[This post contains SPOILERS for Skyfall.]
The next James Bond movie, Spectre, has taken a while to get up and running, what with the wait for Sam Mendes (Skyfall) to commit to directing; and, once he did, the subsequent script revision process pushed the project's original shooting start date back nearly two months from the originally-planned October 2014 takeoff. However, today the film officially started principle photography, ahead of its planned release in late fall next year.
Spectre, as scripted by Skyfall writers John Logan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, sees Bond go on the hunt for a "sinister organization" - the eponymous one, no doubt, which has been a part of the Bond movie franchise since Sean Connery's debut as 007 in Dr. No. The other plot thread mentioned in the movie's official logline - about M (Ralph Fiennes) taking on "political forces to keep the secret service alive" - reads as a continuation of certain ideas and themes explored in Skyfall; just as Mendes has long maintained would be the case.
Mendes, when interviewed recently by Entertainment NOW!, reiterated his desire to continue the plot and character threads established in Skyfall, played an important role in his decision to direct the next Bond movie, after much deliberation on his end.
"At the end of the day, it came down to story. We [brought] back three or four characters in the last movie ['Skyfall'] I felt a real attachment to and started a story for Bond that I felt we hadn't completed, and when the dust settled on the last picture - I'd sort of gone off and done other things - I really felt like it was a story I wanted to tell. At the end of the day, that's the reason you do any movie. You just want to tell the story and you feel that you've got a way of telling it that's specific to you and so [it] was the story and script that got me back."
Those returning characters in Spectre include Fiennes as the new M - following the death of Judi Dench's version in Skyfall - along with Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, and Ben Whishaw as Q. Cast newcomers this round include Christoph Waltz and his Inglourious Basterds costar, Léa Seydoux, as well as David Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Monica Belucci (The Matrix Reloaded), and Andrew Scott (Sherlock) - all of whom Mendes said were his first choices, for their roles in the fourth Bond movie to star Daniel Craig as Agent 007.
Craig's Bond, just like the over-arching narrative in Mendes' Bond films so far, will continue to evolve (from where we left him in Skyfall) in new and interesting ways as Spectre unfolds, according to the director.
"There are significant things that happen to [Bond] in this movie that are exciting... I think we introduced the idea in the last movie - with [Judi Dench] M's death - that time is actually passing for the first time in a Bond movie, that people are fallible, physically and emotionally, and somewhere under the surface of that action movie there was a meditation on aging... We don't tell the same story in this movie, but we definitely tell a story that is directly related to it, and that's the thing I'm excited to do."
Check out the first official set photo from Spectre, as was originally posted on the 007 Movie Facebook page:
Longtime Bond movie franchise producer, Barbara Broccoli, has stated that the budget for Spectre will be somewhat larger than the one for Skyfall; that's saying something, as the latter cost around $200 million to produce. Now that Mendes has the experience that comes with making a big-budget Bond movie, though, his direction ought to feel a bit more assured and confident on Spectre - and thus, the Bond film may improve on Skyfall in terms of action and spectacle, while also being as smart/smarter than its predecessor.
Lastly, Mendes refrained from making a comment about the rumor that Sam Smith will perform the Spectre theme song; though, the director said that a singer has, in fact, been selected, but that we probably won't find out who the mystery performer is until "very, very late in the day," with respect to the film's theatrical release.
Spectre opens in U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015.
Source: Entertainment NOW!