In Depth

Who will replace Daniel Craig as the next James Bond?

Actor’s final outing as 007 delayed by months due to coronavirus

Best Bond songs: how will Sam Smith's Spectre song compare?

8 September

Sam Smith has confirmed that he will soon join the long list of artists who have lent their voice to a James Bond theme song.

His contribution, Writing's On The Wall, will be unveiled on 25 September, ahead of the new 007 movie Spectre, which is due to be released in the UK on 26 October.

The British singer said it was one of the highlights of his career. "I am so excited to be a part of this iconic British legacy and join an incredible line-up of some of my biggest musical inspirations," he said. "I hope you all enjoy the song as much as I enjoyed making it."

He has co-written it with Grammy-winner Jimmy Napes, who also helped write Smith's Stay With Me and I'm Not The Only One.

Spectre producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said it would "surely be considered one of the greatest Bond songs of all time". But can it compete with these?

Skyfall, Adele (2012)

Adele's Skyfall became the first Bond theme song to win a Golden Globe and Academy Award. It topped the iTunes chart within hours of its release in October 2012, although only reached number two in the UK's official singles chart.

Goldfinger, Shirley Bassey (1964)

Shirley Bassey holds the record for singing the most James Bond themes, including Diamonds Are Forever in 1971 and Moonraker in 1979. But it was Goldfinger that became one of the star's signature songs and stood the test of time like few other Bond themes, says Wales Online.

Live and Let Die, Paul McCartney (1973)

Rolling Stone named Live and Let Die the greatest James Bond theme song three years ago. Guns N' Roses gave it a second lease of life in 1991 with their own "even more over-the-top cover", says the magazine.

Duran Duran, A View To A Kill (1985)

It was the only Bond song to reach the top of the Billboard charts and was named best of the Bond themes by Digital Spy earlier this summer. "Duran Duran's tune brilliantly straddles the line between being a great 'Bond theme' and a cracking song in its own right," says the website.

01 September

Daniel Craig has claimed that his version of James Bond is "not as sexist and misogynistic" as his predecessors'.

The actor, who has been the face of Bond for nearly a decade, will star in the next 007 film Spectre, due out next month.

Ahead of the release, he told Esquire magazine: "Hopefully, my Bond is not as sexist and misogynistic as [earlier incarnations]. The world has changed. I am certainly not that person. But he is, and so what does that mean? It means you cast great actresses and make the parts as good as you can for the women in the movies."

In what The Guardian describes as "an unlikely twist" the leading woman in the new film Spectre will be Monica Bellucci, an actress three years Craig's senior. As the newspaper remarks: "Bond has traditionally romanced younger women – in Skyfall, Bérénice Marlohe was 11 years his junior."

Craig also opened up in the interview about how he views 007. "He's very f****** lonely," he said. "There's a great sadness. He's f******  these beautiful women but then they leave and it's … sad."

Describing his incarnation of Bond, one that has gained countless plaudits from critics, Craig explained: "He has to be affected by what happens to him. It's not just that he has to kill the bad guy, there has to be a reason for it."

The 47-year-old hinted that Spectre will be "Skyfall times ten" and a "celebration of all that's Bond", but he was less certain about continuing on in the role. Despite rumours that he had signed on for one more film, he told the magazine: "I really don't know. I'm not trying to be coy. At the moment I can't even conceive it."

When pushed as to whether he would like to do another one, the actor said: "At this moment, no. I have a life and I've got to get on with it a bit. But we'll see."

The news that Craig may not continue in the role is likely to reignite the debate as to who will play the character next and whether the role should go to a black actor. New James Bond author Anthony Horowitz recently told the Daily Mail that he thought frontrunner Idris Elba was "too street" to play the role and that there were "other black actors that would do it better".

The new film Spectre will be released in cinemas on 6 October.

Spectre theme tune: Ellie Goulding or Radiohead?

29 July

After the release of the trailer of the new Bond movie, Spectre, scheduled to open in UK cinemas later this year, fans are keen to find out who will be singing the film's theme song.

Early reports indicated that pop starlet Ellie Goulding was the favourite to follow in the footsteps of musical luminaries such as Shirley Bassey, Madonna and Carly Simon. She seemed to acknowledge the rumours with a tweet earlier this month that read "Live and let die", apparently a reference to the title of the 1973 Bond film starring Roger Moore.

Showbiz 411 has also "exclusively" revealed that Goulding has a song registered with BMI Music called Spy. "Is it the theme from 'Spectre', the new James Bond movie?" it asks. "All signs indicate yes."

Goulding went on to fuel the fire by posting an Instagram picture of herself leaving the Abbey Road studios, where the Bond soundtracks are known to be recorded, with the caption: "That's a wrap."

However, Waltz has said that his character is "definitely not" Blofeld, "in any form – at all", says The Independent. "There is neither a bald pate nor a white pussycat in sight," says the newspaper, "but rumours that Christoph Waltz's villain in Spectre is actually Ernst Stavro Blofeld in disguise refuse to die in the face of blatant denial."

Empire is less certain on the matter, pointing to Waltz's Nehru jacket in the trailer, which is very similar to Blofeld's. The magazine asks: "Is that a clever bluff to make him look like Blofeld and stir up the rumour pot, before the film confirms that he isn't at all?"

The reaction from some critics to the trailer itself has been mixed, with BBC Newsbeat praising the intriguing mysteries in the trailer, but admitting the film still seems to have "plenty of clichés".

Director Sam Mendes appears to be going for "absolute broke", says Wired, adding that "the interiors, the exteriors, the wide shots, the tight ones – every frame of this new Spectre trailer is rich and beautiful and art directed within an inch of its ever-loving life".

Fans on Twitter have been overwhelmingly positive, with many wondering whether this could be the best Bond yet.

However, one criticised the trailer for not leaving more to the imagination:

Spectre is due for release on 26 October 2015.

Spectre director Mendes says no more Bond films - probably

James Bond director Sam Mendes has said that Spectre, due out later this year, will be his last encounter with 007.

Mendes, who also directed 2012's Skyfall, says he is finished with 007 – probably.

Speaking to the BBC's Jonathan Agnew on Radio 5's Test Match Special on the weekend, Mendes said the two films took a total of five years to make.

"It feels almost, even though we've just finished shooting it, like one big experience, and it was a fantastic life-changing thing," he said. But he does not want to go through it again. "It really is more a lifestyle choice than a job."

Spectre stars Daniel Craig as M16 agent 007 and co-stars Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Monica Bellucci and Ralph Fiennes.

It was filmed in London, Italy, Mexico and Morocco with a cast and crew of over 1,000 people, Mendes said. "And you really do feel it…It's been an enormous undertaking."

Mendes, went on to say: "I don't think I could go down that road again" because "you do have to put everything else on hold".

However, Mendes admitted that it wasn't the first time he'd said no to Bond. "I said 'No' to the last one and then ended up doing it and was pilloried by all my friends," he said. "But I do think this is probably it."

Not everyone was convinced by Mendes' declaration. In the Radio Times, Emma Daly writes: "'Almost', 'probably', 'think'… He doesn't sound quite sure, does he?"

Mendes, 49, made his name in theatre, and managed to direct a new stage production of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in between making the Bond films. The production is still running on London's West End. He said he was keen to return to working on stage productions.

In the interview, he explained: "I'm happiest rehearsing a play or editing a movie, and I think that when I've finished a movie I generally want to be back in a theatre environment again."

But he added: "It won't be long before I want to do another film, and I'm very, very fortunate to be able to go back and forth between the two."

Mendes also revealed that the theme song has been recorded for Spectre, but he wasn't prepared to disclose who performs it. "It's fantastic and I'm very excited about it," he said. "You won't have to wait long."

Spectre, the 24th instalment in the Bond franchise, will get its world premiere in London on 26 October.

Spectre: James Bond spotted during Thames stunt

18 May

Most of his fans will have to wait until 15 December to see James Bond's next outing, but a handful of bystanders were given a glimpse of the fictional spy in London this weekend.

Several bridges were closed while the cast performed stunts during filming for Spectre, the 24th James Bond film.

The production team told passers-by that Daniel Craig was performing a scene involving speedboats racing along the Thames in central London.

The actor was photographed alongside French actress Lea Seydoux at the helm of a twin-engined grey boat. Craig, who returns as the British spy for the fourth time, could be seen pointing a gun as the boat sped beneath a bridge.

Spectre is the follow-up to the 2012 Bond film Skyfall, which set a record for the series with takings of £700m worldwide. It was also the highest-grossing film of all time at the UK box office, knocking James Cameron’s 3D sci fi film Avatar off top spot, The Independent reports.

The film also stars Monica Bellucci as a new Bond girl named Lucia Sciarra, and Ralph Fiennes will take over from Judy Dench as M. Naomie Harris will reprise her role as Moneypenny, while Ben Whishaw returns as Q, the quartermaster behind James Bond's weaponry and gadgets.

According to producers, the plot of Spectre will see "a cryptic message from Bond's past send him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation".

Spectre stands for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion and is an international crime syndicate that featured prominently in the early days of the long-running spy film series.

The organisation was overseen by criminal mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who ruled the terror group with an iron fist.

Spectre featured in several James Bond films in the 1960s, but disappeared due to a "tussle with rival film producers", the BBC reports. That dispute has now been resolved, paving the way for the return of Bond's arch-nemesis.

Spectre: Day of Dead opening sequence to outdo past Bonds

8 April

The opening sequence of the new James Bond film Spectre is set to be the "biggest" the franchise has ever produced.

Set in Mexico City during the national Day of the Dead festival, the first scenes involve exploding buildings, a chase through the parade, a fight inside a helicopter and "one of the most spectacular stunts in Bond history", according to Empire.

Producer Michael G Wilson told the film magazine it may be "the biggest opening sequence we've ever done, maybe the biggest sequence we've ever done".

He said: "We've got 1,500 extras in Day of the Dead costumes and make-up and we've occupied the centre of Mexico City for days. The only thing that's come close to it was putting on the carnival in Rio in Moonraker, and I think this is a much bigger operation."

Newly released stills also show a rooftop gun battle and the recently-cast Stephanie Sigman wearing a Day of the Dead mask as "Estrella". According to The Independent, Mexico's government reportedly paid up to $20m for the film-makers to portray the country in a positive light.

Meanwhile, Daniel Craig has been forced to undergo knee surgery for an injury sustained during a fight scene.

His break from filming came as a panel of medical experts assessing Skyfall on behalf of Total Film concluded that Bond would have been dead after the first seven minutes of the film. He was hit with fragments of a depleted uranium shell that would have "turned his lungs inside out and killed him", they said.

Naomie Harris, who starred as Moneypenny in Skyfall, will return to Bond's side in Spectre, as will Ralph Fiennes as M and Ben Whishaw as Q.

Christoph Waltz will also join the cast, but has denied rumours that he will be playing the classic super-villain Blofeld.

James Bond Spectre trailer: a preview to a kill

March 28

James Bond fans have been given their first glimpse of the next 007 film, Spectre, with the launch of a teaser trailer – and intriguing plot details – for the 24th film in the spy series.

It may be more than half a century since Ian Fleming conjured up the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion – otherwise known as Spectre – but film executives are banking on the old enemy to give the venerable secret agent another new lease of life.

"A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation," the publicists say. "While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind Spectre".

After the success of Skyfall, which took in $1.1 billion worldwide, the cast and crew for its successor will have a familiar feel.

Daniel Craig has a fourth outing as James Bond, while Naomie Harris reprises the role of Moneypenny, Ralph Fiennes will again call the shots as M and the much-lauded Ben Whishaw returns as Q. Monica Bellucci, Christoph Waltz and Stephanie Signman will join the cast.

Sam Mendes, who directed Skyfall, and screenwriter John Logan take up similar roles on Spectre, which is scheduled for release in October.

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