Update: We now have more of a confirmation on what Morgan says about Bond 23's pre-production being put on hold. See below for details.
Apart from the behind-the-scenes stuff like who the screenwriters are, when it may be shooting, and rumors of who the villain might be, we haven't heard anything about Bond 23 (as it's being dubbed until we get wind of an actual title) on the story front. That is until now.
Bond fansite MI6 [CORRECTION] reposted an interview that screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) did with Austrian newspaper Kurier, regarding his work on the next Bond film. We first heard about Morgan some months ago when he was brought on-board to write the script with Bond regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Morgan replaced Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace co-writer, Paul Haggis). Although Morgan obviously couldn't give much away at this point, he did tease us a little by saying the 23rd Bond installment has a, "shocking story."
Now A LOT can be drawn from that one statement, but of course without any context or any sort of idea about who the villain may be, or in what parts of the world Bond 23 is going to be set (for example) it's hard to commit to any line of thinking about the possible direction for the next film. I'm going to guess (pure speculation on my part) that it's maybe going to push the age rating a bit more, as they did somewhat with the naked torture scene in Casino Royale (I still can't get that out of my head to this day!).
Even though Morgan (understandably) couldn't give anything away about the story he and his co-writers have in mind, he did reveal that he wrote the first draft of the script from July through to October this year. Pre-production for the movie has been put on hold until February, when the rights get sold for owning company MGM (if you haven't heard, the studio is in dire financial trouble and is up for sale).
Update: MI6 is reporting that pre-production on Bond 23 has officially been put on hold until financially troubled studio MGM gets sold at auction. In an interview with Total Film magazine, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli talked about the status of the project. Here's one of the quotes about it from Wilson:
"Well, our timeline's a little up in the air what with the situation at MGM [being up for sale], so we have to be flexible. We just don't know enough about the situation to comment, but we know it's uncertain."
A couple of the big studios eyeing to bid for the Bond franchise are Time Warner Inc. and Lionsgate Entertainment (not only will they get Bond - as well as half the rights to The Hobbit - but also a back catalog of over 4,000 movies). Needless to say, Bond 23 will likely get the green light once the rights are snapped up by a studio, to get things going ASAP on the next installment in a guaranteed money-making franchise.
To finish, here's a quote from Morgan about the interest the Bond franchise draws:
"Bond creates a hysteria around it, one that I haven't previous known... It's a magnet for publicity - everyone wants to know what's going on with the new Bond".
When Morgan was brought on-board it seemed like an odd choice at first, simply because he hasn't really written anything that resembles the action-oriented stuff we're used to from Bond. It also seems weird that they replaced Paul "Crash" Haggis after he co-wrote the two previous movies. However, the more I thought about it, the more I really dug the idea, and I think Morgan will bring a lot to the franchise on a level that maybe previous screenwriters haven't before (at least since the franchise "reboot" with Casino Royale).
What do you think Morgan means by Bond 23 having a "shocking story?" Do you think Morgan is a good fit for the franchise? If not, who should they have gotten to help write the script instead?
There's no official word on when Bond 23 will be shooting or released, but Daniel Craig has said it will be shooting at the end of 2010. Take that with a grain of salt until it's confirmed.