Archive Interviews

Interview: Chris Cornell on Casino Royale

With the sad news of his death yesterday aged 52, I was reminded of an interview I did in 2006 with the late Soundgarden and Audioslave singer Chris Cornell.

He was chosen to perform singing duties on that year’s Bond film, Casino Royale, which also saw a new actor cast as the iconic spy.

You could not wish to meet a nicer and more urbane rock star and my initial scepticism about a former grunge singer performing duties on a Bond film were immediately wiped away.

The subsequent doubts about the 007 reboot (a lot was riding on it) were wiped away as Daniel Craig triumphed as the British secret agent and the film garnered rave reviews and a massive worldwide gross of $599m.

Listen to the interview here:

> Find out more about Casino Royale (2006)
> BBC News on Chris Cornell’s death, aged 52

Title Design Viral Video

22 Bond Intros in 1 Minute

My favourite part of this Bond split-screen video is the sound of 22 MGM lions roaring in unison.

For audiences of different generations, both the Leo the lion and the Bond theme are iconic.

So when somebody had the idea of doing the first 22 James Bond intros at the same time, you get two for the price of one.

It’s an interesting visual experiment as you can see how little has changed since Dr. No (1962).

That Bond film still has the best opening titles, which were designed by Maurice Binder.

> Find out more about MGM and the James Bond franchise at Wikipedia
> Art of the Title

music News

John Barry (1933-2011)

Composer John Barry has died in New York of a heart attack aged 77.

One of the best-known composers of soundtrack music since the 1960s, he worked on several James Bond films, Born Free (1966), The Lion in Winter (1968), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Out of Africa (1985) and Dances With Wolves (1990).

The winner of five Academy Awards, he also received a BAFTA fellowship award in 2005.

For the Bond franchise, it was his arrangement of Monty Norman’s iconic theme that led to him working on the scores for 11 films in the series, including Goldfinger (1964) and You Only Live Twice (1968).

Part of his signature style was the use of strings, orchestral swells and distinctive melodies.

He also wrote for television and among his most notable work in the medium included themes for Juke Box Jury and The Persuaders.

Barry, who lived in Long Island, is survived by his wife Laurie and four children and five grandchildren.

> John Barry at Wikipedia
> More links on John Barry at MUBi
> BBC News audio slideshow of John Barry’s music
> 1995 BBC programme on the Bond themes


Sam Neill as James Bond

This is footage of Sam Neill doing a screen test for the role of James Bond with Fiona Fullerton back in the mid-80s.

It was for The Living Daylights (1987), although the scene is actually from From Russia With Love.

Current Bond Daniel Craig told me back in 2006 that the Bond producers always make potential 007s audition with this scene.



Quantum of Bonds: Daniel Craig vs Pierce Brosnan

Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan go head to head in this ‘Battle of the Bonds’ mashup.

Box Office News

Quantum of Solace breaks UK box office record


The latest Bond film Quantum of Solace has made box office history on its opening day in the UK, taking amassive £4.94m and making it the biggest Friday opening of all time.

This shatters the previous record held by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which took £4.025m back in 2005.

The latest installment from the longest running franchise in film history, has also beaten the opening day figure for the last Bond movie, Casino Royale, which took £2.9m on its opening day.

The new film opened in 542 cinemas in the UK and Ireland on yesterday (Friday 31st October) and will open in the US on November 14th.

UPDATE: 03/11/08: The film has now earned a massive £15.4million over it’s first three days, making it the biggest weekend opening of all time at the UK box office.

This beats the previous weekend record held by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which took £14.93million.

According to Variety the new Bond film captured a ‘jaw-dropping 70% of the market’.

> Quantum of Solace at the IMDb 
> Box Office Mojo compares the grosses of different Bond films

Cinema Thoughts

First thoughts on Quantum of Solace

The second James Bond film with Daniel Craig as the famous British secret agent continues the refreshingly serious tone of Casino Royale but whether it will cause the same excitement and buzz as the last film remains to be seen.

It would be fair to say anticipation for Quantum of Solace is running incredibly high after the successful rebooting of the franchise in 2006 – not only did Craig silence a lot of sceptics but the raw, stripped down approach really worked, making it the biggest grossing Bond ever.

Beofre the screening I went to in London tonight the head of Sony Pictures UK told the audience that this was the first screening anywhere in the world, so everyone was fairly excited at what was in store.

Unusually for the franchise, the plot here takes off immediately after the events of the last movie, as 007 is searching for the man who fatally betrayed his lover Vesper Lynd.

After an opening sequence in Italy, the trail leads him to Haiti – the back to Italy – and eventually to Bolivia where he encounters the mysterious Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a key player in the Quantum organisation that blackmailed Vesper and is now involved in destabilising regimes in Central America.

Also involved in Greene’s web of intrigue is Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a woman who – like Bond – has personal issues and scores to settle.

The most immediately striking aspect of the film is the breakneck pace of the first 40 minutes or so, as it opens with pre-credits car chase and before things even settle down Bond is pursuing people on the rooftops of Siena before jetting off around the world.

Like Casino Royale the action and stunts are well done, but I do wonder if Marc Forster was quite the director to bring these sequences fully to life.

Whilst engaging, the lensing and editing don’t quite get the adrenaline pumping like the more recent Bourne or Batman movies.

That said, Forster is on much surer ground with the characters and their emotional involvement with one another.

The interplay between Bond and the characters closest to him such as M (Judi Dench), René Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and Camille are all handled with a nice amount of humour and genuine feeling – another aspect that marks this Bond era out from the past.

In fact I would have traded some of the action for more character-based material as it is where the director seems more comfortable.

Whilst some of the stunt work is technically impressive, it is the dialogue and interplay between the leads that is more satisfying, especially with actors like Craig and Dench.

Whilst Almaric is a great actor (he was phenomenal in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly last year) his villain here feels a little underwritten – perhaps because he isn’t the true number 1 of the organisation?

Another aspect of the film which will get people talking is the more contemporary, even European, attitude on display here – which I suspect is the influence of screenwriter Paul Haggis.

Whilst it isn’t as despairing as his last film In the Valley of Elah, the underlying politics of the story are clearly suspicious of the CIA – instead of the traditional Cold War allies we have a much more amoral organisation who can’t be fully trusted.

In fact trust is a big theme of the film as the Quantum organisation have, as one character puts it, ‘people everywhere’.

Even MI6 isn’t immune to a world full of deception and mistrust and in some ways this atmosphere is more effective than a lot of the action set pieces.

A lot of people are going to wonder how this shapes up to the last film and in a nutshell I would say that it continues the good work of that film whilst having a more stylised visual approach.

The locations – especially in Italy and Bolivia – are great to look at and some of the sets even seem to be referencing those Ken Adam constructed in an earlier Bond era.

I think some audiences might miss the gadgets and old-school appeal of the earlier Connery and Moore films but I think that the filmmakers have wisely preserved the cool, stripped down approach of Casino Royale.

It will have a massive opening and will no doubt satisfy Bond fans but whether it will surprise me if it does as well as Casino Royale.

This feels very much like the second film of a trilogy with the wider story still to be concluded.

> Quantum of Solace at the IMDb
More details about the plot and photos from the press conference launch at Pinewood
> Final trailer of the film
> Peter Bradshaw review at The Guardian
> James Christopher review at The Times
> BBC News review
> Telegraph review
> Sky News report on the screening last night

[All images © 2008 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved]

Behind The Scenes

Quantum of Solace – Behind the scenes featurette

A behind the scenes featurette for the new Bond film Quantum of Solace.

It is released later this year on October 31st

> Official site for James Bond
> Quantum of Solace at the IMDb
> More details about the plot and photos from the press conference launch at Pinewood

In Production News

Alicia Keys and Jack White to duet for James Bond theme song

Alicia Keys and the Jack White have recorded a duet called ‘Another Way to Die’ which will be the theme song to the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

Columbia Pictures said in a statement released earlier today that it was the first duet in the history of the long running spy franchise:

Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the highly anticipated 22nd James Bond adventure “Quantum of Solace,” announced today that multi-Grammy Award-winning and platinum selling recording artists Jack White of the rock band The White Stripes, and Alicia Keys, have recorded the theme song for the film, which will be released worldwide this November.

Their song, written and produced by Jack White, and titled “Another Way to Die,” will be the first duet in Bond soundtrack history.

In addition to writing the song, Jack White is also featured as the drummer on this track.

The soundtrack to “Quantum of Solace” will be released by J Records on October 28, 2008.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 in “Quantum of Solace,” the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures release of EON Productions’ 22nd adventure in the longest-running film franchise in motion picture history.

The film is directed by Marc Forster. The screenplay is by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade as well as Paul Haggis and the film’s score will be composed by David Arnold.

Wilson and Broccoli said: “We are delighted and pleased to have two such exciting artists as Jack and Alicia, who were inspired by our film to join together their extraordinary talents in creating a unique sound for Quantum of Solace.”

Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis had previously been rumored as the vocalists for the latest Bond theme.

Quantum of Solace is out in the UK on October 31st and in the US on November 7th.

> Official site for Quantum of Solace
> Check out the trailer
> IMDb entry
> Check out more photos from the launch press conference at Pinewood and a synopsis of the film
> Full press release announcing the new song


Trailer: Quantum of Solace

Here is the first trailer for the new James Bond film Quantum of Solace:

(If this video doesn’t work try the trailer at MSN)

It is released later this year on October 31st

> Official site for James Bond
> Quantum of Solace at the IMDb
> More details about the plot and photos from the press conference launch at Pinewood