The James Bond tour made its way into New York City this week with the east coast premiere of Quantum of Solace. Before flying off to Sydney for the Australian premiere, actors Daniel Craig and Jeffrey Wright along with Producer Barbara Broccoli had some time to talk with ComingSoon.net about the past, present and future of the James Bond franchise.
Quantum of Solace immediately picks up where Casino Royale left off. Bond is somewhat tortured after the woman he loved, Vesper, betrayed him. As a result, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. The title “Quantum of Solace” comes from an Ian Fleming novel “For Your Eyes Only.” (“Quantum of Solace” is one of five short stories that tells of a socialite couple whose love is gone and now has a relationship that is rocky.) After a botched interagation, a roof top chase and a bad guy body count that continues to grow, Bond slowly uncovers information about a deadly organization known as “Quantum.”
One of the things you will notice right away about Quantum of Solace is the look of the film. The look and feel is an element many people attribute to director Marc Forster. Forster is not the obvious directorial choice for a Bond film given his film resume. Although each of his films received a positive amount of critical acclaim, none have the outstanding elements of action that has become the norm for the Bond franchise.
Craig told us, “What Marc is, fundamentally, is not only a great director, but a lover of movies. He knows the process. If you look at his films, how varied they are from ‘Monster’s Ball’ to [‘Finding] Neverland’ to ‘Kite Runner,’ each one is so individual. You would think they were different directors if you were to look at them blindly I think, and that is what I think he brought to this. He brought this attitude of here we go, it’s a Bond movie, we don’t get to have chances like this very often, lets give this a go. I mean the discussions we had before we started shooting were about the classic Bonds we love, the classic movies of the ’60s that we loved. And whatever we are going to do, we are going to make a movie that people remember because it is visually stunning, it goes to the best locations in the world, and that it will be remembered as a stunning Bond movie.”
Broccoli stated, “I have loved all the films he (Forster) has made. He has taken some great chances. He has gone from genre to genre. He is fearless, I think. I think he gets performances out of characters that are outstanding, and he has an extraordinary visual sense. It just seems so right. All of those elements just seem so right and it’s sort of strange, as we have never had a non-Commonwealth director before. He (Forster) is Swiss-German.”
Back for another round of Bond lore is the ever amazing Jeffrey Wright. Playing fan favorite CIA agent Felix Leiter, Wright did his own take on the Bond ally while maintaining a level of “coolness” associated with the character.
“I do try to bring, particularly to the first one, (‘Casino Royale’) my own thing to it,” Wright said of the influence past Bond movies had on “Quantum’s” production. “For me, Jack Lord sprung to mind. I mean the shades. And outside of Miles Davis, he was the coolest cat on the planet. And I was just very excited to bring some fresh life into the character and into the series to the extent that I could.”
Wright continued, “I think we are influenced only in that there is a previous history to these films. It’s a Bond film. There is an element of style and slickness. But at the same time, there has always been an intelligence to these films that cuts through as well.”
Some of the film’s lighter moments come from scenes involving the always-lovely Judi Dench. Dench returns to the Bond screen once again as “M,” a role she has played five previous times. Dench is the only actor that has crossed over from the past Bond generation to the new.
“She is our anchor,” says Broccoli. “She is the anchor of the film in terms of the character. She is the only authoritative figure in Bond’s life. I think the moral conflicts between them are very interesting, and I think she is such a phenomenal actress, that as a woman, she has so much authority without having to bang her fist on the table. She had such a great relationship with Pierce (Brosnan) on the screen. And she has such a great relationship with Daniel (Craig). She is our anchor. She is the real Bond girl! The one that keeps it all going, and I don’t want her to leave. She keeps threatening to leave but I will not let her!”
As for the future of Bond, nothing is set in stone. There is no director nor is there a script for the next film, but given the positive reaction to Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, producer Broccoli expects one. “In ‘Casino Royale,’ the book, there was no Moneypenny or Q so that is why they are not in that story. And, in this follow-up, there didn’t seem to be a reason or a place for them. That doesn’t mean that they won’t appear later on. We made a decision to strip everything away. Some things will come back, some things won’t. Some things will come back in a different way. We will take some more risks and shake things up a little bit more and hope audiences are with us.”
*****Spoilers for “Quantum of Solace” ahead*****
Speaking about Bond’s future, Broccoli continues, “Hopefully at the end of ‘Quantum of Solace,’ we have this “whole” character. And now we can do what we want. I think in some way, he will go after the organization (Quantum). So in that sense, it may become a trilogy, but we haven’t really structured it that way. ”
As for the “Bond Gadgets” Broccoli guesses, Bond finally will have some to play with in the next film. “The trouble is, everyone has gadgets. We will need to come up with a few that have not been invented by the Sony Corp!” (laughs)
Felix Leiter’s promotion at the end of “Quantum of Solace” foreshadows what will hopefully be a much larger role in the next Bond film. Wright continues, “I don’t think anything has been written yet, but I hear some interesting things rumblings.”
Quantum of Solace is now playing worldwide. A Blu-ray Collector’s Edition is available for Casino Royale from Amazon. Amazon also offers an exclusive bundle that includes two volumes of selected Bond movies on Blu-ray.