Ah, Mr Bond. We’ve been expecting you — and expecting you, and expecting you. In fact, when No Time To Die (the 25th Bond film) finally hits cinemas on September 30 this year, it’ll be the longest we’ve waited for a new instalment in the 007 franchise since Timothy Dalton left the role in 1989.
In fact, it’s a series of delays that Heineken — Bond’s favourite beer since the distinctive green bottles appeared on screen in Tomorrow Never Dies — has wryly acknowledged in its latest ad promoting the film; ‘Worth The Wait’, starring Daniel Craig himself. Watch it below.
But, even without a global pandemic and countless delays to deal with, No Time To Die has had its problems. Since development began in 2016, potential directors including Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve and Danny Boyle all fell by the wayside. Changes were made to the cast, product placement reshoots were required — and the script went through reams of rewrites.
It took the direction of True Detective’s Cary Joji Fukunaga to eventually wrangle Daniel Craig’s last Bond film into the can. So, with a month to go until we finally see Bond 25, let’s undertake some espionage of our own — and discover everything we can about No Time To Die…
What will happen in No Time To Die?
It’s the big question. How will Daniel Craig’s Bond bow out of the series? The story for No Time To Die is in the capable hands of franchise veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the screenwriting team that has tackled every Bond film since 1999’s The World Is Not Enough. But others have had some input, with Casino Royale writer Paul Haggis, Bourne screenwriter Scott Z. Burns and Killing Eve’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge all polishing the script; the latter at the behest of Daniel Craig himself.
But what will actually happen during the film’s bulky 2 hour, 43 minute run-time? The official synopsis, released almost two years ago, reads as follows:
“Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.”
Since then, we’ve learned a little more — with trailers and trivia letting slip some further details. We know that the film will be set five years after the dramatic denouement of Spectre, which saw Christoph Waltz’s Ernst Stavro Blofeld captured by MI6.
We know that the abducted scientist mentioned above is named Valdo Obruchev, and will be played by McMafia and Chernobyl actor David Dencik. We also know that a sequence (likely the pre-credit sequence) will see Bond and Lea Seydoux’s Dr. Madeleine Swann ambushed in the Southern Italian city of Matera — taking place before the five-year time jump.
As for what follows, the story remains a secret. Rami Malek’s new villain (more on him below) is a terrorist leader on a revenge mission, described by Fukunaga as “a hyper-intelligent and worthy adversary”. According to a second official synopsis, his “schemes could see the death of millions”. Our guess? Malek’s villain coerces Dencik’s scientist into working on some nefarious genocidal device or agent to wipe out a significant portion of the world’s population. Malek’s line; “We both eradicate people to make the world a better place. I just want it to be tidy,” has a significantly ‘Noah and the flood’ feel to it.
Who will be returning in No Time To Die?
So who’ll be back? Daniel Craig, obviously, for his last run at the role. Fukunaga has described the film’s world-weary Bond as “a wounded animal” and a man “struggling to deal with his role as a ’00’”. Along with Craig will be the usual MI6 cadre; with Ralph Fiennes’ Gareth Mallory, Naomie Harris’ Eve Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw’s Q and Rory Kinnear’s Bill Tanner all returning to the fold.
Also on the side of right, Jeffrey Wright is back as Felix Leiter — after sitting Skyfall and Spectre out. Lea Seydoux’s psychiatrist Dr. Madeleine Swann also gladly bucks the trend of disposable Bond girls, and seems to be employed by MI6 in some capacity after the time jump.
Finally — and rather excitingly — Christoph Waltz will make his return as Blofeld. It looks to be a reduced role; taking a back seat to allow for Rami Malek’s fresh villain to come to the fore. But, as Fukunaga teases; “[Blofeld’s] in prison, but he certainly can’t be done yet, right? So what could he be doing from in there and what nefarious, sadistic things does he have planned for James Bond and the rest of the world?”
Which new faces are joining the 007 franchise?
Excitingly, we’ll see the first female ’00’ join the franchise — with Lashana Lynch’s Nomi taking over the 007 mantle in Bond’s absence. No-nonsense and thoroughly capable, she looks to be an interesting addition to the team. As does Ana de Armas, who plays Paloma — a CIA agent Bond teams up with in Cuba (where Dencik’s scientist Valdo Obruchev is being held).
Another new CIA character, Logan Ash, is played by Billy Magnussen. His links to Leiter and Paloma suggest he doesn’t have villainous intentions — but the official 007 website tells us that he “coordinates the pursuit of Bond” in Norway, so the jury’s still out. A new assassin, Dali Benssalah’s Primo, is definitely an antagonist, however. He rides a Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE in Matera while giving chase to Bond.
But the big bad is Rami Malek. The Oscar-winner plays the eccentrically-named Lyutsifer Safin — a man who Malek himself describes as considering “himself as a hero almost in the same way that Bond is a hero”. Long-time franchise producer Barbara Broccoli deems Safin someone who “really gets under Bond’s skin. He’s a nasty piece of work”.
Scarred across his face, we know little about Safin’s motivations or machinations. But we can piece some character traits together. He has no connections to any religions or ideologies (one of Malek’s prerequisites upon taking the role). Fukunaga revealed that Safin has a background in the pharmaceutical industry, and may be involved in gene therapy or cloning. And he used to work as an assassin for Spectre, and tried to once kill Dr. Madeleine Swann while wearing his signature Japanese theatre-influenced ‘Noh’ mask. The most intriguing rumour — that he is a modern incarnation of Dr. No — remains uncorroborated, but wholly possible.
Where around the world was No Time To Die filmed?
It wouldn’t be a Bond film without a wanderlust-inducing, globe-trotting shooting schedule — and No Time To Die has one of the best of the franchise so far. First up, there’s a return to Jamaica, a key location in the first Bond film, Dr. No, and one of Ian Fleming’s favourite haunts.
Sequences were also shot in the Southern Italian city of Matera, where Dali Benssalah’s assassin Primo ambushes Bond and destroys his Aston Martin DB5 — as well as along the Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway, where Safin will pursue Bond from a helicopter. The crew even visited the Faroe Islands to film the background for Safin’s computer-generated island lair.
Back in Britain, there were weeks spent secretly filming on soundstages in Pinewood Studios, where two meticulously decorated Cuban streets were constructed. Craig was also spotted out and about in both Whitehall and Hammersmith, as well as the Cairngorms National Park and Loch Laggan in Scotland.
What will Daniel Craig’s Bond wear in No Time To Die?
In a departure from the last few Bond films, No Time To Die has switched up its costume designer and brought in Suttirat Anne Larlarb, the art director who worked on Slumdog Millionaire, Steve Jobs and George Clooney’s The American.
But Bond’s wardrobe won’t change dramatically. He’ll still slip into his signature snug Tom Ford suits, he’ll still lace up his trusty Crockett & Jones shoes and he’ll still wear an Omega — this time, it’s a made-for-007 Omega Seamaster, complete with stainless steel case, mesh bracelet, beige numerals and classic Seamaster sword-shaped hands with luminous tips.
A couple of new buys for Bond: a Massimo Alba corduroy suit worn during the Matera sequence; a Connolly ‘Guibbino’ lightweight jacket; a Tommy Bahama ‘Catalina’ shirt; and a Rag & Bone classic ‘Henley’ T-shirt.
007 will also slip on four different pairs of sunglasses during the film’s almost-three-hour run-time. In London, he’ll wear Barton Perreira’s ‘Joe’ sunglasses; in Matera, he’ll wear the brand’s ‘Norton’ frames. In Jamaica, he’ll go for Vuarnet’s ‘Legend 06’ design. And, when he takes to the sky in a folding-wing glider with Lashana Lynch’s Nomi, Bond will wear a pair of Vuarnet ‘Edge 1613’ frames.
What cars, boats and other vehicles will appear in Bond 25?
When Daniel Craig’s final outing as the superspy finally screeches around the corner and onto screens this September, we’ll be treated to a goldmine of motors. Some of these cars, Bond will use. Some, he will shoot. Some, he will use to shoot other cars. He’ll leap from the path of a 1994 Maserati Quattraporte IV. He’ll riddle a helpless 2002 Lancia Thesis with bullets. He’ll even cross paths with a 2002 Toyota Land Cruiser.
The film will, of course, see the triumphant, bullet-riddled return of the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. And that’s just one of four Astons in the film. Excitingly, the 1985 Aston Martin V8 MKIV will ride again (for the first time since Timothy Dalton’s 007 tenure), and both the 2018 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera and the 2020 Aston Martin Valhalla will make special appearances.
Billy Magnussen’s CIA agent, Logan Ash, will drive a 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 — and Bond will drive an original model, the Land Rover Series III, while retired in Jamaica. Elsewhere, the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE and Triumph Tiger 900 will both appear, and the superspy will even sail a Spirit 46 yacht.
How should you watch No Time To Die?
If you get the chance, in IMAX. No Time To Die is the first James Bond film in history to film in this incredibly immersive, supersized format — and you’ll want to make the most of those bigger bangs and grander spectacles.
And, in London — where the BFI IMAX at Waterloo houses the largest cinema screen in Britain — the mayor of London, as part of the Let’s Do London campaign, is encouraging Londoners to get ‘back to the big screen’ and enjoy all of what London has to offer.
And that’s not all. The Let’s Do London campaign also recommends a walking tour of the places visited in For Your Eyes Only, Die Another Day, Skyfall and Spectre on offer, where you’ll visit all Bond’s previous haunts, such as MI5, MI6 and The National Gallery. Or, if you’re looking for some refreshments after catching Bond 25, there’s a night of ‘Bond’ inspired food and entertainment at London Never Dies — or even the chance to enjoy a Vesper Martini at Dukes Bar.
So go on; enjoy the experience and immerse yourself in Bond — we’ve waited long enough…
Want to learn more about recent Bond productions? These are the 10 favourite brands of Daniel Craig’s James Bond…
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