The latest rumor concerning Sam Mendes’ upcoming James Bond film (tentatively referred to as Bond 23) suggests that the flick may indeed have an official title – and will be based on previously-published Bond literature, a la Casino Royale.

Bearing in mind that although the following should be considered strictly RUMOR until further notice, this particular story fits in nicely with the few tidbits of information we’ve been given about Bond 23, up to this point.

A recent article from Blic Online has revealed that Serbian cellist Jelena Mihailovic was approached by Mendes and his fellow Bond producers to work on the opening theme for 007’s latest venture. However, the juiciest piece of information revealed in said article is contained in the following paragraph:

At one of the many concerts [Mihailovic] held in France during the Cannes Film Festival, the producers and the director of the next Bond film were in the audience, who were staggered by what they had heard and on the spot offered Jelena a chance to write the opening score for the new James Bond film, entitled Carte Blanche.

So here’s the million dollar question: Is Carte Blanche the title of Bond 23, the opening theme to Bond 23 – or is this just a bit of a mistranslation, as Mikailovic just meant she would have total freedom while working on said theme?

Well, as it were, a James Bond novel titled “Carte Blanche” was published just earlier this year. However, the “coincidences” don’t stop there.

Check out the following excerpt from the “Carte Blanche” plot synopsis on Wikipedia (tip of the hat to Bleeding Cool for pointing this out):

[Bond] starts his assignment on the outskirts of Novi Sad in Serbia where an Irish sapper-turned-enforcer named Niall Dunne is planning to derail a train carrying three hundred kilograms of methyl isocyanate, dumping it into the Danube. Bond is able to prevent the catastrophe by derailing the train himself at a much safer place along the line. He is unable to detain Dunne, who kills Bond’s Serbian contacts in the course of his escape.

Remember that recent report from an Indian newspaper about Bond 23 featuring a major set piece that involves a train?

The “Carte Blanche” Wiki synopsis also reveals that Niall Dunne is the “trusted confidante” of Severan Hydt, the Dutch-born owner of an organization called Green Way International, which is responsible for waste disposal. It is also mentioned that Hydt is a very twisted character, whose obsession with death “borders on sexual fetishisation,” and that Bond eventually travels to South Africa, in order to infiltrate Hydt’s operations there.

So, let’s examine how these plot and character details seem to gel with what we already know about Bond 23:

  • It’s been officially revealed that Bond 23 is partially being shot in South Africa.
  • It’s all but official now that Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem are both playing villains in the film.
  • We’ve long suspected that one of the bad guys in Bond 23 would be a pretty nasty fellow, given how all the actors (Bardem, Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins, and Kevin Spacey) that were reportedly being considered to portray one of the film’s antagonists have previously portrayed memorably sinister serial killers – ones who are both brilliant, but undeniably warped.
  • Quantum of Solace also dealt with an “environmentalist” in the form of Dominic Greene, who was actually a member of the shady Quantum organization introduced in Casino Royale.
  • Carte Blanche is thought of as “Bond 2.0″ – i.e., a modernized take on the character, a la Daniel Craig’s Bond.
Does that mean that Bardem and Fiennes are playing Dunne and Hydt (or vice versa) in Bond 23? Will the script change things up by having Hydt be a member, or possibly even the head, of Quantum – thus tying the film into the events of its predecessors?

There’s a lot more to the plot of the “Carte Blanche” novel than what’s been discussed here, but that doesn’t mean Bond 23 won’t be a looser adaptation of its (theoretical) source material than Casino Royale was. It’s also possible the film will go in a different direction and drop the whole Quantum organization subplot, which admittedly was only semi-progressed in Quantum of Solace.

Of course, all of the previous speculation should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, it’s hard to not be intrigued, given how well all these puzzle pieces seem to fit together.

Bond 23 is slated for theatrical release on November 9th, 2012.

Source: Blic Online (via Bleeding Cool)