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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bond...My Teeth, Please.

Actor Daniel Craig has been tagged as the new 007 in the next Bond flick Casino Royale (in theaters November 17), adapted from Bond-creator Ian Fleming's first novel about the spy.

Like Batman Begins, this newest installment of a long-running franchise goes back to the beginning, and is an origin story.

But Craig is off to a bad start, publicity-wise.

First, he had to--naturally-- deal with groans and catcalls from both the Pierce Brosnan loyalists and the hyper-critical Sean Connery diehards.

Then he had to deal with this unflattering send-off from actress Lois Maxwell, who played Miss Moneypenny in 14 Bond films, who said he wasn't as handsome as previous Bonds Roger Moore and Sean Connery, and added:

"He has what you'd call an interesting face. Perhaps the make-up girls could do something to him, maybe give him a wig."

Then news breaks today that the chap just got two front teeth broken during the filming of the first fight scene with a mere henchman, causing the actor to stagger back on the set holding his mouth with blood seeping through the fingers (compelling the production company to fly in his personal dentist and cap the disfigurement).

Republicus shouldn't pre-judge the man, and is willing to give him a chance for glorious longevity a la Connery, Moore, and Brosnan.

Certainly, every new actor must live up to very high expectations when playing the role of an icon, especially when taking over the role from a previous actor who the fans have warmed up to and made definitive for the role.

As in the Batman analogy, Michael Keaton--who previously had played clownish characters--caused an uproar of dissent from the fan base (both from the Frank Miller Dark Knight and Adam West [!] camps alike) when his role as the new Caped Crusader was announced (the film was released in 1989), but Keaton disappointed no one when the lights dimmed and Danny Elfman's soundtrack set the mood for the Gothic cartoon.

(A-List actor Jack Nicholson as the Joker, of course, did for that film what Marlon Brando as Jor-El did for Superman the Movie, 1978--i.e. he made it a serious, heavyweight movie).

Then the franchise quickly went from grotesquely cartoonish (Keaton once more in Batman Returns, 1992) to slick (Val Kilmer in Batman Forever, 1995), to cirque de soleil and downright cheesy, however ostentatiously high-tech (George Clooney in Batman and Robin, 1997), which practically returned the franchise to the classic campiness of the television series with Adam West (Come on, Arnold Shwarznegger as Mr. Freeze?).

The James Bond franchise went through similar vicissitudes (the most most notable low being George Lazenby's Bond from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969, which is the bridge between the world of James Bond and that of Austin Powers), but the franchise survived, and prospered, and perhaps Craig will indeed rejuvenate the character as Christian Bale did for Batman in Batman Begins.

Like Bale's Batman in relation to the mythical prototype, Craig's Bond--it is promoted-- is the closest thing to Fleming's original concept that will have ever graced the screen.

Or maybe Craig is the third interregnum Bond–- after Lazenby and Dalton.

It is likely that--just as Sean Connery jumped in with his last Bond role in 1983 with Never say Never Again concurrently with the release of Roger Moore's second-to-last Bond-flick Octopussy (angering the latter)--Brosnan will return for another go or two at it, if not more, depending on Craig's reception by the critics and his box-office clout.

But Craig should count himself lucky if he achieves Moore's stature as The Spy.

Republicus thinks Cary Grant could have been a good Bond, but, of course, he was born too soon.

And Roger Rees-- he of Robin Colcourt from "Cheers" fame-- would've been hilarious as a caricatured Bond in some kind of spoof.

The title would be some combination of the words Never, Enough, Love, Die, Spy, Gold, Gun, Again, and Pussy.


Blogger Kelly said...

I for one will always be a Brosnan fan....


Ya, I go back to Remington Steele on that one.


6:50 PM  
Blogger John said...

The buzz of Brosnan succeeding Moore actually began while he was Remington Steele. When Moore was put out to pasture to stud, Brosnan was the most obvious heir apparent--but he was locked in with his contract with *Remington Steele,* so Dalton got the part for *The Living Daylights,* though it turned out he was just warming the throne for Brosnan, after all.

Something similar happened to Moore. He was known on television from the show *The Saint,* and he was the hands-on favorite to succeed Connery--but Lazenby got the part, until Moore finally got the coronation.

11:15 PM  
Blogger John said...

Breaking News: Craig will be the first nude Bond.

As reported by Cameron Robertson:

"Craig, 37, told movie bosses he would not only show his bottom - but was happy to do the Full Monty.

The star of Casino Royale said: 'In today's world we expect female actresses to go naked so why not men?

'I have told bosses I'm prepared to do a full frontal scene. I'm not shy and Bond wouldn't be shy about it either.'"

Right. Good news for Lazenby!

(his dignity will be missed)

7:14 PM  

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