Spectre cast announcement: a Bond fan’s reaction

The title of the new James Bond movie has just been announced and speculation about what it’ll be about is sweeping across the internet. Personally I think it’ll be about a suave British guy bedding women and shooting bad guys but what do I know? Anyway, here’s Screenkicker’s resident James Bond expert Chris Bridges with his analysis of the film:

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So I’m just going to come out and say it – I love James Bond. I have since I was young child. For some people it is Star Wars, for others it is Star Trek, but for me it has always been the tuxedoed shagger. In my opinion – to quote Carly Simon – nobody does it better. So its fair to say I was eagerly awaiting Friday’s press conference. The title was to be announced, the cast finally confirmed and fanboy gossip and speculation could really get underway. So what did we find out?

The Title

For those of you with a limited vocabulary, let me just explain what the word means.

Spectre: A ghost; phantom; apparition. A mental image of something unpleasant or menacing. An object or source of terror or dread.

But for Bond fans Spectre, or rather S.P.E.C.T.R.E means something quite different. It is an acronym for: Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. The villainous organisation that was a thorn in Mr Bond’s side for much of Sean Connery’s tenure as 007. So on Friday when Sam Mendes announced the title of the 24th official Bond film, fans felt it signaled not only the much-anticipated return of SPECTRE, but also their iconic leader Erst Stavro Blofeld.

Blofelds
For Bond fans, the one on the bottom right doesn’t count

Since Bond was rebooted with 2006’s quite sensational Casino Royale, SPECTRE has haunted the franchise – no pun intended. Many fans considered (partly due to copyright issues) that Quantum (the villainous organisation of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace), to be the SPECTRE for a new generation – it would appear not.

So what does it signify? Well, it certainly raises lots of questions – will Blofeld return? Are Quantum SPECTRE and this is their origin story? Can SPECTRE ever be taken seriously after Mike Myers’ AustinPowers series? Does this signify the end of the reboot and the beginning of a re-imagining of the franchise?

I hope the return of SPECTRE is approached the same way that Bond has been approached since 2006. I would hate to see the return of volcano lairs, beige suits, eye patches and white Persian cats. Today’s villainous organisations need to be rooted (to some extent) in reality. I feel that Quantum achieved the right balance, successfully blurring the line between politics and crime. Plush hotels have replaced secret lairs; top-secret meetings now take place at the opera, and rather than stealing nuclear warheads Quantum are playing the stock exchange. If SPECTRE isn’t handled with the required care and attention it could un-do much or all of the good work of the 3 previous films, and would, in my opinion end Mr Craig’s tuxedo residency. That said, despite my concern, I cannot deny I am very much looking forward seeing how they re-launch SPECTRE for a new generation, in the same way I was nervously excited by the prospect of seeing the Joker re-booted in the Dark Knight.

The Poster

OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH it is good. Or should that be – OOOOOOO.HHHHHHHH.MMMMM.SSSSSSS it is good. I must say I very much like the teaser poster, it cleverly expands upon the title of the film by tipping its hat to SPECTRE’s logo.

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Now yes I could be clutching at straws but that is not all I think it represents. I think it references one of the Bond series’ most shocking events – the death of Teresa di Vicenzo aka Mrs Bond!

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Will they touch on this? Has this even happened in the Daniel Craig timeline? (remember some time has passed between the events of QOS and Skyfall), is this still to happen?… will it be revealed that SPECTRE killed another of Bond’s loved ones (his parents)?, am I going no-where with these theories?… questions, questions, questions….

The Cast

Christophe Waltz: Following weeks of speculation the fantastic Christophe Waltz was finally confirmed as part of the cast, continuing the franchise’s trend of hiring über talented European actors in villainous roles. However the big question surrounding the double Oscar winner’s casting is just who is he actually playing? The official answer provided at the press launch was ‘Oberhauser’, a name that will be recognisable to Fleming enthusiasts as the surname of Bond’s ski instructor, Hannes. The question on everyone’s lips is whether Waltz will really be playing Blofeld, or a character (potentially Hannes’ son) that will become Blofeld.

Undoubtedly Waltz is a fantastic actor, and I am delighted he is in the cast. If he is Blofeld I think he’ll do a good job providing the character is written properly and given some genuine motivation for his actions. The reason that Le Chiffre and Raul Silva were such interesting characters was somewhat simple: excellent actors playing characters motivated by relatable human emotions: fear (Mikkelson’s Le Chiffre) and revenge (Bardem’s Raoul Silva).

My guess is that given the title of the film, Blofeld will feature in some capacity. I think it will ultimately be Waltz, however I suspect there will be a big twist, and that twist will have something to do with…

Andrew Scott: After reportedly grabbing the Producers’ attention following his turn BBC’s SherlockAndrew Scott has been cast as Denbigh, a character who director Mendes revealed as being part of the ‘Whitehall’ gang. I suspect given his turn as Holmes’ nemesis he will ultimately end up playing a villain, but truth be told I found him very irritating in the BBC show. As an actor I think he over acts and in trying to steal every scene his performance comes across hammy and OTT. My hope is hedoesn’t ruin what looks to be a strong cast.

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Andrew reacts to the accusations of over-acting

Dave Bautista: Cast as ‘Mr Hinx’, this man mountain will clearly play a henchman. I think the time has come to see how Craig’s Bond will cope with a physically imposing foe – and they don’t come much bigger than the former WWE star. Having avoided featuring a traditional henchman in the previous 3 films I am looking forward to seeing what they do with him. I hope they don’t try to make him too quirky (see Elvis in QOS), or simply don’t give him any dialogue, therefore turning him into a cipher – see Ola Rapace’s Patrice in Skyfall.

Monica Bellucci: I was very pleased to see Monica Bellucci finally cast a Bond girl, she has seemed like an obvious choice for many years. She has the looks, the screen presence and sex appeal to succeed and I am interested see how the dynamic between her and Craig (who is younger than her) plays out on-screen.

Leà Seydoux: The French actress has an impressively varied CV having worked with Woody Allen in ‘Midnight in Paris’, ‘Wes Anderson in ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’, Quentin Tarantino in ‘Inglorious Basterds’ and also Lord of the Scientologists – Tom Cruise in ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’. Her experience of working with some of cinema’s most successful auteurs and starring in huge blockbusters like M.I and Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood are surely excellent preparation for a Bond flick.

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OK, I’ve decided I’m definitely going to watch Spectre

It was also confirmed Ralph Fiennes will return as M, and Naomi Harris as Moneypenny – characters I’m pleased to see back, however I hope the writers remember that M and Moneypenny are very much secondary characters and just because they’ve been ‘rebooted’ doesn’t mean they need lots of screen time. I have the same fear about Ben Wishaw’s Q, and I hope he doesn’t spend too much time in the field and they let 007 get on with it!

Will Spectre live up to the hype? Will it flop after the megahit that was Skyfall? Will this be more QOS than Casino Royale? Will Blofeld appear? Is it Waltz? Is it Scott? We’ll not know for sure until 23rd October 2015. What we do know for sure is that JAMES BOND WILL RETURN – and that is something I am delighted about.

22 comments

  1. Great write-up, Chris! Clearly you’re a big fan. I need to go back and watch all the non-Craig Bond films in a big way (because I’ve only seen one). I’m psyched about this cast. No love for M, Moneypenny, or Q?? Maybe it’s just because I’m not a Bond purist, but I’d love to see those characters get more screen time–particularly Q. But we’ll see! I think this is gonna be a good one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome Mikey! Glad you dedicated a post for Spectre too. I had to do one as soon as it was announced, I mean I’m a Bond fan for life! LOVE Waltz’s casting though I think they wanted Chiwetel Ejiofor as a villain at some point, now that would’ve been awesome! I do love the Bond girls casting, man Bellucci is a goddess!

    Like

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