Even though MGM -- the studio which EON Productions release the 007 pictures -- is up for sale, causing the preproduction of Bond 23 to be pushed back to February, the screenwriters are still hard at work for the 23rd film in the longest running film franchise in history.
Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon, The Last King of Scotland, The Damned United) relocated himself and his family to Vienna, Austria to compliment usual Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade as they pen the script for Daniel Craig's third outing as James Bond. Paul Haggis helped Purvis and Wade script the first two Craig starrers: The first, Casino Royale, was a supremely crafted film period -- Bond or not -- and went on to become the highest grossing and in my opinion best Bond film to date. The second, Quantum of Solace, with Marc Forster at the helm, was a quite clumsy follow up. It would seem that since Haggis did the last polish on the sequel, he's been left out this time around in favor of Morgan (just a guess).
So after spending July through October writing the first draft for Bond 23, what can Morgan reveal about the story? Well, nothing really. But he does tease that:
It's a shocking story.
And that's pretty much all he's allowed to reveal at the moment. The world of Bond is quite a new experience for Morgan, who says of the public interest in the franchise:
Bond creates a hysteria around it, one that I haven't previous known. It's a magnet for publicity - everyone wants to know what's going on with the new Bond.
This is definitely a new kind of Bond that they have sculpted for Craig. So I'm up for any shocks and surprises that will shake and not stir the franchise.
Along with Craig, Judi Dench is expected to reprise her role as Agent M. Cameras are likely to roll late 2010. Time Warner and Lions Gate are the two heavy hitters eyeing to bid on MGM and its 4,000 film catalogue.
But the biggest question is, with all of the usual players a lock, who will helm the new film? Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have yet to confirm a director. I wish Martin Campbell, who resurrected the franchise twice with Casino Royale and Goldeneye, would return. But he'll most likely be busy with post production on Green Lantern. Matthew Vaughn, who directed Daniel Craig in Layer Cake -- which helped earn Craig the role as Bond -- is a name we and many others have thrown around for the past few years. With the buzz (and our anticiptation) of his Kick-Ass adaptation running high, it just might work out! Hey, if Guy Ritchie's big budget debut in Sherlock Holmes turns out well... I wouldn't mind him taking the helm either. After all, Layer Cake is often mistakenly referred to as a Ritchie film.
What do you think of a "Shocking" Bond film and who do you think should direct it?