EON Productions held a press conference overseas in London to announce the beginning of principal photography on the 23rd installment in the James Bond franchise, which is being directed by Oscar-winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Jarhead) and will once again feature Daniel Craig in the role of 007.

Mendes, alongside Craig and his fellow cast members Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, and Javier Bardem, dropped a few tantalizing tidbits of information – including confirmation that the new Bond flick will indeed (as has been heavily rumored in recent weeks) be titled… Skyfall.

Steadfast franchise producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were also in attendance at the conference for the new James Bond movie – which ended up with an unexpected delay last year, due to MGM’s financial quandary. The extended break between the release of the last Bond flick (2008’s Quantum of Solace) and this new installment has only heightened anticipation for the film… and left fans all the hungrier for some concrete details about the project.

Besides Skyfall being confirmed as the film’s title, here are the other significant pieces of information that were announced at the Bond conference:

  • Skyfall will be shot on location in London (largely in the Whitehall area) as well as Shanghai in China, Istanbul in Turkey, and Scotland.
  • Javier Bardem is in fact (as he previously indicated) the primary antagonist of the film.
  • The film is reportedly not related to any previously-published Ian Fleming novel.
  • Ben Whishaw, Albert Finney, and Ralph Fiennes are all confirmed to have roles in the movie.
  • Marlohe will portray a “glamorous enigmatic” character named Severine.
  • Harris will actually be playing a field agent named Eve and NOT classic Bond gal Moneypenny, as was previously rumored.
  • The title “has some emotional context which will be revealed in the film.”
  • Skyfall will be a standalone story and QUANTUM will not figure into the plot
  • Mendes says there will be plenty of action and big set pieces in the movie, mentioning that “the action needs to co-exist with the drama. That’s the balance we have to strike.”

UPDATE: The Daily Mail is now saying that Harris “will initially play an M16 field agent known only as Eve. But the plot will see her character become Bond’s foil, Moneypenny.” While that could very well be true, it’s probably best to take the claim with a grain of salt – until we have some official confirmation on the matter, at least.

Lastly, here is the film’s official logline:

In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M (Dench) is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Craig's Bond will be back in 'Skyfall'

The news that Skyfall will not continue the QUANTUM storyline introduced and partially developed in the past two Craig-starring Bond flicks is pretty much guaranteed to be the most controversial piece of information announced here. It’s long been expected that film’s screenplay – which was penned by Casino Royale/Quantum of Solace co-scribers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, along with Oscar-nominee John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator) – would indeed pick up that dangling narrative thread and bring it to a more satisfactory conclusion.

All the same, the cast and behind-the-scenes creative talent recruited to work on Skyfall is overall terrific – not to mention, the basic narrative setup sounds quite promising too. Plus, Bond fans who were never that taken with the QUANTUM subplot in Craig’s previous outings as 007 will probably be all the more pleased to hear that it won’t figure into the story of this new installment.

Skyfall will roll into UK theaters on October 26th, 2012. It will open in the U.S. a few weeks later on November 9th.

Source: EON Productions, MGM, Sony Pictures (via Coming Soon and Digital Spy)