Is Bond 23 Cursed? - by Luke Quantrill

I only watched Quantum of Solace once but I don't think I've yet recovered from the experience. The debris of that theme song, title sequence, freefall and diminutive French villain still raining down on the world of James Bond like hailstones the size of cricket balls. The motorcycle flip, the editing, the complete absence of wit, Daniel Craig's Dolph Lundgren hairstyle. Bond 23 simply needs to be a much better film and while talk of a curse seems melodramatic there is no getting around the extraordinary list of problems that have dogged attempts to get James Bond back on the big screen since 2008. They include:

* Eon losing the rights to use the Quantum Organisation after a court case with a Huddersfield carpet cleaning company of the same name.

* David Arnold becoming allergic to his own orchestra.

* Purvis and Wade suffering such severe writer's block that their Bond 23 draft consists of one sheet of paper containing some doodles and a drawing of a cat on roller skates.

* Hitting a complete brick wall trying to think up new gadgets. "All we have," said an insider. " Is Barbara's idea of an egg timer that turns into a cheese grater. It doesn't really make much sense."

* MGM attempting to do a secret deal with Cannon Films that would have seen a Felix Leiter spin-off project starring Chuck Norris.

As if all of this isn't bad enough, Eon were left reeling by the news that Daniel Craig is to be rebooted and replaced by a younger actor. In an official statement, Craig's management team wished him luck for the future but said they felt it was now time to take the brand in a new direction. Craig was said to be deeply disappointed that he only learned the news over the telephone and that they reversed the charges too. He admitted it came as a huge shock as negotiations for him to continue as Daniel Craig had been going well. It was anticipated that Craig would have continued to be himself in a raft of new films and projects such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2: Tokyo Drift and a remake of Digby, The Biggest Dog in the World (both to be produced by Barbara Broccoli from a script by Purvis and Wade) but those plans are now on hold until the full ramifications of the reboot are clear.

The most pressing concern is how this affects the James Bond franchise as Eon Productions regarded Craig to be so vital to the series they had made plans to replicate him with a 3D holographic device so that he could appear in their films even if he was unavailable. "It's the last thing the Bond series needs after all the MGM problems," said an insider. "If this goes ahead then Daniel Craig will have to take on a new identity. Without his name he'll have to start all over again. You could end up in a crazy situation where a new Bond film is entering production and Daniel Craig has no legal right to use his own name and is appearing in panto to make ends meet. Attention will then turn to the rebooted Daniel Craig. The Bond producers would clearly like to continue with Daniel Craig but if someone else has taken over it complicates matters." 

James Bond historian Reg Gooch is less worried though. "It happens more often than you think. Sean Connery isn't the original Sean Connery. He was rebooted in 1960 and taken over by a Scottish actor called Len Glazier. The real Sean Connery dropped out of acting in the seventies and now runs a small seaside cafe." Despite the sanguine attitude of Mr Gooch, talk of a curse is taken very seriously at the studio where, only a few weeks ago, Michael G Wilson felt an unexplainable eerie presence and someone watching him when he left his office to buy a packet of Quavers from the food machine. "No one mentions this in public," said an insider. "But they think it's Brosnan. They think he picked up a few tricks on Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and is now trying to use magic to stop more James Bond films being made." The man who will be charged with the task of directing Bond 23 (should it ever happen) is Sam Mendes.

Mendes seemed to be hit by the curse too when he was secretly taped on a bus discussing his plans for James Bond. "Can anyone tell me why I'm attached to Bond 23 as the director?" he complained, clearly unaware that anyone was listening into the conversation between him and actor Sean Pertwee. "I know my career has gone off the boil lately but it still feels vaguely like hearing that Woody Allen is working on Robocop 4 or that Peter Greenaway has signed for Carry On London. Not that I'm comparing myself to those two. Even I never got the end of Road To Perdition and I directed it." So, where do we stand now? Daniel Craig is to be rebooted, David Arnold breaks out in a rash at the mere sight of a banjo, Michael G Wilson can't buy a packet of crisps without being haunted, and the next film is likely to feature an action sequence where Bond grates some cheese. "If we didn't know any better," laughed an insider. "We'd suspect that Jeremy Beadle was still around."

I consulted an online Clairvoyant to see if I could find out when Bond would return and if there really was a curse. Unfortunately though my debit card was rejected and the answer was therefore not forthcoming. "A curse?" pondered Reg Gooch. "Piffle. I suppose you think there are pixies at the bottom of the garden and that Elvis is still alive and responsible for all those crop circles."

This article is dedicated to Reg Gooch who was kidnapped by aliens a week ago and has yet to be returned.

Luke Quantrill will return. Probably.


c 2010 Alternative 007