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James Bond – What’s Next For 007?

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Written By: Daniel Burden

If we are to believe the media, Daniel Craig is no longer James Bond. Apparently he turned down a hundred million dollar offer for another two films. While we regular folk don’t have a very long list of things we wouldn’t do for that sum of money, it seems Craig no longer wishes to play the super spy. He’s made it clear in recent months that he doesn’t enjoy the role and if so, then by all means move on to bigger and better things, a sequel to Cowboys and Aliens perhaps?

Officially six people have played Bond since 1962, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and more recently Daniel Craig.

There’s always huge speculation about the next Bond. It is a sought after role and something an actor will be stuck with for the rest of their lives, for good or bad. Rumours abound at the moment, without any official confirmation from anyone involved, but for arguments sake, let’s carry on as if we are definitely getting a new James Bond.

So, what are the options? Can anyone play this role? What does it take to be 007?

Idris Elba

I want to get this one out of the way first. The popular choice and the question has been following Elba around for years, there isn’t an interview he does when it isn’t brought up. Rumours that he has spoken to the Bond producers more than once won’t go away.

But there’s a reason Elba is the popular choice, because he would absolutely kill in this role, he has all the prerequisites required to be Bond, he’s a fantastic actor and always has my vote. His age might be a factor, he’s 43, not old by Hollywood action standards but the next film likely wouldn’t hit our screens until 2019, and they would want ten years from any actor. Also Elba himself has said he doesn’t want to be remembered as the ‘Black Bond’.

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Tom Hiddleston

The bookies current favourite. And another pretty great choice, as seen recently in The Night Manager as spy Jonathan Pine, Hiddleston suddenly shot into the public perception as a Bond candidate. He’s charming but so often contains an underlying menace. Are the rumours surrounding Hiddleston just from his other recent role? Possibly. But there is also a distinct possibility he has already landed the role.

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Michael Fassbender

Watch X-Men: First Class and you’ll see it, when Magneto goes on his Nazi hunt from the bank to Argentina, he is basically a mutant James Bond. I can see him very much in a Timothy Dalton-esque role, hard edged and cold but still cool.

With X-Men, and Assassin’s Creed planned as a trilogy, it does seem unlikely Fassbender would jump into another huge franchise.

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Damian Lewis

We’ve had a blonde Bond, are we really ready for a ginger Bond? Of course I jest. Lewis is a great actor and has played spies and secret agents before, but he doesn’t seem like a great fit for Bond to me.

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Aidan Turner

Another popular choice at the moment, he’s certainly got the female vote after his shirtless appearance in Poldark. Turner is also the least famous actor currently in the running and a more unknown quantity might not be a bad thing. I wouldn’t be against this but I fell there are better options.

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Henry Cavill

Bond actors have a tradition of auditioning too young and not getting the role first time around, happened to Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, and they eventually got a shot at the tuxedo. Cavill auditioned years ago and was considered too young.

He recently played famous spy Napoleon Solo in The Man from Uncle reboot, and he was pretty damn charming in that role.

He’s also Superman and is considerably less charming in that role, it’d be pretty difficult to be Bond and the last son of Krypton at the same time. I’m saying no.

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Luke Evans

Someone suggested Evans to me last year and I have to say I hadn’t considered him but when you think about it, it works. He looks the part, is an underrated actor who does a lot of different and interesting projects, can handle actions scenes.

Evans hasn’t been mentioned in any of the rumours and chatter but he would make a fine James Bond.

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Tom Hardy

Yes. But I don’t see it happening. Hardy doesn’t seem to be a big franchise guy and he is one of those actors who appears to be constantly working, it might be difficult for him to find the time.

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Jon Hamm

An American playing James Bond? Sacrilege you cry! But I always liked Hamm for this role, he’d also have made a fantastic Silver Age Superman, there’s something Bond-like about Don Draper and that’s probably why I like the idea so much.

I miss Mad Men.

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Those are the frontrunners and my picks, I still say Idris Elba deserves the role. (But if I could have absolutely anyone play James Bond, it would be Hugh Laurie, as an older, more cynical Bond. Come on, just imagine how brilliant that would be!)

Finally, go with an unknown actor, Connery wasn’t famous when he was cast as Bond and that worked out pretty well.

There’s something else I want address. People, and by people I mean the Internet, have called for a female James Bond. To be honest, this deserves a bigger debate than I can go into here.

It’s not an idea I care for, despite many suggesting Emily Blunt for the role, I love her and she kicks ass in every role, but I would much rather see her play a new character, make her 005 and then give her an awesome spin off.

Or, here’s a thought, make an original female led action franchise, and stop sponging off existing characters. Anyone see Angelina Jolie’s Salt? It can be done.

A gay Bond is also mentioned from time to time. The character isn’t gay but it could work, there’s no reason it couldn’t in theory. However, as with the female Bond, I’d suggest making a new character. Because we do need more gay characters in blockbusters, build a new action hero and make him gay man. Or woman.

Who will be the next James Bond?

We don’t know, for all we know Daniel Craig’s bank balance might change its mind and he comes back for another, despite his generally bad attitude, his Bond flicks have made billions and he’s hugely popular. But after four films, and that he doesn’t have any interest or investment in the character, it is time to move on.

Let someone else drive the Aston Martin and wear the tuxedo. With all the media attention and speculation it seems like we will find out about the next Bond sooner rather than later.

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How Casinos Can Improve a Movie

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When it comes to movie themes, you got them all. From war movies to romance films, there is something for everybody. However, the gamble theme is not often present but some casino scenes really mattered. For example, the roulette ball in Casablanca that landed on 22 two times, all this was possible thanks to the rigged roulette. 

Another example is found in the movie 21. This movie is mainly made after a book called Bringing Down the House and just like the movie, it’s about a group of students “robbing” a casino playing Blackjack. Actually, the robbing process consists in one person taking a seat at a Blackjack table and that person just counts the cards. After a while, their friend joins knowing which cards were already played. As expected, they get caught and the action begins.  

Daniel Craig and Casino Royale 

If it’s not already obvious, these examples cannot go further without mentioning Daniel Craig starring as a MI6 agent in the movie Casino Royale. This movie was not like any other James Bond films. Firstly, the new actor had blond hair and blue eyes. This new look was not welcome at all especially for die hard 007 fans. Daniel Craig had nothing in common with the previous agents such as Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan. Moreover, back in 2005, right before the Casino Royale release, many fans were sure that Daniel will ruin the series. In fact, Casino Royale ended up being one of the best James Bond movies ever.  

After all, some changes were needed so the movie can have a fresh feeling. If we got used to every James Bond movie starting with the same scene, Casino Royale made it different. Until then, every single film started with a gun barrel sequence in which James walks in a white room, he turns, then fires and the blood drips down the screen. In the new 007 film, the movie starts with a black and white scene and at the end of this sequence, when we think that its first victim is dead, Daniel turns around then fires and we have the first gun barrel scene.  

As an illustration on the movie name, there are three poker scenes that make this film better. The first one has a well made old-fashion feel that is mainly made through the dissolve process. This technique was usually seen in the 80s and is a post-process film editing that makes the transition from one image to another.  

The second poker game is when Le Chiffre destroys James. Right after this game, there is a sequence that lets the agent sit alone on the table with nothing left, making the MI6 agent more natural. This is a high contrast with all the old cliché movies where James Bond was invincible. Further, Daniel gets poisoned by Le Chiffre but the secret agent survives by using the defibrillator from his car. Then he comes back and says ”I’m sorry, that last hand, killed me”.   

Like I said, casinos can be a good way to improve a movie. Also, land-based casinos suffered many changes over the years. Like most casinos that are now using online and mobile platforms. For about 400 years, casinos were just ”gamble houses”, but now they adopted new technologies. The most important change was of course, the online platforms which made it possible to enjoy casino games from the comfort of our house.  

For few years know, these virtual gamble houses started to show up everywhere. Moreover, there is a new online British casino called Admiral Casino and has a wide variety of fruit machines. In addition, their app is present on the App Store and you can now play slots like Sizzling Hot and Golden Sevens. Both games have 5 reels and are made by Novomatic. As has been noted, casinos made their contributions in many areas and now, thanks to the mobile technology they can be taken in your pocket. 

 

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Sequels Deliver at the Box Office

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Jurassic World was a gigantic hit in 2015, in fact, at a worldwide gross of $1,671,713,208 it remains the 5th highest grossing film of all time just behind Infinity War and The Force Awakens. That’s impressive for any franchise, let alone one long considered extinct. 

With its sequel, Fallen Kingdom, currently dominating the box office, it is worth looking at just how well sequels tend to do, the mixed fortunes they find themselves in, the biggest success stories and some considerably embarrassing failures. 

Fallen Kingdom hasn’t been a big hit with the critics (51% on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 71% for the first film) but this evolution of the series has still resonated with audiences, currently sitting at $932,387,335 and very likely to pass the hallowed billion dollar mark in the next week or so. A billion dollars is nothing to be sniffed at but there is still every chance the studio will consider it something of a failure that it was unable to eclipse its predecessor. 

A few other franchises worth examining; 

Fast and Furious 

A franchise that rose from the ashes of almost going straight to DVD, with the 7th installment staking its claim in the big leagues, ironically 7th highest of all time, but when Fate of the Furious came just two years later, it made close to $300 million less. Is that audiences simply getting sick of cars doing ridiculous things, or something else? Fast 7 was unfortunately bolstered by the death of star Paul Walker, giving it increased media attention. 

Star Wars 

As previously mentioned, The Force Awakens is one of the biggest box office hits of all time, and whether or not it will be unseated in third place by Infinity War is almost too close to call but it will be incredibly close. 

But it terms of diminishing returns, The Last Jedi made over $700 million less than The Force Awakens. Why is that? The answer for this one is pretty simple, The Force Awakens was such a huge, once in a generation event, that it wasn’t going to happen a second time. Not that The Last Jedi’s box office is low, it sits at 11th of all time. 

But Star Wars has a different problem, it is now a series that digresses from the main saga and moved into spin off territory. Rogue One was a big hit, being a member of the billion dollar club, but Solo, a film plagued with production troubles, has really struggled, pulling in a fairly weak $368,879,115. The blame for this lies in the release window, with Infinity War still making good change, and Deadpool the week before, Solo hit in the middle of one of the most crowded summers in recent memory, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom snapping quickly at its heels. 

What is considered a success or a failure in these terms anyway? It’s hard to know for sure. Sony’s second attempt at the Spider-Man franchise (Amazing Spider-Man if you find all these Spider-People confusing) was a decent hit, and the sequel only made $50 million less but was considered such a failure by Sony that they ended up handing the character back to Marvel. Which we can all agree was the right thing to do. But just $50 million was enough to make them wonder, not the other $650 million it made. Sequels are expected to make more money. 

Now, one last point. The highest grossing film of all time?  

Avatar. $2,787,965,087.  

That will probably never be beaten. Avatar 2 has a release date of December 18th 2020. Will it come anywhere close to the first film? This seems unlikely. Or maybe not, James Cameron should never be counted out, he might very well end up with the top 3 highest grossing films of all time. Or will Star Wars Episode 9, which goes into production this week, come back with a bang and topple Cameron’s big blue cat people? 

Only time, and a lot of money, will tell. 

 

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Cinema FOMO

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FOMO; the fear of missing out. Defined in 2015 by the Oxford English Dictionary as, ‘anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media’.

It’s true that in our online, digitally driven world, FOMO is thriving on a global scale, however that doesn’t mean it’s a new phenomenon. Throughout cinematic history, audiences have craved a shared experience, using quotes and characters as shorthand in their own conversations. No-one wants to be left out of the discussion.

Even in this technological age, the world’s leading film magazine Empire, remains an important and relevant source in the world of film journalism and with its much-loved features and interviews with Hollywood’s A-List, you can avoid serious FOMO by joining their subscription service today, meaning you’ll never miss a review or important update from the world of film.

When the teaser trailer for Black Panther landed, it was viewed 89 million times in just 24 hours. It was the most tweeted about movie in 2017 (before it was even released) and has gone on to become the most tweeted about film ever made. People wanted to be a part of the #BlackPanther and #Wakanda phenomenon and Twitter gave them the community they desired, adding in Q&A specials and a Black Panther custom emoji.

But what about before the dawn of Twitter? Back in the dark depths of 1999, a little film called The Blair Witch Project dropped. Using the internet, online forums went mad with leaked rumours about a film created from the found footage of three missing filmmakers. The accompanying website presented credible back stories and realistic style news interviews. Missing person leaflets were also distributed to enhance the story. (Spoiler alert; if you don’t already know, it was all entirely fictional). At the time however, this clever and original marketing fed directly in to our FOMO receptors.

But what if we take social media and the internet out of the equation. Do we travel back to a pre FOMO time? The truth? Absolutely not, so you can put the DeLorean away.

Back in 1961, Alfred Hitchcock released Psycho. Whilst his reputation was already established, this was a self financed film, so a lot was riding on its success. He made the decision not to screen for critics first, meaning audiences got to see the film at the same time, with no preconceptions. He refused cast interviews and to pump curiosity, issued an edict that nobody would be allowed in to cinemas after the picture began. Would you want to be the only one not to know what was happening inside the Bates Motel? Absolutely not. People flocked, queues stretching around the block to ensure they experienced this new cinematic milestone. Quite simply, FOMO struck again.

In truth, it’s an innate human desire to want to belong and regardless of marketing, it doesn’t get much better than sharing the joy of a cinematic experience with friends.

 

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