As press and audiences attended and tuned into MGM’s well-hyped Bond conference there was an air of anxiety in me. Like most casting announcements designed to shock and excite us, MGM’s Bond announcement appeared clouded and weighed down by leaks, rumours and hear say.
Over the past few weeks, in anticipation for the announcement, outlets and papers sent their gutter workers to scramble and hoard any information on the then untitled ‘Bond 24’.
There was a real demand to know more following the return to form in Skyfall, which sufficiently rid us of Quantum of Solace memories. Sam Mendes showed that Bond could still attract talent like Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem, and shock audiences with major character exits whilst transporting 007 to lavish and beautiful locations shot under the Roger Deakin umbrella of cinematography.
First came the title announcement – ‘Spectre’. Bond fans will realise that Spectre alludes to a terrorist organisation Bond has tangled with many a time. Whilst this was a refreshing section of the announcement it was succeeded by announcements made mediocre by leaks and spoiler culture.
It seems then that Spectre had to push the casting boat further and rumours cemented that. Not two weeks ago we heard that Inglorious Bastards and Django Unchained star Christoph Waltz was in talks for a huge role in the feature, suspected to be that of Ernst Blofeld. So when we heard that he was in Spectre the announcement was lackluster. I’m still excited that Waltz is on board. He is, after all, an Oscar winner and regal talent but the Internet rumour culture nullified my excitement – the casting was expected.
Lea Seydoux has been linked to Bond for what feels like eons now. So when she was revealed at the conference I was smiling but expectantly.
Monica Bellucci was a more recent rumoured addition but nevertheless when she strutted up for a photo call it was accompanied by quiet acknowledgement.
Dave Bautista has been all but confirmed for weeks now. But whilst his casting announcement wasn’t anything new his presence and character name, Mr. Hinx, is exciting for the franchise and the actor. Bautista comes across as one of the most gracious and humble men in entertainment and as a result I wish him all the best in improvement and commercial success. And the return to hulking and almost comic henchmen is a breath of fresh air a franchise devolving into no fun at all. It is good to see that MGM hasn’t forgotten Bond’s iconic roots.
And finally, Andrew Scott, BBC Sherlock’s Moriarty, achieving a role in the film was reported by British tabloids in the lead up to the announcement but as usual it came as rumours and he-says and she-says. Much like Bautista, I am glad that BBC’s Sherlock has finally woken up casting directors to the talent of Scott but it was rather tiresomely expected.
This rather annoying post my come across as negative and in spite of Spectre but this is not the case. I have never been this excited at a Bond movie. The Skyfall team is back and for once we aren’t expecting a bad movie but a great one. And in truth the title and casting announcements were great. It is just a great shame that current demand for rumours and ‘exclusives’ nullify the affect of official studio announcements – something that has happened with Marvel’s casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.
There is only one solution: stop listening to the rumours and wait for official confirmation but it seems that movie news outlets these days survive on rumour reports. You can’t escape them even if you wanted to.