In a September episode of No Time To Die: The Official James Bond Podcast, they said their films “always” had to be “contemporary” and “of the moment”.

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Mr Wilson revealed their screenwriters were tasked with the difficult task of “trying to predict what is going to be a problem” in the world. 

He continued: “[What] will be current and on everyone’s minds and [what] people will take seriously? That’s the kind of basis for the caper.”

Mr Wilson claimed they “managed” to keep contemporary “by recasting Bond through the years”.

His remark hinted new blood could run through the franchise after Daniel Craig’s replacement is announced.

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Mr Wilson felt each actor “brought something new, different and unique” based on their “interpretation of the character”.

He added: “So in a way, it keeps it fresh and rather, you know, evolving all the time.”

Ms Broccoli, whose father Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli brought Connery’s 007 to screens in 1962, felt Bond could “never go out of fashion”.

She felt the “celebration of heroism” meant the character would remain popular with fans now and for decades to come. 

Ms Broccoli believed moviegoers connected with Bond because remains an “ordinary” and “regular person” unlike “superheroes”.

She claimed this was reemphasised in Craig’s portrayal where “he bleeds” and “he cries” like any other person. 

Ms Broccoli added: “We like to celebrate people… in everyday life… who do things for the greater good as that is something worth celebrating.”

However, the issue of remaining up to date could present troubles for No Time To Die as it has been three years since they started filming in April 2018.

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By the time the film is released, two years will have passed from their final shoot in October 2019.

But Mr Wilson explained the writers were constantly ahead of the game and “always looking for” ideas that could keep Bond up to date. 

Ms Broccoli described the new films as “classic Bond with a modern twist” and said a “few lines” would pay homage to 007 author Ian Fleming’s books.

She added: “It’s a culmination of everything that his portrayal of the character has been through and it ties up all the storylines – it’s a pretty epic film, I have to say.” 

No Time To Die’s script was worked on by long-serving Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade as well as Cary Fukunaga and Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Mr Purvis admitted their job was far from easy as they “needed to reflect” the “politics” of the time but not “in a heavy-handed way”.

He explained that they carried out a lot of “researching” into certain “topics” and technologies that could be used in Bond flicks.

The “magic formula” they aimed for, was trying to appease 007 loyalists and new audiences according to Mr Wade

He explained: “It’s really difficult because it’s easy to slip out of the genre of James Bond. 

“It is its own genre, that’s not to say you can’t introduce things that then can become part of the genre… but it’s a case of trying to be different but familiar.” 

No Time To Die is scheduled to be released on 30 September in the UK and October 8 for the rest of the world. 

Daniel Craig stars in Quantum Of Solace, which airs at 8pm tonight on ITV.

No Time To Die: The Official James Bond Podcast is available to stream here.

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