There are many words to describe the situation over at MGM Studios right now, but the one I keep coming back to is ‘bum-fucked.’ A while ago it was revealed that because of MGM’s ongoing financial struggles, production on the 23rd James Bond film (helmed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes, written by Oscar nominee Peter Morgan) had been indefinitely delayed. At the time, I was secretly delighted that the delay might prevent Mendes from sticking to his commitment, hoping against hope that MGM would wise up and just sign Martin Campbell to a permanent, unbreakable contract to make every Bond film, ever.
Well, I take all my delight back. Because you know what I didn’t expect? That MGM would decide to just CANCEL THE ENTIRE THING. Bond 23, as far as MGM is concerned, is kaput. Gone. The studio is so screwed, they can’t even find it in the budget to produce the next installment in one of the most dependable and lucrative franchises in film history.
Of course, James Bond is hardly done for good. I’m sure production will start up again as soon as one of two things happens: a) MGM gets bought out by another studio, or b) MGM completely goes under and sells off all of its properties. It could, however, be some time still before either of those processes is over with.
That still leaves the real question with all of this: is this the end of Daniel Craig’s run as the British super-spy? No one knows exactly how many Bond films Craig signed on for, but it probably doesn’t matter; MGM will be looking for a way to back out of every contract possible, and I’m sure Craig’s will get nullified. So, unless another studio jumps on the franchise FAST, you can bet Craig will want to move on to other things. I’ll try to remain optimistic, but my bile continually rises when I consider that MGM may have just screwed up the best thing to happen to this series since Sean Connery.
And, for all you Middle Earth fans out there who couldn’t care much less about James Bond, you may know my pain soon enough. Sir Ian McKellen, frustrated by the continual delays in the making of The Hobbit (which have already cost the film a director in Guillermo del Toro), started making vague threats yesterday that he will back out of playing Gandalf if the production doesn’t get going soon. McKellen was the first actor to agree (in principle) to perform in The Hobbit, but is not under contract.
Anyone else want to lay siege to MGM Studios with me?