Finally, some good news has emerged from the clusterfrack that is the MGM financial crisis. While the studio is still terribly mismanaged and basically bankrupt, it has somehow scraped together enough money to put the next James Bond sequel back on track. And yes, Daniel Craig will be returning to the role.
Just a few months ago, the studio’s seemingly insurmountable debt resulted in the announcement that all development of the 23rd Bond film would be suspended indefinitely. This, despite the fact that the franchise’s last two entries were its highest grossers yet, and a new 007 movie would be a surefire blockbuster. At the time, rumors circulated that an extended delay could even force a recasting of the lead role, if star Daniel Craig were no longer young enough to plausibly play the action hero secret agent by that point.
Fortunately, Variety is now reporting that MGM has received a $500 million cash infusion and officially announced the return of James Bond. The still-untitled “Bond 23” project will start production later this year, for a scheduled release on November 2nd, 2012. Daniel Craig will be coming back, and the film will be directed by Sam Mendes (of ‘American Beauty‘ and, perhaps more relevantly, ‘Road to Perdition‘).
The delay has had one casualty, however. Screenwriter Peter Morgan (of ‘The Queen‘ and ‘Frost/Nixon‘) had been working on the project prior to its suspension, but will not be returning. The new script will be penned by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (writers of the last four Bond flicks) with John Logan (‘Gladiator‘ and ‘The Aviator‘).
If you ask me, it looks like this could go either way. All of the people involved have had careers equally filled with greatness and crap. Even so, I’m optimistic. Really, I’m just excited to have James Bond back, no matter the circumstances.