Spy Movie News – November 29, 2022

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Welcome to our Spy Movie News - November 29, 2022 edition. Face/Off, Darkness of Man, Slow Horses, One Ranger, A Spy By Nature, and The Prize are six of the eighteen upcoming spy movies or series that we’ll fill you in on today.   And we will end with Tom's Rant about Daniel Craig.

Upcoming Spy Movies and Series 

We have a 18 spy movies and series to discuss so let’s jump right in. As usual, you can go to our website, SpyMovieNavigator.com to find the links to the supporting articles behind this episode. 

Darkness of Man 

Last year, we reviewed the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, The Last Mercenary.  In fact, we released a quick-fire review of that one. Well, Van Damme has signed on to play Interpol operative Russell Hatch, in Darkness of Man.  According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter, Hatch finds himself protecting Jayden and his uncle from a group of merciless gangs in an all-out turf war, stopping at nothing to protect Jayden and fight anyone getting in his way — including supposed allies with hidden agendas and nefarious intents. Filming is set to start in Los Angeles in early 2023.  The 62-year old actor has a few projects under way and it's good to see. 

Slow Horses 

In our October 25th edition of Spy Movie News, we’ve told you about how much we like the Apple TV+ series Slow Horses and that its second season is scheduled to release on December 2, 2022.  Here’s hoping that this show has a very long run.   

It is not just that we like this series.  We also really like it’s lead actor, Gary Oldman.  Oldman has told The Times “I’ve had an enviable career, but careers wane, and I do have other things that interest me outside of acting,” says Gary Oldman, 64, thoughtfully. “When you’re young you think you’re going to get round to doing all of them — read that book — then the years go by.” “I’m 65 next year, 70 is around the corner. I don’t want to be active when I’m 80. I’d be very happy and honoured and privileged to go out as Jackson Lamb [his character in Slow Horses] — and then hang it up.” 

Jackson Lamb is a great role for him to retire from.  We just hope Oldman plays Lamb for a few more seasons. He is a fantastic actor. 

One Ranger 

Mix up some Texas Ranger action and British Intelligence, and you get the upcoming movie, One Ranger.  Starring Thomas Jane and John Malkovich, this thriller brings a Texas Ranger to London to stop a terrorist attack.  Dean S. Jagger and Dominique Tipper also star in this one.  Lionsgate has acquired One Ranger and has not announced an expected release date.  You can read more about it on Deadline.com

A Spy By Nature 

So far we’ve been talking about older actors, well, how about a 20-something taking on a spy role?   Paul Mescal will be starring in A Spy By Nature.    This movie is based on the first novel in the Alec Milius spy series, written by Charles Cumming. In an article on Deadline.com, A Spy By Nature’s director, Kevin Macdonald says “I’ve wanted to make A Spy By Nature for many years – and when I met Paul Mescal, with his beguiling mixture of intelligence, skill, and youth, I knew I’d found the perfect star,” Macdonald said. “This is a very modern spy story – sexy, dangerous, morally ambivalent – and only an actor of Paul’s talent could pull it off.” 

Cummings has written 10 other spy movies.  Is this a start for a new franchise? In that same article, HanWay Films CEO says “I feel confident we will all want to revisit this young spy in his next adventure with what could be the beginning of an exciting new franchise” 

So, let’s see, a young actor taking on a lead role in a spy movie franchise.  A movie that actually has a script and a lead actor assigned to it.  Um, Eon Productions, are you paying attention here? 

Ballerina 

The John Wick series is in the process of creating a spin-off called Ballerina.  Ana de Armas, who showed us her action movie acting chops in No Time To Die, takes on the lead role.  She will be seeking revenge for the murder of her family.  Keanu Reeves, who plays John Wick will make an appearance in this one.  Also joining the cast are Anjelica Huston and Ian McShane.  So, this movie brings in a 30-something lead, De Armas along with some let’s just say “more seasoned” actors.  We have not yet seen an expected release date for Ballerina

Day of the Jackal 

“Downton Abbey” producer, Carnival Films, is coming out with a tv adaptation of The Day of the Jackal. Sky television and the Peacock streaming network has commissioned the series. They are calling it a “contemporary reimagining of the beloved and respected novel and film.” 

The series is expected to go head to production in the summer of 2003.  You can read more about it on Variety.com.  

Jack Ryan Season 3 

Ho, Ho, Ho! Prime Video will be releasing Season 3 of Jack Ryan on December 21, 2022.  Prime is also currently streaming the first two seasons if you need to catch up. Jack Ryan is a series based on the Tom Clancy novels. 

So, after making us wait for three-years, John Krasinski is finally back in the lead role.    Ryan technically isn’t a spy, by title.  He is a CIA analyst who identifies situations and ends up having to deal with them.  It is a narrow distinction. Ryan ends up doing a lot of the dirty work. 

MovieWeb.com has this article if you want to learn more.   

The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare 

Guy Ritchie is directing a World War II spy movie called The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. This movie will star Henry Cavill and Eiza González.  We know, it’s shocking that Henry Cavill is starring in a spy movie (yes, that was meant to be a sarcastic statement). Is this yet another Henry Cavill audition for James Bond? 

Anyway, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is based on true events following strategies of two well-known strategists: Winston Churchill and Ian Fleming.   

The synopsis for the movie says: “The clandestine squad’s unconventional and entirely ‘ungentlemanly’ fighting techniques against the Nazis helped change the course of the war and in part gave birth to the modern Black Ops unit,”.  So, we’ll see where this takes us 

Guy Ritchie and Arash Amel have based the movie on the 2016 book with the same name written by author Damien Lewis.  No slight to Henry Cavill, but it would have been a nice coincidence if actor Damien Lewis took the lead here.  

Face/Off Sequel 

The Face/Off sequel is another movie that we’ve been talking about for a while.   We’ve also speculated that Nicolas Cage will return.   According to a Hollywood Reporter article, Cage “is in various stages of discussion for sequels to such big productions as National Treasure and Face/Off.”  We’re hoping his role in the next Face/Off happens.  

Dirty Angels 

Like Jack Ryan, this one isn’t technically a spy movie.  However, Martin Campbell is the director.  Most spy movie fans will know Campbell directed GoldenEye, Casino Royale (2006), The Foreigner, and The Protégé. 

Dirty Angels is a fictional story of a group of female soldiers who need to rescue kidnapped teenagers during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Eva Green who played Vesper Lynd under Campbell’s direction in Casino Royale and Ruby Rose, who has played Batwoman Kate Kane in the DC tv series and Grace Lewis in SAS: Red Notice, star in Dirty Angels.  

Filming is expected to start in December 2022.  

Operation Napoleon 

No, this has nothing to do with Napoleon Dynamite. Operation Napoleon is a low-budget thriller starring Iain Glen.  You may remember him as Jorah Mormont in “Game of Thrones”. 

The plot focuses on a plane that crashed in 1945 with both German and American officers on board.  Ignoring the wishes of the US military, a lawyer tries to dig into the details of the crash and gets involved in an international conspiracy. 

Operation Napoleon was made on a $7 million budget and the exteriors were filmed mostly in Iceland and is based on a novel that was a best seller in Germany. 

You can read more about Operation Napoleon on The Hollywood Reporter.  

Chief of Station 

In our October 25, 2022 edition of Spy Movie News we told you that the Alec Baldwin-Olga Kurylenco spy movie, Chief of Station, was heading into production in November.  Well, Baldwin has become unavailable due to a schedule overrun of another movie.   So, now Aaron Eckhart will be taking on the lead role in this movie.  From what we’ve read, production has started on this one.   

The Prize 

The Prize is being billed as a “taut Hitchcockian thriller”.  We think that is an apt description as it is based on an unwitting American who flies to Sweden for the funeral of a friend.   Well, he gets ensnared in a web of corruption and murder.  If we think of The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, or many other Hitchcock movies, this has a familiar ring to it.   Jason Clark and Haley Bennett star in The Prize.  Shooting is expected to start in the spring of 2023.  

You can read more about The Prize on Deadline.com.  

Canary Black 

CIA operative Avery Graves, played by Kate Beckinsale is blackmailed by terrorists to save her husband in the upcoming spy movie, Canary Black. Graves is cut off from her team and has to figure out how to get the kidnappers what they want.  

Canary Black is currently in principal photography.  Rupert Friend also stars in this thriller.  

Dixie Crystal 

Dixie Crystal was the name of a real-life FBI Operation.  Well, now it is the name of a movie starring Rob Morgan as FBI agent Jim Anderson.  If we remember in Licence to Kill, Bond’s objective was to stop Franz Sanchez’s heroin operation. 

In Dixie Crystal, Agent Anderson has to take down a drug Kingpin and stop the distribution of methamphetamine from Harlan, Kentucky. 

Filming is expected to start in April 2023. 

Red Shirt 

Yet another movie is coming out with the goal of trying to create a spy movie franchise.  This time it is Channing Tatum starring in Red Shirt. Not many details have been released on this one.  However, we know that David Leitch who directed Bullet Train and Deadpool 2 is signed on to direct Red Shirt.   They are touting the movie as “a new spin on James Bond”.    

According to movieweb.com’s article about Red Shirt, a redshirt is a character in fiction who dies soon after being introduced.  So, is that Channing Tatum?  Hmmm.  If so, that has sort of a Psycho feel to it where the star dies early on.   

We’ll keep our eyes peeled to give you more details about this one as they emerge.  

Honey Trapped 

The spec script by April Wolfe for the movie Honey Trapped have been acquired by Studiocanal and The Picture Company. 

Deadline.com tells us that “the story follows a cabal of secret assassins who descend upon Las Vegas for 24 hours to force a rogue agent into fighting their way up every floor of a busy hotel. The script is said to be a star-driven two-hander featuring a married couple on the rocks with a lot of secrets—in the vein of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and True Lies.” 

If that’s accurate, this could be a fun one to watch. 

So yes, we are a long way out before we’ll see Honey Trapped but we like the plot and are eager to see Honey Trapped made.  

They Shined on the Nile 

Moroccan-born director Yasmine Benkiran is working on a project for a spy movie titled “Elles ont brillé sur le Nil” or They Shined on the Nile. This project is set in 1950’s Cairo and revolves around the mysterious death of a famous actress known as Asmahan.  

They Shined on the Nile is still in development, so we’ll have to see what comes of it.  You can read more about it on Variety.com.  

 Whew that’s a lot of upcoming spy movies and series.  We’ll have to see how they all play out.  

 In Memoriam 

John Aniston 

Jennifer Aniston’s father, John Aniston has passed at age 89.  Known for his long-running roles on “Days of Our Lives” (over 2800 episodes) and “Search for Tomorrow”, Aniston also had roles in the spy tv series “I Spy” and “Mission: Impossible”. 

Ian Whittaker 

Actor and set decorator, Ian Whittaker has passed at age 94.  Whittaker, along with Luciana Arrighi won the Best Art Direction-Set Direction Academy Award for Howard’s End (1992).   He was also nominated for the same category for Anna and the King (1999), Remains of the Day (1993), and Alien (1979). 

Spy movie fans may remember Ian Whittaker for his role as Ordinary Seaman Thomas in the 1958 World War II espionage movie The Silent Enemy

John Dartigue 

John Dartigue has passed at the age of 82.  He was a Warner Bros VP Publicity for movies such as The Fugitive and The Dark Knight.  Prior to Warner Bros, he worked in publicity for United Artists where he worked on publicity for the first 10 James Bond movies. 

Tom's Rant 

So, we’ll end with Tom’s Rant.   

This is Tom's opinion, not necessarily Dan's.

Our friends at The Spy Command had a post talking about the Daniel Craig interview that was in the Los Angeles Times on November 16, 2022.  Spy Command put it this way: “Quotes from Craig’s interviews have split Bond movie fans. Craig fans say that shows why he’s a great actor. Craig critics cite this is why he’s selfish.”

Sign me up as a critic

Well, sign me up as a critic. I think the LA Times article was supposed to be hyping Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Craig’s latest movie.  Instead, it solidified my opinion of how big a selfish, narcissistic jerk (or whatever pejorative you want to use) Daniel Craig is.   

What we are talking about is how Craig thought HE was the one to control what happened to the character of James Bond.  And, if you read the LA Times article, Craig says ‘Well, you need to reset again.’ So let’s kill my character off and go find another Bond and go find another story.”  What a pompous “it’s all about me” buffoon (I had to try about 10 words here before I found one that was clean enough to use).  

It's not just No Time To Die

As I see it, Craig killed the Bond series, not just with the ending of No Time To Die, but how he shaped the character on screen.  Yes, part of it was the putrid writing of Purvis and Wade, but Craig ruined the character for me. This is very disappointing as I liked Craig’s Bond in Casino Royale.  However, then he changed the character, and not in a good way.    

And as Craig says in the article: “You’re making the mistake that I somehow have a plan,” Craig said with a laugh. “I don’t give it that much thought.” … “ I don’t have a game plan. The things that happen in my life professionally, the decisions I make about them are gut, mainly.” 

If Craig can kill of a character that had a run time of over 50 years, especially since he says he doesn’t have a game plan what else does he think he can do?  And, look at the really ugly predicament he left Eon Productions for going forward.  It’s all about him.  “If I can’t play him, kill him off”.  What a putz. 

Why is Craig still doing Bond ads?

Add the fact that Craig is still doing promotions and endorsements for Bond, as pointed out in another The Spy Command post.  It all shows it’s about him, Daniel Craig.   Craig says he does not “want to go back”.  Then leave already, you’ve done enough damage. 

Well, it does seem that it was Daniel craig’s idea to kill off Bond for a few reasons – one of which was so that he move on. Well, yeah this is all fiction, and anything can happen in fiction. Nonetheless, you don’t kill off Bond. James Bond.  

That’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed our Spy Movie News - November 29, 2022 edition. You can find the audio of this as a podcast in the show Cracking the Code of Spy Movies on your favorite podcast app or on our website SpyMovieNavigator.com – please help us our and Subscribe!

Spy Movie News – October 25, 2022

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Here’s our Spy Movie News - October 25, 2022 edition!

Today we will examine spy movies and spy streaming series that are in development.  We’ll look at Slow Horses, Litvinenko, Citadel, Our Man From Jersey, Kompromat, Codeword: Rubicon, The Gray House, A Spy Among Friends, and many more.  We’ll also react to a comment from Elizabeth Banks about her 2019 movie Charlie's Angels.  And we’ll react to something that has scared us that Barbara Broccoli said about Bond 26.

As per usual, you can find all of our Spy Movie News as audio podcast episodes here if you would prefer to listen instead of read.

What’s coming

Let’s start the discussion with some news about a series that we like that is getting ready for its second season.

Slow Horses

We are excited that Apple + has released the trailer for Season 2 of Slow Horses. As I've said in the past, we loved season 1 of Slow Horses and have been anticipating Season 2.   As you would expect, if you didn’t see season 1 of this series on Apple +, you can catch up to date.  It stars Gary Oldman, Kristen Scott Thomas, Jack Lowden.  Season 2 also brings back much of the excellent supporting cast.

And here’s the cool part, the trailer says that Season 2 comes out on December 2nd, 2022.   We can’t wait.

Litvinenko

According to Variety, the movie Litvinenko, which stars David Tennant has sold to AMC+ and Sundance Now, among others. Additionally, it is on a variety of streaming services internationally.  It has pre-sold ahead of its debut on ITVX, which is ITVs streaming service slated to launch in November 2022.

Litvinenko is based on the true story of Alexander Litvinenko who you may remember was poisoned and died by polonium poisoning.   Significantly, Litvinenko was a former Russian Federal Security Services and KGB officer who defected to Great Britain. The movie gives us his story.

Citadel

A 6-part spy story will release on Amazon Prime sometime in the future called Citadel. One part is being filmed in Italy. As Riccardo Tozzi, producer and founder of the studio Cattleya tells Variety “The Italian series is a spy story with elements of action, adventure, and fantasy—the genre is simply unprecedented for Italy and for Cattleya.”  The cast is strong for this series as it stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Stanley Tucci, and Richard Madden

Our Man From Jersey

Starring Halle Berry, Mark Wahlberg and J.K. Simmons, is the Netflix movie Our Man From Jersey.  This movie is described as a “blue-collar James Bond.”  It follows the reluctant spy formula that we highlight often on our podcasts.  This time it is Mark Wahlberg who is a construction worker.  He gets involved with the spy game because of his girlfriend, played by Halle Berry.  Filming has begun in Croatia, London, and Trieste Italy.  The supporting actors are strong too including Jackie Earle Haley.   He’s one of those actors who I like in everything he’s done.  He usually plays someone who is a bit quirky so it will be fun to see what they do with him here.  Yep, sign me up when this one is released on Netflix.

Kompromat

We’ve mentioned the upcoming movie Kompromat in a few Spy Movie News episodes in the past.  This movie is somewhat based on a true story about a Frenchman working in Siberia who gets framed.  Although this has been a very successful movie in France since it’s September 7th release, international distribution has begun widely.  Magnolia Pictures has bought the US rights to Kompromat.  As Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles says in VarietyKompromat is an incredibly tense espionage thriller,” … “Jerome Salle and the stellar cast have delivered an exceptional movie.”

Codeword: Rubicon

Swiss Television has commissioned an eight-part series based on the company Crypto AG, called Codeword: Rubicon. The company, launched in the early 1950s was really a front for the CIA and West German Intelligence Services.  It’s a fascinating story and we are eager to see how it is told here.

Codeword: Rubicon is expected to hit pre-production next year, so we’ll have to wait for this one.

American Murderer

You may remember Ryan Phillipe playing FBI agent Eric O’Neil in the 2007 movie Breach which chronicled the take-down of Robert Hanssen for selling secrets to the Russians. That was an adaptation based on a true story.  Well, now Phillipe plays another FBI agent in the movie American Murderer.  This too is based on a true story and stars Tom Pelphrey as Jason Derek Brown.   Brown is a conman that Phillippe’s character has to track down.  Idina Menzel also stars in this movie

American Murderer released at the end of October in theaters in the U.S.

Sanctioning Evil

Zach McGowan, Taryn Manning, Tobias Truvillion, and Chris Tardio star in the movie Sanctioning Evil.  The tagline for this movie is “After being discharged from the military, Sgt. Barnes finds his way back into society via a charismatic politician with a covert plan to eliminate an underground criminal element.”

An article on Movieweb.com gives us more depth including telling us that the criminal element is a challenging one: child trafficking.   This one seems to have a hard edge to it.

There was a limited U.S. release and it is currently available for streaming on Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play.

The Gray House

It’s too bad they couldn’t get any big stars for the movie The Gray House.  Oh wait, it stars Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman.  That should be a good sign.

The Gray House is a six-hour series being done by Paramount Global. This is yet another movie or series we’ve talked about today that is based on a true story.  

This time it is a Civil War spy drama which focuses on three women spy ring who, according to an article on Deadline.com  turned the tide in the American Civil War in favor of the North.  Deadline likens the story to that of the 2017 movie Hidden Figures, which also featured Costner. Hidden Figures focused on real-life female mathematician who were vital to NASA and the space program.

A release date has not been announced.

Chief of Station

Chief of Station heads into production this November.  This is the Alec Baldwin - Olga Kurylenko spy movie that we’ve mentioned in earlier episodes.  The casting is shoring up nicely with the addition of Alex Pettyfer who will pay a CIA agent and Chris Petrovski who plays Baldwin’s son.

No release date has been announced for Chief of Station.

Dark Wire

Netflix is bringing us another true spy story.   They have obtained the rights to Joseph Cox’s upcoming book, Dark Wire.  This plot sounds a bit similar to Codename: Rubicon that we mentioned earlier.  According to Deadline.com,  Dark Wire tells the story of how the FBI created a fake telecom company that led to the arrest of over a thousand international criminals.  So, here it is the FBI, not the CIA as in Codename: Rubicon.  But it is still a U.S. government agency creating a front company in order to catch bad guys.

Jason Bateman has signed on to direct Dark Wire.    

The Recruit

Netflix is on a roll.  They will premiere the series The Recruit on December 16, 2022.  In this movie, Noah Centineo plays Owen Hendrix who is a CIA lawyer who has to deal with a former asset who wants to expose why she has been involved with the agency.

The Recruit also has the name Graymail in some other countries.  Additionally, we should also point out that this is not the 2003 movie starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrell.

A Spy Among Friends

The movie The Fourth Protocol had a character named Kim Philby. Kim Philby was a real-life double agent and a lot has been written about his treason.  In the ITVX series A Spy Among Friends, due to be released this fall, Damian Lewis plays Philby’s close friend, Nicholas Elliott.  Elliott is an operative with the SIS who has to interrogate Philby, who is played by Guy Pearce.  So, once again we have a spy movie or series based on real-life.

A Spy Among Friends is based on Ben Macintyre’s book about Philby.  Given that it stars Lewis and Pearce, this is a series we will definitely catch.

Vikram Vedha

First appearing in 1986, Vikram is a Bollywood secret agent.   Vikram Vedha brings the character back 27 years later. His mission in Vikram Vedha is to thwart a huge drug deal (sounds a bit like Licence to Kill to us).  Vikram is now a grandfather who has to work with a younger operative named Amar.  They don’t care about the rules and fight crime as they want to.

This is a remake of the 2017 Tamil-language movie with the same name.  However, it is 26 minutes longer.  It has a lot of action in it’s 2 hour and 53-minute runtime.

Our Rant

Ok, this one is a bit different than what we usually talk about on Spy Movie News.  

Elizabeth Banks and Charlie's Angels

Back in December 2019 we gave a scathing review of the just released movie Charlie’s Angels.   We did not like his movie and one of the things we pointed out what that the movie was marketed towards girls.  It did not do well at the box office.

The movie’s director, Elizabeth Banks was interviewed recently by The New York Times.   Although the interview was supposed to be about her new movie Call Jane, she was asked about Charlie’s Angels.  She didn’t help her cause.  Here’s part of what she said:

“There was a story around Charlie’s Angels that I was creating some feminist manifesto. I was just making an action movie,” Banks said plainly. “I would’ve liked to have made Mission: Impossible, but women aren’t directing Mission: Impossible. I was able to direct an action movie, frankly, because it starred women and I’m a female director, and that is the confine right now in Hollywood. I wish that the movie had not been presented as just for girls, because I didn’t make it just for girls. There was a disconnect on the marketing side of it for me.”

Well, for us, here at Spy Movie News, the ‘marketing for girls’ was only part of the problem with the movie.  The script wasn’t very imaginative which we think hurt it more that the marketing.  It sounds to us that Banks is carrying a large chip on her shoulder about the marketing, but we doubt the movie would have been successful with different marketing.  It just wasn’t a good movie, let alone a good spy movie.

Please Tell Me This Isn’t True

An article on The Spy Command says Barbara Broccoli has said that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade will probably work on Bond 26.  PLEASE NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!

As I've said in the past, these are the two that ruined the Bond franchise in our opinion.   Occasionally, they did alright. The World is Not Enough was their first Bond script and they did well with Casino Royale (2006) but they had the Fleming book to work with.  But then they lost track of who Bond is.  Let’s see: Die Another Day, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre, and then finally No Time To Die.  Although some of those did well at the box office, the character of Bond changed a lot, and not in a good way from the way we see it.  They really boxed themselves in with Skyfall by focusing so much on age and the old way of doing things. That’s where they really lost it. 

Then please, who was the character Daniel Craig was playing in No Time To Die?   It wasn’t the James Bond I know.

Can’t we please just have Purvis and Wade meet the same fate as they wrote for M, Leiter, and Bond?  The franchise needs new blood. We think they have to go.

In Memoriam

We lost some major talent this month. 

Angela Lansbury

We’ll start with Angela Lansbury who passed at the age of 96. She was best known for her work on stage and her role in the tv series, “Murder She Wrote”.  She was also the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.   

Ms. Lansbury had success in espionage movies as well.  She was nominated for 3 Oscars for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.  Her final nomination was in 1963 for her portrayal of Miss Eleanor Shaw Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate.  She also played Miss Froy in the 1979 remake of the Hitchcock classic The Lady Vanishes.  Herfans will be able to see her final movie performance in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery starting on December 23rd.

Robbie Coltrane

Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane passed at age 72.   Robbie Coltrane was known as Hagrid to fans of the Harry Potter series. To James Bond fans, he was Valentin Zukovsky in GoldenEye and The World is Not Enough, one of our favorite characters in the series.

His birthname was Anthony Robert McMillan.  He was a fan of jazz and took the name Robbie Coltrane as an homage to John Coltrane.

Douglas Kirkland

Douglas Kirkland pass at the age of 88.   Kirkland was a very skilled and sought-after celebrity photographer. An article on Variety.com tells us that he earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Operating Cameramen and the president’s award from the American Society of Cinematographers.   Some of his work includes his photographs of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, and many more.  Lastly, for the spy movie fan, Douglas Kirkland was the uncredited Still Photographer on the James Bond movie Licence to Kill.

Dennis Virkler

And finally, editor Dennis Virkler has passed at age 80.  During his career, he earned two Academy Award nominations for Editing.  The first was for The Hunt for Red October which he shared with John Wright.  The second was for The Fugitive which he shared with 5 other editors.

We hope you enjoyed this Spy Movie News - October 25, 2022 edition.  If you did, please subscribe to our show - Cracking the Code of Spy Movies - in your favorite podcast app and on YouTube.  

Global James Bond Day Quick Salute!

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Global James Bond Day is every October 5th commemorating the 1962 release of Eon Productions first James Bond movie, DR. NO!

We salute the phenomenon that Eon Productions has built and talk about how Global James Bond Day and this year's 60th Anniversary of DR. NO goes way beyond the movies!

 Cracking the Code of Spy Movies has over 70 James Bond podcast episodes!  Check them out:  https://spymovienavigator.com/james-bond-podcasts/

Spy Movie News – September 27, 2022

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Here’s our September 27, 2022 edition of Spy Movie News!

Today we remember Queen Elizabeth II and talk about the upcoming spy movies Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, The Gray Man, Inheritance, Blackbird, Section 8, Kandahar, Argylle, Spy Kids, James Bond, and more.

Queen Elizabeth II

We start this edition of Spy Movie News remembering Queen Elizabeth II.    In remembering the Queen, we as spy fans must remember her support, especially for the James Bond series.

As pointed out in The Spy Command, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond toasts and apologizes to a picture of the Queen when he resigned.  It is odd to think that if that movie was made today, it would be called On His Majesty’s Secret Service in honor of King Charles III.

And as Sharon Oliver reminds us on MovieWeb.com, Queen Elizabeth II’s part in the skit with Daniel Craig’s Bond in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony was at the suggestion of the Queen, herself. In fact, she suggested that she get a line to say.  The production was ready to make copies of the Queen’s outfit and other images. They wanted to build a set. However, the Queen's staff informed the crew that that the Queen wanted to do her part herself.  You have to love that support for the series and it seems like she had a good time doing it.

Also, we were very relieved that there was no London Has Fallen incident during the tributes and ceremonies for the Queen. Being spy movie fans, that movie instantly jumped to the front of our minds when thinking about the security needed for the funeral which brought together so many of the world’s leaders.  Thank goodness all went as planned.

Movies in Development

Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning

We’ll start with two stories about Tom Cruise.  In our September 2021 Spy Movie News we told you of a chance encounter some hikers in the Lake District in England had with Tom Cruise as he was preparing for a stunt in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part One.  

Well, it appears that now the Lake District had some locals who created a delay in shooting for Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning – Part Two.  And we know this movie has had a lot of delays.  Ok, so this time it was a slight delay but we think it is funny why it happened.  It turns out that there are plenty of sheep in the Lake District.  Amazingly, a flock of these sheep caused shooting to stop to let them pass.  This is one of the funniest reasons we’ve heard for shooting to be delayed on this often delayed movie.

The second story about Cruise is a bit similar to something we told you about in our November 2021 Spy Movie News. We told you that Tom Cruise filmed a stunt where he walks on the wing of a biplane.  Duxford Airfield in Cambridge was used for the filming. 

Well, @icemavs tweeted a video that was shown at Cinemacon.  It shows Tom Cruise standing on a plane over a canyon.  The audio is a bit rough but it sounds like he’s over the Blade River Canyon in South Africa.  Again, the audio is rough so we may have that location wrong, but it is an interesting clip to view.  Tom Cruise has ice in his veins.   I see no reason to get out of my seat on a perfectly functioning biplane.

The Gray Man

When we gave our quickfire no-spoiler review of The Gray Man, we commented on how much we liked the actor Dhanush who played Lone Wolf.  Most of us in the west had never heard of Dhanush.  His career is mostly in Tamil movies, although he’s done some Bollywood movies as well.  He is a South Indian superstar who is one of the big box office stars in India.  And his father is a director and producer and his brother is also a film director.

Dhanush is also a film writer and producer, and he has written and performed songs for a variety of movies.

Rajiv Prajapati has an excellent article on MovieWeb.com which gives more details about this fascinating performer to who we have just been introduced to.

Also, if you haven’t seen The Gray Man and you have Netflix, give it a watch and you’ll see why we liked Dhanush in this role.

Blackbird

We’ve talked about Michael Flatley’s spy movie Blackbird in the last few Spy Movie News episodes.  Well, Craig Jones has written an article called “Why Michael Flatley’s Blackbird Could Be on Par With Tommy Wiseau’s The Room”.  That title floored us.   In case you aren’t familiar with The Room, it has been called by more than one critic the worst movie ever made (which is really saying something).  Clark Collis in Entertainment Weekly called The Room “The Citizen Kane of bad movies”.

Ok, so is Jones saying that Blackbird is as bad as The Room?  It gets complicated as The Room is one of those “so bad it’s become a cult movie” to some, especially comedians.  As for Blackbird Jones says the visuals and the acting, other than Michael Flatley’s performance are good.  His problem with Blackbird is the script and Flatley.  So, once this movie gets released we’ll find out what we think.

Inheritance

Fans of “Bridgerton” will be happy to see that Phoebe Dynevor who played Daphne Basset, Duchess of Hastings will be starring in a new spy thriller called Inheritance.  Not a lot of the plot has been released, but we’re told Phoebe’s character will be thrown into a world of secrecy and crime after her estranged father reenters her life.  

So, even though the movie has reportedly finished filming, it doesn’t appear on IMDB.com and no other cast members have has been announced. Also, no release date has been set. This is intriguing. 

Also, once again, a movie is coming out with the same name as a recently released movie.  Simon Pegg and Lily Collins were in the 2020 movie of the same name.  At least that one wasn’t a spy movie. This gets confusing sometimes.

Section 8

Limited Theatrical Release

The new movie Section 8 started streaming this past weekend on AMC+. It also had a limited theatrical release.  How limited you ask?  Only one theater in Chicago showed it.  We understand the concept of streaming and where the revenue stream is for these streamers.  However, many of these action movies are best to watch in a theater.  So, while we appreciate that it is available in a single theater in all of Chicagoland, it is a tough pill to swallow.

The Plot

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox.  Let’s talk about the movie, Section 8.  The tagline is “The Only Way Out … Is to Go Deeper In”.  That sounds interesting.  But what’s it about?   Well, we’re told that: “After avenging the murder of his wife and child, a former soldier is sent to prison with a life sentence. He’s given a shot at freedom when a shadow government agency recruits him for an off-the-books assignment, and he soon realizes Section 8 isn’t what it seems.”

Hmm. This sounds like a well-worn plot, with a twist in the reason he was in prison.  But we’ve seen movies where someone has a shot of freedom from prison if they take on a new task.  The Harry Palmer Movies, the 1964 movie The Secret Invasion, and The Dirty Dozen all have this driver for the protagonist to act the way the government wants.

The Cast

At least it has a strong cast. Ryan Kwanten, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Dermot Mulroney, and Scott Adkins lead the cast.  And according to director Christian Sesma, the movie starts with character development and setting up why the lead is seeking revenge.  All of that before the main action-movie stuff starts.  We applaud that as we like when spy movies have a story and aren’t 100% action.

The movie even accidentally has a current-news feel to it with the recent accusations against Bret Favre having some similar undertones to this movie.

If you want to read more about this movie before watching it, there is a detailed article written by Matthew Mahler on MovieWeb.com.

Kandahar

Open Road has picked up the U.S. rights to Kandahar. Kandaha is expected to have a 2023 theatrical release.  Kandahar is a story of a CIA operative, Tom Harris who is in a hostile part of Afghanistan.  The major plot of the movie is that Harris gets exposed and has to escape.

Gerard Butler takes on the role of Tom Harris.    This could be a good one.

Argylle

What’s up with Argylle?  And who is the author?

Argylle is an Apple project that we’ve talked about numerous times starring Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa, Ariana DeBose, Bryan Cranston, and Bryce Dallas Howard.  What a fantastic cast.  And the movie has already been adapted into a motion picture.

The questions are around the book author, first-time novelist Elly Conway, and the release of the book.  As reported in The Hollywood Reporter, the book was to be released on September 29 this year. However, the new date is March 2023.  The Hollywood reporter goes on to tell us that the only thing about it on Amazon is a page for a German-language version on the Kindle, scheduled for January 10, 2023.  In addition, Hollywood Reporter tried unsuccessfully to get an advance copy of the book.  And they tell us that Conway only has a two-line bio.  “Elly Conway is the author of the heavily anticipated debut thriller, Argylle. She lives in the United States and is currently working on the next instalment (sic.) in the series.”

While we applaud The Hollywood Reporter for actually trying to report, we think they missed a step while setting up the intrigue about the author and the book. Yes Amazon’s US site indeed has almost nothing on this book.  However,  Penguin’s UK site does. Their page on the book has a summary and multiple places where you can pre-order the book, including Amazon’s UK site.

So, we get that they can’t find anything about Elly Conway and are bummed they couldn’t get an advance copy.  However, we think the reporting about the Amazon not having a page for the book is a bit misleading.

Spy Kids

We’ve been talking about this one for quite a few episodes. Now we hear that the reboot of Spy Kids has wrapped filming. This will be the fifth Spy Kids Movie. Netflix hasn’t announced a release date yet but has this synopsis of the movie:

“When the children of the world’s greatest secret agents unwittingly help a powerful game developer unleash a computer virus that gives him control of all technology, they must become spies themselves to save their parents and the world.”

We can’t wait.

James Bond

Most of the James Bond news this month has been speculation about who should be the next actor to take on the role of James Bond.  We talked about that last month and since there is nothing really new there, we’ll move on to other topics.

George Lazenby

There is unsettling news about George Lazenby, who played James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  As has been widely reported, Lazenby, who was born in Australia, got into some trouble with some comments he made telling some stories during an interview he gave in Australia.  He had been on a tour with the national concert tour “The Music of James Bond”. However, he has been kicked off the tour for his remarks.  

We’ve been unable to find exactly what Lazenby said as no recording of the interview has been released. In this situation it appears that callers to a talk radio program complained about Lazenby’s remarks which stoked the blowup in the media.

Lazenby did apologize, saying in part “It was never my intention to make hurtful or homophobic comments and I am truly sorry if my stories that I have shared many times were taken that way.”

While we can’t condone or criticize the comments he made as we don’t know exactly what he said,  we’d be happy to have George Lazenby on our podcast to talk through what happened and get his side of the story.  People can get canceled quickly in today's media. And often, in hindsight, we wonder if cancellation was the right approach.  George, you’re welcome to use our platform to help us understand what happened.

Kabir Bedi

In happier news, one of our favorite henchmen from the James Bond movies has received a Lifetime Achievement Award.   An article on Variety.com tells us that Kabir Bedi, who exquisitely played Gobinda in Octopussy received the Filming Italy Movie Lifetime Achievement Award.  As Bedi put it “Since the time of ‘Sandokan,’ I’ve done over six major series in Italy and not many people realize that really Bollywood and Hollywood are a far lesser part of my life than my career in Italy,”  Sandokan was a popular tv mini-series in Italy. 

So, congratulations to Kabir Bedi on this well-deserved recognition.

Two Documentaries

We normally talk about spy movies, not documentaries. But at the Telluride Film Festival, two documentaries were shown that we think spy movie fans will probably be interested in.  We have not seen details as to when these will be picked up for broader distribution.  We’ll keep you posted.

A Compassionate Spy

First up is A Compassionate Spy, a documentary that looks at Ted Hall, one of the scientists on the Manhattan Project. With the expected July 2023 release of the Christopher Nolan movie Oppenheimer, this is a good time to learn more about the Manhattan Project and find out about Hall who gave nuclear secrets to Russia.  We are expecting some espionage in Oppenheimer so A Compassionate Spy seems like a natural to watch first.

A Compassionate Spy has been shown at the Venice, Telluride, and Camden International Film Festivals this month. It hits the Chicago International Film Festival on October 12, 2022. 

My Name is Alfred Hitchcock

The second documentary that hit Telluride this year that should be of interest to Spy Movie News fans is called My Name is Alfred Hitchcock.  This isn’t a documentary about a spy, but it is about Hitch.  We’ve been decoding Hitchcock’s spy movies on our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies podcast.  So, this documentary should let us learn more about Hitchcock.  

An interesting twist is that impressionist Alistair McGowan provides us with Hitchcock’s voice giving us commentary. Therefore, we’re looking forward to a broader release of this one. It seems like an interesting way to tell Hitchcock’s story.  Let’s face it, there isn’t a lot new to find outabout Hitchcock. So bringing in an impressionist to lend Hitchcock’s “voice” to the story sounds like it could work.

You can read more about My Name is Alfred Hitchcock on Deadline.com.

In Memoriam

Henry Silva

Probably best known for his role in the 1962 version of The Manchurian Candidate, Henry Silva passed at the age of 95.  He had a distinctive look and often portrayed villains.  Of his 140 credits in IMDB, Silva appeared in the 1960 version of Ocean’s Eleven (and he had a small part in the 2001 remake), numerous spy tv programs, and even some spy movies.  These include Matchless and Assassination.  However, probably our favorite role he delivered was that of John Durrell in the 1964 movie The Secret Invasion.  His portrayal of Durrell was excellent.  You really didn’t want to mess with this character that Henry Silva delivered.

Irene Papas

Actress Irene Papas passed at the age of 93.   Papas is probably best known for her role in Zorba the Greek. Spy movie fans may remember her from the 1953 movie The Man from Cairo and the 1961 movie The Guns of Navarone.

Marsha Hunt

Actress Marsha Hunt passed at the age of 104.  Her acting career spanned 73 years.  Spy movie fans may remember her from her role as Mary Smith in the 1942 movie Joe Smith, American.

Amanda Mackey

Casting director Amanda Mackey dies at age 70.  She was the casting director for A League of Their Own, Smokin’ Aces, While You Were Sleeping, The Fugitive, and many others.  Spy movie fans have seen her work with the casting of The Hunt for Red October, Green Zone, Executive Decision, Patriot Games, and Olympus Has Fallen.

So that’s a wrap.  We hope you enjoyed this Spy Movie News for September 27, 2022.  Check out our podcast called Cracking the Code of Spy Movies.  We have a YouTube Channel with the same name.

Spy Movie News – August 30, 2022

Contributed by: Spy Movie Navigator

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Here’s our Spy Movie News - August 30, 2022 edition.

Today we will discuss the September releases of spy movies. We’ll also look at some ongoing projects like Bang!, “True Lies”, The Stranger, “Dr. Evil”, James Bond, Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Enigma, and more!

We’re going to start this article by discussing a fun and unique way that one company is celebrating the 60 years of James Bond movies.  We’ll talk about some others later in this episode. About 60 miles north and west of Chicago is the Richardson Adventure Farm. Among their annual event calendar is what they call the “World’s Largest Most Intricate Corn Maze”.  Well, this year they are celebrating the 60 years of James Bond movies with their 28-acre maze. If you look at the aerial view of the maze this year you will see the gun barrel with Honey Rider, all of the actors who’ve played James Bond, the Aston Martin DB5, and more.  You find out more on their website.

Corn Maze celebrating James Bond's 60th anniversary in movies
Used with Permission: Richardson Adventure Farm

Spy Movie Navigator has received no compensation for this mention.

Ok, so now let’s talk about spy movies in development

Spy movies in development

Bang!

Idris Elba and Davide Leitch are joining forces for a spy thriller called Bang!. Elba will be starring as the world’s most famous spy.  His assignment?  Well, it’s to kill the author of a series of novels created by a group that wants to start the apocalypse.

Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres created the comic series “Bang!” that this movie will be based on.  Kindt and Zak Olkewicz will be creating the adaptation for the movie.

David Leetch, who directed Atomic Blonde and most recently Bullet Train will be directing this feature.

We don’t know when it will be filmed or released, but this sounds like a good one.  Netflix will be the platform to deliver Bang!.

Matt Kindt is on a hot streak with Netflix.  They have also picked up his “Mind MGMT” series which is about a government agency of spies.  They will be turning this into a Netflix series.  With Kindt getting set to release another comic series called “Spy Superb” can Netflix get a movie and two series out of Kindt’s work?   We’ll have to wait to find out as nothing on a Netflix/Spy Superb collaboration has been announced.

True Lies

We’ve mentioned the upcoming “True Lies” television series in a few Spy Movie News episodes now.  In the upcoming CBS series,  Steve Howey will take on the role of Harry.  Ginger Gonzaga will star as Helen.   As a reminder, those roles were played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie. Omar Miller takes on the role of Gib who was played by Tom Arnold in the movie.

We got some encouraging news on this one.  In an article on movieweb.com, Howey says “We're not going to do the Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis movie, it's a classic, that stands alone. We're doing something else and we're doing our own thing, but that's based in that system.”

We are very happy to see that this won’t just be a copy of the movie.  As Howey mentions, the movie is a classic.   Let’s see where they take it.

The Stranger

Sometimes a true story needs to be made into a movie.  Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this year, The Stranger is expected to be launched globally this October. This is a Netflix movie that hit Australia this month.   It is based on a real-life undercover operation in Australia.  Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris star in the movie.  

The description of the movie says “A friendship forms between two strangers. For Henry Teague (Sean Harris), worn down by a lifetime of physical labour, this is a dream come true. His new friend Mark (Joel Edgerton) becomes his saviour and ally. However, neither is who they appear to be, each carry secrets that threaten to ruin them – and in the background, one of the nation’s largest police operations is closing in.”

As a note, Netflix had a series in 2020 with the same title but on a different topic.

Enigma

A movie described as a cross between James Bond and Tomb: Raider has been picked up by Thunder Road Pictures.  Enigma, written by Kat Wood is called an “original contemporary supernatural spy thriller on Deadline.com.  The movie is about a British Spy called Emma Taylor.  She needs to hide a dangerous artifact keeping anyone from ever finding it again.

We haven’t seen anything about production or a release date, but we’ll keep an eye on this one.  As you know, we like spy movies that have a different twist than the genre usually produces.  It sounds like we have that in Enigma.

MR-9

We talked about MR-9 in our June 2022 Spy Movie News.  This is a spy movie based on the Masud Rana novels starring Frank Grillo.  The cast is filling out nicely as it has been announced that  Kelly Greyson is being brought on to play Gia, the lead henchwoman.

Chief of Station

Set to begin filming later this year, Chief of Station has announced its leads.  Alec Baldwin will play a former CIA station chief.  He teams up with a rogue agent played by Olga Kurylenko after finding out that his wife’s death was not an accident.

We have not seen an estimated release date for Chief of Station.

Dr. Evil

We’ve been talking for quite a while about a new Austin Powers movie and we hope we get one.  Well, movieweb.com tells us that New Line “would like to make a Dr. Evil movie”.   The article posits that the success of Joker, which was also focused on the villain,  means that  Dr. Evil could work.  We will just have to wait and see if anything finally happens in bringing out the fourth movie in the Austin Powers franchise.

Spy Kids

Another upcoming spy movie that we’ve talked about in the last few Spy Movie News episodes is the Netflix reboot of Spy Kids.  Now we find out that DJ Cotrona has signed on to appear in the movie. We don’t know what his role will be.  But, things seem to be moving quickly for this still-unwritten movie.   

Blackbird

We’re talking about the Michael Flately spy movie Blackbird, not the Apple + miniseries Black Bird.  We mentioned this movie in last month’s Spy Movie News and said that it would only be in theaters in Ireland.  Well, it looks like they have added some new theaters in the UK including The Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square in London, and will also show the city of Bristol.  We believe it may hit other UK cities too but we haven’t found confirmation as of our press time.

Mission: Impossible

Mission: Impossible 7

Variety.com tells us that “Paramount has reached a confidential settlement with Chubb, its insurer, over claims arising from repeated COVID-19 production delays on ‘Mission: Impossible 7.’”  This lawsuit came about in August 2021 with Paramount claiming it was owed much more than what Chubb was claiming.

Mission: Impossible 8

Ok, so let’s move on to Mission: Impossible 8 or I mean Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two.  I’ll never get used to that name.

Anyway, we have a bit of Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part Two news.  First, more of the cast has been flushed out as filming has begun.  Holt McCallany is joining the movie and will be playing secretary of Defense Bernstein.   Mindhunter fans will remember that McCallany played Bill Trench in that series.  He was not in Dead Reckoning Part One, so it will be interesting to see how his role plays out and if it is set up in Part One.

McQuarrie-speak

Next, we have an article on digitalspy.com with the headline “Mission: Impossible 8 might not be Tom Cruise’s final outing as Ethan Hunt.”   Hmmm. The rumor up to this point is that it will.  Well, director Christopher McQuarrie was asked about this on the Light the Fuse podcast.  His response was a classic non-answer:

"Let me tell you, I've been working with Tom Cruise for 15 years and I cannot tell you the number of times I've been standing next to the man, witnessed an event, and then read about it in the trades the next day and none of what they describe is actually true," he said.

McQuarrie needs to go into politics with an answer like that.

On that same podcast, McQuarrie explained the Dead Reckoning title this way:

"When I came up with the title, I knew it applied more to Part Two than it did to Part One, which is why it eventually settled on being Part One and Part Two. The title for the first movie was nearly ... a title that referred to something like a Ghost Protocol kind of thing, it was a government policy – It wasn't a government policy, it was a government, what would you call it? A government measure of last resort, with catastrophic consequences. By the time we got to the end of Part One, that had distilled down into an entirely different set of circumstances that appear in Part Two and not in Part One. So, the word would no longer have been appropriate for the title of Part One."

Yeah, when McQuarrie speaks, we’re not sure we get exactly what he’s saying. And I think that’s his mission.

James Bond

James Bond at 60

We started this newscast by talking about a celebration of James Bond’s 60th anniversary.  Well, we’ve found out more about the official plans in an article on deadline.com

A two-party charity auction is being planned with Christie’s and Eon Productions.  There will be 60 lots and all 25 Eon Productions James Bond movies will be celebrated.  There will be an online auction with bidding starting on 15 September and a live auction will occur on 28 September. 

Now, if you have a spare £2 million (that’s pounds, not dollars), you might be able to get your hands on one of the auction pieces:  a silver birch Aston Martin DB5.  This replica was a stunt car used in No Time To Die.  If you don’t have that much money lying around, there are other vehicles on the auction block that are estimated to go for significantly less.

There are some interesting items for auction and you can see the lots on Christie’s website.

In addition to the auction, BFI will host a “James Bond at 60” weekend of screenings and live events from September 20-October 2nd.  Included will be an in-conversation event with Michael G.Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. There will also be a behind-the-scenes look at one thing we find fascinating.  Namely the stunts and Special Effects.  Chris Corbould will be hosting that.  There will also be a preview of The Sound of 007.  This is a new documentary that examines the music of Bond.

And finally, there will be screenings of the last three Bond movies on the BFI IMAX screen, including the first UK showing of No Time To Die in 3D.   In our podcast episode No Time To Die – Theater Viewing Formats Guide we talked about how much we liked the 3D work done in this version.  They did a great job with that.  As far as we are concerned, you should only ever watch the title sequence in 3d.

The next actor to play James Bond

On these podcast episodes, for the most part, we’ve been trying to stay away from all the rumors and the betting on who will be the next actor to play James Bond.  Many speculative articles are written about this every month. That said, there is an article on Cinemablend.com that quotes Lorraine entertainment reporter Ross King as saying: “The latest rumor – and in some ways part of this is very much true – which is, basically, the Bond producers are looking for a younger Bond. Someone probably in their 30s. At the end of the day they want someone who will be Bond for the next three movies.”

Now, here at Spy Movie Navigator, we’ve been saying for quite some time that we think that this has to be the strategy.  We think a lot of the “favorites” like Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, and maybe Henry Cavill are too old for what the franchise needs as it comes off the Daniel Craig run as Bond.  So we’ll see if this is right, but not until we hear officially from Eon Productions

What’s coming in September

Again we have a sparse month for spy movie fans as there are no theatrical release of any spy movies in September.  Actually, this September is a sparse month for movie releases in general.

It’s not much better on the streaming platforms

Netflix

On September 1st Netflix will bring all three Austin Powers movies to the platform.  Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Amazon Prime

Also  on September first, Amazon Prime will release both Skyfall and The Recruit.

And that’s about it for spy movie releases in September, 2022.

In Memorium

In today’s In Memorium section, we remember five people who have had an impact on spy movies who have passed this month.

Bernard Cribbins

Bernard Cribbins passed at the age of 93.   Among Cribbins 122 credits on IMDB are such roles as Felix in Hitchcock’s Frenzy and Wilfred Mott in the tv series “Dr. Who”.  Spy movie fans may remember him as the taxi driver in the 1967 version of Casino Royale as well as two appearances on “The Avengers” tv series.

Wolfgang Petersen

Director Wolfgang Petersen passed at the age of 81.  Petersen was nominated for both the Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium Academy Awards for The Boat (Das Boot) in 1981.  In the spy world, he directed Air Force One and In the Line of Fire.

Gene Lebell

Hollywood stuntman Gene Lebell died at age 89.   He had roles in more than 250 movies.  Besides his role as a stuntman, he also taught martial arts skills to Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Steven Seagal. Spy movie fans would have seen him in Patriot Games, US Marshals, and the tv series “24”. 

Lou Barlia

Cameraman Lou Barlia passed at age 92. His career started as a cameraman for the movie Love Story in 1970 and continued through the 2000 movie Bruno. You’ve also seen his work in Superman, Steel Magnolias, and 61 other movies or tv shows.  Spy movie fans saw his work in Serpico.  In 2000, Lou received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Camera Operators.

Bill Pitman

We end this month’s In Memorium remembering Wrecking Crew guitarist Bill Pitman who died at the age of 102.  Pitman has played guitar, bass guitar, and ukulele on many songs and soundtracks.  He has played on so many songs that we think it is almost impossible that you haven’t heard him play.   Spy movie and tv fans will recognize his bass play on the theme song to the tv show “The Wild Wild West.”  He also played in Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain.

So, that’s a wrap!  We hope you enjoyed our Spy Movie News for August 30, 2022.

Spy Movie News – July 26, 2022

Related: Spy Movie News – July 26 2022 – Blackbird, Kingsman 3, Sicario 3, The Gray Man

Contributed by: Spy Movie Navigator

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Here’s our Spy Movie News for July 26 2022!

This article discusses the August 2022 releases of spy movies and we’ll look at some ongoing projects like Blackbird, Kingsman 3, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning - Part One, The Gray Man 2, Sicario 3, Spy Kids, and oh, Happy 60th Birthday Tom Cruise.

Let’s start by looking at what’s coming in spy entertainment in August 2022.

We are in the summer doldrums here and our pickings for new or re-released spy movies are pretty slim. 

August Theatrical Spy Movie Releases

On August 12, IFC Films will release Rogue Agent both in theaters and on AMC+.  Their synopsis of the movie is: “The chilling true story of conman, Robert Freegard, who posed as an undercover MI5 agent kidnapping countless victims amidst a high-stakes manhunt until the woman who fell for him brought him to justice.”

We like seeing true spy stories brought to the screen.   The twist of having the MI5 agent just being a conman and not a real agent sounds intriguing to us. We’ll be checking this one out.

Ok, we had to stretch a bit for this next one.   On August 5th, we’ll see the theatrical-only release of Bullet Train.  This isn’t technically a spy movie, but it looks like it has a feel of a spy movie.

According to the Sony Pictures website:

“In Bullet Train, Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug's latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe—all with connected, yet conflicting, objectives”

Streaming Spy Movie Releases for July

This list is very sparse.  Come on streamers, give us spy fans more to watch.

Netflix

On August 5th Netflix will add:

Carter – This Korean Netflix original movie sounds like it has a bit of a Bourne feel to it.  The synopsis of this one is: Agent Carter wakes up one day in a motel room without any recollection of his identity and follows orders to join an explosive mission.

Skyfall – Also on the 5th, Netflix will re-release Skyfall for streaming.

Then on August 8th, they will release another Netflix Original Film, the Spanish movie - Code Name: Emperor.  This movie Follows Juan, an agent working for the intelligence services, who also reports to a parallel unit involved in illegal activities.

Hulu

Hulu will rerelease the 1993 movie In the Line of Fire on August 21st.

HBO Max

HBO Max has no new spy movie releases in August, not new releases or re-releases.

And that’s pretty much it for August.  So let’s now look to the future.

Upcoming Spy Movies

Spy Kids

We’ve mentioned the Spy Kids reboot that is being developed for Netflix in past Spy Movie News editions.  Billy Magnussen, who played Logan Ash in No Time To Die, has signed on to the Spy Kids reboot.  So this cast is really taking shape.  We can’t wait to see the finished product.

Kingsman 3

An article on movieweb.com gives us some insight (maybe) into Kingsman 3.  We’ll call it Kingsman 3 as that is what the article uses.  We know the name will change.  This is expected to be the last of the Eggsy and Harry Hart arc of the series.  It is not expected to be the last Kingsman movie, however.  It will just be the last with Eggsy and Harry. 

We remember that Eggsy and Harry weren’t in the most recent movie in the series The King’s Man.  That movie was a prelude to the Eggsy and Harry arc.  It hinted at more arcs in the series.   We like this as this is a series about an organization, not a person. People can be replaced or killed as part of the design. 

Mission: Impossible is in a similar position to the Kingsman series as it is technically about the Impossible Mission Force, not Ethan Hunt.  So, they can take that series forward if they want, even if Ethan Hunt dies or retires in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning part one or part two.  This avoids the problem that the Bond series has entrapped itself with.  These two series can go on easily unlike Bond.

So, here’s why we said maybe at the beginning of this discussion.  Here is Taron Edgerton’s quote from the article:

"My understanding is that we are to be shooting the third installment in my saga I believe next year. But you know, don't listen to what I say because I don't really know. You know, they're grown-up decisions." 

Edgerton does go on to say “there is a script”.

So, he hedges while giving us a clue.  Let’s hope he’s right as we like this series and would like to see more.  We need a replacement for James Bond and this one works.

The Gray Man

We have three things to discuss about The Gray Man which was just released in July on Netflix and in limited theaters.  As we’ve talked about before, the hope is that this movie will launch a series of movies based on Mark Greaney’s book series.

The Gray Man has some great chase scenes.  An article in Variety discusses how COVID affected the shooting in terms of locations.   Our favorite quote comes from production designer Dennis Gassner: “A rooftop chase scene was assembled from various locations, including a spot in Prague. “If you went to visit it, you wouldn’t find it,” he teases.”   That’s too bad for us here at SpyMovieNavigator.com because we love finding filming locations.  We guess we’ll have to move on to the next location.

Will there be a The Gray Man 2? Well, Ryan Gosling is ready to go on.  In an article by Jonathan Fuge, Gosling says:  “I loved making this film. I'd love to do it again. I'm hoping we can bump Six up to a name status at some point, just for his own sanity”.

The article continues to tell us that “both The Gray Man 2 and a prequel centering on Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen are already said to be ‘at the very early stage.’ ”

Well, we enjoyed watching this movie and hope they do press on with more from the series.  The prequel on Lloyd Hansen is an interesting take.  He is the antagonist in The Gray Man. We liked his crazy character very much. It would be awesome to get his backstory in a sequel.

And finally, director Joe Russo has been quoted in Variety as saying: If we do continue forward with the story, I can guarantee you that Dhanush’s character will be part of that world moving forward.”  This is great news for us.  We called out Dhanush’s character Lone Wolf in our no-spoiler review of The Gray Man.  His role and Dhanush’s performance were fantastic. [I changed the name here because in the credits he’s called Avik San, but in the closed captioning and in the movie they call him Lone Wolf.]

Blackbird

Some people will finally get a chance to see the Michael Flatley movie Blackbird.  This spy movie has been shrouded in intrigue since it debuted at London’s Raindance Film Festival in 2018. Hollywood reporter.com tells us that at that premier, no journalists were allowed to view it and there were no reviews or audience reactions on Twitter.  Then, like Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects, it disappeared.

Then, in July 2021, it was the opening night movie at the Monaco Streaming Film Festival.   Oh yeah, and they didn’t stream it. Michael Flatley won the best actor award at the festival for his performance as Blackbird.  He is described as a "troubled, sharply-dressed, James Bond-esque secret agent who retires from the service and seeks solace as the owner of a glamorous nightclub in the Caribbean."

So, why did we start out saying “some people” will get the chance to see it?  Well, they are releasing Blackbird on September 2, 2022, but only in some theaters in Ireland.

So, the intrigue continues.  We hope nobody wanted a return on their investment quickly.  That said, we think this intrigue might set Blackbird up for a huge payday in the future.  If it does well in Ireland and given its mystique, this could just be marketing genius.

Sicario 3

Expected to get the title Sicario: Capos, Sicario 3 is in development.  This is the third movie in the Sicario series.  The cast hasn’t been announced.

In an article on movieweb.com, we’re told that the story will likely pick up from the Sicario: Day of the Soldado, ending.  Black Label Media is the producer and has confirmed that “the movie should enter production this year”.   It also quotes actor Josh Brolin, who has appeared in the previous two installments as saying that the script has been “written and rewritten”.  And, he joked “we may be 80” when they finally do film it.  Given that Brolin is only 54, let’s hope that was a joke.

Mission: Impossible

Ok, so we still have a year to wait for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One.  We still can’t believe that’s the title they came up with. Anyway, there are a couple of news items that caught our attention this month:

Tom Cruise Turns 60

Tom Cruise hit his 60th birthday on July 3rd.  That prompted director Christopher McQuarrie to tweet out a fantastic picture of Cruise doing a stunt for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part Two. Well, maybe it was Part Two.  We’ve also seen an article about this that says it was for Part One.  Either way, check it out.  It is an impressive look at a 60-year-old Cruise still going nuts with his stunts.  You can find it on JoBlo.com 

We don’t think Mickey Rourke and Tom Cruise will be having dinner anytime soon

We’re going to have to sensor this a bit due to the language, but Mickey Rourke lashed out at Tom Cruise on Piers Morgan Uncensored.   Morgan asked Rourke “When you see someone like Tom Cruise, grossing a billion dollars with Top Gun Maverick .. what do you think of that?”

“That doesn’t mean (bleep) to me,” Rourke said about the film’s success. “The guy’s been doing the same effing part for 35 years. … I got no respect for that. … I don’t care about money or power. I care about… when I watch Al Pacino working or Christopher Walken, and De Niro’s early work and Richard Harris’ work and Ray Winstone’s work, that’s the kind of actor I want to be like. …A lot of guys that tried to stretch as actors.”

Piers pressed Rourke and asked him “you don’t think Tom Cruise is a good actor” to which Rourke replied, “I think he’s irrelevant”. 

Wow, coming from a guy who’s had a hit-or-miss career, including one Oscar nomination while Cruise has 3, that is quite a statement. Yeah, we should probably keep these guys apart for a while. You can catch the interview on Twitter.  There is a link to it on Variety.com

Looking Backward

Two articles caught our attention this month looking back at older spy movies.

Austin Powers

In celebrating the 20th anniversary of Austin Powers in Goldmember, Vulture gave us an oral history of Beyonce and her role as Foxxy Cleopatra.  Makeup artist Kate Briscoe gave us some background on the making of one of the movie posters.  Beyonce thought it made her look too skinny.  Brisco said:

“When we were shooting, someone brought her a poster that would be promoting the movie,” Biscoe said. “He showed it to her, like, ‘Do you like it?’ And she was kind of like, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘What’s the matter?’ And she says, ‘You made me too skinny. It’s not me.’ Then she did this hourglass shape. And he said, ‘Okay, we’ll fix that.’”

Briscoe continued, “She walked away to go do the scene, and I looked at him and smiled, like, ‘Is that the first time that you’ve ever had an actress ask to make her body bigger?’ He was like, ‘Yes. It’s going to cost me thousands of dollars, but I am going to do it.’”

We applaud the decision to both change the poster and to tell us about it.  Great job.

True Lies

Ok, this one looks back and forward.  We’ve already told you that there is an upcoming tv series based on the movie True Lies

Well, the movie just hit its 28th anniversary this year is True Lies.  Jamie Lee Curtis starred as Helen, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Jamie Lee recently discussed one of the stunts from the movie.  Namely, the stunt where she hangs off a helicopter in the movie. She credits her stunt double Donna Keegan but says one shot required Curtis to be wired to a helicopter.  The article has a picture from the movie, and one of the stunts being performed.  It’s nice work and it is fun to get a behind-the-scenes look at a very cool scene. You can check it out in this article on Movieweb.com.

In Memorium

Monty Norman

Well, the James Bond family lost a very important member of its history.  Monty Norman passed away at the age of 94.  

Norman created the James Bond theme that was then arranged by John Barry.  There were disputes how much Norman contributed versus John Barry, who orchestrated the Bond theme for the movie.  Yet, Norman is credited with writing it.  He also penned ‘Underneath the Mango Tree’ for Dr. No.

We can’t imagine James Bond without his theme.

James Caan

Probably best remembered for his roles in The Godfather and Misery, the prolific actor James Caan passed away at 82.  Spy movie fans may remember him playing The President in the 2008 movie Get Smart.  Caan also appeared in two episodes of the ‘Get Smart’ tv series in 1969.

Gregory Itzin

Gregory Itzin has passed at the age of 74.  He is most known for his role as President Charles Logan on the television series ‘24’.  He also played Henry Wilcox on the CIA-based tv series 'Covert Affairs'.

David Warner

And finally veteran English actor, David Warner has passed at the age of 80.  Among his 228 IMDB credits, he starred in Titanic and The Omen, and several Star Trek productions .  Spy Movie fans may remember him from the 1992 movie Spies Inc., the 1978 remake of The Thirty Nine Steps,  or Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming where Warner played Admiral Godfrey.

So, that’s a wrap!  This has been the July 26, 2022 edition of our Spy Movie News. Please subscribe to our show - Cracking the Code of Spy Movies - in your favorite podcast app and on YouTube.  Tell your friends about us - Share info about our show on your own social media - Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too!   All the links are on our website.  SpyMovieNavigator.com -  Thanks for listening – we appreciate it!


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Spy Movie News – July 26 2022 – Blackbird, Kingsman 3, Sicario 3, The Gray Man

Learn about what's streaming and in the theater, BLACKBIRD, KINGSMAN 3, THE GRAY MAN 2, SICARIO 3, SPY KIDS and more.

Spy Movie News – June 28, 2022

Contributed by: Spy Movie Navigator

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In this article, our June 28, 2022 edition of Spy Movie News we discuss the July releases for spy movies (The Gray Man and Code Name Banshee), for both in the theater and streaming, We’ll look at some ongoing projects like Spy Kids,Slow Horses, MR-9, Face/Off 2, and Mission: Impossible. And we'll throw in some industry news too.

Let’s start this episode by looking at what’s coming in spy entertainment in July 2022. 

And it’s been a while, but we finally have not one, but two spy movies hitting theaters in July. 

July Theatrical Spy Movie Releases 

Code Name Banshee 

The first to hit the theaters in July is on July 1st and is titled Code Name Banshee.  This movie stars Antonio Banderas, Jaime King, and Tommy Flanagan.  It is one of those assassins vs. assassins vs. the CIA-type of movies.   We’ve seen this type of plot in numerous movies and feels a bit similar to The Protégé at a high level. We’re intrigued to see what they do with it and how they try to make it unique. Code Name Banshee will have a limited theatrical release as well as a streaming/video-on-demand release on the same day. 

The Gray Man 

The second spy movie to hit theaters this July is The Gray Man.   We’ve been talking about this movie with you since at least February 2021.  Well, this Netflix movie is finally here, on July 15 in theaters.  It has a fantastic cast of Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Jessica Henwick, Regé-Jean Page, and more.  The official tag for this one is: “When a shadowy CIA agent uncovers damning agency secrets, he’s hunted across the globe by a sociopathic rogue operative who’s put a bounty on this head.”   

The Gray Man is based on a book with the same title from an 11-book series.  The hope is that a series of movies will be created based on the books.   

Netflix, as it has done recently with their more expensive-to-produce movies, will release The Gray Man in theaters a week before it starts streaming.   

This time, however, they are giving us advance notice that there is a theatrical release.   Given that this is the most expensive movie Netflix has ever done (supposedly over $200 million), it makes sense to try to pull in some theatrical revenue. We appreciate that as viewers. We’d rather watch most action-based spy movies in a theater rather than in our home theaters.  

Streaming Spy Movie Releases for July 

Netflix 

On July 1st, in the US, Netflix will release two spy movies that have been released in the past:  

  • A Call to Spy – This 2019 movie tells the story of a real intelligence officer, Vera Atkins, who was a recruiter for Churchill’s secret army.  We’ve seen this movie and recommend it.  Let us know your thoughts. A Call to Spy is also being released on IFC Films Unlimited on July 6th. 
  • Catch me If you Can – This 2002 movie stars Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio.  It is about a real guy, Frank Abagnale Jr, who was a con man and money forger.  Tom Hanks, is the FBI agent to has to catch Frank. 

Then on July 22nd, Netflix will stream The Gray Man

HULU 

Hulu has one spy movie and one spy series it is releasing in July.   On July 1st, they will release the 1997 movie The Man Who Knew Too Little. The tag line for this comedy spy movie is “He’s on a mission so secret, even he doesn’t know about it. The movie stars Bill Murray and is a comedy/drama. 

Then on July 29, Hulu is releasing the complete series called “The Americans”.  This series has 75 episodes so it will be quite a binge to watch it all, but this was an excellent spy series.  “The Americans” is about Russian Agents who assimilated into US life for years trying to be a married couple with kids while spying for Russia. It was based on a true story of a spy ring called “The Illegals”.  It stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.  We think this is a series any spy movie fan will enjoy.   

Amazon Prime 

Amazon Prime is adding 4 spy movies in July: 

  • The 1988 Debra Winger, Tom Berenger movie Betrayed  
  • Two Tom Clancy movies, 1992’s Patriot Games and the 2002 movie The Sum of all Fears.  
  • And the 2019 spy movie, The Mongolian Connection 

The Kite Runner 

Finally, although this one isn’t a spy story, we talked about the movie The Kite Runner in our 2-part interview with the director of photography for Quantum of Solace, Roberto Schaefer.  Well, “The Kite Runner” is coming to Broadway.   The play had a 2-season run in London’s West End.   Previews start July 6th at The Hayes Theater on Broadway and will open at the Hayes Theater in New York on July 21. This is a limited engagement that will run through October 20, 2022.  

Upcoming Spy Movie Projects 

Face/Off 2 

Ok, this is another project we’ve been talking about for a while.  We’ve been asking “Will it be a sequel or a new story”?  Will Nicholas Cage or John Travolta be in it? and what is going on with this thing?’ 

Well, an article on movieweb.com has the following as it’s subheader:  “Face/Off 2 seems to be moving along, but will not go forward until it can live up to the legacy of the original move”.  Um, we say (sarcastically) “Good Luck With That”.  That’s a tall order due to the excellent interplay between Travolta and Cage in the original. 

It appears that the director, Adam Wingard has said that the new film will be an “absolute sequel” to the hit original.   We’ll have to wait to see what happens here.  

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One 

We can never get enough Mission: Impossible 7 news, even though we have to wait until July 14 next year to see it. Oh, wait, the name is now Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One.   That title is almost as long as the wait. 

Anyway, we know that Tom Cruise does many of his own stunts for this character Ethan Hunt.   Well, it looks like Hayley Atwell, who plays a character named Grace had to do some stunts too. 

She gave an interview at the recent Awesome Con.  Most of the 44 minutes were talking about her MCU character, Agent Carter, and other roles.   However, at about 8:00 minutes in, someone asked her about her stunts in the upcoming Mission: Impossible movie. It’s an interesting watch.  She is very complimentary to Tom Cruise and his quest for perfection. 

Although she says more, the highlight that we’ll call out is when she said she:  “Backflipped over a bridge, jumped off backward off a moving train, a lot of running uphill in high heels while handcuffed to Mr. Cruise.”  Given how intense Tom Cruise is while running, that had to be a challenge.  You can find the interview on YouTube by searching for Haley Atwell Peggy Carter Panel.  Choose the one from Awesome Con 2022. 

The Gray Man  

Well, now that the movie is almost here, it’s time for a bit of hype: 

Omaze.com is a website that does charity fundraising and occasionally has celebrities involved.   Well, they recently held a raffle that ended yesterday with a chance to go to The Gray Man premier, stay at a 4-star hotel, and get pictures with Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling.  The winner won’t be announced until July 13.   The goal is to help Christopher’s Haven with homes for kids with cancer.  

Many movies have these types of activities and Omaze is one of the bigger sites that manage them.   If you have an upcoming movie you are interested in, it’s worth taking a look at Omaze.com to see if they have a drawing you might like. We here at SpyMovieNavigator.com and our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies podcast have no affiliation with Omaze, but we have entered and have donated with previous drawings! 

Netflix released a new Exclusive Clip on YouTube. 

In May, Netflix released their trailer for The Gray Man.  Now, Netflix has released an “exclusive clip” of a scene from The Gray Man.  The clip includes Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas.   You can click on these links to see both the trailer and this exclusive clip.   

The Gray Man who is Ryan Gosling playing? 

Well, we’re still a couple of weeks before the first The Gray Man hits the screen, but EmpireOnline talked with Ryan Gosling about his character, Courtland Gentry (codename Sierra Six).   It sounds like Gentry has a similar feel to Harry Palmer in the Len Deighton series in that he was taken from prison and put into a spy organization, here the CIA.  So, he’s a reluctant spy like we often talk about in spy movies. 

Gosling tells Empireonline:  “What I liked about this character is that he wants something that most of us want, which is just to be free,” … “In almost every scene we tried to set it up so that he was at a disadvantage. And it becomes about watching him use whatever is in his environment to gain leverage.” 

Gosling also tells us that he loved making the movie and would love to do another.   We bet that if this first movie is successful, he’ll get a few more spins as Sierra Six. 

Empire’s Summer Preview has Gosling and Evans on the cover.  The Gray Man is set for a limited release on July 15, 2022, followed by its release on Netflix on July 22, 2022. 

Slow Horses 

We mentioned that this Gary Oldman series had been picked up by Apple + for a second season.  Well, according to Variety, it has been picked up for a third and fourth season.  The series is based on the spy books series “Slough House” which was authored by Mick Herron.   Season 1 was called “Slow Horses” and was based on the book of the same name.  Season two is based on the book “Dead Lions.  Season 3 is based on the book “Real Tigers”. And finally season 4 will be based on the book “Spook Street”.  

We are very happy to see that the series has been picked up for 3 more seasons.  We thought that Season 1 was very well done and are looking forward to the next 3 seasons.  

Spy Kids 

We mentioned in our April Spy Movie News that Netflix was rebooting the Spy Kids franchise.  Well, now we know some of the actors for the movie.  An article on deadline.com tells us that Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Everly Carganilla, and Connor Esterson are signed. 

The article also tells us that “This latest Spy Kids chapter is set after the children of the world’s greatest secret agents unwittingly help a powerful game developer unleash a computer virus that gives him control of all technology, leading them to become spies themselves to save their parents and the world.” 

We liked the first Spy Kids movies and hope this reboot takes hold.  We’re big fans of spy movies for kids to help them get excited about the genre.  

MR-9  

Now, this could be a long series if it is successful. We know that James Bond movies are, or were based, on the writings of Ian Fleming.  Fleming wrote 15 novels or short stories that were the inspiration for the movies.   Well, Bangladeshi writer Qazi Anwar Hussain wrote over 500 novels including a series of books on a spy named Masud Rana. They were supposedly influenced by the James Bond series.  

Production has started on a movie based on his first book in the Rana series.   Rana had the code name “MR-9”, which is where the movie gets its title.  

Rana will be played by Bangladeshi actor ABM Sumon.  Frank Grillo has signed on to play Rana’s nemesis.  Joining them will be Michael Jai White, Matt Passmore, and Remy Grillo (yes, he’s Frank’s son).    

For those of you who listened to our interview with Brigitte Millar, who was in Spectre and No Time To Die, we talked about a short movie she did with Matt Passmore called Nox.   Passmore was great in that so it will be fun to see him in MR-9.  

Industry News 

The Wasp Network 

Three years after the movie The Wasp Network (2019) was released, Netflix is being sued for defamation of character.  The Wasp Network was based on the book “The Last Soldiers of the Cold War” and is about a group called Cuban Five that infiltrates Cuban exile groups in Miami.   It had previously been sued by Ana Martinez over her character’s portrayal.   

The defamation suit was brought by Jose Basulto who is the leader of a group called Brothers to the Rescue. “The Film is an obvious attempt to rewrite and whitewash history in favor of the communist Cuban regime and is factually inaccurate,” the complaint states. “The Film portrays the Cuban Five as courageous heroes who were simply defending their homeland. In reality, the Cuban Five were a spy network that produced actionable intelligence enabling the Cuban government to commit extrajudicial killings.”  The suit claims that Netflix portrayed him as a puppet of the United States and as a traitor to Cuba. It adds, “This portrayal of Mr. Basulto, Brothers to the Rescue, and the Cuban exile community was deliberately calculated to create two clear and unmistakable villains for the Film”. 

Basulto is trying to get an injunction either barring Netflix from carrying the espionage movie or to force edits of scenes and have Netflix delete references to this being based on true events.  

You can read the details of the suit on hollywoodreporter.com.  Netflix did not respond to Hollywood reporters’ requests for comment. This could be interesting. 

Glastonbury Festival 

The Glastonbury Festival had its post-COVID restart after a two-year pause.  Although this festival isn’t a spy movie, Glasto, as it is colloquially called,  had a big presence in the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle.  And at this year's festival, two singers with a Bond history performed. 

On Friday night Billie Eilish took to the Pyramid Stage.  Eilish won the 2022 Academy Award for Best Original Song for the theme song to No Time To Die.

Then on Saturday night, Sir Paul McCartney took the stage.   McCartney delivered the first James Bond theme song to be nominated for an Academy Award.  Of course, we’re talking about “Live and Let Die”.  So, this music festival has some nice spy movie props to its name. 

In Memoriam 

Today’s In Memoriam, unfortunately, has one actor and four behind-the-camera workers who’ve had an impact on spy movies. 

Philip Baker Hall 

Veteran actor Philip Baker Hall has passed at age 90.  He had a 50-year acting career in both tv and movies.   TV fans will most likely remember him for his roles on Seinfeld and Modern Family.  Spy Movie fans will remember him as Defense Secretary Becker in The Sum of All Fears and US Attorney General Ward in Air Force One. 

Isidoro Raponi 

Mechanical Effects artist Isidoro Raponi passed at the age of 76.  His work on special effects and the art department was seen in Alien, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Running Man, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, and others.  In the spy movie world, he worked on Argo and The Hunt for Red October.  

May Routh 

Costume designer May Routh died at age 87.   Her work is seen in 30 movies and tv shows.  In the spy movie world, she was the costume designer for the 1998 movie, Ronin

Duncan Henderson 

Producer/director Duncan Henderson died at the age of 72.  He was nominated for the 2004 Best Picture Academy Award, along with Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and Peter Weir for the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.  In the spy movie world, he was the first assistant director: second unit on the 1985 movie The Man with One Red Shoe

Well, that wrap's our June 28, edition of Spy Movie News. Enjoy some spy movies in July!

Please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too. We have Spy Movie News episodes and other podcasts on your favorite podcast app. The show's name is Cracking the Code of Spy Movies.

Spy Movie News May 31, 2022

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
In this article, our Spy Movie News May 31, 2022, edition, we discuss the June streaming releases for spy movies, Sean Connery’s DB5, and the upcoming movies The Gray Man, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One, Freegard, The Good Spy, Hunt, The Black Kaiser, and more! Let’s start this episode by looking at what’s coming in spy entertainment in June 2022.

Spy Movies in the theater in June 2022

Unfortunately, there is a dearth of releases of new spy movies in June.  In fact, we have not found any spy movies with a June 2022 theatrical release date in the US.

Spy Movies on streaming platforms in June 2022

However, there are some June 2022 Spy entertainment releases on streaming platform As for the major streaming platforms in the US, it is more of the same for new releases.  However, there is some spy entertainment coming out in June on the streaming platforms, almost all of it is content that has been already available.

AMC+

On AMC+, the six-part series, “The Ipcress File” continues with the finale landing on June 23. Apple TV+ continues to stream the excellent 6-part series “Slow Horses”.  If you are a spy movie fan of movies that are more spy stories and not high-action, this series is for you.  Think along the lines of a John le Careé novel and you’ll get the idea. We liked season one very much.  It stars Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Jack Lowden.  Season two of this series is under development. Apple TV+ also continues the series “Tehran” which is about a female Mossad agent.   Episodes of Season 2 started airing in May and the season will have its final on June 17, 2022.

Netflix

Netflix has no new spy content releasing in June 2022.  However, they are releasing some Mission: Impossible movies on June 1st.  Namely, Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible 2, and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. In the UK, Netflix is releasing the 2020 movie, My Spy on June 6.  We released our no-spoiler look at this movie when it came out on June 29, 2020.  So, look for our podcast episode Cracking the Code of Spy Movies and find season 2, episode 42 in your favorite podcast app.  Or look for the title “My Spy (2020) – a Quick-Fire Look. You can also find it on our website by clicking here.

Amazon Prime

The James Bond movie No Time To Die hits Amazon Prime on June 10, 2022.  This is followed on June 17 with the Jack Ryan movie: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Sean Connery’s DB5

Do you have a couple of million dollars you don’t know what to do with?   And do you want to feel like James Bond?   If so, August 18, 2022, is a date you won’t want to miss.  Broad Arrow Auctions will put up  Sean Connery’s Aston Martin DB5 for auction on that date. According to the press release from Broad Arrow Auctions, this was Connery’s personal car, not one used in the James Bond movies. They quote his son Jason Connery as saying: “Dad used to talk about owning his own DB5, for no other reason than he loved the car, and I think in hindsight it did represent something in his life that was unique and captured a moment in time. He did tell me that driving the movie cars, all laden down with the gadgets, especially the machine guns in the front, made the car really front heavy and turning at slow speed was a Herculean task, so driving without gadgets was a joy! He loved how well balanced it was.” "The Aston Martin DB5 is in highly presentable condition.  In fact, shortly after Sir Sean purchased the car, it went to noted marque specialist RS Williams where it received a mechanical freshening along with a full repaint to the correct Snow Shadow Grey, the correct shade of silver for Mr. Bond’s Aston Martin." The release also says that “a significant portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Aston Martin will go to benefit the Sean Connery Philanthropy Fund”. This car has an auction estimate of $1.4-1.8 million dollars so check your couch cushions to see if you can by this fun piece of nostalgia.

Spy Movies/Series in Development

So that wraps up what’s happening in June.  Let’s look at what’s in development

The Gray Man

We’ll start this discussion with the next spy movie to be released.  Of course, we are talking about the Russo Brother’s movie, The Gray Man.  The hype has taken off and the trailer for this movie has been released and is on our homepage at SpyMovieNavigator.com . This Netflix movie is one we’ve been talking about for a while and we will finally get a chance to see it when it is released on July 22nd, if not before.  According to Empireonline.com, The Gray Man will hit UK cinemas on July 15. We assume the same will happen here in the US. Netflix did this same thing of getting the movie out in theaters a week before its streaming release for Red Notice and Operation Mincemeat. And like they did with those prior two movies Netflix we guess that Netflix will likely do a terrible job marketing the big screen availability. They spent over $200 million on The Gray Man.  You think they would advertise it accordingly.  We understand the need for them to use these movies to get subscribers, but $200 million is a lot to make up without adding big-screen viewers.  Plus, as a $200 million spy movie, there are likely to be big action sequences and the trailer verifies that. In a May 9th article on empireonline.com, Joe Russo is quoted as saying “This movie almost killed us. There are like nine action sequences, and so it is relentless in that regard.”    Yeah, we’ll try to catch this one in a theater if we get the chance. We also know that this is a star-studded cast.  When we say star-studded, this movie has Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Rege-Jean Page, Wagner Moura, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard, and more.  Wow. There are 11 books in the Mark Greaney “The Gray Man” series and plans are already in development to make this a franchise.  Movieweb.com tells us that a prequel and sequel are already in development and that the Russo’s are trying So, we are eagerly awaiting the July 22nd  official streaming release date, or is the July 15th theatrical release date that they aren’t talking about?   In any case, we won’t miss this movie.

Other spy movies/series in development

These first three upcoming spy movies are all about real-life people involved in the world of espionage.

Freegard

An espionage movie that will have a theatrical release as well as a streaming release later this summer is called FreegardFreegard stars James Norton and Gemma Arterton in a true story about a conman who convinces people he works for MI5.  You can read more about Freegard on Deadline.com.  We’ll let you know more as we learn more about this one. IFC Films and AMC+ have the US distribution rights on this one.

The Good Spy

Here’s another real-life espionage movie. Rocket Science is financing the biopic about real-life CIA Operative Robert Ames who was killed in the 1983 bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut.  The movie will be based on the Kai Bird novel “The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames.”  According to variety.com, Oscar-nominated director Hany Abu-Assad has been signed on for this one. We enjoy these espionage movies about real-life people.  We’ll have to see if this is done more like a documentary or a spy story like The Courier or Breach were.  We’re hoping for the latter.

Lives in Secret

Due to be released in 2023, the movie Lives in Secret tells the story of Vera Atkins, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg.  According to an article on hollywoodreporter.com, Atkins was the inspiration for a James Bond character, Miss Moneypenny.  Hugh Bonneville plays an SS Officer in this one. Lives in Secret is based on Sarah Helm’s book “A life in secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII.”

Hunt

Released at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Hunt is a South Korean spy thriller.  The movie takes place four years after South Korean president Park Chung-hee’s assassination by the chief of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency in 1979.  Intelligence agents have to identify a mole from North Korea. Reviews have been mixed on Hunt and we haven’t seen the US release information yet.   We’ll keep you informed when we hear anything about its worldwide distribution.

Our Man From Jersey

Netflix has another spy movie under development, Our Man From JerseyDeadline.com tells us that actors Mark Wahlberg, Halle Berry, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Earle Haley, Adewale Akinnuoye -Agbaje, Jessica De Gouw, and Alice Lee are signed up for this one.  Mark Wahlberg plays a construction worker whose ex-girlfriend, played by Halle Berry, recruits him into a US intelligence mission.   We often talk about reluctant spies.   This one could be interesting

The Black Kaiser

The actor who played one of the best James Bond villains ever is starring in a new spy movie, The Black Kaiser. Mads Mikkelsen, who Bond fans will remember as Le Chiffre in the 2006 movie Casino Royale, stars in The Black Kaiser.  He plays a hitman who discovers a conspiracy and becomes a target.    Jonas Akerlund will direct the movie.  Additional casting is still to be announced.   You can read more about The Black Kaiser on variety.com.

Canary Black

Kate Beckinsale will star in the upcoming movie Canary Black.   She will play CIA agent Avery Graves.  Her husband is kidnapped, and the kidnappers want intelligence.  Agent Graves has to make some tough decisions as to what to do about that. Filming is currently scheduled for late 2022.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One

Well, the first trailer for next year’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One was leaked.  So, according to The Spy Command, Paramount has now released the trailer officially. And the action looks great.  There is a link to the trailer in the Spy Command article or on YouTube. The article also points out four apparent call-backs to James Bond movies.  We like it when these movies tip their caps to their competitors. Mike Reyes has a fun article on Cinemablend.com titled “The 5 Most Ridiculous Stunts From The Mission: Impossible 7 Trailer, Ranked By How Close It Looks Like Tom Cruise Came To Dying”.  Well, the title pretty much says it all.   We know each Mission: Impossible movie seems to try to out-action the previous installment.   This one is no different.  We also know how meticulous the planning is behind these stunts so even though he looks like he is close to dying, a lot of precautions have been taken to minimize that risk. We know that the movie isn’t due out until July 2023, so we’ll have to wait to see how this all fits together.

Austin Powers 4?

“I would love to do one. I can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of such a project; should it exist or not exist? You know, we’re, you know…” Those words by Mike Myers on the Jess Cagle Show on SiriusXM should give any Austin Powers fan hope that maybe, … someday, … possibly, … we’ll get an Austin Powers 4 movie. When pressed, Myers said, “It was a non-confirmed, confirmation confirmation.” So, who knows we know that we’d love to see it. You can read more about it on movieweb.com.

In Memoriam

Kenneth Tsang

Hong Kong actor Kenneth Tsang has died at 86.  James Bond fans will remember him as General Moon in Die Another Day.  Tsang started his movie career in 1955 and starred in many kung-fu movies. Besides Die Another Day, you may remember him from The Killer, Rush Hour 2, or The Replacement Killers.

Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta died in the Dominican Republic where he was shooting his latest movie, Dangerous Waters.  He was 67. Liotta is Probably best known for his role as Henry Hill in Goodfellas. Among his numerous films, he had roles in the spy movies Suddenly, The River Murders, The Last Shot, and Hannibal.

Fred Ward

Veteran actor Fred Ward died at the age of 79.  He is probably best known for The Right Stuff, Henry and June, and Tremors.   Ward also was in the spy movies Red Team and Thunderheart.

Jack Kehler

Jack Kehler, probably best known as The Dude’s landlord in The Big Lebowski, has passed at age 75.  Kehler appeared in over 175 movies or tv shows, including Men in Black II and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Mike Hagerty

Character actor Mike Hagerty died at 67.  Like Jack Kehler who we just mentioned, Hagerty appeared in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. So that's a wrap of our Spy Movie News May 31, 2022 edition.  Please subscribe to our show - Cracking the Code of Spy Movies - in your favorite podcast app and on YouTube.  Tell your friends about us - Share info about our show on your own social media - Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too!

Spy Movie News – April 26, 2022

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
In our Spy Movie News April 26,2022 edition, we get some updates on upcoming spy movies, James Bond birthday fun, the Slow Horses wind machine, a Spy Kids reboot, more award news, and new and old spy movies coming to streaming services. We’ll start by looking at the May 2022 spy movie releases and unfortunately, the pickings are slim for us spy movie fans. 

THEATRICAL RELEASES 

The two big cinema releases expected in May don’t hit the US theaters until Memorial Day weekend, May 27th. Unfortunately, neither of them is a spy movie. They are Top Gun: Maverick and The Bob’s Burgers Movie.     So, the cinema is not the place to go to find spy movies in May, at least here in the US.  The only movie we are hoping for in the theaters is The Duke, which we’ve talked about before.  It has been released in some countries and is in a limited release in the US.  Unfortunately for us here at Spy Movie Navigator who hail from Chicago, the Chicago market isn’t included in the group of “limited release” locations.  

STREAMING - NEW RELEASES 

Netflix 

Operation Mincemeat 

One movie that will be released on Netflix in May has had a theatrical release in some countries, Operation Mincemeat.  And we’ve been waiting for this one.    Operation Mincemeat was released by Warner Bros on April 22, 2022, but not everywhere.  Netflix will release this movie on May 11, 2022, in the US, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.  We haven’t seen if Netflix is planning a theatrical release in the US.  They had a theatrical release for Red Notice, so we are hoping to see this one on the big screen too.   Operation Mincemeat is based on the real WW2 operation by British Intelligence to fake out the Germans by using a corpse and fake documents.  Using a dead person to fake out adversaries has been a plot point in numerous spy movies, including the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.  These plots were based in part on the real Operation Mincemeat.  

Amazon Prime 

James Bond movies 

In May, Amazon Prime is releasing for Prime customers the following James Bond movies: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, Never Say Never Again, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy.  You can also stream You Only Live Twice and see if you can catch the Operation Mincemeat connection.  

AMC + 

The Ipcress File 

The Ipcress File series finally comes out on AMC+ in May 2022 here in the US.  This is the series that debuted on ITV in the UK at the beginning of March.  We’ve released 3 podcasts on The Ipcress File series when ITV had their release, including an interview with the Executive Producer Steven Saltzman. 

IMDb TV (Soon to be Amazon Freevee)

Troppo 

This 8-part tv series is about an ex-cop who is falsely accused of a crime who has to deal with an investigation agency.  Troppo debuted in Australia on ABC and hits IMDb TV on May 20, 2022.  

HULU 

Hot Fuzz 

Although not a spy movie, this 2007 movie is a cop comedy starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and that two-time James Bond, Timothy Dalton.  It’s a fun watch.   

Already Released Spy Entertainment 

Slow Horses 

Apple released its spy series Slow Horses at the beginning of April 2022, starring Gary Oldman, Jack Lowden, and Kristin Scott Thomas.   This series is about Slough House which is where MI5 dumps its agents who have messed up.  If you need a good laugh, check out the Mike Reyes interview of Oldman and Lowden on Cinemablend.com.  They have a “very serious” discussion of the role of flatulence in Oldman’s character Jackson Lamb.   In the interview, Oldman tries to keep his answer serious, but Lowden and Reyes won’t let him get away with it. The last time we saw a discussion about flatulence in the movies was a description of why the characters in The Usual Suspects were laughing during the line-up scene. That time it wasn’t planned flatulence. You can find more on that one on screenrant.com 

Upcoming Spy Entertainment News 

Mr. and Mrs. Smith 

Amazon has signed Maya Erskine and Donald Glover for its upcoming series “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”.   This series is based on the movie that starred Angelina Jolie and Brad Pit.  Originally, Phoebe Waller-Bridge was to play the role that Erskine now has but left the project last year.  

Spy Kids 

Netflix will reboot the Spy Kids franchise.  Although the movie doesn’t have a title or date yet, we know that Robert Rodriguez will write and direct this.  He was the creator of the original series.    We’re glad to see this as the original Spy Kids movies were a hit and it’s great to see movies to help excite kids about spy movies. 

Agent Hamilton 

So, here’s another reboot. An article on variety.com tells us that Agent Hamilton - New Missions has obtained territory deals in the US and Northern Europe.  New Missions is based on the series “Agent Hamilton”.  We don’t have details on the casting or release schedule yet.  

Face/Off 2 

Ok, so we don’t know much about Face/Off 2, other than we’ve seen some things that say it is happening, with Adam Wingard as director.   We’ve also told you that Nicolas Cage has said that he hasn’t been asked to do it. Well, we have an update on this. According to an article in ComicBook.com, something might be happening here. He’s quoted as saying “there have been some phone calls with Neal [Moritz], who I enjoyed very much working with on the first Face/Off," Cage said. "He's somebody, he's one of the true, great producers in Hollywood. And, they have been making some calls.” We think this would be fun to see Cage in the sequel.  Well, maybe it is just a bit of hype coming off the current Nicolas Cage movie, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.  But, Pedro Pascal, who is in that movie with Cage says that he would love to reunite with Cage in Face/Off 2.  With how well Pascal played Whiskey in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, we think this would be a fun pairing to see. 

It's Arnold and Monica 

An untitled Netflix spy series has been cast with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Monica Barbaro as the leads. The rest of the cast has been announced and looks very solid.  The limited plot we’ve seen almost makes the series sound a bit like Mr. and Mrs. Smith meet True Lies. According to variety.com, a father and daughter have each been working as CIA Operatives.  Neither of them knows that the other is a spy as well.  

The Old Man 

FX will premiere its new series “The Old Man” on June 16, 2022. This one should be good.  It stars Jeff Bridges as a former CIA agent.  John Lithgow is one of his adversaries.  The supporting cast looks strong with this one as well. 

Pathaan 

Ok, on to Bollywood. After a four-year hiatus, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan will be back as one of the stars in the January 2023 spy thriller, Pathaan.  Shah Rukh will be starring with Deepika Padukone and John Abraham in this spy movie which will be released in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.  We’re hoping there is an English subtitle version released as well.  

Industry News 

In October, we released a podcast where we discussed the viewing experience of watching No Time To Die in different theater formats. We talked about the differences experiencing it on a standard screen, Dolby Cinema, IMAX, 4DX, and 3D.   We especially liked the Dolby Cinema experience. One of the reasons for that is the quality of the image that the laser projector can produce. AMC has been using laser projectors in Dolby Cinema at AMC, Prime at AMC, and some IMAX at AMC theaters.   Well, AMC is upping their game here. According to an article on Deadline.com, AMC will be installing laser projectors at 3,500 U.S. auditoriums through 2026. This is a welcome trend as the image is an improvement at handling darkness and contrast over previous projection. 

James Bond News 

For a movie franchise that is likely still years away from its next release, James Bond keeps itself in the news. 

More Awards for Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli  

You can add another award to Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli’s shelves.   This September, they will receive the 2022 Pioneer of the Year Award from the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.  The award will be given during the foundation’s gala to support the Pioneers Assistance Fund. The award is given to those with exemplary career achievements and a commitment to excellence.   You can read more about this on Deadline.com 

Bond Birthday Fun 

Mike Reyes has an article on CinemaBlend.Com that gives away an easter egg (or two) from a 007 Instagram post which shows Bond’s passport from Casino Royale.   A few fun things pop out here. 
  • First, it shows Bond as being born on April 13.  April 13 was the date that Ian Fleming’s first novel, “Casino Royale” was published.
  • Second, Bond’s birth year is listed as 1968.  That happens to be the year Daniel Craig was born.
  • Ok, now here’s where it really gets fun.  Daniel Craig was born on March 2nd, the same date that the first James Bond movie, Dr. No came out.  
 Ah, numbers and dates, you can have fun with them, and Eon did. Will dates play into who gets cast next as James Bond?  Let the speculation begin.  

He’s more comfortable naked than with his clothes on 

In an interview with The Guardian, Jason Isaacs had this to say about why Daniel Craig was a great James Bond casting: “Daniel was cast just after we’d done a play together.  He’s one of the only people on the planet who is more comfortable naked than with clothes on, which is why he has been – and will be – the perfect Bond for a long time to come.” - Well said. 

Chastity has no place in Bond movies 

In an article on variety.com, director Paul Verhoeven complains about the lack of sex scenes in recent Bond movies.  “There was always sex in Bond!” Verhoeven said. “They did not show a breast, or whatever. But they had some sex.”  Given that he’s often talked about the importance of sex and his directing CV we are not surprised he thinks this way. And we think he has a point.  If you don’t know Paul’s work, he directed Benedetta, Basic Instinct, and Showgirls, among others.  Sex was very important in those movies.  Please bring back some of the sexual situations in Bond movies going forward Eon.   That’s who Bond is! 

Upcoming James Bond Location Tours 

There are two big upcoming James Bond location tours that we know about.  Neither of them is affiliated with Eon, MGM, or Danjaq. Also, as of press time, Spy Movie Navigator has no affiliation with either of these tours either.  However, we know the people involved and know they’ve done good tours in the past. 

June 14-17 - Back to the Bahamas 

Onthetracksof007.com is hosting the Back to the Bahamas tour where seven James Bond movies have been partly filmed.  VIP guests will include Luciana Paluzzi, Martine Beswicke, Diane Hartford, and King Errisson, all of whom a Bond fan should know.  You can find out more about this tour on the website onthetracksof007.com.

October 8-16 - Own the Club Deux 

This bondfanevents.com trip will spend bring you to Jamaica to celebrate filming locations for No Time To Die, Dr. No, Live, and Let Die.  And, oh yeah, you’ll see Goldeneye where Ian Fleming wrote the novels.   Check out bondfanevents.com for details of the trip.

In Memoriam 

Nehemiah Persoff 

Character actor Nehemiah Persoff has passed at the age of 102.  Many of his 207 credits are for character roles in TV series.  TV spy fans may remember Persoff from “I Spy”, “The Third Man”, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, “The Wild Wild West, “Mission: Impossible”, “Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident”, and the movie Mrs. Pollifax-Spy. 

Henry Patterson 

Henry Patterson, the novelist who wrote under the pseudonym Jack Higgins passed at the age of 92. He was known for thrillers, crime novels, and spy stories. His works were turned into four theatrical movies and seven television movies or series.  His novel “The Eagle Has Landed” was his first big success, selling more than 50 million copies, and was made into a movie starring Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, and Robert Duvall.   

David M. Jones 

Visual effects artist David M. Jones has passed at 74.   He started his career as a model maker, then moved to become a model shop supervisor.   He finished his career as a visual effects supervisor.  Some of the movies where you have seen his work include Star Wars, Air Force One, Outbreak, The Hunt for Red October, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and others. 

Dan’s Top 10 James Bond Movies for SpyMovieNavigator.com

Contributed by: Daniel Silvestri and SpyMovieNavigator.com

Posted on
Here are my current top 10 James Bond movies.  I am not including No Time to Die here. . .. it is too tough to decide where to put that.  And one of these below will be bumped . . . Thunderball must be in!  
  1. GoldenEye
Pierce Brosnan’s best outing as Bond and best screenwriting for a Brosnan Bond movie.  A solid storyline and I loved Sean Bean as an ex-MI6 OO being a terrific villain.      
  1. Skyfall
Skyfall, editorial content, 007, James Bond, spy movie podcasts, EON Production movies, espionage, Daniel Craig Daniel Craig’s second-best outing, a great storyline, a terrific villain in Silva, and the end of M which was heart-wrenching.  Good sets and much of James Bond's back story is revealed.      
  1. Live and Let Die
Live and Let Die, 007, James Bond, EON Production movies, spy movie podcasts, espionage, Roger Moore Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond was a solid one, though dated with character representations and clothing – but loved the storyline, pre-title sequence, and acting was superb with Jane Seymour and Yaphet Kotto.        
  1. For Your Eyes Only
For Your Eyes Only, editorial content, 007, James Bond, spy movie podcasts, EON Production movies, espionage, Roger Moore I just love this movie. The villains are real and believable, Carole Bouquet is fabulous, it's a solid outing for Roger Moore, beautiful scenery at Meteora and elsewhere.   Plus, a tie-back in the pre-title sequence to Bond’s late wife, Tracy as Bond drops flowers on her grave.  This is a solid Bond outing.   Love it!     
  1. The Spy Who Loved Me
The Spy Who Loved Me editorial content, 007, James Bond, spy movie podcasts, EON Production movies, espionage, Roger Moore There is little not to like about this Roger Moore Bond movie.   The settings in Egypt / Middle East, Sardinia Italy – are all fabulous.   Jaws!  Yeah – and Barbara Bach and Caroline Munro – nice.   OK, Stromberg wanting to start a world war so he could build an under the sea world is a bit of a stretch – but there are megalomaniacs everywhere!      
  1. Licence To Kill
Licence to Kill, editorial content, 007, James Bond, spy movie podcasts, EON Production movies, espionage, Timothy Dalton Alright, this is not in a lot of people’s Top 10, but for me, this is a terrific second outing for Timothy Dalton.  Robert Davi as the villain is so real, so natural, so evil yet so likable.   Benicio del Toro – as Dario – frightening!  I think Carey Lowell had a solid outing as well as a tough Bond girl who can handle herself and save Bond’s butt a few times.        
  1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
On Her Majesty's Secret Service editorial content, 007, James Bond, spy movie podcasts, EON Production movies, espionage, George Lazenby Fabulous story, very close to the Fleming novel, and a unique outing for Bond as he marries.   This is so well done on so many levels, and we think George Lazenby did a great job as Bond, bringing a new dimension to 007.   Telly Savalas as Blofeld is one of my favorites.  It has grown in popularity over the years and it should continue to do so.   A great Bond movie!    
  1. Casino Royale (2006)
Casino Royale, editorial content, 007, James Bond, spy movie podcasts, EON Production movies, espionage, Daniel Craig Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond is an absolute home run.   The story holds closely to the novel.  Daniel Craig and the entire cast are just outstanding, as are the cinematography, location shots, casino scenes, and locations.   This IS one of the best – and I think will remain so.    
  1. From Russia with Love
From Russia With Love, editorial content, 007, James Bond, spy movie podcasts, EON Production movies, espionage, Sean Connery Yes, you can look for flaws, and continuity errors – but this is my second favorite Bond movie – and sometimes I want to move it into number one!  There is not a weak spot in this movie, the plot is believable (getting the Lektor) and the cast is stunning;  Daniela Bianchi, Robert Shaw, and Pedro Armendáriz (one of my all-time favorite Bond allies) – are all just brilliant.       
  1. Goldfinger 
Goldfinger, editorial content, 007, James Bond, spy movie podcasts, EON Production movies, espionage, Sean Connery Number one and fabulous.  The entire storyline, changed from the novel but I think for the better, is fabulous.   Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) is a first-rate villain, and Oddjob (Harold Sakata) is a perfect dedicated killer for Goldfinger.   Pussy Galore – ah, Honor Blackman just perfection.  Great sets – Goldfinger’s man cave is one of the best sets ever created – Ken Adam was a genius.   

Spy Movie News – March 29, 2022

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Here’s our March 29, 2022, edition of Spy Movie News!  Today we will get some spy movie updates, some James Bond award news, more spy movies and old spy movies coming to streaming services, new Bond villains? the MGM and Amazon deal, Agent Game, Red Notice 2 and 3, The Outfit, Faceoff 2 and more!   Ok, we should probably start this by saying we don’t know what happened with Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre.   We told you last month that this movie was to be released on March 18.  Well, STX Films moved the movie from the release schedule and now the release date is unset.  So, it obviously didn’t release in March.  We’ll keep you posted as we were looking forward to this one. 

Here are the spy movies coming out in April 2022 

Theatrical Release 

Agent Game 

Releasing in both US theaters and streaming on April 8th is the Dermot Mulroney, Adan Canto, Katie Cassidy, Jason Isaacs, and Mel Gibson spy movie Agent Game.    The official synopsis for the movie reads, “In this riveting spy thriller, no one is safe. Harris (Dermot Mulroney), a CIA interrogator at an Agency black site, finds himself the target of a rendition operation after being scapegoated for an interrogation gone horribly wrong. As the team tasked to bring Harris in begins to question their orders — and each other —Olsen (Mel Gibson), a senior intelligence officer, and his subordinate, Visser (Annie Ilonzeh), raise the stakes. Now, it’s up to Harris and some newfound allies to uncover the truth and turn the tables.” 

The Duke 

To add to life’s confusion with the pandemic-affected movie release cycle, two movies are being released this year titled The Duke.  The first is the one we’ve been talking about in other podcasts which is about the heist of the Duke of Wellington portrait.  This heist is referenced in the James Bond movie, Dr. No  Released in the UK in February.  The US release was pushed to Unfortunately, the movie The Duke has been pushed until April 22, 2022, in New York and Los Angeles. Other cities will get The Duke over the following weeks  The second The Duke movie is expected to be released in June 2022 and is about a hostage situation.   

Streaming

Amazon Prime Releases and Releases:  

  • The 1976 movie Marathon Man will be available on Amazon Prime starting April 1, 2022.   
  • All the Old Knives (Tom for Dan: Oddly, this isn’t on any of the amazon April releases that I’ve seen). 
  • Olen Steinhauer’s story based on his novel All the Old Knives, is being released on April 8, 2022, in select theaters as well as Amazon Prime Video. 
  • Two CIA agents and ex-lovers (Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton) are brought back together years after a failed rescue attempt and forced to blur the lines between profession and passion in this deeply riveting tale of global espionage, moral dilemma, and deadly betrayal. 
  • We screened this movie and liked it. We will release our interview with the director, Janus Metz, and screenwriter, Olen Steinhauer who also authored the novel - on Wednesday, April 6th. 

Netflix 

Yaksha: Ruthless Operations: This Korean movie will be coming to Netflix on April 8th. Netflix describes this movie this way “On assignment in a perilous city to inspect a Black Ops team and its notorious leader, an upstanding prosecutor steps into a deadly was between spies.” 

Hulu 

Hulu will be adding the 2009 movie The International to its lineup on April 1, 2022. 

AMC +

The Ipcress File series comes out on AMC+ in May 2022.  This is the series that debuted on ITV in the UK at the beginning of March.  We’ve released 3 podcasts on The Ipcress File series when ITV had their release, including an interview with the Executive Producer Steven Saltzman. 

James Bond News 

We have quite a bit of James Bond news for you today. We told you last month about the nominations that James Bond received at the BAFTAs and the Academy Awards.  So, let’s look at what happened. 

BAFTAs 

We’ll start with the BAFTAs as they happened first. James Bond got some love in this ceremony. 

Diamonds are Forever and so is Dame Shirley Bassey 

It started with Dame Shirley Basey with an excellent performance of the theme song for the 1971 movie Diamonds are Forever.   Bassey sang this song for the movie.  While she was singing, clips of Bond movies played on the screens to the side of the stage.     Tom Cross and Elliott Graham won BAFTA for Editing on No Time To Die.  Tom cross dedicated his award to the stellar editor Peter Hunt.  And, Lashana Lynch won the EE Rising Star Award which is voted on by the public.  Technically not a Bond award, her performance in No Time To Die was a major reason for her win.   As reported in our buddy Bill Koenig’s The Spy Command, “The rising star was a fan vote. Still, on Feb. 3, Eon’s official Twitter feed counted it as a No Time to Die nomination. Former Bond continuation author Raymond Benson writes on Facebook the blog should not have counted it as a win for No Time to Die. His comment: ‘The Lashana Lynch award was not specifically for No Time to Die… she was just “Rising Star,” along with other nominees, not cited for any particular film they were in either. No Time to Die won ONE award.”  So, there you have it. 

Art Directors Guild 

No Time To Die Production Designer Mark Tildesley won the Art Directors Guild award for Best Production Design: Contemporary Feature Film for his work on No Time To Die 

Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards 

Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell won Outstanding Original Song for a drama or documentary for the theme song to No Time To Die at the Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards.  So, they’ve won a Grammy, a Golden Globe, and the Society of Composers & Lyricists.  And Sunday night they added an Academy Award to the collection. 

The Production Guild of Great Britain 

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were the winners of the PGGB Contribution to the Industry Award sponsored by Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden. So, let’s stay on James Bond for a minute more. 

Liz Carr as a James Bond Villain? 

Liz Carr is pitching herself to be a James Bond Villain in an upcoming James Bond movie.   In an article on Digitalspy.com, Carr, who has arthrogryposis multiplex congenita and has been in a wheelchair since age 7 puts it this way:  "I just think that over the years the Bond baddies have always had a sort of disability trait to them – they've had a scar, they've sat in a wheelchair, but very rarely is it a real-life disabled person. Very rarely is it a woman,"   "In some ways just being myself, I think would be great. But I want guns on my chair, I want things to come out of the side, a bit like Inspector Gadget-wise. If you've got the kit, you might as well use it.”  We like the idea.  Let someone who has had to deal with a real disability play a Bond villain.  You would get a natural performance, not something forced.  At least with this idea, they wouldn’t have to offer a delicatessen made of stainless steel. 

Amazon Closes MGM Acquisition  

In another story we’ve been watching, Amazon has gotten approval for its MGM acquisition.  We’ll be watching to see what that means for the James Bond catalog and future movies and spinoffs.   Eon Productions still owns the creative rights to James Bond.   This could get interesting.  Let’s talk about how interesting.  Variety has an article saying that the first Bond product with Amazon Prime will be an 8-part television series called “007’s Road to a Million”.  Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are 2 of the producers.   The article states “The show will see contestants competing in a global adventure to win a £1 million ($1.3 million) cash prize. Filmed in many of the historic locations featured throughout the seminal Bond films, the “cinematic format” will be a test of intelligence and endurance. In addition to passing physical obstacles, the contestants — who will compete in two-person teams — must correctly answer questions hidden in different locations around the world in order to advance to the next challenge.”     If this article had been released on April 1st, I would have thought it was an April Fool’s joke.  A Bond Gameshow?  Yep, after No Time To Die and now this- wow – we are left stunned.   After a wonderful 60-year run we see this. . . who knows - ,maybe it sill be a stunning success – people like Bon and like winning money . . . so. . .  At least they are going to filming locations, which we like. 

In Memory of James Bond 

Speaking of filming locations; those fans going to the Faroe Islands to see where the climactic scene from No Time To Die was filmed will get a bonus.   The Guide To Faroe Islands Team YouTube channel has a video showing the creation and placement of James Bond’s gravestone.  The inscription reads “In memory of James Bond, 1962-2021”.  This is placed where the Bond was standing when the bombs went off. 

In Other Spy Movie News 

Gal Gadot 

Well, Gal Gadot is sure keeping busy. 

Heart of Stone 

An article on movieweb.com tells us that Rachel Stone will be Gal Gadot’s character in the upcoming Tom Harper-directed movie Heart of Stone.  Joining Gadot will be Jamie Dornan, Alia Bhatt, Sophie Okonedo, Matthias Schweighöfer, Jing Lusi and Paul Ready. The plot is being kept under wraps, but the word is that this will be another attempt to craft a spy-genre franchise, as we’ve seen done with the Kingsman series, The Gray Man, Red Notice, and Argylle.  So, there is a market for spy movie franchises, and this is another entry.  We’d like to see a bunch of them.  They probably won’t all succeed, but it is great to see the action in this space. 

Red Notice 2 & 3 

Gal Gadot is also reprising her role from Red Notice with Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds in Red Notice 2 & 3.  Much like the original plans for Mission: Impossible 7 & 8, they are planning to shoot the two movies back-to-back.  

The Outfit 

The just-released movie The Outfit isn’t a spy movie, it’s a crime movie.  In keeping with our goal of explaining where one movie influences another: the lead role, played by Mark Rylance is a cutter who used to work at Huntsman tailors.  This is the tailor shop that Matthew Vaughan’s mother took him to for a bespoke suit.  He later uses the real shop in Kingsman: The Secret Service. 

Face Off 2 

We’ve told you about a potential sequel to the 1997 movie Face Off on our February 16, 2021, Spy Movie News.  Well, we’re a little more than a year later and Nicolas Cage hasn’t heard anything about it.  According to movieweb.com, Cage says "I have not heard hide nor hair about it. So often these things we read about are just conjecture without any base or foundation to it. I feel the same about National Treasure 3. It’s been 14 years. There’s no there, there. So, is it fun to think about? Sure. Would [Face Off 2] be an exciting movie to make? Oh, hell yeah. But John Woo was such a huge voice in that movie. It couldn’t be a remake. I think these filmmakers even said as much — that something like that would have to be a sequel."  So, a director was named and the movie was in development.  Maybe they didn’t bring back the character Castor Troy and that’s why he hasn’t heard anything?  Given what happened to him in the original Face Off, that’s possible. We’ll just have to wait to find out. 

Argylle 

Another Spy Movie trying to become a franchise that we’ve talked about on numerous Spy Movie News episodes, Argylle, has released a trailer that you can see on YouTube.  Note that the spelling for Argylle has two “Ls” and an “e” at the end instead of the single L common in the US.   This is the movie that will be released on Apple + and stars Henry Cavill and Dua Lipa. There is no announced specific release date, apple.com lists a release date of 2023.  Nothing more specific than the year.    

Mission: Impossible 7 Release Window 

We’ve discussed in many Spy Movie News episodes how the theater release window is shrinking.  This window is the amount of time that movie theaters have a lock on a movie.  With the pandemic and the rise of streaming services, this has shrunk to about 45 days from the old window of about 90 days. An article in HollywoodReporter.com tells us that Tom Cruise is lawyering up against Paramount to bring their current 45-day window back to 90 days.  This isn’t too surprising given the now-settled lawsuit between Scarlett Johansson and Disney.  The Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 contracts were signed before COVID hit.   If he can get the window back to 90 days, will other tentpole movies follow suit? 

In Memorium 

William Hurt 

One of the best actors of his era, William Hurt passed away at age 77.   Hurt was probably best known for his roles in Broadcast News, Altered States, The Big Chill, and Body Heat. He had a prolific acting career.  Spy movie fans will remember him from The Good Shepard, his portrayal of Robert Hanssen in the tv movie "Master Spy: The Robert Hansen Story", and Black Widow. 

Alan Ladd, Jr. 

Legendary movie executive, Alan Ladd Jr has passed a the age of 84.   Ladd was President of 20th Century Fox in the 70s and was involved with Star Wars and Young Frankenstein before starting his own company where he enjoyed more success.  He joined MGM/UA and was involved in the James Bond movie A View to a Kill. 

Veronica Carlson 

Veronica Carlson has passed at the age of 77. Although known for her horror films, her first movie was the 1967 spoof of Casino Royale.  Ms. Carlson also had a role in an episode of the tv series "The Saint".  

Movies about Spies! 

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
movies about spies   Alright, you know our website, podcast show, and YouTube channel are all about movies about spies! At SpyMovieNavigator.com, movies about spies is a genre we just love and love diving into to decode hidden connections, key scene analysis, and details that we think need to be highlighted in order to enjoy the movie the most.      

Some listener reactions:

  • “Your podcast is excellent. Very informative and fun to listen to. It is obvious a lot of passion for the genre and lots of research have gone in their production.”
  • “Just a shout out: you guys are killing it lately with the great podcasts” –Shane!
  • “You’re the men with the Midastouch, engaging & fun, as always!Eddie
  • “If you’re a spy movie fan, you’re going to really enjoy these.  The hosts make it fun and offer some fascinating trivia about the movies we all love.”  Apple Listener

James Bond podcast listener reactions

Naturally, we are heavy into James Bond and the whole James Bond franchise.  We have episodes out on many of the movies and a ton of the pre-title scenes that have been enjoyed around the world. You can find them here. Here are some listener reactions to our Bond episodes: On our two-part Quantum of Solace interview with Roberto Schaefer ASC, AIC, Director of Photography (Listen here: Part 1 and Part 2):
  • “The two-part interview put you over the top.  The insights into the filming of a Bond film, from the Director of Photography no less, was fascinating.”
  • “Great behind the scenes info and discussion with cinematographer Roberto Schaefer.”
  • “If podcasts and content about James Bond is your thing. Just recently they featured a great interview with Roberto Schaefer who was the Director of Photography for QUANTUM OF SOLACE.” - Thunderballs
On our two-part podcast episode on Thunderball:
  • Jesus M. – about Thunderball Part 1: “Really Loved it!!  You guys do a Good Job Explaining the film in Detail I even love Tom talking about the original No Time to Die in the UK in 1958 wow!!!!”
We even do episodes decoding gadgets.  Here's a listener comment on our podcast episode Gadgets in Spy Movies – Dr. No & Skyfall – Can You Believe It?
  •  “Love This Episode of the Podcast!  The Way you Guys Explain in Detail Each Gadget from Dr. No and Skyfall and The Interview with Joe Pappalardo was Great ”

Movies About Spies Categories

Well, we love movies about spies, and we are so thrilled that our site users and listeners to our podcast show can feel that as well! We do Mission: Impossible as well, decoding that terrific series. And the Harry Palmer 1960s series, The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin, and Billion Dollar Brain! And certainly, we must cover and do cover, The Kingsman series!   All fun stuff! And we do a fun category of this genre, classic spy movies – which falls under our umbrella category, The Best of the Rest! So, we have podcast episodes out on The 39 Steps, which many consider the first spy movie, released in 1935 and directed by Alfred Hitchcock!  Doing more Hitchcock, we moved to Secret Agent (1936), The Man Who Knew Too Much (both 1934 and 1956 versions), and North by Northwest (1959). We decode other spy movie classics like Q Planes, or Clouds Over Europe.

Spy Movie News

Monthly, for our listeners' convenience, we research and report on what is happening with spy movie releases, actors, and more and present that all in a short (usually 15 minute) episode called Spy Movie News – so our listeners are totally up to date in about 15 minutes, as a result of our hours of research!

Interviews

Cracking the Code of Spy Movies also does interviews, and we have had the Director of Photography for Quantum of Solace, Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC!  We have had actors from some of the James Bond movies, like Derek Lyons, Terence Mountain, Brigitte Millar, a real ex-CIA operative, Executive Producer Steven Saltzman, and more!  You'll find all of our interviews here. All fun and enlightening and a little bit irreverent at times!

Movies about Spies Filming Locations

We also do spy movie filming location videos and podcast episodes as well – which have been very popular.   There is something so cool about visiting spy movie filming locations, and we have been to over 120 locations about the world, from the USA to Portugal, the UK, Sardinia, Amsterdam, and more!

Our Website: SpyMovieNavigator.com

 

SPYmdb - Our Spy Movie Database

Our website features an exclusive James Bond Movie database, based on Steven Jay Rubin’s hot-selling book, The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia! So, you can do your own research or perusing or facts from all the James Bond movies!   Getting ready for a James Bond trivia contest?   This is the place to do your homework!

Trivia

Speaking of trivia contests, we have hosted the last two James Bond International Trivia Marathons, put on by Steven Jay Rubin!   Fun stuff!  You can listen to the 2020 Trivia Marathon here.   And the 2021 Trivia Marathon is here. Our website also has two trivia contests, where you can take a quiz yourself, either on movies about spies in general, or one specific to James Bond.   All free! You will find key links and articles on our site as well, some movie clips, and more.   You can listen to a podcast episode there as well!

More Feedback

Our podcast show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies, has been voted Top 10 Espionage & Spy Podcasts by Spybrary! Here is some more great feedback!  Thank you!
  • “Dan I am a follower of the SpyMovieNavigator Podcast (Cracking the Code of Spy Movies). Love it!” -Bob Sherer
  • “Love your stuff guys!” -spyhards
  • Twitter Follower: “You're doing a wonderful job. Keep it up” – Dinok
  • Podcast Listener: “I’m just finding them all really interesting & fun to listen to!  Subject matter always interesting, the details fascinating.”

Conclusion

So, if you are into movies – and in particular, movies about spies – well, this is the place to be! Be sure to Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies through your favorite podcast app, and to our YouTube channel.   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too!  

Spy Movie News – February 22, 2022

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Here is our Spy Movie News for February 22, 2022! We will discuss Operation Fortune:  Ruse de guerre, Awards nominations, upcoming spy movies such as: Heart of Stone, Cold Sun, The Bricklayer, Kompromat, new streaming spy series, The King’s Man's historical accuracy, and Mission: Impossible 7! Let's start with the spy movies coming out in March 2022.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre

The only spy movie being released in US movie theaters in March is Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre hits the US & UK screens on March 18th, following a 9 country release the day before. According to the official website: “...Super spy Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) must track down and stop the sale of a deadly new weapons technology wielded by billionaire arms broker Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant). Reluctantly teamed with some of the world’s best operatives (Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone), Fortune and his crew recruit Hollywood’s biggest movie star Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett) to help them on their globe-trotting undercover mission to save the world.” This sounds like a fun spy movie to us.

Amazon Prime Spy Movies for March

Amazon Prime is bringing back a slew of James Bond movies on March 1st.  You will be able to stream A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, For Your Eyes Only, GoldenEye, Licence to Kill, Moonraker, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Living Daylights, The World is Not Enough, and Tomorrow Never Dies.  On March 31, Amazon is adding Imperium to their catalog. This 2016 movie stars Daniel Radcliffe, who is an FBI agent who goes undercover as a white supremacist. Toni Collete and Tracy Letts also star in this movie.

The Ipcress File

And of course, while this isn't a movie, we have the "The Ipcress File" series coming out in March as well.  The six-part ITV series starring Joe Cole.  This is going to be fantastic. You can listen to our February 8th podcast, THE IPCRESS FILE ITV Briefing with Actors and Directors - where we talk about this series by recapping the press conference, we were invited to attend for the show   We also have this available as a video if you want to also see photos along with the discussion.

The Duke

Unfortunately, the movie The Duke has been pushed until April 22, 2022, in New York and Los Angeles. Other cities will get The Duke over the following weeks. This is the movie about the heist Goya’s Duke of Wellington portrait that prompted the addition of a replica of this painting to be added to the James Bond movie Dr. No.

Award Nominations Are Out

Award season is hitting its stride. So, let's look at the 2022 nominees.

BAFTA

First, we got the BAFTA nominations. No Time To Die garnered nominations for:
  • Outstanding British Film
  • Cinematography (Linus Sandgren)
  • Editing (Tom Cross and Elliot Graham)
  • Sound (James Harrison, Simon Hayes, Paul Massey, Oliver Tarney, and Mark Taylor)
  • Special Visual Effects (Mark Bakowski, Chris Corbould, Joel Green, and Charlie Noble)
In addition, Lashana Lynch from No Time to Die and Harris Dickinson from The King’s Man were nominated for the Rising Star award. The Rising Star award is voted by the public.

Academy Awards

No Time To Die earned 3 Oscar Nominations:
  • Best Original Song - music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell. This is the franchise’s 6th Best Original Song nomination if you count the 1968 movie Casino Royale.  The previous James Bond winners in this category have come from the last two Bond movies, Spectre and
  • Best Visual Effects (Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner, and Chris Corbould)
  • Best Sound (Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey, and Mark Taylor)
With these three nominations, James Bond movies have amassed 19 Academy Award nominations.

Upcoming Spy Movies

So, let’s shift gears and look at movies that are in development or upcoming:

Heart of Stone

Someone ought to tell the folks at Netflix that not every spy movie they do needs to star Gal Gadot.  Oh wait, she’s great, she’s box office gold, and she works well with big co-stars - never mind.  Gal will be starring in the upcoming Netflix and Skydance international spy thriller Heart of Stone.  This time, she’ll be starring with Jamie Dornan of Belfast and Fifty Shades of Grey fame.  They are keeping the plot close to the vest, but with these two actors, we can’t wait.

Cold Sun

The espionage thriller Cold Sun will film this summer in the U.K. and Malta.  Malta is always a good location for a spy movie.  Tara Reid has signed on to play MI6 agent, Marsha Ravencourt.   She will be joined by Gabriella Wright, an Interpol agent.   Variety.com tells us that this movie has been billed as “Cagney and Lacey with a difference”.

The Bricklayer

We told you in last month’s Spy Movie News about The Bricklayer. This is the upcoming espionage movie that stars Aaron Eckhart and Nina Dobrev.  Well, according to Deadline.com, another actor has signed on to the cast, Oliver Trevena.  We’re also told that The Bricklayer heads into production next month.

Kompromat

Set to release in French theaters on September 7th, the espionage thriller Kompromat starring Gilles Lellouche and Joanna Kulig, has been sold to SND for distribution.  Variety.com tells us that the movie is about a French diplomat working in Siberia who discovers he is being framed by the FSB, the Russian Federal Security Service, a successor of the KGB.  The movie has been sold to Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Benelux, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, and the former Yugoslavia. We’ve yet to see a US or UK distribution deal.

Upcoming Spy Series

With the proliferation of streaming platforms, we are seeing more spy series being produced.  Here are three with news this month.

Slow Horses

Let’s start with the spy series that is coming out on April 1, 2022, on Apple TV Plus.   This is the 6-part series starring Gary Oldman which is based on the novel “Slow Horses”.  Oldman has been phenomenal in everything he does from playing Sirius Black in the Harry Potter franchise to Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.  But in the spy world, we must remember him playing George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  Here, Oldman plays an MI5 boss.  He gets all the untalented agents. We can see where that is going.  Other cast members include Jack Lowden, Kristin Scott Thomas, Johnathan Pryce, and Olivia Cooke.  We like this cast.

 The Night Agent

In our November 2021 Spy Movie News, we told you about the 10-episode Netflix series “The Night Agent” and that Gabriel Basso and Luciane Buchanan were cast as leads.    This is the series with the FBI Agent mans a hotline in the basement of the White House. Well, the cast is getting further fleshed out and we like what we see.  Joining Basso and Buchanan are Hong Chau, DB Woodside, Fola Evans-Akingbola, Eve Harlow, Phoenix Raei, Enrique Mucriano, and Sara Desjardins.  We won’t go through all the roles, but you can read about them on Deadline.com. As is pretty normal with Netflix, we have yet to see a release date for The Night Agent.

Rabbit Hole

Paramount + has opened up a bit about the impending spy series called “Rabbit Hole”.  This 8-part series will star Kiefer Sutherland playing a private espionage agent, James Weir.  As we’ve seen Kiefer do in “24” and “Designated Survivor”, he needs to preserve democracy against all odds.  Sutherland was excellent in those shows so “Rabbit Hole” looks like it will be another good show with him in it. “Rabbit Hole” is expected to release this fall. You can read more about “Rabbit Hole: on MovieWeb.com.

Other Spy Movie News

Were We Wrong Last Month?

In our January 2022 Spy Movie News, we told you that No Time To Die obliterated an explosion record that had been held by Spectre.  This record was reported on many sites.  Chris Corbould, who is the production special effects supervisor on both Spectre and No Time To Die, talks about this record on the official 007 YouTube channel. Well, this doesn’t sit well with Michael Bay who was the director and producer for the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor.  He told Empire magazine that the attack sequence in Pearl Harbor was larger than Spectre.  His words “James Bond tried to take the ‘largest explosion in the world’ Bullshit, Ours is.”  “No one knows how hard that is. We had so much big stuff out there. Real boats, 20 real planes. We had 350 events going off. Three months of rigging on seven boats, stopping a freeway that’s three miles away.” Well, at Spy Movie News, we don’t know.  We aren’t explosives experts. So, we turned to the Guinness World Records.  We just checked the GuinnessWorldRecords.com site.  It lists Spectre as having the record for the ‘largest film stunt explosion’ at 68.47 tonnes of TNT equivalent.  It also has a listing for ‘most high explosives detonated in a single film take'. No Time To Die has this record at126.4kg of TNT equivalent. So, while we don’t know how much Michael Bay exploded, Guinness doesn’t know about it.   We believe you have to be nominated and you can nominate yourself.  If Michael Bay wants to be recognized and he did set a record Guinness, he needs to let them know. Of course, if Michael Bay wants to come onto our podcast to discuss this, we’d love to have him.

The King’s Man historical accuracy

An excellent article by Mike Reyes on CinemaBlend.com examines how the historical characters were portrayed in The King’s Man with their makeup, hair, and costumes.  This was a challenge because real historical people were portrayed so some semblance of accuracy was needed. His article has a clip where the movie’s Makeup and Hair Designer, Jenny Shircore discusses the challenges of getting historical accuracy while taking a few liberties to help the viewer.  For instance, Tom Hollander plays three roles in the movie, and they have given him different eye colors for each. This wasn’t historically accurate but made it easier for us. Mike’s article even has a link to an article he wrote about the deletion of a scene where Rasputin uses his large man parts. This was loosely based on reality too. We love getting the behind-the-scenes stuff like this and it’s nice to see how they tried to keep most things accurate.

Mission: Impossible 7

There have been many stories this month about two Mission: Impossible topics. The first topic being discussed is the cost overruns of Mission: Impossible 7.   Variety is reporting that Mission: Impossible 7 cost $290 million to produce, and that’s counting tax incentives.  Just as a point of reference, Mission: Impossible - Fallout, which was the last Mission: Impossible movie released, cost $190 million.  Daily Mail has said that Cruise is in crisis talks with Mission: Impossible bosses. The constant opening and shutting down production, moving to a different location, and paying salaries and lodging for the cast and crew added up quickly due to the pandemic, blowing out the budget.   That doesn’t even count the interest that has to be carried during the delay.  We talked in our February 2021 Spy Movie News about how No Time To Die had over $1 million in interest a month for that movie.  Some articles are speculating that the cost overruns could affect Mission: Impossible 8’s budget.  We’ll have to see about that. The other topic we are seeing is that the Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 movies will ‘serve as a sendoff to Cruise’s Ethan Hunt character.’ They aren’t saying that this is the end of the franchise, just Ethan Hunt’s role as the big-time spy for the movies.   In the past, we’ve seen quotes from Cruise saying that they will never kill off Ethan.   Let’s hope that’s true and they don’t try the same crap No Time To Die did.

In Memoriam

Monica Vitti

Monica Vitti, the Italian actress known for her work with director Michelangelo Antonioni has passed was at the age of 90.  Her big break came in the 1960 movie L’Avventura in which she starred with Gabriele Ferzetti who played Draco in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  Spy movie fans may remember her for the campy spy movie Modesty Blaise where she played the title character.

Dina Eaton

We also lost Dina Eaton who passed away at 70.   She was a music editor with 51 movie credits.  Five of those were the James Bond movies, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale (2006), and Quantum of Solace.

Judd Bernard

Judd Bernand who was the screenwriter and producer on the movies Point Blank and Double Trouble has died.  He was 94.  Spy movie fans may remember him as the writer/producer of the 1974 movie The Marseille Contract which is also known as The Destructors.

Kenneth Wannberg

And finally, we lost composer and music editor Kenneth Wannberg at 91.  Wannberg worked closely with John Williams.  They worked together on almost half of Williams’ movies. His music editing is found in the first six Star Wars movies, the first three Indiana Jones movies, and over 115 other movies.  Spy movie fans will recognize him as the composer for the 1982 movie The Amateur and the music editor on Catch Me if You Can, Minority Report, and Munich. So, that's a wrap of our February 22, 2022, Spy Movie News, brought to you by SpyMovieNavigator.com. Please Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies, right now on your favorite podcast app, and know when new episodes come out and more - Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too!

BLACKLIGHT – Our no spoiler, quick-fire review

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
“I was disappointed.  It wasn’t really entertaining” that was a quote we heard from an audience member at the end of the just-released movie, Blacklight. Was it a valid comment? Keep reading for our thoughts. As usual with our quick-fire reviews, we won’t be giving any spoilers in this review. Our goal is to give you our high-level thoughts on the movie, let you know if we think it is worth your time, and talk about any influences on this movie from real-life or other movies. In our January 2022 Spy Movie News, we mentioned that Blacklight was coming out this February and was the only spy movie to be scheduled for this February.  Well, it has just been released.

The Plot

The official website for the Blacklight says: “In BLACKLIGHT, LIAM NEESON is Travis Block, an operative whose discovery of a dark secret pits him against the FBI director he once swore to protect.” So, he’s an operative for a government agency and will have a conflict with his boss.  Yeah, we’ve seen that before. Travis Block, played by Neeson is a “fixer” for FBI director Gabriel Robinson.  When a deep-cover agent has a problem Robinson sends Travis to get them out.  He works “off the books.” Block has known and trusted Robinson for a very long time. Robinson also kept Travis out of a heap of trouble in an incident when they served together in the Vietnam War. That gives us an important plot point. There is a subplot involving Travis’ relationship with his daughter, Amanda, and his granddaughter Natalie.  Travis wasn’t a great father figure because he was gone all the time and is suspicious of everything.  He tries to make amends with his granddaughter in this movie. We all know that in a Liam Neeson action movie you don’t mess with his family.  We could be wrong with this, but we think this family thing was added after Neeson was hired. There wasn’t much reason for them to be there for the story.  Neeson fans want him to go after whoever messes with his family so, from a marketing perspective, this makes sense. The next plot point we’ll mention could be considered a spoiler, but since it is in the trailer, we feel fine talking about it.  The US government is killing innocent civilians under the guise of protecting democracy.  This becomes central to the plot of the movie and is likely where the movie gets its name.  We didn’t hear “blacklight” mentioned as a word in the movie.   We might have missed it but we were listening for it.  There is mention of infrared light, but they didn’t call it blacklight.  We suppose the title was given as light was being shone on this government behavior. A reporter called Mira Jones starts to suspect this is happening and is given reason to believe it is true.  She ends up meeting with Travis to try to figure things out.  And that sets up the story.

The Cast

The movie stars Liam Neeson as Travis Block, Aidan Quinn as FBI director Gabriel Robinson, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Mira Jones, Taylor John Smith as Dusty Crane, and Claire van der Boom as Travis’ daughter Amanda.

The Influences

At Spy Movie Navigator we talk about how scenes in spy movies are influenced by other movies or by real-life events.  So, let’s look at some of those influences. We’ll start this part of the discussion by saying this movie is pretty cliché.  There are the obligatory vehicle chases, fistfights, a big plot twist, a subordinate having a problem with a boss, and since this is a Liam Neeson movie, an issue with his family. Those things are in most spy movies, so it is hard to pick scene by scene on those. One scene had what we think was a great call-back to both the James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the Harry Palmer movie, The Ipcress File. Travis Block shows up at his boss’ Gabriel Robinson’s house while Robinson is working in his garden.   In The Ipcress File, Harry goes to Ross’ house as Ross is tending to his garden. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond goes to M’s house while M is tending to his butterfly collection.  So, all three of these movies have the spy going to his boss's house while the boss was working on a hobby. We liked that touch. It gives a little more background into the characters.  Plus, most spy movies don't show the lead spy at their boss's house. As for the vehicle chases, there are two major chases in this movie.  One involves a Porsche vs some sort of Chevrolet SUV.  We couldn’t tell the model.  This was very cliché and somehow the Porsche couldn’t easily outrun the SUV. The second chase had Travis’ Dodge Challenger chasing a garbage truck.  It was almost humorous the way the Challenger tried to battle the garbage truck.  That said, we did like this chase.  It was a nice twist on the chase trope. Speaking of Travis’ car: this Dodge Challenger was loud, like really loud.   Yet, he would drive it to places where he needed to go unnoticed.  It seemed like an odd car choice for him. Now, the most obvious call-back to scenes being influenced by other movies has to be with Travis’ family.   From an action movie perspective, Liam Neeson is best known for the Taken trilogy.  That’s probably also his best work in this genre.  In those movies, he needs to find or protect a member of his family. The audience will expect something similar in this movie because, although Neeson’s character has a different name, it is still Liam Neeson’s character using his very particular set of skills.  The trailer leads one to believe this is a huge part of the plot.  In fact, before we saw the movie, we expected this Quick-Fire review to spend all of its time talking about how this was just another Liam Neeson-as-Bryan Mills movie.  Well, fortunately, we were wrong about that part.  There is still a family issue in this movie, but it doesn’t manifest itself until about 2/3 of the way through the movie.  So, while important, it isn’t the main plot of the movie. That’s good in our opinion.

Our Thoughts

So, what are our overall thoughts on Blacklight?  Was that quote at the beginning of this review accurate? It wasn’t a terrible movie, but it was cliché and a bit boring for an action movie.

What We Liked

Now, that said, let’s talk about some of the things we liked about Blacklight. The first highlight for us is Emmy Raver-Lampman who plays reporter Mira Jones.  Although her part wasn’t well written (most of this movie has this problem), we liked Emmy in this role.  You may know her as Allison in the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy”.  She was also on Broadway in “Hamilton” among other shows. We weren’t familiar with her and thought she did a very good job here. She stood out for us. Aidan Quinn was another high point.  He’s an actor who always delivers good work. Again, his part wasn’t well written, but Quinn stole almost every scene he was in. Another actor who we want to call out is Georgia Flood who plays Pearl.  This is a small role, but she lit up the screen every time she was on it. As for Liam Neeson, if you liked him as Bryan Mills in Taken, you’ll like him here. Yes, he is 69 years old and doesn’t run as well as he did in Taken, but he knows how to play that character.  In our review of The Last Mercenary, we talked about how an older Jean Claude Van Dame could still deliver on his character-type, albeit a bit slower.  The same thing holds here.  The actor knows how to deliver this type of character, so age just means there isn’t quite as much oomph. We already mentioned that we liked the chase between the Challenger and the garbage truck. Another thing we liked was where they didn’t take us.  And they almost did. The movie opens with a politician, Sofia Flores giving a speech.  It was a typical left-leaning speech that we would expect from a Democratic candidate here in the US.  She was quite obviously there to make the US audience think about U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC as she’s usually called).   It made us think “oh, oh”, this movie is going to be all about left-leaning politics, which in the US would irritate half the audience. They then balance that with the next scene where a, what we’ll call “a right-leaning mob”, has a deep-cover agent trapped in her motor home. This scene also had the biggest and best explosion in the movie. They could have taken these two scenes and created a preachy woke movie - and they didn’t.  The conservative vs. the liberal rhetoric ended very quickly.  Given the polarity of these types of topics in the US, it was good they moved off of it. We also liked the overall score.  Mark Isham’s soundtrack works for this movie. Um, that’s about it in terms of the positives.

What Went Wrong?

So, what was the movie’s problem? What didn’t we like? Mainly, in our opinion the script was weak.  There wasn’t much to it.  This could have easily been an hour or 90-minute made-for-tv movie instead of trying to be a Hollywood blockbuster.  It was a ho-hum, “check off the list” of what a Neesom action movie has become. The screenplay was credited to Nick May, his first screenplay and it felt like it. Here are a few examples of some of the lines from the movie to back up our thoughts:
  • “Everything I did was for you”
  • “You aren’t really going to shoot me” the response: “Yes I will”
  • “I suspect I made a poor career choice”
  • “If I find out you had anything to do with my granddaughter disappearing, you’re going to need more men”
  • “You are my weapon. You work for me.”
Yeah, not scintillating stuff. And that’s the problem with the movie. It didn’t grab us. The “big twist” you see in these types of movies, comes out early in Blacklight and Travis Block takes a long time to figure it out. It is very obvious which might be why they give it away early. We hate when the twist comes out early.  Please keep us in suspense further into the movie. We think that May should probably stick to his role as an Assistant Director at the Federal Trade Commission, here in the US. The trailer was also a problem.  Marketing teams never seem to learn.  They blow it for this movie.  In Blacklight, they give away the big twist in the trailer.  It’s like in The Kingsmen: The Golden Circle where the trailer shows Harry was back in the movie after everyone thought he was dead in the first Kingsmen movie. Marketing showed Harry in the trailer which ruined the surprise.  Trailers are supposed to get us excited to see the movie, not give away major twists. The trailer also shows Travis walking into an empty house. He says, “Where’s my family?” This leads you to believe this is another version of the Taken series.  It isn’t. Here's another annoying thing:  Travis Block had OCD which mainly manifested itself by showing him needing to do things three times in a row.  That said, there is no backstory on it.  He just does some things three times in a row.  Someone makes a comment on it, but the behavior isn't explained. Also, this movie could have been called “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”, but that comedy was made in 1971. We don’t know how many bullets get fired in this movie but probably 99% of them didn’t hit their target.  What is it with spy movies?  Can’t anyone shoot?  We often complain about this in our podcast episodes.  A lot of bullets fly but people either never get shot or it takes 100 bullets to do it. Another thing that drove us nuts was the cinematography or the editing, we’re not sure which it was.  Shelly Johnson was the Cinematographer.  He has an excellent resume as does the Editor, Michael Shawver.  Fairly often there were visual glitches where it looked like the shot would back up a half a second and then go forward.  It almost felt like the film was given a strong shake at this point. This was definitely a choice made either in filming or editing as it was consistent and other reviewers have commented on it, usually negatively. When we edit our videos, we use an editing package that has glitch effects built in.  We hate glitch effects. It felt like that’s what we saw here, and it was distracting.  Often, they are used for transitions but that wasn’t the case here. It didn’t seem to serve a purpose and was just annoying. Then there was another pet peeve of ours.  In one scene a guy walks across a wet floor in an indoor parking garage.  He gets in his Porsche and drives out onto bone-dry streets.  We know they like to shoot on wet pavement as some people think it looks better than dry pavement on the screen with the reflection.  However, when he starts walking in the garage, we were thinking, why is the floor wet?  He’s indoors.  It wasn’t raining in the garage and when he got outside the roads were dry, so it wasn’t raining out there either.  It was just odd.  If it was wet outside, this would have made sense.

A Few More Thoughts

There are a few additional things we’d like to quickly point out.  The first has to do with the filming of this movie.  Although the story’s location was Washington D.C., the movie was filmed in Australia. Given that, most of the supporting roles were played by Australian actors.  We liked that.   This was filmed during the COVID pandemic so that makes sense.  Plus, we like to see local actors used in movies. Next, in the credits there was a team assigned to COVID issues. That was a sign of our times.  We wonder what we’ll think of that if we rewatch this movie in a few years. And finally, the age of the audience was interesting to us.  This is an action movie.  And it stars 69-year-old Liam Neeson.   Ok, this is a very, very small dataset to work with as there were only 5 other people in the theater when we went.  We went to the 5:00 pm showing on the advanced viewing day.  That said, I’m 59 and was at least 10 years younger than any of the other 5 people in the audience.  Is Liam drawing an older audience than what we usually see for action movies, or was this an anomaly?  We don’t know but it is an interesting data point to us.  This Blacklight audience seemed a lot older than what was in the audience when we saw No Time To Die.  We know the James Bond series is fighting their demographics and working to draw in younger viewers.   Neeson may be struggling with that. So, let’s get back to the quote from that audience member about Blacklight that opened this article: “I was disappointed.  It wasn’t really entertaining.”  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato are the creators of the website SpyMovieNavigator.com.  We create podcasts, YouTube videos, and more focusing on spy movies.  Our podcast and our YouTube channel share the name “Cracking the Code of Spy Movies”! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@SpyNavigator), and Instagram too! And we welcome you to join our private Facebook group, The Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans!

Spy Movie Navigator Recap of ITV’s: “The Ipcress File” Press Conference

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
ITV is set to release its new series based on the Len Deighton book, "The Ipcress File".  In advance of the release, ITV hosted a press conference and has released a trailer.  You can see this trailer here on YouTube (ITV - The Ipcress File Official Trailer). The series, which will air starting in March 2022, will be released on ITV in the UK, AMC+ in the US, Seven Network in Australia, Now TV in Hong Kong, Tohokushinsha in Japan, and Lionsgate Play in India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato from SpyMovieNavigator.com had the wonderful opportunity to attend a press briefing for the "The Ipcress File" TV series hosted by ITV.

Spy Movie Navigator’s Previous Analysis of the Movie The Ipcress File

In August of 2020, Spy Movie Navigator released our podcasts on the Harry Saltzman-produced movie of the Len Deighton book, "The Ipcress File". These podcasts were very well received throughout the world, thank you to our audience for that. Then, later that year, ITV announced that they obtained the right to produce a tv series based on the book. In those podcasts, we talked about what we liked, and what we wished was different in the movie. Specifically, we called out
  1. The use of Harry’s glasses to bring things in and out of focus
  2. The fact that Jean’s role wasn’t very well developed, and we wanted to see more of her story
  3. The trickery of the camera shots bothered Tom, Dan liked them
  4. The fact that the atoll part of the book wasn’t in the movie. We didn’t know this was a problem until we read the book.
As we discuss our experience here at the press conference, you will see why we are so excited about this series.

Why The Series Excites Us

We can’t wait as there was a lot in the book that they couldn’t show in the movie with Michael Caine. This series gives them a lot more time to flesh things out. The movie, The Ipcress File, ran 1 hour and 49 minutes – so they will have more time here in the series for sure. This is an exciting series whose six episodes have been shot already in Liverpool England and Croatia. It promises to be an outstanding series, starring Joe Cole (of “Peaky Blinders” fame) as Harry Palmer, Tom Hollander as Major Dalby, Lucy Boynton as Jean Courtney, Ashely Thomas as Maddox, Paul Bazely as Morris, David Dencik as Colonel Stok, and Tamla Kari as Deborah. Tom Hollander was just in The King’s Man. He was also in Bohemian Rhapsody with Lucy Boynton. David Dencik played Tom’s favorite character in No Time To Die, Valdo Obruchev. He also was in Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy. And we can’t wait to see Joe Cole after his roles as John Shelby in “Peaky Blinders” and Sean Wallace in “Gangs of London.”  Ashley Thomas played Isaac Carter in the TV series “24: Legacy”. It will also be good to see Paul Bazely and Tamla Kari tackling a spy movie. This is a tremendous cast, and in the press briefing we were able to see some of the clips from the series, and wow! The acting is superb, but so in the condemnatorily, sets and ambiance of recreating a 1960s England and setting. Of course, “The Ipcress File” is based on the works of Len Deighton, and we remember the 1960s movie trilogy starring Michael Caine as Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin, and Billion Dollar Brain. We have podcasts out on all three of those movies (Podcast links: The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin, and Billion Dollar Brain). The character, Harry Palmer, is offered an opportunity to be a spy, versus serving prison time and that is the basis of his personality and interactions with his boss, Major Dalby. Caine was superb. But the 1960s was a long time ago, and not much has been done with Harry Palmer since, other than a couple of made-for-TV movies that were not that well received. So, now we move to the present!

Press Conference Attendees & Discussion

The meeting was expertly hosted by Boyd Hilton, and in attendance were actors Joe Cole, Lucy Boynton, Tom Hollander, Ashley Thomas, John Hodge (the writer), and James Watkins (the series Director). John Hodge, the writer, suggested that this is a great spy story, embracing social mobility and class, glass ceilings, and more. He is a fan of the books and said that it was appealing to turn this into a 6-part TV series. He also suggests that the tone will be humor, the warmth of human interaction, the feeling of humanity, highlighting small moments – human weaknesses and strengths. He came back to the theme of humanity multiple times in the discussion so this seems like it will be very important to watch out for. We at SpyMovieNavigator.com wonder how much detail will be presented in the series since the movie in 1965 was about 109 minutes. Here they have a series of 6 episodes which will afford them a lot more time to develop the storyline and characters. We very much would like to see the atoll appear in the series.  That whole part of the book wasn’t in the movie, and we want to see what they do with it. It was our favorite part of the book.

LUCY BOYNTON

Lucy Boynton gave us her insights and said that her character, Jean Courtney, is an interesting woman in the 1960s liberation environment – a very interesting era. Here, we may find out more about Jean's personal life. She was an intriguing character in the book but limited. In this series, we will see more of her personality and her in an expanded professional role. They reminded us that the book is written in the first person. Remember, Harry was the first person in the novel and didn’t get a name until the film. Therefore, some of the characters, including Jean need to have their roles expanded, which they do here. So that’s one of the things we mentioned we’d like to have seen in the movie. We’ll get that here. Two things Lucy Boynton said about Jean that grabbed our attention were “She uses that societal underestimation of young women to her advantage” and “She’s such a commentary on what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry.” As for the first quote, Lucy Boynton also mentioned that Jean can hide in plain sight. She also tells us that in the book and the movie, Jean is Harry’s assistant. However, in the series, Jean is an agent in her own right and is “bloody good at what she does.

ASHLEY THOMAS

Ashley Thomas, who plays Maddox, fleshes out the character of an African American in the 1960s – a very capable man with twists and turns - who is in a position of power, so it is interesting to explore this dynamic of an African American in that time. In the series, he has a sense of humor, smiles during some tense moments which relives the serious scenes a bit. Ashley said that he approaches each character with respect (accents, back story, etc.) and wanted to get that unique perspective on 1960s African Americans. He also liked the fish and chips in Liverpool where they filmed a lot of this series.  We like to hear comments like this in press briefings.  It lets us learn more about the talent involved in the production. Ashley talks about how his character is expanded, especially for an African American in a time of racial oppression. He said they made “sure these things were addressed, and I wasn’t just shoehorned into the series. So, I was really excited with what John and James had come up with for the character. He’s a very capable man and many people who are African American or just black whether in the UK or in the US are very capable. Given the state of society at that time weren’t given those opportunities.” He then says “He’s in a position of power. He’s going to have to be very good, if not better than some of his counterparts to be in those positions.” He mentions how black people were often not shown in positions of power in that period. They then commented that his first onscreen line is “Yes, that’s right, I’m black”. So, with both Jean and Maddox, the humanity that John Hodge talks about will come through.

TOM HOLLANDER

Tom Hollander, playing Major Dalby said it was a strong script by John Hodge – witty, economical, authentic to the period, while still making things fresh. Dalby, he thinks, is a “headmaster” type – complicated and slightly jaded. He looked at the script, looked at the original film but did not finish the book. We like that Hollander says that Dalby was fun to play. That “headmaster”, “slightly jaded” points he mentioned probably added to his fun. Hollander is such a good actor that it was good to hear his excitement for this role. Dalby is a huge part of the story. He also commented on how the writers, John and James, were quite receptive to character development ideas from the actors. Which, he said doesn’t always happen.  We like hearing when the writers and directors take input from the actor. We think we see better performances when the actor has that input. He or she has an idea of how they want to play a role and having the powers that be buy-in is great to see.

JOE COLE

Joe Cole plays Harry Palmer. Joe said that he was not really familiar with Harry Palmer, but after speaking with people, he realized what an important character he is. He saw the Michael Caine stuff, he said but still did his own thing. He looked at the book, watched the movie, but did not want to do a Michael Caine impersonation – he wanted to do his own thing with it. We thought that was a good insight on his part. It would be so easy for an actor to take on an iconic role and just try to duplicate what the first guy did. And with Michael Caine’s style, it would be easy to fall into an impersonation. So, it’s good to see Cole acknowledge or recognize that and point out that he didn’t want to just do an impersonation. He also talked about the point of working-class versus his superiors. When Joe was asked how it felt to put on those glasses for the first time, Joe said: it was important to get them right and he tried a lot on – haircut, glasses clothes – all important. He joked that “the glasses were a great thing to hide behind!” And he admitted they were non-prescription. From the clips we have seen, Joe does a bang-up, brilliant job as Harry Palmer. They did keep the glasses thing as part of the Harry Palmer image!

JAMES WATKINS

James Watkins – the Series Director said, they started with Joe Cole as Harry Palmer and built around that. He suggested that Joe has that intersection of gentleness and knowing the world is against him. He said that Joe as Harry uses humor well and is the kind of guy you want to hang out with like Hans Solo. One thing that Watkins mentioned that hit home for us was that Len Deighton describes Harry Palmer as “a winner who puts himself across as a loser.” He is angry and he’s got insolence. “Joe and I spent a lot of time trying to capture that tone.” The opening shot of the show is of the glasses – out of focus, then in focus with the glasses on – like the movies. This was another from our list of items we liked in our podcasts on the movie.

JOHN HODGE

Hodge added that the series comments on social attitudes – social issues, mobility. That era in the 1960s had freedom promised but not always delivered. We saw that in the movie, but it was filmed in the 60s. So, it’s good to see that they kept that feel.

THE TEAM INTERACTION

Lucy Boynton, playing Jean Courtney, said that Joe Cole brought a sense of humor and the freedom to have fun with it. Her character, Jean, was a person who was impenetrable – and Harry was the first to penetrate that. Joe was asked if Harry was an anti-James Bond? Joe says he read that somewhere. He is very different and sees Harry as working class, who doesn’t have a lot of money, and who is hyper-intelligent and he’s fun. Cole says” The most important thing for me was to try to capture that.” The trick was making Harry likable too – likable but facetious, a balance. He wants to push a few buttons that make Harry tough and critical, but also likable. Cole gave an example of this when he described a scene from the beginning of the first episode when Harry is with Jean. He talked about how the writing and Lucy’s powerful performance as Jean in this scene really could make Harry “look like a dick”, and how he had to make Harry likable. The repartee between Joe as Harry and Tom as Dalby is great! Tom says it is in the taught, witty script – “dynamic class stuff in it!” They talked about how Harry knows he is trapped (forced to be a spy) but that Dalby is also trapped in a way – “both dancing on their own pinheads – restricted by the world that is theirs.” Joe also gave us some insight into acting with an accomplished actor like Tom Hollander playing Dalby. Joe initially thought that in his first scenes with Dalby, Harry would have a swagger about him. But then he thought, no, Tom will see right through that. So, he quashed those ideas and went with what John had written. You don’t hear actors talk too much like that, so we thought this was refreshing to hear. We thought that was a great insight. And you can see that in the characters themselves. Brilliant.

LOCATIONS

In general, they commented that locations were important for the character’s journey. James Watkins, the director says that they are going to some of the places that were in the book that they didn't have in the movie due to budgetary constraints. YES!!!! This makes us very happy because we saw the movie first and then read the book. There is a section of the book on an atoll that wasn’t in the movie but makes it into the series. We mentioned it in our podcasts on the movies. We didn't miss it in the movie since we saw it first, but after reading the book, we missed it immensely in the movie. Len Deighton’s description of this part of the story was so vivid we can’t wait to see what they do with it here in the series. We’re so glad they will have that and Beirut and Finland in the series. YES!!! Watkins also said that "James Bond is a superhero movie whereas Harry Palmer is a real person. He wants to not work on his weekends, and he wants to reclaim his expenses, is interested about what he's cooking. It's real life" he’s a real guy and the plot in the series is to get to know the characters and hang out with them. As for filming in Liverpool, they all said they liked Liverpool.
  • Tom Hollander said they liked Liverpool because it was full of amazing buildings and history – bits of Britain from the 1960s still there.
  • Ashley said it was the first production in the UK during Covid – so there were adjustments with masks, etc.
  • Joe said he liked Liverpool, while Lucy said she had not been to Liverpool before.
We found it was interesting to hear about how the pandemic lockdowns affected their experience.

COSTUMES

As for costumes, James Watkins said they looked at stuff from the 1960s so they could “incorporate elements of the character information” through the costumes. For instance, there is a collision between the way Dalby and Palmer dress – the class thing again.  Class is very important in this story.

THE COLOR PALETTE

As for the color palette in general: they wanted to show a bleached color palate – to look like 1965 – dirty whites, grit – more life textures in terms of costumes and design. A pattern of dirtiness. We thought this discussion was great. No one talks about this. Yes, people talk about the virtues of shooting on film or digital, but they normally don’t explain why they like one or the other. But Watkins talked about the differences here. He said that he and the cinematographer, Tim Maurice Jones, spent a lot of time on that. How to take a chemical film approach to digital film. how to make the reds right. They are plum red; the whites are dirty ivory whites. He said that if you film a white wall on digital it's all ones and zeros and it looks the same from frame to frame to frame, on film each frame is a different photochemical composition so there is a grain structure to it. Yes, this was geeky, but it helped us understand the differences and the challenges of trying to shoot something today and make it look like the 60s.  We loved this discussion.

CAMERA ANGLES

Another topic from this part of the discussion with Watkins scares Tom Pizzato, from Spy Movie Navigator, a bit, but not Dan Silvestri. Watkins mentions that there are off-kilter camera angles in the series. He says they looked at the movie The Third Man for inspiration. Remember at the beginning of this podcast we mentioned that the tricky camera angles in the movie, The Ipcress File, bothered Pizzato. Harry Saltzman, who produced the movie, got into disagreements with the director of the movie about them.  It was editor Peter Hunt who convinced Saltzman that they worked. Pizzato is wary about this while Silvestri loved the variety and unique camera angles in the original movie! One of Pizzato’s concerns here is that the cinematographer for the series is Tim Maurice-Jones. He was also the Director of Photography for the just-released movie The 355. In our review of that movie, we commented on the shakiness and off-plane camera shots, especially for the close-in fight scenes. Pizzato didn't like those. So, we’ll have to see what Watkins means with the “off-kilter” camera angles here in this series.

KEVIN LYGO FROM ITV

ITV’s Director of Television, Kevin Lygo, came on at end of the discussion and said that this is a great production – movie quality. The team joked around a bit that this was a higher-level production than what ITV normally produces. They compared it to a big-budget Netflix series. And from what we saw, it looked like that for sure.

OUR WRAP UP

If you look at the list we mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, it looks like this team kept the stuff we liked from the movie The Ipcress File and except for the off-kilter camera stuff, addressed the stuff we didn’t like. We can’t wait for this to come out. The atoll was a bit later in the book, so we’ll probably have to wait for a few episodes to see it, but this press conference has us on the edge of my seat waiting for March when this comes out. Finally, it was great to be invited to the press conference – we were two of 64 journalists around the world on the call, so this was pretty special!  We want to thank ITV for inviting us to this press conference for the upcoming ITV series “The Ipcress File”. Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato are the creators of the website SpyMovieNavigator.com.  We create podcasts, YouTube videos, and more focusing on spy movies.  Our podcast and our YouTube channel share the name “Cracking the Code of Spy Movies”! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@SpyNavigator), and Instagram too! And we welcome you to join our private Facebook group, The Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans!

Spy Movie News – January 25, 2022

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Here’s our Spy Movie News for January 25, 2022!    Bond IMAX and VFX, Mission Impossible - really!, Blacklight, The Bricklayer, Conmen, Eraser: Reborn, The 355, Miénteme, Red Notice, To Catch a Thief, and more!

ONLY ONE SPY MOVIE SCHEDULED TO RELEASE IN FEBRUARY 2022

We have one new spy movie scheduled for a theatrical release in February 2022 in the US.  Liam Neeson stars in Blacklight.   As the official website, BlacklightMov.com says,” In BLACKLIGHT, LIAM NEESON is Travis Block, an operative whose discovery of a dark secret pits him against the FBI director he once swore to protect.” The US release date is February 11.  So, we get a 2/11/22 release date.  There is a staggard release date worldwide, so you’ll need to watch for it in your country.  

UPCOMING SPY MOVIES

So, on to the news of spy movies in development.  We’re not sure when we’ll see them, but we are looking forward to their releases.

The Bricklayer

Aaron Eckhart has signed for the upcoming spy movie The Bricklayer.   According to Deadline.com, In The Bricklayer, someone is blackmailing the CIA by assassinating foreign journalists and making it look like the agency is responsible. As the world begins to unite against the U.S., the CIA must lure its most brilliant – and rebellious – operative out of retirement, forcing him to confront his checkered past while unraveling an international conspiracy. What is it with these spy movies pulling operatives out of retirement lately?

Miénteme

Filming has started for the Chilean-Argentine romcom/spy movie Miénteme, which translates to “Lie to me” in English.   This movie has actor Lucas Akoskin playing opposite his real-life wife, Leonor Varela.  We’re not sure how a romantic comedy/spy movie will work, but we’ll check it out for you when it comes out and let you know.   Distribution hasn’t been set yet.   You can read more about Miénteme on Yahoo.com.

Conmen

Cory Hardrict will star opposite Neil Brown Jr. in Conmen.  This is the first movie produced by Hardrict’s  Hardcor Films.  The high-level plot has two black conmen, posing as FBI agents.  They try to con a heroin dealer who is a Klansman and this Sherrif’s son. No release date has been set for Conmen.

Eraser: Reborn

In 1996, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred as U.S. Marshall John Kruger in the movie Eraser.  Well, Johnathan Fuge tells us that a reboot, titled Eraser: Reborn was shot in the summer of 2021 in secret. It has received an R rating and is expected to be released sometime this spring. Eraser: Reborn does not bring back John Kruger.  Instead, Dominic Sherwood plays a new U.S. Marshall, Mason Pollard.  The synopsis on IMDB says: “It is based on U.S. Marshal Mason Pollard who is specialized in engineering the fake deaths of witnesses that leaves no trace of their existence.”

To Catch a Thief

We loved the original Hitchcock movie, To Catch A Thief.  It starred Cary Grant who played an ex-cat burglar who had to prove he was falsely accused of another burglary.   Well, Gal Godot will be starring in a remake of this classic movie.  We don’t know how the plot will be changed, but we look forward to this one.  You can find out more about To Catch a Thief on MovieWeb.com.

Mission: Impossible

It is getting impossible to release Mission: Impossible 7 and 8

Well, the twice-delayed Mission: Impossible movies have hit another delay.   We should remember that Mission: Impossible 7 was originally slated to release in November 2021.  Then it was pushed to September 2022.  Now Paramount and Skydance have announced the most recent pandemic-related delays for Mission: Impossible 7 & 8.  The new release dates are now July 14, 2023, for Mission: Impossible 7 and June 28, 2024, for Mission: Impossible 8.  Ugh.

 

CURRENT SPY MOVIES

The 355

So, let’s shift gears and talk about the most recently released spy movie, The 355.   We released a no-spoiler review of this movie on January 9th. There has been some news about this movie, mostly about its box office, or lack thereof.

Box Office for The 355

An article in Variety points out that The 355 only had a $4.8 million North America haul.  Well, we just looked at BoxOfficeMojo.com and found that The 355 currently has a $16.5 million box office as we record this Newscast. This is against a production budget of about $40 million.

Given the movie’s female focus, getting young men to the theater to see it has been a challenge.  It appears young men are spending their money on Scream and Spider-Man: No Way Home and not much else.

The spy movie The King’s Man, which was released before Christmas outperformed The 355 this past weekend, even though The King’s Man has been in theaters 2 weeks longer than The 355.

For their sake, we hope The 355 has a good digital rental release.  We want spy movies to make money.

Lupita Nyongo didn’t attend the virtual press day

Lupita Nyongo, one of the leads in The 355 did not attend the virtual press day.   She had a good reason to miss this as she had tested positive for COVID-19.  She tweeted “I too have tested positive for COVID-10.  I’m fully vaccinated and taking care in isolation.”  We hope she’s recovered and is doing well by now.

Is The 355 a remake of the first Mission: Impossible movie?

In our January 9th no spoiler review of The 355, we mentioned a few similarities between The 355 and other movies.  However, we kept spoilers out of that podcast.

Our friend, Mike Reyes at Cinemablend.com has an interesting take on The 355 and its use of tropes from other movies, specifically the first Mission: Impossible movie. He’s written an article containing spoilers that compares The 355 with Mission: Impossible.  We will warn you that he has spoilers in the article so you might want to wait until you’ve seen The 355.  Reyes is dead on with his analysis here.

Red Notice

Since the Netflix movie Red Notice was released, we’ve been speculating that there will be sequels to this movie.   Well, according to an article by Mike Fleming Jr, two sequels are planned.  The thought is to shoot them back-to-back which is becoming a trend with successful movies.   Fleming says that the goal is to bring back the three main stars, Dwyane Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds. He also says that Rawson Marshall Thurber, who wrote Red Notice, has already started writing the sequels.

James Bond

For a franchise that released its last movie back in September, there were a lot of articles written about James Bond in January. Many of them are speculation about which actor or actress will be chosen to carry on the role of James Bond.  However, some of them talk about the making of No Time To Die.

IMAX Re-Release

By now we assume you’ve had a chance to see the movie No Time To Die.  If you haven’t, the movie was rereleased beginning on January 21st in select IMAX locations. According to Mike Reyes, this release is to help celebrate James Bond’s 60th anniversary.  It will include a special James Bond 60th Anniversary Logo.  Reyes comments that he thinks the other Bond movies should get theatrical releases as part of the 60th Anniversary celebration.  He points out that the Prince Charles Cinema in London started running all of the James Bond movies in release order through SPECTRE starting January 20th and running through July 2022. He comments that he wishes other theaters or MGM itself would follow suit on a global basis.

NO TIME TO DIE VFX Team discussion

Variety’s The Shortlist Virtual FYC Fest held a panel discussion with the No Time To Die VFX Supervisors.  This was an excellent 31-minute discussion moderated by Jazz Rangcay, the Senior Artisans Editor at Variety.

Charlie Noble, who was the visual effects supervisor on No Time To Die, talks about how visual effects can help augment the practical side of moviemaking.  He says “We sort of pick up the bat where other departments leave off. They go as far as they can…and then we take over”.

Special Effects Supervisor Chris Corbould adds “The thing I think was so fantastic about it [was that] it was all invisible. It didn’t jump out at you as being, ‘Look, this is the greatest visual effects ever.’ It was just a marvelous blending of what they do creatively”.

The discussion breaks down scenes such as the DB5 donut stunt and gives some great background on what they did there.

You can see this discussion on Variety.com.

That Was One Big Explosion

Many James Bond movies have set Guinness World Records for their explosions.  The boat explosion in Thunderball was an early example. SPECTRE set a record for its explosion.

Well, according to an article on CinemaBlend.com, NO TIME TO DIE obliterated an explosion record. The big explosions at the climax of No Time To Die set the record for the most high explosives in one shot.    The previous record was for 65 kilograms of high explosives in one shot. They used 140 kilograms for the climax.  Boom.

The official 007 YouTube channel has a video with Chris Corbould talking about this record if you want to see more.

 

MOVIE INDUSTRY NEWS

Piracy has cost Black Widow a lot of money

We just talked about explosions.  Well, here’s a discussion that will blow your mind. In previous podcasts, we’ve talked about the impact of day-and-date release schedules for movies.  if you aren’t familiar with the term, it means releasing a movie in theaters and Paid Video on Demand or streaming on the same day.  This was brought about by the pandemic, but the pandemic showed some flaws in the system.   Some distributors released using day-and-date, others shortened their theatrical window or the amount of time a movie will be in theaters only. You also had movies like Red Notice that everyone was told was being put out by Netflix.  So, everyone assumed it was a tv movie first.  When Netflix finally decided to release it in theaters a few days before streaming it and marketed that decision badly in our opinion, it tanked in the theater.  It performed very well on Netflix but had terrible box office numbers. Deadline.com has a fairly comprehensive breakdown of the impact of day-and-date on movies.   Some of the data is sparse due to the limited ways to get the data, but it is telling nonetheless. The stat that blew us away has to do with the movie Black Widow.  The article estimates that due to the data-and-date release of Black Widow, about $600 million was lost to Disney due to piracy.   This is because once a movie streams, it is pirated almost immediately.   Now we get why Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over their decision.  

IN MEMORIUM

This leads us to our In Memorium section of today’s news.  This is a long list with some giants from the entertainment industry.

Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier passed away at the age of 94.  This much-celebrated actor was the first of four black actors to win the Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award for his role in Lillies of the Field. For spy movie fans you may remember that he played Roy Parmenter in Little Nikita.

Marilyn Bergman

We’re sad to pass on the news that Marilyn Bergman passed away at the age of 93.  She was a well-honored lyricist.  Usually working together with her husband Alan, she received three Academy Awards, four Emmy Awards, three Grammy awards.  Spy movie fans will know her for the lyrics to the title song to the James Bond movie Never Say Never Again, which she wrote with her husband.

Mace Neufeld

Mace Neufeld has also passed on at the age of 93. Spy movie fans will know his work as the producer of Jack Ryan movies and the Amazon Prime series “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”.

Hardy Kruger

German actor Hardy Kruger has also passed away at the age of 93.  Kruger is probably best known for his roles in A Bridge Too Far or Barry Lyndon. Spy movie fans may know him from his roles in The Spy Who Never Was, The Inside Man, or The Defector.

Michel Subor

French actor Michel Subor passed away at the age of 86. Spy movie fans may remember him from his movies such as Le Petit Soldat, Beau Travail, and the 1960 Hitchcock movie Topaz.

Yvette Mimieux

And finally, we lost Yvette Mimieux at the age of 80.  Her most well-known roles were in Light in the Piazza and Toys in the Attic.  However, spy movie fans may know her as Kim Stacy in the 1970 movie The Delta Factor. So, that's a wrap of the January 25, 2022, Spy Movie News, brought to you by SpyMovieNavigator.com – please Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies, right now on your favorite podcast app, and know when new episodes come out and more - Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too!

Spy Movie News – Dec. 29 2021

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Here’s our Spy Movie News for December 29 2021!   Spy movies coming in 2022, The Kingsman series,  Argylle, Red Notice, Mission: Impossible 7, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, The Duke and more! Happy New Year!! Let’s start with a quick Happy 50th anniversary to the James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever. We have a three podcasts that we’ve done on this movie.  You can hear them on your favorite podcast app on the channel: Cracking the Code of Spy Movies.  Subscribe!

What Spy Movie Fans Have to Look for in January 2022

We only have one spy movie expected to release in January 2022.  That is the movie The 355.  This movie is named a female spy in the American Revolution.  Her name was never identified. The movie, The 355, is about a team of female spies trying to track down a stolen top-secret weapon.  It stars Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, and Lupita Nyon’go,  and Bingbing Fan. The other movie that we have been waiting for that was to release in January, Operation Mincemeat has been pushed in the UK and Ireland until April 22nd.  This is due to the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.  This movie tells the story of the real-World War II spy mission that we have mentioned in many of our podcasts.  And Ian Fleming, in Naval Intelligence at the time, was involved in helping to organize this mission.  In the US it is supposed to stream on Netflix, but we don't have a release date for that yet.

2022 Movie News

There is a lot of news about upcoming spy movies due after January.  Let’s take a look at these projects.

Kingsman Series

The movie, The King’s Man, was released last week to tepid box office numbers.  We released our no-spoiler, quick-fire review about this movie last week. Although it has received mixed reviews, we liked this movie a lot. One big problem with this movie was its timing.  It had been delayed multiple times due to the pandemic and was released a week after Spider-Man: No Way Home, which hauled in the 3rd most opening weekend revenue of all time, not just the pandemic.  No Way Home has now eclipsed $1 billion worldwide. It appears that audiences only went to see No Way Home and Sing 2 this holiday season. Almost every other movie had less than stellar box office. To put the numbers in perspective, according to HollywoodReporter.com, No Way Home had an estimated 5-day holiday North America weekend box office of $138.6 million.  The King’s Man is estimated to have only taken in $10 million during this stretch, barely beating American Underdog. But the plan for Kingsman movies is massive. According to Matthew Vaughn, in the Mike Reyes article on Cinemablend.com - Vaughn says there are plans to start filming Kingsman 3 in 2022, and maybe even a Statesman -The King’s Man 2, and maybe even a spinoff on streaming services of some Statesman stuff. . .  who knows – but the plans are big!  We are looking forward to this. As we mentioned in our quick-fire review of The King’s Man, the mid-credit scene at the end of the movie has a nice setup for a The King’s Man sequel. In that article on Cinemablend, Vaughan says “The King’s Man, that’s the experiment.  Can the franchise expand into two different shapes and forms but still have that the world of Kingsman underneath it.  So, if people like it and go see it, then yeah, we’ll keep expanding.” We hope the lackluster box office take for The King’s Man doesn’t scuttle these plans. We have a podcast for each of the prior Kingsman movies discussing the real-life events and other movies that influenced or were influenced by the movie. (Kingsman: The Secret Service episode, Kingsman: The Golden Circle episode)

Argylle

As if Matthew Vaughan hasn’t been busy enough with the Kingsman movies, he is also doing the upcoming Apple+ movie (and a planned trilogy of movies), Argylle.  According to HollywoodReporter.com, This movie is scheduled to release in 2022.  Although Apple+ is a streaming service Vaughan says “a theatrical release of some kind is still in the cards.” “So we’re discussing how to give it the right cinematic release, not necessarily the normal cinematic release. It’d be a cinematic release that is right for Argylle, and Argylle is quite specific and different. So weirdly, it lends itself to a whole new way of being released.”

Red Notice

We mentioned in the November 30th Spy Movie News episode that Red Notice was likely to become the most-watched movie in Netflix history.   Well, Cinemablend.com’s Dirk Libbey reports that Red Notice has achieved this milestone. It is now the most-watched original movie on the streaming service, and with a solid, positive audience score. Well, in that same episode we told you that director Rawson Marshal Thurber thinks it is “a real possibility that there will be a sequel.”  With the success of Red Notice, we think it is probably likely, not just a possibility, that we’ll see that sequel.

Mission: Impossible 7

Mission: Impossible 7 has faced lots of issues in its filming, from Covid to Cruise blow-ups and more.   But - Christopher McQuarrie is committed!  The director of the last two and next two  Mission: Impossible movies, had been contact-traced for Covid, and directed some scenes through his computer at home!   He states that this Mission: Impossible is the biggest of them all.     Check out Adreon Patterson’s article on CinemaBlend.com.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre brings us an unlikely pair teaming up for a new spy movie, Jason Statham and Aubrey Plaza.  They are kind of like The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s unlikely team of Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin.   As discussed on Cinemablend.com, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is about an arms dealer (played by Hugh Grant) trying to sell weapons.  Statham and Plaza are agents trying to stop this from happening.  Josh Hartnett,  Bugzy Malone, and Cary Elwes round out the cast. Guy Ritchie’s movie is scheduled for release in 2022 and promises to be a good one.

The Duke

Ok, this one isn’t a spy movie so why are we going to talk about the movie The Duke?  Well, first it stars Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent so it’s likely to be good. And second, this movie is about the real-world art heist of the Goya portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London.  This heist is referenced visually in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, as Bond pauses and looks at this painting in Dr. No’s lair.   The painting had been stolen before Dr. No was filmed and the case wasn’t yet solved. So, Eon Productions used this recent heist as a subtle call out in the movie.   We’re looking to see the whole story of the heist in The Duke with its planned March 25th, 2022 release.

Memory

As seen in Deadline.com, the movie Memory is slated for its US theatrical release on April 29, 2022.  Memory stars Liam Neeson once again playing an assassin, this time named Alex Lewis.  He is being tracked by an FBI agent Vincent Sera played by Guy Pearce.  The title comes from Lewis’ fading memory and its impact on his actions.   The movie, directed by Martin Campbell also stars Monica Belluci.

Kandahar

Kandahar is currently filming in Saudi Arabia. This movie, set in Afghanistan, stars Gerard Butler.  He plays an undercover CIA operative who has to fight his way out of hostile territory in Afghanistan. He has to get out and avoid the special forces trying to catch him.  Deadline.com reports that Nina Toussaint-White and Bahador Foladi have recently joined the cast.

The Gray Man

Joe Russo thinks  The Gray Man shares the pedigree of the 1995 movie Heat.  In an article on MovieWeb.com, Russo points out how in The Gray Man two great actors pitted against each other.  Russo sees this like the Robert De Niro, Al Pacino battle in Heat. The movie is about a former CIA operative, known as The Gray Man who is hunted by his former CIA partner.  It is based on the 2009 novel with the same name. The novel is the first of a series of 11 novels so sequels are likely if this one is a success. We’ve been talking about this movie in many Spy Movie News episodes, including discussing its fabulous cast and can’t wait.   Filming wrapped in August 2021 and will be distributed by Netflix. No release date has been set.

James Bond News

The next actor to play Bond

Well, if you have seen No Time To Die, we know that James Bond will return.   But who will play Bond?   Well, according to Cinemablend.com, Tom Hardy is still in the lead. . . . but other potential Bonds are making a comeback!    They base this on the numbers from the betting firm, Coral. Here are the top 5 ratings, with 3 tied at 8-1 as of now:
  • Tom Hardy - 4-1
  • Regé-Jean Page - 9-2
  • Henry Cavill - 6-1
  • Tom Hopper - 7-1
  • Idris Elba, Richard Madden and James Norton - 8-1
so who will it be? Of course, no one knows. And Barbara Broccoli says they will start their search in 2022.  Well, we think they may have a shortlist they will work from – but, what do we know?! Barbara Broccoli also said in another CinemaBlend.com article, that she thinks it will be a man, should be British, but could be any ethnicity or race, and that more great roles should be created for women so that they can make more movies about women in strong roles for women.

Will No Time To Die make a profit?

We’ve been talking about No Time To Die’s revenue goals and speculated if it would make a profit for awhile now.  Well, as Mike Reyes reports, here is MGM’s response: “Unnamed and uninformed sources suggesting the film will lose money are categorically unfounded and put more simply, not true. The film has far exceeded our theatrical estimates in this timeframe, becoming the highest-grossing Hollywood film in the international marketplace and passing F9 to become the highest-grossing Hollywood film since the pandemic. With the PVOD release of the film already doing stellar home viewing business, all while continuing to hold well theatrically, No Time To Die will earn a profit for MGM, both as an individual film title and as part of MGM’s incredible library.” So there.  They will make a profit – but this quote was made before Spider-Man: No Way Home kicked all movies’ butts, as we said earlier. At least in Chicago, No Time To Die just ended its theatrical run after this last weekend.  It is still available for POVD and on home media so the numbers will continue to go up.   According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, as of this recording, No Time To Die has taken in $774 million in worldwide theatrical revenue.

The Sound of 007

Deadline.com tells us that Apple is planning a documentary looking at the history and origin of the music of the James Bond movies, called The Sound of 007.  This documentary is due in October 2022 as a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the movie franchise. It will look at the music from Dr. No through No Time To Die.  It will include interviews and show archive material.  This sounds like something for any Bond fan to look forward to.

Bond alumni to be honored as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours

Two James Bond alumni will be among those honored as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours. According to DailyMail, Joanna Lumley was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1995.  Now, she will be made a Dame in recognition for her work in support of the Gurkhas well as her work on television and movies.   Bond fans know her as The English Girl, the British Angel of Death in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. And Daniel Craig will be appointed to The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George as a CMG (or Companion). According to the official website www.royal.uk: this order was originally bestowed solely upon those in high positions in the Mediterranean, the Order of St Michael and St George now recognizes service in a foreign country, or in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs, for example the work of foreign-service officers and diplomats. We guess parachuting into the Olympics with the Queen didn’t hurt. Congratulations to both Joanna Lumley and Daniel Craig.

In Memorium

Tommy Lane

We’re saddened to announce the passing of actor Tommy Lane.  Spy movie fans will remember him as Adam in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die where he played one of Kananga’s henchmen in the speedboat chase.

Jack Hedley

Actor Jack Hedly has died at 92. The majority of his work was on television.  But he also had a movie career. Spy movie fans will remember him as Melina’s father,  Sir Timothy Havelock, in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only.

Richard Conway

Richard Conway has died at 79.  Conway a special effects supervisor was nominated for the Academy Award for The Adventures of Baron Munchausenin 1990.  He worked often with Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame.  In addition, he worked on Battle of Britain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the spy spoof Johnny English. Well, that’s a wrap of our Spy Movie News for December 29 2021!  Start the new year off right and Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies through your favorite podcast app – that helps us out, and you will know about all the episodes we launch in the new year!   Happy New year to all!

Spy Movie News Nov. 30 2021 article: James Bond, Craig, Mission: Impossible 8, The King’s Man, The Night Agent, and More!

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

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Here’s our Spy Movie News for November 30, 3021!  The King's Man is coming, Christmas gifts, No Time To Die box office performance, The ROCK as Bond?, More Red Notices? Mission: Impossible 8, "The Night Agent", "A Spy Among Friends", and more No Time To Die News – Craig wanted what?

What Spy Movie Fans Have to Look for in December 2021

We’ll start this newscast by telling you about two things happening in December 2021: First, The King’s Man gets released on December 22nd.  This is the prequel to the first two Kingsman movies.  To help with the hype, another trailer has been released. You can find it here on YouTube.  We’ll have our no-spoiler, quick-fire review of that movie out by Christmas. We’ve been waiting for this movie which was delayed due to the pandemic.

And second, just in time for Christmas, No Time To Die will have its home release on December 20. It will be available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and 4k Ultra HD. According to an article on DigitalSpy.com, “The home release comes with more than an hour of bonus content that delves into the action, spectacle, and stunts of Daniel Craig's final Bond outing, while the 4K release has the Being James Bond documentary and four exclusive featurettes.”

James Bond

No Time To Die Overtakes Fast & Furious 9

No Time To Die has overtaken Fast & Furious 9 for the Hollywood box office lead for 2021.  It has grossed $734 million at the global box office, with 21% of the revenue coming from the domestic (US) markets. We’ve talked about the importance of the non-domestic box office for Bond in the previous podcasts. It is still behind Chinese movies Hi, Mom and The Battle of Changjin which are at around $882 million for 2021. If we look at Daniel Craig’s run, according to Box Office Mojo, Spectre hit 22.7%  US/domestic for $200 million from an $880 million worldwide take. Skyfall hit 27% US/ domestic and $304 mill in US/domestic revenue and $1.1 billion worldwide. Quantum of Solace hit 28% US/domestic for $168 million of its $589 million worldwide haul.  Finally, Daniel Craig’s first Bond movie, Casino Royale, had 27% US/Domestic from its worldwide $616 million gross.  We’ve previously talked about the speculation that No Time To Die needs to take in $900 million to break even. So, domestically here in the US, this movie has slipped a bit in terms of its US percentage.  That was one of the risks of releasing during the pandemic. In fact, an article on Forbes.com says that No Time To Die has broken an odd box office record.  When it crossed $700 million worldwide, it had only pulled in $150 million US/domestically.  It now has the honor of having the lowest domestic gross of any movie that has pulled in at least $700 million worldwide.

Hollywood Music in Media Awards

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell have a follow-up to winning the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Song Written For Visual Media for “No Time To Die”.  The same song won Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell the “Song- Feature Film” award at the Hollywood Music Awards. You can read more about this on Variety.com. Could this be a foreshadowing of the upcoming Academy Awards? Nominations will be announced on February 8th.

The Rock as James Bond?

In our February podcast on You Only Live Twice, we mentioned that Dwayne Johnson’s grandfather, Peter Maivia was in that movie.  (He was the guy who carried Bond in from the car into Osato’s office, where a fight ensued). In an interview with Esquire, Dwayne Johnson talks of his desire to be in a James Bond movie, like his grandfather, although not as a villain.   As Johnson put it: "And I would like to follow in his footsteps... and be the next Bond," he admitted. "I don't want to be a villain. Gotta be Bond."

One More James Bond Item

We have one more James Bond item at the end of this newscast.  If you’ve seen No Time To Die, you’ll want to check it out. We have it at the end in case you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want any spoilers.

Red Notice

Red Notice Sets Netflix Record

An article on Yahoo.com tells us that Red Notice is number 2 on Netflix’s Top 10 Most Popular English Films of all time, just behind Bird Box.  What makes this so impressive, is that while Birdbox had 282 million views in its first 28 days, Red Notice is at 277.0 million views in its first 10 days. By the time you hear this, it likely will have passed Bird Box. We’re intrigued as this movie is one of those movies that has been panned by critics, but fans supposedly are eating it up.  Red Notice has a 35% TomatoMeter rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but has a 92% audience score, although only a 72% when including all audience ratings.  The TomatoMeter rating is based on what percentage of verified critics gave a movie a positive review.  The audience score requires a 3.5 or higher rating. So, why does a movie with these types of reviews, get this good of audience ratings?  Well, having three box office stars has to help a lot. Also, it isn’t a terrible movie, just not a great movie.   If you already have a Netflix subscription there is no additional cost to stream it.  We saw it in the movie theater initially and that was a mistake in our opinion.  While it is fine to watch it at home, we would not subscribe to Netflix just to watch this movie.

Is there a Red Notice Prequel, Or Two, In The Works?

Ok, in looking at these numbers, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  In an interview on TheHollywoodReporter.com, director Rawson Marshal Thurber comments about a possible sequel to Red Notice. Red Notice had a price tag approaching $300 million which is why it was the most expensive Netflix movie ever.  Universal jettisoned this project as the costs escalated.  A big part of the high costs is the fact that it has three stars on it.  As Thurber says “The above-the-line number is very, very high. When you make a Mission: Impossible, let’s say, you have one Tom Cruise. We’ve got three Tom Cruises in this movie.”  Additionally, he says that the costs of the masquerade ball escalated quickly due to filming changes due to the pandemic. “we had to shoot it in layers, in plates, and stitch those pieces together. That is why the budget went up. We started the movie with 400 visual effects shots — it wasn’t a visual effects movie at all — and ended with 1,500 or so.” So, as for a sequel to Red Notice, Thurber says “I think that is a real possibility. If we were to make a sequel, the only responsible thing would be to make two and three back-to-back. It’s such a big production, and if you can mount it one time, it will be better for everyone. Including for my mental health.” So, maybe there will be two.  We’ll see.

Section Eight

The upcoming movie Section Eight has added Mickey Rourke to the cast. He joins Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, Ryan Kwanten, and Dermot Mulroney in the cast.   According to an article on Variety.com: “The movie is the story of a former soldier who, after avenging the murder of his family, is sprung from prison and recruited by a shadowy government agency.”

The Night Agent

Ok, so this technically isn’t a spy MOVIE, but Netflix has cast Gabriel Basso and Luciane Buchanan in lead roles for the upcoming series “The Night Agent”.  This is a political thriller based on the novel with the same name, written by Matthew Quirk.  Basso plays a low-level FBI agent who mans an emergency hotline for American spies.  Oh yeah, he does this in the basement of the White House.  This could be an interesting series.

A Spy Among Friends

An article on Variety.com takes a first look at the upcoming streaming series, “A Spy Among Friends”. Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce will star as Nicholas Elliott and Kim Philby in the series based on the book of the same name.  Elliott and Philby were real spies and good friends at the height of the Cold War.  Sometimes friends betray friends as we’ll find out here.  This show is expected to be available via streaming in the fall of 2022.

Mission: Impossible 8

Tom Cruise did what?

It’s a topsy-turvy world that Cruise lives in.  An article on dailymail.co.uk shows pictures of Tom Cruise filming a scene for Mission: Impossible 8.  In the scene, Cruise hangs upside down from the wing of an airplane.  It was a 1941 biplane. We’ve seen wing walkers before, but never with the star doing the stunt.  Mission: Impossible 8 isn’t set to hit theaters until July 7, 2023, so we have to wait a while to see what this looks like in the movie. You can wait forever and you’d never see me do this stunt – or most anyone.  Kudos to Cruise for doing this one.

In Memoriam

Gavan O’Herlihy

We’re sad to report the passing of Gavan O’Herlihy. He’s probably best known for playing Richie Cunningham’s brother Chuck on the first season of the tv series “Happy Days”.  James Bond fans will remember Gavan as playing Jack Petachi in the 1983 movie Never Say Never Again. He also appeared in the 1995 spy movie Hidden Assasin.

Jo-Carroll Dennison

1942 Miss America winner, Jo-Carroll Dennison has passed at age 97.  In the spy movie world, Ms. Dennison played Frieda in the 1944 movie Ladies of Washington.

Peter Aykroyd

We also are saddened to hear of the loss of Peter Aykroyd. Best known for his work as a cast member and writer on “Saturday Night Live”.  Yes, he’s Dan’s brother but he showed that talent runs in the family.  In the spy movie world, Peter performed and wrote the song “Rock the house Down” for Spies Like Us.

So, this is why we had the ending in No Time To Die

We’re closing with this topic as it contains a spoiler for No Time To Die.  End the podcast now if you haven’t seen the movie and somehow avoided spoilers. You’ve been warned that this is a spoiler. An article on digitalspy.com talks about how Daniel Craig asked that when he left the franchise, that Bond would die.   This is according to Paul Duncan’s new book “The James Bond Archives: No Time To Die.”  Craig is quoted as saying “I would like to be killed off when I’m finished”.  If that’s true, that is one hell of an ego on Craig.  It also means we have to apologize to Purvis and Wade.  We’ve been harsh critics of their work. What they did in creating the sappy Bond we saw in this movie is not excusable. However, it looks like the ending wasn’t theirs.  Why Barbara and Michael would go along with this for 15 years is beyond us. It’s just hard to believe that an actor who was just taking over the role would want the character killed off when he was done. He hadn’t even done Casino Royale at this point.  Plus it makes his comments about not wanting to do another Bond movie after Spectre seem even more shallow.  

Spy Movie News October 26 2021 – James Bond, No Time to Die, Red Notice, The King’s Man, more!

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Here’s our October 26, 2021 edition of Spy Movie News with latest updates on James Bond and No Time To Die , Red Notice , The King’s Man, Wife of a Spy, and more.

James Bond

No Time To Die

As one might expect, there has been a lot of news about No Time To Die.  Most of that news falls into two categories:   How is the movie doing at the box office and explanations of the plot twists. There is a third Bond category that has ramped up considerably since No Time To Die’s release, and that is the speculation as to who will be the next James Bond.   We’ll talk about all of these today. The plot twist news contains spoilers so we will put those topics at the end of this newscast.

How is No Time To Die doing at the box office?

Pretty well worldwide, but not in the US. According to Deadline.com, No Time To Die has crossed $ 525 million in worldwide box office, with $ 400 million of that coming from overseas, making it the second Hollywood movie to hit $ 500 million this year (and really since 2019). This brings it to the number 2 spot for Global box office this year. The other was this year’s F9: The Fast Saga which has taken in over $ 716 million worldwide since its June release. We’ve talked about the impact of the non-US market on James Bond movies and the lead it has internationally over other spy movie franchises like Mission: Impossible and the Bourne series. That trend seems to be holding with No Time To Die.  We have to also remember that this movie is finally having its release in China this week and Australia on November 11 so there is some upside still to these numbers. In the UK and Germany, No Time To Die is running in line with Spectre and Skyfall at the same point of release.  In The UK, No Time To Die has become Universal’s biggest movie of all time, overtaking 2008’s Mamma Mia, which happened to star former James Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan.  An article in insidethemagic.net tells us that on Hong Kong, Ukraine, Argentina, Paraguay and Egypt, No Time To Die has become the highest grossing Bond movie of all time. We also want to point out that Dune, which like No Time To Die has had a rolling worldwide release schedule, just claimed the IMAX biggest global October opening, taking in about 20% of the worldwide Dune total for the weekend. This was the opening US weekend for Dune. With No Time To Die’s theater experience and rollout on IMAX, these big-budget, highly visual movies seem to have found a great partner with IMAX to enhance the cinema-goers experience.  It seems to be working. Now, let’s talk about US box office. Venom: Let There Be Carnage had a US opening day box office of $ 90 million, releasing in the US a week before No Time To Die.  No Time To Die only had a relatively paltry $56 million opening weekend in comparison, which was 20% lower than Spectre. In fact, this was the worst US opening in the Daniel Craig era.  Some may blame it on the pandemic, but that doesn’t explain the Venom success. The Venom theaters were packed. We think something else is at play.  We couldn’t find anyone to talk to when we first saw No Time To Die for us to record our ‘fan reaction’ podcast.  Honestly. We had to go back to the theater a second time to get those interviews. We think the fact that the movie came out in the US a week after a whole slew of countries saw it hurt sales here. Reviews were talking about the wokeness of No Time To Die and the ending was obviously spoiled for most in the US audience.  We think the US market just said, the hell with it. I don’t need to see that kind of movie, especially I don’t need to see that ending.  We think that wokeness is running its course in the US and No Time To Die has been negatively impacted by that.   People here are fed up with it. It looks like the decision to keep No Time To Die as a theater-only initial release was a wise one for EON, Universal, and MGM.  However, the decision to release in the US a week after many of the big markets likely cost it a bunch of revenue. The rumor is that they need to take in a worldwide box office of $600 - $900 million to break even. It will be interesting to see what happens with the China release this week and Australia in the middle of November. Of course, will Eon, MGM and Universal make any money on the movie?   Their break-even numbers reported are all over the map from $600M to $900M.  In general,  the rule is a movie needs to make double its production costs at the box office to make money.  Estimate production costs for No Time to Die about between $250M and a bit over $300M – so, let’s just say they need $600.  So, at $525M already, it is looking good.   Plus Bond movies are notorious for making lots of money on product placement, and licensing agreements  - so more money will come in.

Who will be the next James Bond or James Bond villain?

For a while now, there have been numerous articles speculating about who will take over the reigns of James Bond. It’s fun speculation, as EON doesn’t even know the answer to this question.  In fact, Barbara Broccoli has been quoted as saying that the studio won’t even start looking for the next Bond actor until 2022. That doesn’t stop us from having some fun by looking at some of the most recent speculation. Let’s start with a quote from Daniel Craig giving advice to the next Bond actor taken from Kevin Hart’s Straight from the Heart podcast: “There’s a couple of things I’d say, but I mean, one is don’t be shit. I would say you’ve got to grab it and make it your own. I think that’s the way to go forward. I mean, I just committed myself to it as much as I possibly could and tried to sort of elevate it as much as I could. I hope I’ve left it in a good place and I hope the next person can just make it fly. It’s an amazing franchise, I still think there’s a lot of stories to tell.”

Suggested Actors For The Next James Bond

Esquire’s List

Esquire has published what they call an in-depth analysis for the next Bond. We’ll give you their list as well as add their age and height. We at SpyMovieNavigator.com feel that age will be an important factor in Eon’s choice due to the amount of time between Bond movies. They need someone young enough to be appropriate for multiple movies, thus, multiple years. We’ll also add the actor’s height to the equation. Daniel Craig, at 5’ 10” was the first sub-6’ 1” actor to play Bond so will this have an impact in the decision? Check out their article for their reasons why each person is on their list:
Actor Age Height
Lashana Lynch 34 5' 9"
Dev Patel 31 6' 2"
Luke Evans 42 6' 0"
Regé-Jean Page 31 5' 11"
Tom Holland 25 5' 8"
Tom Hardy 44 5' 9"
Robert Pattinson 35 6' 1"
James Norton 36 6' 1"
Sam Heughan 41 6' 2"
Jack Lowden 31 6' 1"
Richard Madden 35 5' 10"
Riz Ahmed 39 5' 8"
Daniel Kaluuya 32 5' 9"
Michael Fassbender 44 6' 0"
Henry Cavill 38 6' 1"
John Boyega 29 5' 9"
 

Ben Whishaw’s two choices

To take a different spin, we’ll look an article from Cinemablend.com. Ben Whishaw, the current Q in the Daniel Craig Bond movies would like to see a gay James Bond. He is suggesting a Bridgerton actor, and not the one everyone is talking about for the role. Instead of Regé-Jean Page, Whishaw suggests 5’ 11” tall, 33-year-old actor Jonathan Bailey, who plays Anthony in Bridgerton. His other choice would be Luke Evans, who was also mentioned in the Esquire article earlier. Whishaw’s comments come with the following quote which talks about what’s required in taking on the James Bond role.: “They’re both actors who it seems would be really capable of doing it and would be ideal casting. And it would be thrilling to see either of them do it. I wonder if either of them would want to — because it’s not just the demands of the role, but it’s like the demands of being Bond in the world and what it symbolizes and how it would change your life.”

Suggested Actors For The Next Bond Villain

On the villain front, two names have popped up as suggested villains for the next James Bond movie.

Lady Gaga

Mike Reyes suggests that Lady Gaga should play the next James Bond villain. He bases this suggestion, in part,  based on the trailer for the upcoming House of Gucci which has had its trailer playing in the previews in the cinema before the start of No Time To Die.  Reyes posits that Gaga has shown her acting bona fides with A Star Is Born. Music videos and her role in American Horror Story: Hotel show her villainess capabilities, not to mention the House of Gucci trailer. He goes on to talk about how the villain used to be where people focused their attention in James Bond movies, even more so than Bond himself. Think of Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, Dr. No, Live and Let Die, and the earlier Bond movies for examples of this. Lady Gaga would likely fit right into this mold. Reyes even speculates that Lady Gaga landing this role would help ensure that she would get the theme tune to the movie. He points out that the upcoming spy movie Argylle has Dua Lipa both playing a role in the movie and providing the score. Let’s just hope that if Lady Gaga gets the villain role and the title tune that we don’t get a repeat of the last recording artist to do the music and have a role in a Bond movie, namely Madonna in Die Another Day. That didn’t work out too well.

Henry Cavill

Jon Fuge has an interesting article discussing Henry Cavill’s fit in upcoming James Bond movies.   Besides the obvious Cavill-as-James-Bond speculation, there is also speculation that he would be a great villain for Bond to have to deal with.  This all comes about after this quote from Cavill when asked if he’d play a Bond villain: "If Barbara [Broccoli] and Michael [G. Wilson] interested me in any capacity to be a part of their movies, then I will gladly have that discussion, and that would be something I'd be very keen to explore further." Now, one problem with Cavill-as-the-villain can best be expressed by a tweet from that article that says: “I think the next James Bond should be Tom Cruise and M is now played by Alex Baldwin and Q is played by Simon Pegg, and the villain could be played by Henry Cavill”. Um didn’t we just see that in Mission: Impossible: Fallout?  That could cause Eon to nix this idea.  

Industry News

Red Notice

Netflix will finally be releasing Red Notice on its streaming platform on November 12.  Because it is released only on the streaming platform, there won’t be multiple release dates as No Time To Die had. To help build the hype, Netflix has released its latest trailer for the movie.  This 3-minute trailer gives us more background on the movie. Let’s just hope it doesn’t give away too much. The trailer starts out with Ryan Reynolds playing Noah Booth who is an art thief.  He gets confronted by Special Agent John Hartley, FBI, played by Dwayne Johnson who calls Booth the second most wanted art thief in the world. Obviously, there is a play to get the first most wanted art thief in the world. The trailer shows lots of action, some comedy, and a bit about the plot. You can check out the trailer either on Netflix or on YouTube, just search for Red Notice trailer.

Scarlett Johansson settles with Disney

We’ve been talking about Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney for a few months. She sued Disney for breach of contract because Disney released Black Widow on streaming and the cinemas on the same date. She claimed this cost her income. It is really no surprise, but Disney has ended up settling the lawsuit although details haven’t been released. With the practice of day-and-date gaining traction with content owned by streaming platforms, we don’t think Disney could have allowed this suit to reach a litigated outcome. The exposure to them would have been too high. According to an article on DigitalSpy.com, Johansson says: "I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney. I'm incredibly proud of the work we've done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team," she said. "I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come." Disney Studios chairman has a similar quote. We assume future contracts with talent will spell out different distribution channels’ impact on pay going forward.

Disney pushes more movies out

In keeping with a trend, Disney has delayed the release of a slew of movies. An article on Variety.com goes into the details, but the short look is that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder were pushed 2 months.  Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was pushed 4 months.  The Marvels was pushed to early 2023, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has been pushed 5 months to July 2023 and the fifth Indiana Jones movie has been pushed almost a year to June 30, 2023. Disney is claiming production issues and not pandemic box office returns as the reason behind these delays.

Wife of a Spy

A movie we mentioned back in our September 2020 Spy Movie News won the top prize at the Asian Film Awards. An article on Variety.com tells us that Wife of a Spy took home the awards for Best Film, Best Actress, and Best Costume Design.  We've watched this movie and it is a very good spy movie.  It is subtitled for English.  The only place we’ve found this movie available for streaming is at https://www.clevelandartsevents.com/event/wife-of-a-spy/for $12. It is available there through November 4th SpyMovieNavigator.com receives no compensation if you pay to watch this movie. That same article in Variety says that the movie Cliff Walkers, for which we did a quick-fire review in May of 2021,  took home best editing at these awards.  We haven’t seen the winner for cinematography, The Wasteland, but we are surprised Cliff Walkers didn’t win that award too.

The King's Man

In a Variety.com article, Daniel Bruhl discusses his upcoming role in the movie The King’s Man. This is the prequel to The Kingsman series. Daniel plays a stage clairvoyant in the movie. Our favorite quote from the article has Bruhl saying about his role: “It’s not big, but I saw the potential for it to reappear later on, hopefully. That’s the first thing you check: Will they kill me? When will they kill me? How am I going to die?” Given that there are many more The Kingman movies planned, this is probably a very important question for an actor to ask. The King’s Man releases on December 22, 2021 in the US, the UK and many other countries.

The Channel

The upcoming crime thriller announces key cast members. An article on deadline.com lists, Clayne Crawford, Max Martini, and Hakeem Kai-Kazim as joining the cast of The Channel.  This movie will be filmed in New Orleans and is about a criminal, his brother, and their crew’s attempt to escape a determined FBI agent. No release date has been given.  We're not 100% this is an espionage movie, but we'll keep our eyes on it for you.

Section Eight

Another movie that has announced casting is Section Eight. According to HollywoodReporter.com, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, and Ryan Kwanten have signed onto this movie.  Section Eight follows a former soldier who is sprung from prison and recruited by a shadowy government agency.

In Memorium

October was a tough month.

Leslie Bricusse

We are sad to announce the passing of Leslie Bricusse.  In the spy movie world he wrote the lyrics for “Goldfinger”(with Anthony Newley), the title song “You Only Live Twice”, and “Your Zowie Face” from In Like Flint.  Leslie was a 9 time Oscar nominee, winning twice. He also had multiple Grammy nominations, winning one. All of that said, he is also known for his extensive work with stage and movie musicals. Leslie turned 90 this past January. We are also saddened to announce the passing of a man who many in the US wouldn’t know by name but had a large role in the James Bond world.  Jerry Juroe passed at age 98.  He worked for Eon in Europe on publicity campaigns, starting with Dr. No and continuing for 14 James Bond movies.  His memoir “Bond, The Beatles and My Year with Marilyn” was published in 2018.  

James Higgins

Eon executive and the UK distributor for Indiana Jones and Top Gun has died at 98. Higgins spent over 30 years at Eon, the James Bond production company. In a 2012 interview he said he’d heard about “the end of cinema” numerous times over the course of his career but suggested it was unlikely. “It always remains that people enjoy seeing a film in the company of an audience and the reaction that you get from an audience,” Higgins said. “It’s a different sensation from just watching it on the television. That’s what keeps it going. And people want to go out.”  How true his words are today  

Bob Herron

Stuntman Bob Herron has died a the age of 97.   In his prolific 60-year stunt career, Herron was involved with numerous tv shows, including “I Spy”, “The Man From Uncle”, “Mission: Impossible”, and “Charlie’s Angels” as well as on movies such a Diamonds Are Forever and In Like Flint.  

John Ashton Thomas

British composer, arranger, and conductor John Ashton Thomas has passed the age of 60.  He worked on more than 160 movies, including The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Legacy, and the upcoming Operation Mincemeat.

Jean Hale

Actress Jean Hale passed away at age 82. Her career primarily was with roles on tv.  However, spy movie fans may remember her from her role as Lisa in In Like Flint.

James Bond

Ok, we’re going to close out our article by bringing things back to No Time To Die. At the top of this article, we talked about box office and future actors.  Now we will move to topics about the plot. Some of the articles we will reference contain spoilers which is why we’ve moved this to the end of the discussion.  Bail now if you haven’t seen the movie. You’ve been warned.

Key Plot Points With Madeleine Swann and Rami Malek Explained

Mike Reyes has two articles on CinemaBlend.com which discuss specific plot points.   The first is an article which explains Project Heracles, Safin’s evil plot. Safin compares himself as a reflection of James Bond.   Both were orphaned.  Both are in love with Madeleine Swann.  And both will do whatever it takes to win.  Project Heracles is a weapon developed to use people’s DNA to control who lives and who dies.  Safin controls it.  Reyes’ article goes into depth about the weapon, including it’s possible past in the movie Casino Royale (2006).  In order to leave most of the spoilers to the article and out of this newscast, let’s just say that this weapon is not used for the reason it was created and is responsible for the outcome of the movie. Mike’s other article about Madeleine Swan’s Big Secret looks at how her past helped doom James Bond. Now there were plenty of rumors about it, but Swann bore James Bond’s child who he first learns about in No Time To Die.  The child, her past with Safin, and current conversations with Blofeld have also been kept from Bond.  Although she is under Safin’s thumb and has been the only one Blofeld would talk to, it turns out that she wasn’t an active agent of SPECTRE after all. Bond’s devotion to keeping Madeleine and the daughter, Mathilde alive ends up being fatal.   The article goes into much more depth on the implications of her secret.

Were Additional Endings Filmed?

With the big ending of No Time To Die, it is natural to ask if there were other endings filmed?  Sometimes a studio will do this to keep the ending from getting out.  Sometimes the actors don’t know which ending they shot will make the final cut.  Well, with No Time To Die, that wasn’t the case.  According to an article on DigitalSpy.com, the movie’s editor, Tom Cross, says that the ending we saw was the only one filmed and this was the only ending planned for the movie. He says, “It was never in doubt and there were no alternatives”.  This makes us question what the problem was with the director Danny Boyle.  The rumors at the time about Boyle is that he wanted to kill Bond off.  Was his firing just a big smoke screen?  The article also discusses the movie’s length and how the pre-title sequence may have been influenced by the length. Well, there are a lot more articles and interviews out there on No Time To Die, but we think these give you a good look as to what is happening. That wraps up our Spy Movie News for October 26, 2021.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@SpyNavigator) and InstaGram too! Subscribe right now to our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show on your favorite podcast app! And tell your friends about us – thanks!

Spy Movie News – September 28 2021 – NO TIME TO DIE, M:I7, THE KING’S MAN, More!

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
    Here is our Spy Movie News for September 28, 2021.  Today’s we look at No Time To Die, other James Bond news, big Mission: Impossible news, and other upcoming spy movies.    

WE’LL START WITH JAMES BOND

No Time To Die

Finally, today is the day of the premiere of the often delayed James Bond movie No Time To Die at the Royale Albert Hall in London. A few minutes after that viewing is over, the Zurich Film Festival will screen the movie.  It’s been a long slog getting here with all of the pandemic delays and we are very happy that we are finally here.  The movie officially opens in 49 countries this week.  Then next week 7 more countries will get have their releases, including the US on October 8th.   It opens in China on October 29th and Australia on November 11. As you may guess, the volume of press stories in advance of the release has been huge. Many of those articles repeat rumors and speculation with a lot of them rehashing stories we’ve already seen.  We aren’t going to talk about those today given that we’ll be able to see the movie soon enough. So why continue to speculate? Spy Movie Navigator will have 2 correspondents see No Time To Die in England on September 30th and we’ll release a no-spoiler reaction podcast on that day.  That podcast will have no plot spoilers so we don’t spoil anything for those who haven’t been able to see it yet, including me here in the US.  I’ve told them I don’t want to know what happened until I can see it.

How important is No Time To Die and what is the industry doing to hype it up?

So let's start by looking at advanced ticket sales the importance of this movie for the movie industry as a whole, how advanced sales are going, and how the industry is hyping the movie. This article on Hollywoodreporter.com puts the importance of the movie this way: Few would publicly state as much, but the importance of the film in helping the sector get back on its feet cannot be underestimated. As one industry figure tells The Hollywood Reporter:  ‘While it’s not the only film in the world and not the only hope, because it’s become such a major focus of attention, it has to be an enormous success.’” That article says that since advanced ticket sales started cinema owners are seeing very high demand and “far and away the highest interest seen since before the pandemic”.  That is great news for Bond fans, Eon Productions & Universal, and the movie industry as a whole. In the UK, No Time To Die is expected to open on more than 700 screens with many multiplexes showing it on every available screen non-stop.  In addition, theaters are doing promotions with ticket purchases, parking Aston Martins in front of their theaters, London’s Burlington Arcade revealed a 007-inspired facelift. “We’re really hoping that this unlocks everything else and is very much the spark that makes everybody feel safe to return to cinemas,” says one insider, who adds that operators will likely be making sure their sites are absolutely sparkling for the occasion. “The experience that people have when they come and see this film is going to dictate not just their experience on the day, but the next six weeks, six months. It’s going to be what they tell their friends, what they tell their family, whether they come back again.” So we’re hoping this works out well for the industry.  We’ve all been through a lot the last 18 months and this could be a welcome shot in the arm.

Different Formats To Watch No Time To Die

Mike Reyes has this great article talking about the different formats, some of them new, in which you can potentially see No Time To Die.  Although we’ve seen Bond on IMAX since Skyfall, No Time To Die will be released for the first time on IMAX with scenes specifically filmed for the IMAX release on IMAX cameras. That should be very cool. Also, for the first time for a Bond movie, No Time To Die will release in 3D.  It is also supporting ScreenX, 4DX, and D-Box.  Reyes says “Everything from atmospheric effects to moving seats looks to be on the menu.”  Tom saw Black Widow with the seat shakers and loved it, especially with the avalanche in that movie. That’s only part of what some of these advanced formats will allow. So, when you are making your decision as to where to see No Time To Die, choosing the format will be a big decision and will help determine which cinema you choose to see it. Not all cinemas support these advanced formats so make sure to take note of what your cinema offers.  We think this is going to enhance the experience and will be searching out cinemas showing these advanced formats.  

Other James Bond News

Believe it or not, there has been some other James Bond news.

Commander Craig

The Royal Navy has named Daniel Craig as an Honorary Commander, giving him the same Commander ranks as James Bond. This article on movieweb.com has a picture of Commander Craig in uniform.  In a quote in the article, Daniel Craig said: "I am truly privileged and honoured to be appointed the rank of Honorary Commander in the senior service," Daniel Craig said in a statement.”  We at SpyMovieNavigator love it when the British powers-that-be support (Dan, can you come up with a better phrase for this?) James Bond.  Everyone from the Queen on down has shown their support and that is fantastic to see.  Congratulations Daniel. One other note, the only James Bond actor to have served in the Royal Navy was Able Seaman Sean Connery.  That article has a link to a Twitter picture showing Daniel Craig and Sean Connery in uniform.  Nice!

The Official James Bond Podcast Returns

The Official James Bond Podcast, which had started before the pandemic delays, restarted again this September.  The podcast is a six-part series with interviews from the cast and crew examining different aspects of Bond.  The final podcast was released on September 23 so you can catch up on all of them. Now, should we be concerned that the official 007.com website when announcing the return of the podcast says “each episode focuses on a different aspect of the James Bond universe”?  “James Bond Universe” is in that quote.  Are they planning to release content on the different characters, ala the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  Oh wait, that’s speculation and we want to stay away from that today. Anyway it is a good 6-part podcast series and is worth a listen.

Being James Bond on Apple TV

The documentary Being James Bond has been playing all September on Apple tv and is currently scheduled to run until October 7, 2021. So you only have a week to catch it if you haven’t seen it.  This documentary looks at the Daniel Craig era of James Bond with Daniel Craig looking back at all 5 of his movies, including No Time To Die in a conversation with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.  We here at Spy Movie Navigator are waiting until after we see No Time To Die on September 30th before we watch this as we want to ensure we don’t see any spoilers.  That said, from what we’ve heard about it, this is a good documentary of Craig’s run as 007.

Bond in Motion exhibit opens in Los Angeles

Finally, the Bond In Motion exhibit opened at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles this past weekend.  It is expected to run until October 2022.   Advanced ticket purchases are required.  You can go to www.petersen.org, that’s Petersen with an e at the end, to find out more about the exhibit. All of us at SpyMovieNavigator visited the Bond in Motion exhibit when it was in London.  If you are a James Bond movie fan, put this on your to-do list.  You will see a large array of vehicles used in the Bond movies.  When we saw it, many of the vehicles were pristine.  However, some of the cars were beaten up. That’s because they had some of the cars after the crashes they were in in the movies. That was very cool to see.  So, if you’re thinking about heading to LA, take in the Bond in Motion exhibit.  You’ll be glad you did. Spy Movie Navigator has no affiliation with the Bond in Motion exhibit or the Petersen Automotive Museum and we have received no compensation for mentioning them.  

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE NEWS

Mission: Impossible 7 Delayed until September 30, 2022

The first and biggest news surrounding Mission: Impossible is that Mission: Impossible 7 has been pushed again, now releasing on September 30, 2022, after Tom Cruise turns 60. It was supposed to be Memorial Day 2022.   They pushed Top Gun: Maverick to the Memorial Day spot (May 27, 2022) and moved Mission: Impossible 7 to September.  It appears Paramount executives were concerned about box office, especially of Top Gun: Maverick as we are still dealing with the delta variant.  The hope is that they will be able to get larger audiences if and when the pandemic dies down. A few months ago, they also disconnected the filming of Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 which were supposed to film back-to-back.  So, we don’t know what this shift means to the filming and release of Mission: Impossible 8.  Only time will tell.

Mission: Impossible 7 Wraps Filming

Well, this would have been the biggest Mission: Impossible news had the Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7 delays not been announced.   Well, after about 18 months, filming has wrapped on Mission: Impossible 7. In an article on Cinemablend.Com, photographer/gaffer Martin Smith thanked all involved and called M: I 7 “the hardest movie ever made”.   Given all that we’ve heard about this movie, we aren’t going to call BS on that comment.  This was supposedly a very hard movie to make.  Part of that was COVID, and part was the stunts they did.

Ever-Increasing Stunts

One of the challenges with the Mission: Impossible movies, and to a part James Bond movies, is the need to take the stunts to a new level with each movie.  In an article by Eric Eisenberg, he talks about one of the stunts where Ethan Hunt drives a motorcycle off a cliff and base jumps to the ground.   People attending CinemaCon got a sneak peek of this stunt.  Tom Cruise did 13,000 motocross jumps to prepare for this scene, in addition to jumping out of a helicopter 500 times.  I don’t think I’ll be able to get my peer Tom Pizzato to do one of those (laugh).  Even more amazing is that the cameras they needed to use to capture this stunt didn’t exist two years ago.  There is more about this stunt in that article if you want to learn more. Finally, in that article, director Christopher McQuarrie is quoted as saying “The only thing that scares me more is what we have planned for Mission: Impossible 8”.  There is a reason these movies cost so much and one wonders how far this stunt work can go.

Tom Cruise Startles Some Hikers

In keeping with the discussion of Tom Cruise and the ever-escalating stunts in the Mission: Impossible movies, an article by Jon Fuge on movieweb.com gives us another.  It appears that two hikers in North West England were on a hike when they were interrupted by a parachuter who turned out to be Tom Cruise.  That had to be a “pinch me” moment.  Let’s see, I’m just hiking here taking in this beautiful scenery and I hear a helicopter.  I look up and see a parachuter.  And then when he lands, it is Tom Cruise.  Unreal.  There is even a nice picture in the article of Cruise posing with the hikers.

Cruise Beaten To Filming a Movie in Space

We mentioned in the past that Tom Cruise was trying to film a feature film in outer space on the International Space Station.  We speculated that this might be for Mission: Impossible 8.  Well, the Cruise movie was announced to be a partnership with NASA, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, and Tom Cruise with Doug Liman directing. Well, the Russians are going to beat Cruise and will make part of the movie The Challenge on the International Space Station first.  The Challenge is a story about a doctor who needs to go to the space station to save the life of a cosmonaut.  The production team is supposed to lift off in October 2021 for a 12-day mission to film this. There has been no word on the status of the Tom Cruise movie in quite a while.  We guess finishing Mission: Impossible 7, Top Gun: Maverick, and getting ready for Mission: Impossible 8 probably took priority.  

NEW SPY MOVIE NEWS

Here are some upcoming spy movies that we haven’t mentioned in earlier Spy Movie News episodes.

Huda’s Salon

Huda’s Salon premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.  According to an article on Variety.com, this movie is about a young mother who falls into a trap in a hair salon, run by a woman who works for the Israeli Secret Service.    While IFC has U.S. rights to this movie, no release date has been set.

Blacklight

Liam Neeson has a movie called Blacklight due to release in theaters on February 11, 2022.  In this movie, Neeson plays a fixer who works off the FBI books.  He finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy when one agent questions the people Neeson works for.  Blacklight also boasts actors Aidan Quinn, Emmy Raver-Lampman, and Taylor John Smith as castmates of Neeson. You can read more about Blacklight in an article on Movieweb.com.

The Fortress

The Bruce Willis Action movie The Fortress has wrapped filming. This story is about a group of criminals who want to take out revenge at a top-secret resort for U.S. Intelligence officers.  No release schedule has been announced.

New Trailers

Both the movie Red Notice and The King’s Man have released new trailers that you can find on YouTube for their upcoming movies. As a reminder, Red Notice releases on Netflix on November 12, 2021.   The King’s Man is due to hit theaters on December 22, 2021. We will warn you that The King’s Man trailer is for an R-rated movie and has a red banner, instead of the Green banners you usually see.  This means that this trailer is not for kids.  There are f-bombs, s-bombs, a comment about male genitalia, and a lot of violence in the trailer.  On YouTube, the trailer is considered age-restricted content.

IN MEMORIUM

Jean-Paul Belmondo

We’re sad to report on the passing of French actor, Jean-Paul Belmondo at the age of 88.  While he rose to stardom as a thief in the 1960 Jean-Luc Godard movie Breathless, Jean-Paul also appeared in many spy movies, including Casino Royale in 1967,  The 1981 movie The Professional, 1984’s The Vultures, and many others.   Mr. Belmondo received the honorary Palm d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, an honorary Golden Lion at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, and an honorary Cesar in 2017.

Bill Taylor

We also announce the passing of Visual Effects expert Bill Taylor at the age of 77.  Among his over 150 entries for Visual and Special Effects on IMDb are the two spy movies, The Bourne Identity and U-571.  He was presented with the John A. Bonner Medal from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his “outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards” of the organization. So that’s a wrap on this month’s edition of Spy Movie News.   We hope you enjoy seeing No Time To Die this month, as I’m sure we will.  Thanks for listening, we appreciate it.      

Spy Movie News Article – August 24, 2021

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

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Here is our Spy Movie News for August 24, 2021: Amazon and MGM Fast and Loose, Argylle, Mission: Impossible 7 James Bond – say what?,  Martin Campbell, The Gray Man, and industry news!

James Bond

No Time To Die News!

One BIG announcement is the solidification of the official premiere for No Time To Die.   We've been watching for this announcement for a while and have been reading different dates, but the Official Bond twitter account has announced that No Time To Die will have its official premiere on September 28th at Royal Albert Hall in London.  Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and director Cary Joji Fukunaga will attend the premiere.  Royal Albert Hall was originally going to be the premiere site with the earlier premier dates that had to be delayed to due to the pandemic.  We'd been speculating the 28th at the Royal Albert Hall but thought we were wrong because two other events are scheduled there on September 28th.  So, this surprised us a bit.    Anyway, this is great news!  Confirmed!   One release date change announced, however, at this point ,only affects Australia - No Time To Die has pushed the release date in Australia from September 30th to November 11th due to the current COVID situation there.  This probably makes sense, but really makes it tough on the James Bond fans there.  Of course, this may open the door to other release date changes as well, as the global Covid situation is assessed. 

Say What? 

Ok, tell us if this makes any sense at all.   You are getting ready to release the last Daniel Craig James Bond movie.  Kids, who couldn’t drive to see Spectre in the US because they were not yet 16 when that movie came out and thus didn’t have a driver's license, will now be able to stop for a beer on the way home as they will be older than the 21-year-old drinking age here when the go see No Time To Die. And you’re going to make it hard for them to stream all of the Daniel Craig Bond movies in advance of No Time To Die’s release?  Because, that's what is going on.  Is anyone involved in marketing thinking at all?  Left hand, meet right hand as we slap our forehead with both.    We usually watch the last few Bond movies before we go see the new one.  That is especially true for this one as it is supposed to tie up the Daniel Craig arc that rebooted the series. Add to that the six-year gap between releases and a refresher could be helpful.  Mike Reyes has a great article talking about what Daniel Craig Bond movies are available for streaming.  Amazingly, you can’t see them all on one platform.   Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008) are leaving Netflix at the end of August.   What is going on here?  They should be hyping the Daniel Craig movies so that people want to see how the arc ends.  At least that’s our opinion.   That said, read Mike’s article.  It points you to where each of the Daniel's Bond movies is available for streaming, and they are not all in one place.  Make it hard on us, yikes!

Will Martin Campbell Direct Another James Bond Movie? 

According to an article by Jamil David on Cinemablend.com, Casino Royale, and GoldenEye director, Martin Campbell was asked on a Reddit AMA if he’d consider doing another Bond movie.  His response was: “Yes, I would. I love the franchise, and it would be with a new Bond, which is always interesting, especially given my two Bond movies had different Bonds.”  He had Peirce Brosnan and Daniel Craig in his first two Bond movies. We’d love to see that.  Campbell’s current movie, The Protégé,  was just released to US theaters this past weekend.  That movie is about the world’s most skilled contract killer.  We have a quick-fire, no spoilers podcast on The ProtégéClick here to listen to it.   

INDUSTRY NEWS 

AMC Theaters has reached a deal with Warner Bros. to shorten the theatrical window 

Just as Warner Bros. did with Cineworld, they reached a deal to release their slate of movies in 2022 with AMC with a 45-day theatrical window.   We’ve commented on quite a few of these deals as the industry is dealing with COVID-19 and the strong demand for streaming content.  We’re happy to see this as we prefer to see spy movies in a theater first.   That is the best experience in our opinion.   

Labor Unions Oppose Amazon-MGM takeover 

In the last few newscasts, we’ve been talking about the Amazon-MGM takeover.   Well, an article by Todd Spangler on Variety.com tells us that four major labor unions which represent close to 4 million people want the FTC to say “No” to the deal.  They have sent a letter to the FTC and are asking for the stoppage of the deal because they don’t want Amazon to gain more power and are worried about anti-competitive business practices.  They claim Amazon has a history of gaining market share with unfair and anti-competitive practices.  The Unions involved are the Service Employees International Union, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Communications Workers of America, and United Farmworkers.    This is going to get interesting.  Can the opposition keep Amazon from the takeover? We’ll have to wait and see. 

Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit against Disney

This one is getting interesting.  In our last Spy Movie newscast, we asked if Disney’s decision to stream Black Widow would hurt theater sales.  Well, Scarlett Johansson thinks it did and that it has cost her some income.  In her lawsuit, she claims that the simultaneous streaming and theatrical release hurt her revenue per her contract. And, it says this day-and-date release by Disney was in direct violation of her contract which required an exclusive theatrical release.   Day-and-Date, by the way, is an industry term for movies that simultaneously in theaters and streaming.  In her contract, a large part of her salary is tied to the box office success of the movie.  She claims that she tried to renegotiate her contract once Disney decided to simultaneously distribute the movie, but Disney didn’t respond to her then.  After the lawsuit was filed, Disney wrote what we think was a nasty response, including letting us know how much Scarlett has made from the movie.  That isn’t the way to endear yourself to talent.   If they keep this up will other talent stay away from Disney?  Disney said the lawsuit was “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic”.  We think that might have been a little out of line.   If this is just a contract dispute and her contract had a theatrical release window, this lawsuit could get interesting.  Especially if she did try to renegotiate.  We're not lawyers, but wow. Warner Bros avoided this mess by renegotiating its contracts with its talent.  Disney may be wishing they did too as other talent is looking closely at this case.   Now we are hearing that Disney wants to move the case to arbitration in New York instead of the current Los Angeles courts. This would keep the proceedings confidential. Johansson and her legal team are asserting that the company’s most recent move is an attempt to “hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration.”  We’ll keep an eye on this one and let you know what happens.  If you want to dive deeper into this lawsuit and people’s reactions to it, there have been a lot of articles written about this lawsuit on Cinemablend.com and Hollywood Reporter, with each of them giving numerous people’s reactions to the suit.     

Upcoming Spy Movies 

Fast & Loose 

Will Smith has signed up for a Netflix movie titled Fast & Loose, which sounds like it has some similarities to Bourne Identity.  According to an article on Cinemablend.com, Smith’s character wakes up and can’t remember anything.  He has to piece together what appear to be two different former lives, one as a CIA Agent.  Sound familiar Bourne fans?  Well, the twist here is that his other life was as a crime kingpin.  Which is his real life?   We’ll need to wait for Fast & Loose to be released to find out. 

Argylle 

In last month’s Spy Movie News we told you that the book Argylle is being made into a movie, directed by Matthew Vaughan of The Kingman series.  The star-studded cast includes Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Samuel L. Jackson and more.  This month we read in an article by Sarah El-Mahmoud, that Apple Original Films has a $200 million deal they are trying to wrap up for Argylle.  So, this one looks like it is going to land on Apple TV+.  We really miss the big screen experience.  Argylle, like The Gray Man, is supposed to be a series of books creating a spy franchise.   Given that Henry Cavill is one of the names we see bandied about to become the next James Bond, if Argylle takes off, that could be the end of that idea or a very hard call for Cavill to make. 

The Gray Man Wraps Filming 

We’ve been talking about The Gray Man for a while now.  This is the Russo Brothers movie with Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans based on Mark Greaney’s novel of the same name.  Well, Rich Knight has an article that tells us that The Gray Man has wrapped. As everything except Mission: Impossible seems to be doing, this is a Netflix production.    As we’ve discussed before, so far there are nine books in The Gray Man series, and, assuming the first one is a success, Netflix plans to continue making The Gray Man movies.    As a reference, 25 James Bond movies, including No Time to Die, have been produced by EON Productions based on Ian Fleming's 12 James Bond novels and two short story collections.  Following that example might be a good idea.  There might be lots of The Gray Man movies in the future. All that said, the important thing is that they’ve wrapped the movie but have not set a release date yet. 

Mission: Impossible 7 

Rebecca Ferguson wraps 

Although the movie hasn’t wrapped filming, the seemingly endless filming of Mission: Impossible 7 continues. An article on Cinemablend.com shows an Instagram post from Rebecca Ferguson where she says she’s wrapped her part in Mission: Impossible 7.  There is a nice picture in the article taken by Christopher McQuarrie of her and Tom Cruise.   Mission: Impossible 7 has been filming for about a year now.  The pandemic has thrown a large monkey wrench into the production schedule.   Remember they are supposed to be filming Mission: Impossible 8 fairly soon after wraps.   Talk about a strain on the cast and crew’s schedule.  We’re certain they will be quite relieved when this is over. 

McQuarrie Thanks The Crew 

In a related article, Christopher McQuarrie posted an Instagram with a shout out to, First AD, Mary Boulding’s hitting her 100th day in that role for Mission: Impossible 7.  The article points out that most movies are done filming in less that 100 days so this is a big deal.  It’s great to see the director call out crew members, especially as the end of filming is in sight. We see so many articles with people talking about the actors, who are important.  But the crew often doesn’t get the same treatment.  So kudo’s to Chris for acknowledging Mary Boulding and kudos to all the cast and crew for sticking with this impossible filming schedule due to the pandemic.   

IN MEMORIAM 

Alex Cord (1933-2021)  

We’re sad to report the passing of actor Alex Cord.   Although probably best known for playing Archangel on the tv show “Airwolf”.  Alex was also one of the leads in the 1992 spy movie CIA Codename: Alexa. 

Mark Tarlov (1952-202) 

We also lost Mark Tarlov. In the spy world, he was a producer on The Man Who Knew Too Little. 

Dan Kneece (1956-2021) 

Cinematographer and Cameraman Dan Kneece also passed this month.   Kneece was a prolific cameraman and cinematographer with more than 180 credits in IMDB.  We like to highlight that Dan was a Steadicam operator on the 1992 Columbo episode titled No Time To Die     

JAMES BOND FANS TO BATTLE IN INTERNATIONAL TRIVIA MARATHON OCTOBER 2ND

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JAMES BOND FANS TO BATTLE IN INTERNATIONAL TRIVIA MARATHON OCTOBER 2ND   For Immediate Release                Contact: Steve Rubin (213) 300-1896   (Los Angeles, California, AUGUST 12, 2021) Author Steven Jay Rubin and producer Charles Sherman, in association with the Spy Movie Navigator website are producing the International 007 Trivia Marathon, which will take place at 12:00 p.m.. PST, on Saturday October 2, 2021 on Zoom.  James Bond fans throughout the world are eligible to compete for prizes in the double elimination tournament, which will coincide with the publication of Rubin’s book, The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia, 4th edition (Chicago Review Press), and the release of the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die on October 8th. Interested contestants should email their contact information to fastcarrier1944@gmail.com The contest is a first come, first serve event – only the first 100 contestants who turn in their contact information will be eligible. Those contestants will then receive Zoom info via email. Contestant must have computer access and the latest installed Zoom application to participate. The top three contestants will each receive an autographed copy of Rubin’s book. The contest winner will be crowned Champion of 007 trivia, bragging rights of which are significant. Questions, belted out by a team of 007 examiners, will cover 24 Bond films, from Dr. No to Spectre. Rubin and Sherman produced the original James Bond 007 Trivia Marathon in 1981, which was part of a James Bond Weekend in Century City, headlined by a luncheon at the Playboy Club – George Lazenby, Martine Beswick, Marc Lawrence, Herve Villechaize,  Bruce Glover, Lana Wood, Norman Burton and Barry Nelson were guests. SpyMovieNavigator.com is dedicated to the continued building of a worldwide community of spy movie fans.   Their podcasts, social media releases and website concentrate on spy movies from 1935 – present, including Bond, analyzing key scenes in each movie, looking for connections to, and influences on, other spy movies and real-world events.  Their podcast show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies, has been downloaded in over 127 countries!  They can be found at SpyMovieNavigator.com, and on Facebook, Twitter (@SpyNavigator) and Instagram.  

Spy Movie News – July 27, 2021

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

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Here’s our July 27, 2021, Spy Movie News with news on Black Widow, Mission: Impossible 7, No Time To Die, Argylle, and IB 71, Daniel Craig, and more.

BLACK WIDOW

We have a spoiler discussion on Black Widow at the end of the audio podcast of this Spy Movie News.  We won't print it in this article so if you want the spoiler, click here to get to the podcast

Did Disney’s decision to stream Black Widow hurt theaters?

There have been many articles written both when Disney announced that Black Widow would release in the theater and on Disney+ Premiere Access on the same day.   The theater industry didn’t like it at the time of the announcement and has taken further, louder umbrage now that the movie has been out for a few weeks.  To top it off, in-theater second-weekend numbers were down 67% versus opening weekend numbers. We’ll focus on the post-release buzz in our discussion. The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) put out a press release that started with this:

Black Widow’s excellent reviews, positive word of mouth, and strong previews and opening day total ($13.2 million/$39.5 million) led to a surprising 41% second day drop, a weaker than expected opening weekend, and a stunning second weekend collapse in theatrical revenues. Why did such a well-made, well-received, highly anticipated movie underperform?

It’s an interesting question and most of their press release blames Disney’s decision to release Black Widow simultaneously on Disney+ Premiere Access and in the theater. They also blame piracy which is more easily achieved with a streaming release vs. a theater-only initial release. The numbers do point to very high piracy with this movie. In fact, according to Torrent Freak, Black Widow is the most pirated movie of the pandemic era. We understand NATO’s argument and agree that some of their points appear valid.  However, there are a few flaws in the argument.  First, the press release doesn’t address the impact of  COVID on theater-goers.   It is highly likely that opening numbers were largely made up of die-hard MCU fans that wanted to be sure they saw the movie in the theater right when it was released.  More casual fans may have been worried about the upsurge in COVID numbers and decided to wait or stream the movie. Second, In the press release, NATO points out that F9 had a theater-first release and didn’t stream on release. F9’s theatrical release numbers were strong.   However, NATO didn’t point out that there was also a 67% drop in second-weekend revenue for F9 even though it was only released in theaters. Our third point is, Black Widow was a different type of MCU movie than its Avengers predecessors.  Possibly, some MCU fans wanted to see a more Avenger’s-like approach to the movie.  Word of mouth would have told them that it isn’t an Avenger’s style movie so they may have stayed home. And finally, is it possible MCU fans are just getting weary of all the content?   We’ve talked in the past about how MCU will overtake James Bond in terms of the number of movies released in its lifetime.  In the 13 years since the release of Iron Man, MCU has released 24 movies.  Eon Productions has released 24 James Bond movies since 1962’s release of Dr. No.  Yes, Eon will release, hopefully, No Time To Die with the upcoming September and October 2021 release dates.  But MCU will pass them up with three more releases planned in 2021, after Black Widow.  Plus MCU has four movies lined up for release in 2022 and they are releasing content for television as well.  Maybe MCU fans are just exhausted. It appears Disney had what for them was likely considered a very successful launch of Black Widow.  Distribution is changing and the theater owners are in for some change as part of these changes.  It seems that all of the movie companies are fiddling with their models to find the most money-making approach.  That means for the production company, not necessarily the movie theater.  We’ll have to keep watching to see how things flush out.  For us here at Spy Movie News, we will still go to spy movies in the theater as long as that is an option.   We believe it is a better viewing experience.  

JAMES BOND

Happy 60th Anniversary Eon Productions

Sixty years ago, Eon Productions was founded.  They celebrated their anniversary on July 6th.  Their first movie, Dr. No will hit its 60th anniversary on October 5, 2022.  Happy Anniversary, Eon.

Bringing Back Leiter

It’s been 13 years since we’ve seen Felix Leiter in a new James Bond movie.  Fortunately, No Time To Die fixes that for us Leiter fans. In an article on DigitalSpy.com, Jeffrey Wright makes the following comment: "The surprise for me was to not be called in the previous two!" he joked. "But it gives more weight to Felix's appearances if we don't see him too often." We are glad to see Felix back, especially with Wright helming the role.  We also like where he says the Bond/Leiter relationship is: "We wanted to establish what is at the core of this relationship between [Leiter and Bond], which is this brotherhood," he explained. It’s stuff like this that keeps up our desire to finally see this movie In that same article is the following quote from James Bond co-writer ramps up the desire to see what they’ve done: "So it's intriguing when you come back, and he's not really an agent in this one, and how you deal with that. Despite wanting to relax and fish and hang out in bars, if trouble comes knocking, he can't help himself." We can’t wait for the release of No Time To Die.

Daniel Craig James Bond Arc

According to this article on CinemaBlend.com  -  Barbara Broccoli confirms it is Daniel Craig’s last outing and that “It will tie into everything he’s done before.” They report that in the same interview, Michael G, Wilson said likened the entirety of the Daniel Craig films to a “miniseries within the series.” Léa Seydoux has predicted that some tears may be shed in the process. We’re going to see a lot of emotions and an emotional development on Bond’s part – new stuff. . . cant wait. Hmmmm  - we wonder more – but only for a couple more months! No Time to Die opens in the UK September 30th and in the US October 8th! In a similar article on ScreenRant.com they say, “No Time to Die will pick up from the events of Spectre after Bond finds out that his adoptive brother is behind the international criminal syndicate out to get him.”

Why Daniel Craig Came Back for No Time To Die

In a recent article on Independent.co.uk by Jacob Stolworthy, Daniel Craig explains why he came back for one more move, No Time To Die! In the article, Craig says that he just didn’t feel he was physically capable – and he was done.   But after two years, he was approached again by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson – and Craig said during these discussions he came up with an idea of what the next movie could be - “a direct conclusion to the events seen in his first Bond film, Casino Royale (2006).” “Something to do with Vesper [Eva Green’s character], and Spectre, and something that was connected, in a way.’ It started to formulate. And I thought, ‘Here we go.’” So Daniel is back as we know – No Time To Die is coming soon!  Really, it is!

Bookmakers Say Regé-Jean Page Now In The Lead To Play Bond

Well looking forward from the Daniel Craig era for James Bond, according to an article on MovieWeb.com, Regé-Jean Page has taken over the lead from Tom Hardy as the bettor’s favorite to be the next actor to play James Bond.   Although it means nothing, in reality, it is fun to speculate.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 7

COVID kept Angela Bassett from reprising her role as Ericka Logan

We’ve talked about the impact of COVID on Mission: Impossible 7 and 8.   It appears that the virus has also had an impact on what characters would return and what actors would be available. An article on Cinemablend.com says that Angela Bassett won’t return as Erika Sloane in M: I 7. Bassett’s Sloane had replaced Alec Baldwin’s character, Alan Hunley from Mission: Impossible - Fallout in the role of CIA Director.  There is no official word if she will appear in Mission: Impossible 8. The article says that COVID was responsible for Ms. Bassett’s absence from the movie.  But, we don’t know if it was a scheduling conflict that popped up due to the slowdown from the pandemic or if it was other issues, like a script change prompted by COVID.   We know that Nicholas Hoult was supposed to play one of the bad guys in Mission: Impossible 7 and he had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict.

Ilsa Faust Is Back With An Eyepatch?

Christopher McQuarrie posted a new black and white picture on Instagram to keep the drumbeat going for Mission: Impossible 7.  This time it is a closeup of Rebecca Ferguson and she appears to have an eyepatch ABOVE her eye, not covering it. Ferguson played Ilsa Faust in the last 2 Mission: Impossible movies.   What’s the reason for the eyepatch? An article on CinemaBlend.com speculates that Ilsa may have either injured her eye or the eyepatch is used for honing her long-range weaponry skill.  In any case, it is an intriguing photo and makes us think.  You can see the photo in that same article.

UPCOMING SPY MOVIES

Red Notice Finally Has A Release date

Ok, we’ve been talking about Red Notice for quite some time now. This is the Netflix movie starring Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds.    In our last Spy Movie News, we mentioned that Dwayne Johnson had tweeted “#Holidays2021” at the end of his post about the movie. At the time we asked: which holiday?  Well, we now have the answer.  Both Reynolds and Johnson have released social media posts declaring November 12, 2021, as the movie’s release date. Dwayne Johnsons’ tweet says:

@Netflix’s biggest movie ever #REDNOTICE premieres in your living rooms around the globe on NOV 12.

FBI’s top profiler.

World’s most wanted art thief.

And the greatest conman the world has never seen…

There are three key items to note in this short tweet.  The first is the release date of November 12, 2021. The end of the year is looking up to be an exciting time for spy movie fans. The second thing to note is the “premieres in your living room”. Again, there has been no official announcement of any theatrical releases.   Dwayne Johnson’s post implies an internet, Netflix, release only. And finally, we look at the words “around the globe”.  Everyone will be able to see it on Netflix around the world on November 12, 2021.  This movie, unlike many movies, will not have a staggered release schedule.  We applaud this decision.  We’ve talked about the difficulties that social media brings in keeping things secret until the audience has a chance to see the movie.  No Time To Die has a 10-day gap between when its release cycle starts in Belgium to when the last 6 countries get to see it.  That stinks for fans in those 6 countries.  This Netflix decision shows they are looking out for the fan by releasing globally on November 12.   We wish all the studios would follow suit.

Argylle

Matthew Vaughan who produced and directed the first two Kings Man movies and the upcoming The King’s Man movie will be bringing his spy movie prowess to the upcoming movie Argylle. And he’s assembled a star-studded cast: Henry Cavil, John Cena, Bryan Cranston, Bryce Dallas Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine O’Hara, and Sam Rockwell. Argylle is based on an upcoming spy novel with the same name and is expected to be the first in a series of novels and movies.   Vaughan is still expected to be involved with the Kings Man series going forward. To quote Vaughan from an article on Variety.com, “When I read this early draft manuscript I felt it was the most incredible and original spy franchise since Ian Fleming’s books of the ’50s,” said Vaughan. “This is going to reinvent the spy genre.” Given that the same article says that the novel and book “will follow the globe-trotting adventures of a super-spy named Argylle across the U.S., London and other exotic locations.”  we here at Spy Movie News are scratching our heads trying to figure out how this will “reinvent the spy genre”.  That basic explanation sounds like every Bond, Mission: Impossible, Bourne, and Austin Powers movie plot. It should be noted that another series of books will be the basis of the upcoming The Gray Man which we’ve mentioned in earlier Spy Movie News newscasts.  Like Argylle, they are hoping to turn that into a series of movies.  It looks like spy movies are here to stay and we love it.  If these franchises can release every 2-3 years it should ramp up the pressure to get James Bond movies out more quickly too.

Vidyut Jammwal To Star In & Produce Espionage Thriller IB 71

Set before the Indo-Pakistani war, Jammwal will play an intelligence officer in a story about how Indian intelligence agencies outwitted the Pakistani establishment and gave the Indian armed forces the required advantage they needed to face a two-front war in an upcoming espionage movie, IB 71.

The King’s Man

The new trailer for The King’s Man looks at the origins of the Kingsman organization – it is a nice trailer you can find on YouTube.  THE KING'S MAN Trailer 4 (2021) Kingsman 3 Director Matthew Vaughan says "This movie really is an origin story," "This is the foundation of the Kingsman franchise."  So, this should be a good movie to try to put the first two in perspective.  We can’t wait until it releases on December 22, 2021.

The Movie Formerly Known As Five Eyes Gets A Release Date

The Guy Ritchie, Jason Statham spy movie finally gets a release date.  It will debut on January 21, 2022.  We’ve talked about this movie in numerous Spy Movie News episodes so we’re happy to see a release date announced.   Now if they’d only give it a title so we can stop all this “formerly known as Five Eyes” nonsense.   Guy, we want to talk about your movie.  So give us a name, please.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Happy 97th Birthday Eva Marie Saint

It’s hard to believe, but Eve Marie Saint just celebrated her 97th birthday on July 4th.  We spy movie fans remember her fantastic performance in the Hitchcock thriller North By Northwest.

IN MEMORIAM

Richard Donner (1930-2021)

We’re sad to report the passing of Richard Donner.  Although probably best known for his direction of Superman, The Goonies, and Lethal Weapon, Donner’s work in television certainly has influenced spy movies.  Some of his tv credits include The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, and The FBI.   An article on Donner that appears on The Spy Command says that he was Sean Connery’s first choice to direct Never Say Never Again but passed because he didn’t like the script. One other James Bond twist for Donner, Guy Hamilton did not direct The Spy Who Loved Me as he was signed to direct Superman.  That didn’t work out and Richard Donner ended up directing Superman. Again, we have a Black Widow spoiler at the end of the audio podcast of this article.  You can click here to get to that podcast.  So, that’s a wrap of our latest Spy Movie News for July 27, 2021.  Please Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies right now through your favorite podcast app and on YouTube as well!  Tell a friend about our show, give us a five-star rating, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too!            

BLACK WIDOW – a Quick-Fire , No Spoiler Reaction! – Transcript

Related: BLACK WIDOW – a Quick-Fire, No Spoiler Reaction!

Contributed by: Tom Pizzato and Vicky Hodges for SpyMovieNavigator.com

Posted on
This article is an edited transcript of Spy Movie Navigator’s quick-fire reaction podcast for the just-released movie, Black Widow. Our podcast show is called Cracking the Code of Spy Movies on your favorite podcast app and our YouTube channel.

Our hosts for the podcast are Tom Pizzato from the US and Vicky Hodges from the UK.

Don't Forget To Watch Black Widow's Post Credit Scene

Tom

I want to start up front with a warning for you. I have a friend of mine who is a very big MCU fan, and I forgot he told me that after the closing credits MCU movies have a post-credits scene. I forgot about this when I went to the theater. We left during the credits and Vicky, there was a scene at the end and I think people probably should have stayed to watch, correct?

Vicky

Yeah, you just need to sit there and just watch all the names scroll down the screen for about two or three minutes. Right to the very end and then you will get a scene that will lead to something in the future.

Tom

I can't believe I was so stupid because I read something about the ending and I said to myself: Oh man, I forgot Anthony told me that.

Overall Reaction

Tom

So let's talk, again non-spoiler as we can, about what this movie was. We'll talk about if we liked it, where it may have been influenced by either real-life things or previous movies, and give you an idea if it's something worth your time. I didn't think I was going to like this movie as I'm a spy movie fan and I'm not a fan of the MCU. Boy was I wrong. I really like Black Widow and I think you will too. We're going to do this by taking a quick-fire look at the movie The goal of our quick-fires is to give you a spoiler-free look at the movie since we do them right after the movies are released, so we won't go into too many details on the movie. So again, I'm coming to this from a non-MCU fan. In fact, prior to seeing the movie, I had only seen two of them. I had watched the prior two MCU movies the day before I saw Black Widow. I went to this because it was supposed to be a spy movie and since we're SpyMovienavigator.com, this definitely made sense for me to do. However, I did not want to watch it since it was an MCU movie. I didn’t want it to be like The Avengers. I hate those movies where they've got characters that morph into things or animals that take on human-like roles. And there's some of that in The Avengers and it's also why I don't like Star Wars. It's that's not what I like, and fortunately and happily for me, this movie isn't that. This movie was a spy movie. The end fight scene, there's always an end fight scene, that was a little MCU-ish, but it didn't have all these goofy characters in it, so I really like this movie. What about you, Vicky?

Vicky

I actually rate this one of the higher films in the Marvel run of films because of the spy element. It's essentially a prequel set after the events of Captain America: Civil War. But if you aren't, as Tom said, an MCU fan, you can go and see this as a standalone film. You don't need to have seen any of the other films to enjoy this.

Tom

The whole thing is about Natasha Romanoff, who's a spy in the MCU. And it's really about her adventures.

Vicky

Yeah, It's essentially her origin movie. The origin of her character: like we've had with The Wolverine and a number of other characters. This is her origin. She's a trained assassin and it shows you how she leads to this.

Tom

And the timing of it's weird to me because like I said, I watched the last two Avengers movies before I saw this, and she appeared to die in Avengers: End Game.  So I'm like: why are we seeing her as a young person and then now as an adult when I thought she died? I thought that was weird timing-wise.

Vicky

Well, as I say, when they do these origin-type films they want to show you where it starts and you know what influences, things that happen to her. I can't rate it highly enough, to be honest with you. In fact, I would like to see it again. That's how much I like it.

Tom

Yeah, I was shocked that I liked it as much as I did. When I say that, I'm not degrading it at all, 'cause I really liked it.

Influences From Other Movies

Vicky

Yeah, and it has so so many influences of other films that it draws on and you find yourself sitting there going. Ah, ah, yes, that's what I found myself doing.

Tom

Why don't you talk a little bit about some of those influences, again without giving the scenes away in Black Widow? Let's talk about some of the movies that might have influenced Black Widow.

Vicky

Yeah, Key ones. You definitely have got James Bond in there. Lots lots of things for Bond to be honest with you. You've also got a little bit of Mission: Impossible

Tom

Before we get to Mission: Impossible, let's talk a bit about Bond because Natasha is sitting at home one night watching Moonraker.

Vicky

Yes

Tom

So that movie influences this one.

Vicky

Yeah, I mean I think this is a key one for them to pick. When you see something later on in the film. Yes, and that was one where I went ahhhahhh. I sort of nudged my other half.

Tom

Yeah, absolutely.

Vicky

And the locations. For me as well, is very much Bond. Lots of locations throughout the movie. I sat there thinking oh, has Bond been to here then as I've you know, my mind was drifting off to other places.

Tom

OK, what about On Her Majesty's Secret Service? I saw some influence there.

Vicky

Now that's an interesting one. I didn't pick up on that. Interesting.

Tom

OK, So what I will say is: what Dreykov was doing, Dreykov’s big scheme has some influences from On Her Majesty's Secret Service in my mind.

Vicky

Yes, yes, I'd also got that there was some influence of Moonraker in that as well, there was a mixture of the two. Yeah yeah.

Tom

Yes, there absolutely was, yeah. And so again trying not to give it away, but I’m saying that these are two movies from the James Bond world that we think influenced this one. So now you were going to say something about Mission: Impossible.

Vicky

Yes, there was a little bit of Mission: Impossible in there. Just a couple of seconds which took me to Mission: Impossible.

Tom

Oh, I went there immediately.

Vicky

Yeah yeah yeah, and that again I think I leaned over and said “Mission: Impossible” I also got a little bit of Star Wars in there from the costume.

Tom

I saw the first Star Wars and that's the only one I've seen.

Vicky

Yeah, there's a little bit of costume, and I think it might be a little bit of a nod to Star Wars, which would be then a nod to Moonraker so it sort of crescendos on.

Tom

Yeah, there was also a very big influence in my mind from the Jason Bourne trilogy, especially from Bourne Ultimatum., I really think there's a very important influence there, and if you're not a Bourne fan you might not pick it up. I watched that and I went back and watched the first three Bourne movies again because I couldn't remember which one it was in. So it was in the third one. Huge, huge influence.

Vicky

Just going back to Bond, you've pretty much of course got some very high-end stunts and also that leads from Mission: Impossible. And of course, a supervillain, which again is Bond.

Tom

With a lair.

Vicky

But without copying. Without really copying, it's more of a homage to each of these things,

Tom

You could see influence without it saying we're copying. Any other TV or movies that you came up with because I've got two more to talk about, OK?

Vicky

Not for me, more connections with perhaps the cast that all picked up on, yeah?

Tom

OK, well yeah we'll talk about the cast in just a second. So there are two other things that I kind of wanted to point out as influences. The first was that there was a tv show called The Americans. I don't know where in the world showed. I saw it here in the US. I don't know where else you can see it. I don't want to give anything more away than that, but there is a particular scene that was heavily influenced by that show. That show was based on real-world events. There is a scene in Black Widow that is very heavily influenced by the tv show, so if you're a fan of The Americans when you see that scene, you’re going to say: “That's what Tom was talking about.”

Vicky

Right, yeah I do know of the program, but I haven't watched it to myself. But I do know it's been highly spoken of.

Tom

OK. The last influence is a stretch, especially because Dreykov has been around for a while. When I first heard it in the theater I thought they were calling him “Draco”.

Vicky

Yes

Tom

That “v” wasn't there when I heard it. And if I think about it in movies, you have Draco Malfoy who was Harry Potter's big rival in the Harry Potter movies.  You've got Mark-Ange Draco, who's the crime boss in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  And then here Dreykov is the villain. But there's this “v” at the end of his name. So, again, I'm making a stretch here. I'm going to take some liberties here: One of the translations of the word “Draco” is “dragon”, and if you look at Merriam Webster under Dragon, it talks about a violent, combative, or very strict person as a person. Someone formidable or baneful. And I think those two nail Dreykov here. Now here's where I go out on the ledge with this. There's a video game that has a character called The Ultimate Dragon who has posted talking about the fact that there is a character called Drake in that video game. It is a lower class of dragon. Now, the English translation of the Russian word “Dreykov” is “Drakes”. At least according to Google.  So, is this whole “dragon” tie in part of it? I don't know, but I looked at it and thought that that could have influenced his name. But again, given that Dreykov has been around for a while, I don't know if that's valid. That was just something I picked up on.

Vicky

Yeah, I want to sort of. You said Drake over Drax. I mean, I know it's not quite the same, but it's going in the direction I was as well. Drax from Moonraker.

Tom

Yeah, exactly. And I don't know what that translates to. That could be “dragon” as well for all I know.

Preview Differences

Tom

One other thing before we get into the characters that I thought was kind of interesting was when you watched the previews when you were in the theater watching it. 'cause you saw this in a theater, right?

Vicky

Yes

Tom

Yeah, so did I. They didn't have a No Time To Die preview. They had The King’s Man and almost everything was a Disney-based movie. So I think that might have been why they may have only been previewing their movies

Vicky

Ah, now I did have No Time To Die.

Tom

You did OK, so I did not so.

Vicky

I only had that one. That's the only one I have.

Tom

Oh, we had 25 minutes of previews in the US. That's how they do it. They say the movie starts at 11 and the movie started at 11:25.

The cast

Tom

So let's go and talk about the cast. Obviously, Natasha, the lead who is also called Black Widow, is played by Scarlett Johansson taking that role forward and I thought she did a great job here. My wife, the first thing she said when we got out of the theater was “Scarlett Johansson was really good in that”.

Vicky

She's a good actress and I think she takes on that role well. Yeah, it suits her very well.

Tom

Yeah, and she says this is her last go-round as Natasha, and given that we saw her die in Avengers: End Game I guess that makes sense.

Vicky

Yeah.

Tom

There's another character and I'm only going to refer to the characters by the first name without telling you who they necessarily are because if I do that, we'll be giving some of this away, especially at the beginning of the movie.

Vicky

Yeah, yeah.

Tom

There's a character Yelena played by Florence Pugh who I absolutely thought was fantastic in that role. What do you think?

Vicky

I think she was the standout person in the film.

Tom

Yeah, now she also got the best lines in the movie.

Vicky

Yeah, she was just really good. She just looked good and the action scenes were good with her. She was funny, you know? Spot-on casting there, spot-on casting.

Tom

Before the ending credits started, it kind of looked like maybe they'll have her back in other roles or in other movies. I might want to go see those even if they are the other kind of MCU movie. We'll see. So, the next name then is David Harbour who plays a character called Alexei. James Bond fans may remember him as Greg Beam who's the section chief of the CIA.

Vicky

In Quantum of Solace. Yeah, yeah.

Tom

If you ever saw the movie Hellboy, he was Hellboy.

Vicky

He's been in lots of things and he's been very good in everything. I particularly like him in Stranger Things. That's what I watch him in, and he's always very funny. And he's I must admit it without giving much away, he is the comedy element in this movie.

Tom

Yes, And he played that really well too. He did a good job with that.

Vicky

Very much so. Yeah, yeah.

Tom

Since you mentioned Quantum of Solace, we have another alum here: Olga Kurylenko. And she has a decent-sized supporting role in the movie. Now, in Quantum of Solace, she played Camille. And if I didn't tell you she was in this movie, Black Widow, you might not recognize her. Now that I've told you she's in it, I bet you recognize her. I knew she was in the movie when I first saw her and I didn't get that it was her. And then like the second or third time you saw her, I was like, oh yeah, that's her. Did you recognize her instantly?

Vicky

Yes. Well, I must admit I looked to see who was in the cast. But I didn't clock that her name was in this movie and when it came up on the screen I was like “Oh, OK more Bond people." I just don't, I don't wanna give too much away but you don't see it straight off. So, it was like “well where, what character is she gonna be?”

Tom

Yeah, she wasn't recognizable at all initially. Yeah, Yep, all right. And then finally we have Rachel Weisz, who plays Melina, and you know she's always good, right? You may know her as Tessa, Quayle, in The Constant Gardener. She won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar in 2006 for that role. And that was based on the John le Carré novel. Bourne fans may know her as Dr. Marta Shearing from The Bourne Legacy if you watched that one which I think was the worst of the Bourne movies But, then a lot of people know her as Daniel Craig's wife. And I only mention that because she was on one of the late-night talk shows here in the US. They were trying to figure out when to release Black Widow in the theaters? We've got this No Time To Die monster that we're going to have to be up against at some point to some degree. How do we stay away from it? If we only knew what they were going to do on the release. And Rachel said I'm sitting there and I hear Daniel walking down the stairs and I don't even know if these people realize that I'm Daniel's wife. And I kept thinking to myself: Well, do you want me to just ask Daniel? It was like some super-secret meeting they were having trying to figure out the planning of it. Ok, let’s talk about Ray Winstone.

Vicky

I'll be honest with you, I'm not a fan of Ray Winstone. I think he's good at playing a “cop near East End” gangster. But not so much in other things, doing other things. But I'm not going to take anything away from the performance that he did. But, he was probably, for me, the weakest of the main characters.

Tom

OK, I thought he played a pretty good bastard. Which was his role. He was Dreykov. He's mentioned in other MCU movies but I don't think he was in any. Dreykov, The character wasn't in it, right? This is the first time you actually see Dreykov, right?

Vicky

Yes, yes, and also there's a character called Mason, played by O-T Fagbenle. He was a good tie into Q from the Bond films.

Tom

Yeah, the guy who could get the gadgets?

Vicky

Yeah

Tom

That's good. Yeah, I like that. That's a good tie-back. There's one big thing for me there that we haven't talked about. And I loved the preponderance of women roles in this movie and how they did the women roles in this movie. Almost all of the fighting is done by women. And importantly, unlike some earlier MCU or other spy movies. They fought dressed like they were a spy fighting, not in a ninja costume. No high heels, no tight skirts, nothing like that. They're dressed for the role they were supposed to be doing. And there was none and there was none of this “ I've almost got him, but I need a man to finish the job.” There was none of that. These women were in charge. They took charge of what was up. And they did their jobs. You didn't have any of the stuff we normally see there and I think it's great. Especially when I think about No Time To Die. We see pictures of Paloma fighting in a dress. If you saw the debacle of a movie in 2019, Charlie's Angels, sometimes I didn't know what the heck they were wearing here. The women in Black Widow had strong roles and they looked the part for the role they were playing.

Vicky

Yeah.

Tom

Which I really thought was great.

Vicky

Yes, and it brought me to thinking about the fight scenes and how they were choreographed because they were so entertaining. It brought back again a couple of links to different films. Pretty much reminded me of John Wick and the fight scenes. Very stylized routine and also elements of Kill Bill. I was almost thinking of

Tom

Yeah

Vicky

Because she was quite a powerful character with them in that movie and with what she’s got on, which is similar to the things that we're seeing in this movie.

Tom

Yep.

Different Theater Experiences

Tom

So now you said you saw this in a movie theater.

Vicky

Yes

Tom

As did I. But this has been released on a couple of different formats in the movie there's Superscreen, there’s Dolby Cinema, there's IMAX, and then there's the more traditional theater format. And so you saw it in more of a traditional theater format, correct?

Vicky

Yes, I did.

Tom

So you have recliners? No, seat shakers.

Vicky

We can't just yeah, just reclining seats. Lots of lots of legroom, lots of space, and yet they're quite a huge screen that curved, yeah?

Tom

OK, oh you. So it was a curved screen?

Vicky

It was a curved screen, but it wasn't all singing all dancing.

Tom

How was the audio on it?

Vicky

Good, yeah. You felt you were there, you know, surround you, you're in the action.

Tom

Yeah, that's great. We saw it on Dolby cinema here. Dolby Cinema means you've got the blackest black when the screen is supposed to be black. It's the blackest black that's out there right now. I could have seen it on IMAX but I was trying to get to the first show when that was going to be an 11:00 show. I would strongly suggest seeing this in a theater, not streaming it.

Vicky

I agree.

Tom

I think you would lose so much if you streamed this for your first time, seeing it. We had the seat shakers and there's a scene with an avalanche. I'm not going to give away what happens with the avalanche, but there is one. And I'll tell you, those seat shakers really make you feel like you're in that scene when you see the snow coming down and your seat shaking like this and you're feeling it, not just seeing it and hearing it. Which was which was great. So, if you can see this in a theater not streaming for the first time, 'cause I think at home you'd lose a lot. I also think it would be a great movie to see on IMAX

Vicky

Yeah, I agree.

Tom

Especially the second half of the movie. Which also makes me really look forward to No Time To Die. Because they did some of the filming on that on the IMAX 70-millimeter cameras, so I just really want to see a good action movie done that way. And how crowded was your theater?

Vicky

Where there were not many people in it was an afternoon showing. We were all spaced out. It was all very. I didn't feel at risk. It was a nice comfortable afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed it, yeah?

Tom

Had you been, had you been to the cinema coming out of the pandemic yet?

Vicky

This was the first film that I have seen since the pandemic, yeah.

Tom

OK, OK all right. So this is the fourth one I've seen since the pandemic started. We saw Tenet when it was released in September. And I also saw The Courier. I did a quick-fire podcast on that one. I saw that movie Cliff Walkers. That one I saw twice. I was the only person in the theater or the second time I saw it. It was the first showing of the day. I also did a quick-fire podcast on Cliff Walkers. For Black Widow, the theater was probably 30 to 40% full. The nice thing about that is you didn't feel crowded. You felt there was some social distancing, but there were other people to hear, and see the movie and get their reactions.

A Laugh Track?

Tom

So, Vicky, there was one other thing in this movie that I wanted to talk about that I bet you didn't catch. Did you hear the laugh track?

Vicky

The laugh track?

Tom

Do you know what I mean by a laugh track? I don't know if maybe we have different terms for that. But when they show a movie

Vicky

I'm not aware of that term, what?

Tom

It's a term here in the US, at least, where when they're showing a movie or a TV show, there's laughter on the tape.

Vicky

We call it canned laughter.

Tom

OK, so did you catch the canned laughter?

Vicky

No. oooh.

Tom

OK, so so I don't want to give this away. But Vicky you've seen the movie. Once you've seen the movie search for Yelena or Florence Pugh. There is a scene they've got a trailer out on it when I saw it in the movie theater, I thought the people in the audience were laughing and they may have been because I was laughing at this one line. It's one they kind of touted in some of the trailers and stuff coming up. I watched a video of that trailer and there was laughter in the track so there was canned laughter in it. Now maybe it was somebody had filmed it in the theater, but it sure looked like it was a regular trailer cut for me. And there was laughter, and it shocked me when I heard that. So if anybody knows, did I just see a weird trailer of it? And it's not really there? But it was and it was in exactly the spot I thought I heard the laughter when I saw it in the theater.

Vicky

No, I didn’t hear that. Interesting.

Tom

Well, all I can say Vicky is you're such a poser. (laughter)

Release Schedule

Tom

One more thing I wanted to talk about this movie because of James Bond. They released Black Widow in almost all of their locations on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of the same week, except for Thailand and Indonesia. So, they staggered the release, but it was within that same weekend. And it meant that I didn't get the spoilers before I saw Black Widow. For No Time To Die, there are 10 days between when it releases first in Belgium to the time it hits the US. And there's no way I'm not going to know what happens by the end of that with social media and all that we do as spy movie fans.

Vicky

Yeah

Tom

And I really wish Eon Productions would take, especially since you're not going to allow streaming, that approach. And I believe No Time To Die, probably, especially with the IMAX filming they did should be seen in a movie theater at least the first time you see it.

Vicky

Oh Yeah. Definitely yeah.

Tom

This movie should also be seen in a movie theater for the first time. But make it so we don't get it spoiled before we see it and get these releases closer in timing at least in my opinion. So I mean, you're lucky, Vicky, you get a chance to see No Time To Die the second day it's been released.

Vicky

Yes.

Tom

It's in only one location, it's in Belgium the day before, so there's only one country that has it. Even on the day you get it, there are 15 or 16 countries that get it. So, that wraps up our quick-fire look at the new Marvel movie Black Widow. We think this is a spy movie to watch, especially if you can see it in a theater. And if you're an MCU fan, you'll like it. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies on your favorite podcast app.

Related Content

BLACK WIDOW – a Quick-Fire, No Spoiler Reaction!

Join Tom and Vicky as have a no-spoiler discussion about the major release from Marvel, BLACK WIDOW which is out in theaters now, and steaming through Disney+ for subscribers who pay extra to see at release time.

Spy Movie News – June 29, 2021

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Here’s our June 29, 2021 Spy Movie News with news on Amazon, 007, Ian Fleming’s golf course,  Mission: Impossible 7, The Gray Man, No Time to Die, Regal Cinema James Bond marathon, Black Widow, Red Notice, Austin Powers, and more!

INDUSTRY NEWS

US Federal Trade Commission Will Scrutinize Amazon Purchase of MGM

As we discussed in the June 1st Spy Movie News, there was a chance that the US government might get involved with Amazon’s decision to acquire MGM.  Well, now we know what’s up.  The Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) will look into this acquisition. The US government is splitting up its efforts to investigate the conduct of four tech giants.   The FTC is looking into Amazon and Facebook, while the Department of Justice is looking into Google and Apple.  So, it makes sense that the FTC would look into this acquisition as well. The big issue for Amazon is that the new chairwoman of the FTC, Lina Khan, has been an outspoken critic of Amazon, especially in the area of antitrust. So, while nothing’s been decided yet, Amazon may have a few hurdles to clear if this acquisition is to be approved.   We don’t know the impact of a government rejection on MGM, but this could play out interestingly for the James Bond franchise.   The good thing about it is that this action by the FTC is unlikely to be resolved in time to have an impact on No Time To Die’s release. You can read more in this article in The Wall Street Journal.

John Logan Does Not Look Like a Fan Of the Acquisition

This article on MovieWeb.com highlights John Logan’s concerns about Amazon acquiring MGM. Logan was one of the writers on Skyfall and Spectre so he knows the James Bond infrastructure.  Among John Logan’s quotes in the article are:
  • "What happens if a bruising corporation like Amazon begins to demand a voice in the process? What happens to the comradeship and quality control if there's an Amazonian overlord with analytics parsing every decision? What happens when a focus group reports they don't like Bond drinking martinis? Or killing quite so many people? And that English accent's a bit alienating, so could we have more Americans in the story for marketability?"
  • “I can only hope that the powers that be at Amazon recognize the uniqueness of what they just acquired and allow and encourage this special family business to continue unobstructed."
  • In the context of the larger company, Amazon Prime Video is not chiefly about artists. It's about attracting and retaining customers. And when bigger companies start having a say in iconic characters or franchises, the companies tend to want more, not better
So, yeah, John Logan does not appear to be a fan of this acquisition.  Check out the article here. In this similar article on Independent.co.uk , they wrap up John Logan’s feelings about this nicely:  John Logan is quoted as saying, “Please let 007 drink his martinis in peace. Don’t shake him, don’t stir him.”

I Want To Watch A New Blockbuster, Where Do I Go?

An article By Rebecca Rubin in Variety discusses movie audience's frustration with the movie industry and the whole “We’re releasing this on streaming with special plans, without special plans, in a theater or all of the above or Oh wait, we’re changing our mind on how to release this.” This is a good look at how all the options are frustrating people. Yes, as the industry is changing and the various platforms are buying or building their own content, it is tough for the movie lover to keep track of.  The corporations have to not only develop and market their movies, but they also have to educate the movie viewer as to where and how to see them. Also, they have to deal with public perception on different release options.  At one point the article quotes someone talking about Disney + and Premier Access and how they dislike having to pay extra when they are already paying for Disney+ in order to see Cruella.  The article doesn’t just call out Disney, but HBO Max and Netflix as well. We expect to see more articles like this as the industry is changing quickly and it is up to the fan to keep up and keep shelling out money regardless of how a movie is released. So, fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a very interesting couple of years as this all shakes out.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

Filming Of Mission: Impossible 7 Halted Due to Positive COVID-19 Test

Despite the best efforts of Tom Cruise, Mission: Impossible 7 filming had to be halted for about 2 weeks due to a positive COVID-19 test.  The official statement says “We have temporarily halted production on Mission: Impossible 7 until June 14th, due to positive coronavirus test results during routine testing. You can read more about this stoppage here on variety.com. Our question is: are they back filming?  It’s 2 weeks after June 14th and we cannot find anything that says they are back filming!

JAMES BOND

No Time To Die Records

Mike Reyes has an article on CinemaBlend.com which talks about how with the release delays from the pandemic, No Time To Die is setting some James Bond records:
  1. It matches the longest gap between released Bond movies tying the 6-year gap between Licence to Kill and GoldenEye.
  2. Daniel Craig now has the record for the longest time an actor has held the James Bond role, surpassing Roger Moore.
  3. No Time To Die will have the longest run time at 162 minutes, beating Spectre’s 148 minutes
And – as an aside, Spectre beat out On Her Majesty’s Secret Service which was 142 minutes.

No Time To Die will release as part of a marathon in some Regal Cinemas

In that same Mike Reyes article, he mentions that Regal Cinemas is putting together an 11 ¾ hour Daniel Craig as James Bond marathon.   They will be showing Casino Royale through No Time To Die.   It will be a great, but almost a 12-hour slog, to watch the whole Daniel Craig arc of the series. The article claims that Regal will end the marathon with an “early screening” of No Time To Die.  We don’t have the details on this or the date, but it will likely be close to October 8th. Regal’s website talks about the Marathon and has the theater locations for the showings.  Unfortunately for us here at Spy Movie Navigator, there are no Chicago locations on the list.  They don’t have the date posted.  Their website shows this was in process for the April 10 release date and mentions the Wednesday before as the date for the marathon.  We’ll let you know when we hear more. The No Time to Die release date is set for October 8, 2021, here in the United States. It’ll open a little earlier, on September 30, in the United Kingdom.

Happy 40th Anniversary To For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only hit its 40th Anniversary last week, on June 24th.  Unfortunately, streaming fans aren’t able to watch it as it is one of two James Bond movies not available for free streaming right now. The Man With The Golden Gun is the other.  You can pay to rent them, but they aren’t included in any current ‘free’ streaming package. This seems to us like a missed opportunity for Eon Productions to promote an anniversary and generate some more Bond hype while we wait for No Time To Die. Mike Reyes has a nice article on CinemaBlend.com that dives into For Your Eyes Only in more detail if you want to catch up.  For Your Eyes Only is one of our favorite Roger Moore Bond movies!

Daughter Pleas To Have Her Dying Father See No Time To Die Early 

ITV.com has a heart-tugging story about a daughter’s plea to get her terminally ill father the opportunity to see No Time To Die early.  Her father who is a huge James Bond fan and memorabilia collector has been given weeks to live due to untreatable cancer. Obviously if the movie had been released when it was first targeted, he would have seen it. His daughter, Remy, has posted a Twitter video that has gone viral and numerous media sources have picked it up. The video shows some of her father’s memorabilia and fandom for James Bond.  It is accompanied by the song “We Have All The Time In The World” from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She’s asking to get her father a private screening before he dies.    As Remy puts it “What I want to give for my dad is a couple of hours of respite, where he can suspend reality and lose himself in the franchise he has passionately loved and followed and immersed himself in for all of his 5 decades." So far, neither Universal Pictures nor Eon Productions have commented on the video. We hope that they give him a private screening but keep it private.   Publicizing the fact that they did it would open up a can of worms with lots of requests.  However, it would be an awesome touch and tribute to a life-long Bond fan if they can make it happen.

Britt Ekland Says Goodnight To Lip Fillers

A Bond Girl from 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun, Britt Ekland, says that she ruined her face after getting lip fillers. She had received injections of Articol around her lips.   This filler was never approved for use in the US and is now considered risky in the UK. Although she still says: “Everyone has the right to choose”.  But she called her lip fillers “the biggest mistake” of her life and that they ruined her face. She also said “It’s not going to give me more roles to make me look better.   This is who I am, and people have to accept it.  I’ve accepted it” Spy movie fans will remember Britt Ekland in the role of Mary Goodnight in The Man With The Golden Gun and Principessa  Spada in The Conspirators. You can read more about this here on Foxnews.com.

Next Month’s Open Championship to be played at Ian Fleming’s course

“The Open Championship”, golf’s original Major tees off on July 14, 2021.   The tournament will be played at Royal St. George’s where Ian Fleming was a member. The golf match in Goldfinger was played at a club called St. Mark’s, although Fleming’s description of the layout matched Royal St. George’s. In the movie, the golf match was filmed at Stoke Park, near Pinewood Studios. A couple of clues that St. Mark’s was Royal St. Georges are two character names.   The golf pro at Royal St. George’s when the movie Goldfinger was released was Albert Whiting.  The movie used Albert Blacking as the pro’s name.  James Bond’s caddie was named Hawker in the movie.  Alf Hawkes was one of the top caddies at Royal St. George’s at the time. There’s a nice article in Issue 5, the June/July 2021 issue of Golf Digest that dives deeper into Ian Fleming, Goldfinger, and Royal St. Georges.  It is followed by a list called “A Quick Nine On The Trail Of Ian Fleming” that points out places in England you can go with ties to Fleming. If you’re a Bond fan and a golf fan, it’s a nice read.

OTHER MOVIE NEWS

Austin Powers Fans, Get Ready To Binge

Netflix is adding the Austin Powers franchise on July 1.  This gives Netflix fans of this spoofing spy movie series a chance to binge through the three movies.  We welcome this as this is a fun series to binge and Netflix is giving us a way to do it. We’re still waiting on the long-rumored fourth Austin Powers movie.  The rumor comes back every couple of years, but unfortunately, nothing yet to report on them actually doing it.

OSS 117: From Africa With Love to close Cannes (CAHN) Film Festival

And speaking of spy movie spoofs, The Hollywood Reporter tells us that the French spy spoof OSS: 117: From Africa With Love will be closing the Cannes Film Festival. This is the third movie in the OSS Franchise.  It is expected to be released in France on August 4, 2021, Russia on August 26th, Italy on September 30, and Portugal on November 18.  We’ve seen no planned release date for the US, India, or the UK.

Regé- Jean Page Talks About The Gray Man

Regé-Jean Page talks about his upcoming movies, The Gray Man and Dungeons & Dragons.   When talking about the spy movie The Gray Man, Regé-Jean says:  “It’s just so much fun when you’re working with folks who are not just at the top of their game but reinventing the game. It’s like a whole new machine.”  They are keeping things close to the vest and not giving away much on this movie, but we can’t wait. You can read the full article here on Variety.com

Disney Will Release Black Widow To Disney + on October 6, 2021

Disney has started accepting pre-orders for Black Widow in advance of its July 9th release date both in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access.  For fans who don’t want to pay for Premier Access, Disney's website says that the movie “joins the Disney+ collection” on October 6, 2021.  So, for fans who don’t want to wait, you can go to a theater or pay for Premier Access and stream the movie online.  If you don’t mind the wait, it will be on your Disney+ subscription in October.

Scarlett Johansson Thinks She’s At A Good Point To Finish Her Role As Black Widow

In an article on Cinemablend.com, Scarlett Johansson talks about her decision to leave her role as Black Widow.  She says “In every way, and certainly, as an actor, it’s always better to leave a situation when you’re on top. And to feel good about something. It’s great. And I feel on top with this.” The article also states that the movie Black Widow will transition from one Black Widow to the next so there will be a new actress taking on the role going forward. As a reminder, Black Widow is due to hit theaters on July 9th. It will also be available for streaming on Disney+ with Premier Access on that date. You can read the full article here on CinemaBlend.com.

 

Red Notice For Thanksgiving?

Anthony Lund on MovieWeb.com tells us that Dwayne Johnson suggested a Thanksgiving release date for Netflix’s Red Notice. Well, actually, on Instagram, Johnson said the release date announcement was coming soon and ended the post with the hashtag #holidays2021.   So our question is this: is that Thanksgiving or Christmas? We’ve talked about this movie for a while now and it will great to finally be able to see it.  It still isn’t clear if there will be a theatrical release or just a streaming release. A $200 million tv spy movie?  Well with a strong cast headlined by Gal Gadot (Ga-DOT), Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds this is a must-see. So that wraps up this edition of Spy Movie News.   Join us next time to catch up on news in the spy movie industry. Don't forget that you can listen to this as a podcast (which you can subscribe to on your favorite podcast app).

Spy Movie News – June 1 2021

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Here is our Spy Movie News for June 1 2021!   Hot industry news as Amazon gobbles up MGM, Barbara Broccoli speaks out, James Bond and Marvel, Black Widow, Operation Mincemeat, Schwarzenegger a Spy?, Mark Strong and the Kingsman Franchise, Face/Off 2 ; and more!

INDUSTRY NEWS 

Amazon Buys MGM for  $8.45 Billion 

Although it was anticipated, Amazon bought MGM for $8.45 Billion on May 26th.  This is the first tech company to buy a studio.  However, it doesn’t appear to be about making content, but rather about getting access to the MGM catalog.   Amazon needs content to continue to lure Amazon Prime customers.  This acquisition buys them a lot of content, including James Bond.  Amazon had been the leader in the streaming game as they launched Prime in 2005, well ahead of most of their competitors.  Now the streaming industry has caught up.  An article on CNBC.COM talks about the anti-trust regulators being likely to approve this deal.  However, there could be roadblocks as the District of Columbia just sued Amazon on antitrust grounds.  The article believes it will be approved because they aren’t leaders in this content space and there is a lot of competition.  Plus, they mention that Amazon doesn’t have a lot of new things to acquire without antitrust concerns.  What concerns us here at Spy Movie Navigator is Jeff Bezos.  Yes, he’s stepping down as CEO in July, but he will be Executive Chairman of the Board.  Will he allow James Bond movies to be made that will likely look better in a theater on a big screen than in a home theater or mobile device?  Bond is designed to be big.  That’s not where Amazon has historically played.  Might Bezos get rid of theatrical releases totally for MGM’s movies?   These are just some of the concerns we have. 

In another article, this time on Variety.com, James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson say: “We are committed to continuing to make James Bond films for the worldwide theatrical audience”. That article says No Time To Die is still on track for the October 8
th release date.   We need to remember that Barbara and Michael have final say on everything from the film’s marketing and distribution plans to the actor who plays James Bond.  This was part of the deal when Cubby Broccoli made the initial deal with MGM for financing and distribution rights.   Ok, to have a bit of fun with this ‘why we’re concerned that Amazon bought MGM’ idea: Is it just us, but does Jeff Bezos remind us of a cross between Blofeld and Elliott Carver from the James Bond movies?   He’s smart, rich, manipulative, wants to control everything, maybe he’s a bit of a megalomaniac (ok, we're just kidding here).  Like Telly Savalas and Donald Pleasence’s Blofeld he’s bald.  Like Elliott Carver, he owns a newspaper, The Washington Post so he can control some of the news. Like Savalas’ Blofeld he can control what people eat in some regard since he owns Whole Foods.  Makes us go Hmmm….  You can read about the acquisition (here) on CNBC.com. You can find the Variety article here. 

US Members of Congress Push Back On Amazon-MGM Deal 

Well, as you might imagine US politicians can’t keep their hands off corporations.  And anything that gets them in the news trying to fight for the little guy will be taken advantage of.  Democrat US Senator Amy Klobuchar is pushing for a Department of Justice investigation into the Amazon-MGM deal.  She says: “This is a major acquisition that has the potential to impact millions of consumers “The Department of Justice must conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that this deal won’t risk harming competition.” “This is also a reminder of why we need to fund our antitrust agencies so they can take on investigations of multi-billion dollar deals,”  This appears to be a bipartisan topic as Republican US Rep Josh Hawley also said ““This sale should not go through. Amazon is already a monopoly platform that owns e-commerce, shipping, groceries & the cloud. They shouldn’t be permitted to buy anything else. Period.”  We guess Amazon or MGM didn’t give them enough support in the last election cycle.  You can read all about it (here) on Variety.com 

Are Outdated COVID Guidelines Hurting Hollywood? 

William Earl pens an interesting article talking about the costs of testing for COVID, Union agreements, and advances in technology are coming to a head.  The high cost of COVID safety measures is hurting movie profits.  It was way back in September 2020 that the basic agreement with the big unions was signed. A lot of progress since then in testing should lower costs. However, the agreements from September are getting in the way.  It’s estimated that 10-20% of a filmmaker's budget goes to COVID-related expenses.  Testing prices have been slashed in half or more.  And new testing is available.  You can read William Earl’s article (here) on Variety.com. 

JAMES BOND 

Should James Bond Adopt The Marvel Cinematic Universe Model? 

An interesting article on digitalspy.com talks about the pros and cons of James Bond taking more of an MCU approach to release schedules.  The article notes that even with Bond’s 46-year head start, by the end of this year MCU will have released more movies, 27, than Bond has in almost 60 years.  The article talks about releasing more James Bond movies more frequently. One of the big hindrances there is the possibility of Bond overload for the viewer, the Bond actor, and the writers.  Also, there would likely have to be spin-offs.  There was a script developed for a spin-off for Jinx from Die Another Day.  And a rumor of a spin-off of Wai Lin from Tomorrow Never Dies.  It’s an interesting read and you can check it out (here) on Digitalspy.com. 

BLACK WIDOW 

Black Widow Releases New Trailer With Cool Chase scene 

ON July 9th, Disney will release Black Widow in theaters and Disney +.  To help with the hype, they released a new trailer with a nice short chase scene with a unique way of foiling the chaser.  You can catch this trailer and a related story (here) on CinemaBlend.com.  One thing we like from the article is that this movie will be unique in that most of the characters seemingly don’t have superpowers.  He hope that is true.  We at SpyMovieNavigator.com focus on spy movies and most of the MCU doesn’t fall into that category.   Black Widow does which makes us curious to see how that is handled. 

OPERATION MINCEMEAT GETS A RELEASE DATE 

The WWII drama Operation Mincemeat starring Colin Firth and Kelly MacDonald is set to release in the UK and Ireland on Jan 7, 2022.  We haven’t seen the US release date yet but we can’t wait.   This movie is based on an actual WWII espionage plot that we’ve mentioned in several podcasts.  A dead body is given credentials and placed by the British to throw off the enemy. It will great to see this story on the big screen.  You can find out more (here) on variety.com. 

DeObia Oparei CAST IN THE GRAY MAN

We’ve been talking about this movie for a while now.   They’ve announced that DeObia Oparei has joined the cast of The Gray Man.  DeObia is probably best known for his role as Areo Hotah  in “Game of Thrones”.  He joins this star-studded cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thorton, Alfre Woodard, Regé-Jean Page, and others.  The Gray Man is based on the first installment of The Gray Man book series and the hope is that this can become a spy movie franchise in the likes of James Bond or Mission: Impossible.   You can read more about this (here) on Deadline.com.    

THE GOVERNATOR GETS A SPY SERIES 

Netflix has landed Arnold Schwarzenegger for a live-action eight-episode global spy adventure. Monica Barbaro will play his daughter.  The show doesn’t have a title or release date yet.  You can read more (here) on MovieWeb.com. 

WILL MARK STONG RETURN TO THE KINGSMAN FRANCHISE? 

Ok, so his character Merlin may have died in the last Kingsman movie, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.  That doesn’t keep Mark Strong from wanting to come back for another shot at it.  He tells Jon Fuge: “I was quite sad, I think, as were a lot of people, when he comes to his dynamic end, shall we say? At the end of the second one. I think there is a third one, and that universe, anything can happen as you well know.”  As fans of this series and of Merlin, in particular, we like to see him get the chance to come back in a future Kingsman movie.  The third Kingsman movie, The King’s Man is slated to release on December 22, 2021.  It’s been pushed back quite a few times so we hope this time it happens.  You can read move (here) on MovieWeb.com. 

JOAN ALLEN WOULD LIKE TO BE BACK IN FACE/OFF 2 

Joan Allen says she hasn’t been contacted to resurrect her role as Sean Archer’s wife, Eve in the upcoming Face/Off 2.  She says she will return.  The director, Adam Wingard says that John Travolta and Nicolas Cage will return.  It will be interesting to see how much of the rest of the cast returns, like Joan Allen.     You can read more about this (here) on MovieWeb.com 

IN MEMORIAM 

Frank McRae (1941-2021) 

We are saddened to report that Frank McRae, who played Sharkey in Licence to Kill passed away on April 29, 2021. 

Neil Connery (1938-2021) 

Sean Connery’s younger brother, Neil passed away on May 9th. He was probably known mostly for his role in Operation Kid Brother (1967) which was a spoof on James Bond that included Daniela Bianchi and Adolpho Celi of James Bond fame.  You can read more about Neil on Jamesbond007.se here. 

Graeme Ferguson (1929-2021) 

Graeme Ferguson who was one of the founders of IMAX passed away on May 8, 2021.  The giant screen editions of the action spy movies are the way to see them.  Big movies need big screens.  The upcoming No Time To Die is the first 007 movie shot with IMAX film cameras.  None of that would have been possible without Graeme Ferguson’s efforts.

Romy Walthall (1963-2021)

Romy Walthall died May 19, 2021. For spy movie fans, she played Sean Archer's secretary in Face/Off. You can read more about Romy in this article on Variety.com.   That wraps up this edition of Spy Movie News for June 1, 2021. You can find more about spy movies at our website, https://SpyMovieNavigator.com – please Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show, right now on your favorite podcast app , Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too!   

Spy Movie News Article – May 4, 2021

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Mission: Impossible, Tom Cruise, Robert Pattinson as the next Bond?, BAFTA, Billion Dollar Spy, Kingsman: The Blue Blood, Mads Mikkelsen, Memory and more! We'll examine all of these and more in today's Spy Movie News.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

Mission: Impossible 7 & Delayed  

As reported in this article on Deadline.com, both Mission: Impossible 7 and have been delayed.  Top Gun: Maverick will take Mission: Impossible 7’s spot on November 19, 2021.  That means that Mission: Impossible 7 will now release Memorial Day weekend in the US on May 27, 2022.   Mission: Impossible 8 has been pushed to July 7, 2023, from its November 4, 2022, date. 

Ethan Hunt and The Syndicate 

In this interesting article by Mike Reyes on Cinemablend.com, Reyes asks if Ethan Hunt has been secretly fighting The Syndicate his whole career.  Reyes dives into the developments of the most recent movies and finds a pattern.  We first hear of The Syndicate in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.  Members infiltrate the intelligence community to bring it to its knees.  Reyes talks about corollaries with SPECTRE in the Daniel Craig Bond movies.  He has some interesting insight about the role of Kittridge, played by Henry Czerny , who is being brought back in the upcoming Mission: Impossible movies, suggesting that bringing him back helps cement the role of The Syndicate behind all of the Mission: Impossible movies. 

Blowin’ in the Wind 

Tom Cruise got some annoying tree branches cut that were disturbing Cruise and other actors.  According to CinemaBlend.com, Cruise ordered some branches cut that were scrapping against his, and some other actor’s trailers during rest periods while filming Mission: Impossible 7.  Given all that we’ve heard about the problems in getting this movie made, we’re glad this was one annoyance easily pruned. 

THANDIWE NEWTON GOES BACK TO HER ORIGINAL NAME 

Thandiwe Newton who played Nyah Hall in Mission: Impossible II is switching back to the real spelling of her name.   She says the old spelling, without the “w” in her first name was a mistake from early in her career.  She’s now adding the “w” back into her name  So I guess we go from TANDi Newton to TandDEE-way Newton   

JAMES BOND 

How About Robert Pattinson as the next James Bond? 

In this article on Cinemablend.com, Jamil David posits that after looking at some art by Barret Digital, he thinks that Robert Pattinson would be a great James Bond.   He’s positioning for Pattinson to take on the role post- Daniel Craig.  The article includes a very James Bond-looking Pattinson.  Could be an interesting choice, especially after his role in TENET.   

Le Chiffre’s Torture of James Bond Was Almost Cut from Casino Royale 

Mads Mikkelsen, who masterfully portrayed Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006) had an interesting reveal about one famous scene in that move.  In an interview published on TotalFilmMikklesen tells us that the torture scene after the poker game where Bond was naked on the bottomless chair with Le Chiffre swinging the knotted rope at one point was on the cutting table for a while.  It was in, then out, and back in again.  We are happy they kept it in as it showed a great side of Bond and the spy world that is often neglected in spy movies.  You can read the full interview on gamesradar.com. 

Mads Mikkelsen Left What On a Plane? 

In another article on Mikkelsen, he left his script for Casino Royale on a plane after falling asleep heading to his audition.  He realized it after deplaning and they wouldn’t let him back in.  Fortunately, it never turned up.  The script had his name printed on every page.  That could have been bad.  This is one of a few tidbits exposed in a cinemablend.com article. 

BAFTA AGAIN IGNORES JAMES BOND MOVIE ACTORS IN ITS IN MEMORIAM MONTAGE

In what has to be a snub in the eyes of James Bond fans, BAFTA did not include some prominent James Bond actors in their “In Memoriam” section of this year’s film awards.  Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, and Earl Cameron were all not included in this year’s remembrance.    At least they mentioned Sean Connery.    BAFTA apparently looks at Rigg and Blackman as TV actors, not film actors as they included Honor Blackman in their BAFTA TV “In memoriam.   In a statement to Variety, BAFTA said: "BAFTA’s committee considered Dame Diana Rigg to be better known for her work in TV, so she will be included in BAFTA’s TV Awards broadcast this year"  Well, to us here at Spy Movie Fans remember them for their both movie and tv work.  We wish BAFTA did too.  At least the Oscars got it right. 

BILLION DOLLAR SPY DROPS THE HAMMER 

It looks like Mads Mikkelsen who played Le Chiffre in the 2006 James Bond movie, Casino Royale, will be getting a new co-star for the upcoming movie, The Billion Dollar Spy.  This Amma (Ahma) Asante (A SAN-tay)movie is based on a real-life Cold War story.  Mads was supposed to co-star with Armie Hammer who was recently dropped from the project due to Hammer’s recent problems.  Billion Dollar Spy is expected to start production this year.  Check out this story on HollywoodReporter.com for more details.   

KINGSMAN: THE BLUE BLOOD?

One of the most confusing naming conventions used by a studio will have 20th Century Fox releasing The King’s Man on December 22, 2021. That’s two words “King’s” and “Man” This often pandemic-pushed movie is supposed to be the prequel to the Kingsman series.  The first two movie’s had Kingsman as one word.    This gets more confusing in an article on DigitalSpy talks about Kingsman 3, which it says “The one that’s not The King’s Man”.  They say the rumored name for Kingsman 3 is Kingsman: The Blue Blood which will wrap up the trilogy of the first two movies with Harry Hart and Eggsy.   Yeah, I’m confused too.  Creator Matthew Vaughn is quoted as saying We need to make I, because I don’t want Colin in a Zimmer frame, or Eggsy with nappies.  So we need to get on with it.  One other reason to hurry up with that is that there have been some rumors that Taron Egerton could be in the running to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond.  This could get interesting. 

MEMORY GETS KEY ACTORS 

The upcoming Liam Neeson’s movie, Memory, has filled its main casting with the addition of Guy Pearce (Pierce), Monica Bellucci, Harold Torres (TORE-es), Taj Atwal, and Ray Fearon (FEARon).  Neeson plays an assassin with Pearce, Atwal, and Torres as FBI agentsMonica Bellucci plays a tech mogulThe movie, based on the Belgian movie The Memory of a Killer, and the book, “De Zaak Alzheimer”, is currently in production in Bulgaria.   

LEWIS TAN TAKES THE LEAD FOR QUANTUM SPY 

The adaptation of David Ignatius’ novel, “Quantum Spy” has picked it’s lead actor and it’s Mortal Kombat star, Lewis Tan.   Tan will be both the star and co-executive producer. Tan will play a CIA officer who needs to hunt down a Chinese mole at an American Quantum research lab. This may end up being a television show instead of a movie.   More details to come later. 

SPY CITY PICKED UP BY AMC NETWORKS 

The US rights to the 6-part European spy drama Spy City have been picked up by AMC.  Plans are to start the show April 15, 2021.  Dominic Cooper stars as a British Secret Intelligence Service spy set in Berlin during the height of the Cold War.     

CLIFF WALKERS RELEASED APRIL 30th

The 1930’s tale of espionage with Northern China and Japanese, called Cliff Walkers debuted in the US on April 30th.  According to a review on movieweb.com, the movie has many Hitchcockian character twists.   Four spies are on a mission that requires them to parachute into a wintery forest.  Their cover had been blown.  There are seven chapters to the movie with numerous double-crosses.  We’re excited to be able to see this and will release our Quick-Fire podcast on this movie in the next few days.   

INDUSTRY NEWS 

Murdoch thinks theatrical window “Gone For Good 

In an interview at APOS, James Murdoc, former CEO of 21st Century Fox, said “The substantial if not complete collapse of the theatrical window in the US and a lot of other markets is here to stay now.”  He also talked about how COVID-19 has accelerated this thinking.  He also talked about how rebundling is already happening in the streaming industry and for the consumer “your total price is already where it was with cable, if not higher.”  "There is a real question about what the creative output is going to look like within these large conglomerates and what established and talented creators are going to want to do.” So, the times, they are a-changin   

IN MEMORIAM

Jason Matthews, author of ‘Red Sparrow’ thrillers, dies 

APnews.com reports that Jason Matthews, the award-winning novelist who had a 33 career in espionage with the CIA and who wrote “Red Sparrow” thrillers, died at age 69 . 

Paul Ritter (1966-2021) 

Paul Ritter, who played Guy Haines in the 2008 James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, passed away on April 5th.  If you remember, Guy Haines was the special envoy to the Prime Minister who was in the opera scene.  He’s the first picture that Bond took of Quantum at the opera.   Bond didn’t recognize him, but Mathis did.  You can read more in this article on HollyWoodReporter.com. 

Helen McCrory (1968-2021) 

Helen McCrory who played Clair Dowar MP in the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall passed away on April 16, 2021.  Ms. McCrory also is known for her roles as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies as well as Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders.  This has been the May 4th Spy Movie News .  Please Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movie show, right now on your favorite podcast app, Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too!   
Here are the links to the sources for today's Spy Movie News:

The Courier – A Quick-Fire Review

Related: The Courier – A No-Spoiler Quick-Fire Look

Contributed by: Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Cracking the Code of Spy Movies
I just did something I hadn’t done since last September.  I went to a movie theater here in the US.  What brought me to the theater for the first time since Tenet?  The spy movie that just released in the US The Courier. So, join me as I take a quick-fire look at the 2021 movie The Courier. We have recorded this article as a podcast.  You can play it here by pressing the red arrow below if you'd rather listen than read.

Spoiler-Free

I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum here as I am aware that this movie has a staggered release schedule and isn’t being released in the UK until mid-May, France and Turkey won’t get it until mid-June. I assume it will stream sometime after that.

Why Is Spy Movie Navigator Reviewing The Courier?

One of the things we, at Spy Movie Navigator do when examining movies is to look at influences for a movie:  Either real life events or how one movie influences another.   For instance, the vault scene in the 1996 movie Mission: Impossible was heavily influenced by both a scene in the 1964 movie Topkapi as well as the second episode, called The System, of the 1988 reboot of the "Mission: Impossible" tv show.   Since The Courier is based on real world events, it is right in our wheelhouse.

IronBark, The Courier, and the story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky

The Courier debuted at the 2020 Sundance Festival just before the pandemic hit.  At the time, it went by the name Ironbark, which was the codename of the main Russian character in the story, Oleg Penkovsky, played wonderfully by Merab Ninidze.  Benedict Cumberbatch gives yet another stellar performance in the role of the British main character, Greville Wynne. Many spy fans already know the basics of the true story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky so I’m comfortable relating some of the facts behind this movie, without hitting on spoilers.  I will refrain from exposing the movie’s twists and main tension points so that you can keep listening and still enjoy the movie when you see it. The basic story is that a travelling salesman, with no military, government, or intelligence background was enticed by MI-6 to act as a go-between for MI-6 and a Russian Spy named Oleg Penkovsky. Penkovsky passed information to the West, often through Wynne.  Penkovsky loved Russia, but not the Soviet Union and he really didn’t trust Khrushchev. He was a well-decorated lieutenant colonel in the GRU which was the Soviet Union’s foreign-intelligence agency which is why he had access to the detailed information he passed on. The information that Penkovsky passed through Wynne would play a major role in the US response to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 between the US and the Soviet Union.

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962

In case you aren’t familiar with the Cuban Missile Crisis, let me give you a short very high-level recap.  The US deployed ballistic missiles in Turkey and Italy.  In response, the Soviet Union built the infrastructure in Cuba, only 90 miles from Florida, to launch ballistic missiles.  A war of words between US President, John F. Kennedy, who ordered a blockade of ships going to Cuba, and Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev finally ended with the Soviets dismantling the Cuban-based missiles.  This event is considered to be the closest the two countries every have gotten to a full-scale nuclear war. The information from Penkovsky alerted the US to the Soviet buildup in Cuba. This really happened and wasn’t just something that screenwriter Tom O’Connell made up. Ok, so that’s as much of the plot as I want to give away. So, let’s talk about the non-spoiler stuff in The Courier.

The Spy Stuff in The Courier

This is a spy movie, in part.  It has the intrigue and tension of spy stuff like brush passes, dead drops, and other stealthy activities.  It also has the KGB monitoring people, key ladies in the tourist hotels monitoring everything that goes on (which was reality in the Soviet Union for travelers), people being captured getting hoods placed over their heads, people being shot or poisoned. There are even a few gadgets like a mini camera.  James Bond uses an almost identical camera in Moonraker in 1979.  One gadget I really liked was a hidden drawer-within-a-drawer in Penkovsky’s desk.  I thought that was really cool. In short, this is a spy movie.   There is danger all through the movie that the principals could be caught which any spy movie needs. The Courier is not an action thriller à la James Bond, Mission Impossible and the Bourne.  There are no high-end stunts or long crazy car chases in this movie.   Rather, think of it closer to something like the 2007 movie, Breach which was about Robert Hanssen or maybe Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  Both of those movies were good spy movies without a lot of action, just intrigue and suspense.

Relationships and Loyalty

Earlier I said this was a spy movie, in part.  I saw this movie with my lovely wife.  As we were driving home, she said “that wasn’t really a spy movie, it was a movie about friendship and loyalty.”    I think that is an excellent way to look at this movie.  Yes, this was about real-life espionage, but the root of the movie was about the unlikely and deep real friendship of the two main characters.  These two guys who were thrown together by fate ended up spending a lot of time together.  They went out on the town often and even met each other’s wife and child. It would have been very unusual for a foreigner to meet a Soviet Diplomat’s spouse and children during the cold war.  I think that strengthens the depiction of the Bond between them. We also have to remember that these two could talk with each other about what they were doing, but couldn’t mention it to anyone else, not even their own wives.  They needed to trust each other. At one point in the movie Penkovsky is asked by Wynne’s young son why the Soviets hate the British.  Penkovsky’s response nails the movie.  He says that it is the politicians who hate the other politicians.  The people don’t hate the other people.  That explains the relationship well.

The Cast and Crew

The 2 leads, Merab Ninidze and Benedict Cumberbatch were excellent.   Ninidze was nominated for the 2020 British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.  I was surprised that Cumberbatch wasn’t up for the Best Actor nomination.  Especially in the last ¼ of the film (again no spoilers here), he was amazing.   I do want to know what he did for three months to lose the 20 pounds of weight he needed to for that last part of the movie.  He said it was horrible losing the weight. The supporting roles were well acted as well.   Rachel Brosnahan as Emily Donovan, representing the CIA along with Angus Wright, playing Dickie Franks (who was a real guy, unlike Emily) were very good in their roles. Jessie Buckley turned in a very strong performance as Greville’s wife who was kept in the dark about what her husband was doing.   I also thought that whoever cast Keir Hills as Greville’s young son deserves a mention.  This young man really looks like he could be Cumberbatch’s son and he performed his role well. One person on the crew I’d like to call out is Keith Madden, who was the costume designer.  Both my wife and I commented on how good the costuming was in this movie.  But, unfortunately the wigs on the women were hideous, just awful.

Although very Accurate, There Are Some Liberties Taken

Ok, so although the story behind this movie is true, some fact bending does occur here.  Normally that drives me nuts. But it seems to work here. Part of that is because this is a movie about their relationship.   The last ¼ of the movie goes in and out between what really happened and fiction. A very pivotal scene is a conversation Penkovsky and Wynne have.  In real-life, this conversation never happened.  However, it was a very nice way to bring home the relationship these two guys had. They really cared about each other and this scene showed it. You’ll know the scene I’m talking about when you see it. Also, in this last part of the movie, Wynne has some tough things to deal with.  This is where Cumberbatch’s acting really soared for me.  I don’t want to give it away, but you will be impressed when you see it, and a large part of that was true to what Wynne really experienced in real life. As is common in movies about real-world events, characters are often amalgamations of several people.  This is true here, especially with the role of the CIA contact, Emily Donovan, played by Rachel Brosnahan.  She didn’t exist in real life but according to the movie’s director, Dominick Cooke, she represented many real-life people: most notably, Janet Chisholm.  She was the wife of a British officer and also was used by Penkovsky to pass information.

The Big Question From The Movie

One more thing that fascinated me comes in first part of the movie.   We see two tourists in Russia stopped by a man, and they are asked to deliver something.  This was right out of the blue for them.  They weren’t spies, they didn’t know who was asking or why there were being asked.  They were told it was very important.   What would you do in that situation?  Imagine: it’s the Cold War, you are a tourist in the Soviet Union and someone hands you an envelope and asks you to deliver it for them. What would you do? A little bit later in the movie, Greville Wynne meets Dickie Franks for lunch.  He’s met Franks only once before.   Wynne is a travelling salesman, not a spy, just a regular guy.   Well, at this lunch he’s asked to become a courier as he finds out that this person works for MI-6.  He’s told that because he is just a salesman, no one would be watching.  Oh, and you can’t tell your spouse.  What would you do in this situation?  This one is a bit different because it’s for Queen and Country. To me, this are two of the most thought-provoking scenes from the movie.   “Here, please deliver this for me” or “your country needs you, we need you to perform espionage”. I’ll leave you with one question:  What would you do if you were placed in this situation? How would you, not the people in the movie, not the people from the real-world scenario.  But you. The person reading this article.  What would you do to when presented with those two situations, especially during the Cold War.  Fascinating stuff. So, that’s about all I want to give away in this quick-fire look at The Courier.  I think any movie fan will like this one, especially if they are not expecting an action movie. You can find more articles and podcasts like this one on our website, https://spymovienavigator.com.  You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  You can subscribe to our show Cracking the Code of Spy Movies right now on your favorite podcast app. And you’ll find us on YouTube as well. Let us know what you think of this by either clicking on the red button to the right and leaving us a voice message, or clicking here and send us a message.

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Spy Movie News Article – March 9, 2021 – Mission Impossible, James Bond, The Gray Man, Agent Game & More

Related: Spy Movies & Real-World Connections – Part 1

Related: The Silent Enemy (1958) – A Thunderball Inspiration?

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Here’s our March 9th, 2021 edition of Spy Movie News with updates on Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, No Time to Die, Ana de ArmasThe Gray Man, Agent Game, Killers of the Flower Moon, how to get paid watching Bond movies, Boon, Operation Mincemeat and more!

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE NEWS

Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 no longer shooting back-to-back

We have been hearing all along that Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 were going to be filmed back to back and in some cases simultaneously.   But no. According to this article on Deadline.com, Mission: Impossible 8 will not shoot back-to-back with Mission: Impossible 7.  It appears that promotional duties for Tom Cruise’s movie, Top Gun: Maverick’s July 2 release will force Cruise to push Mission: Impossible 8 filming.  There are no plans to alter the release date of Mission: Impossible 8 because of this. Release dates as of now at Mission Impossible 7: November 19, 2021, and 8 on November 4, 2022.

Kittridge is back!

Twenty-five years ago, Henry Czerny introduced us to Eugene Kittridge in the first Mission: Impossible movie.  In this article on CinemaBlend.com, we see a picture that Christopher McQuarrie (Mac QUARY) posted on Instagram showing today’s Kittridge.  The picture is black and white and it looks to us like it could be a train car that he’s sitting in.  Once again, not a lot has been said about what Kittridge will be doing in this movie, but it is great to see him back.  The article reminds us that IMF is without a secretary right now.  Might Kittridge get that promotion? In this similar article that discusses Kittrige on MovieWeb.com, we get this quote from McQuarrie: When we went into making Fallout, I said to Tom, 'I really want to make this more of an emotional journey for [Cruise's character, Ethan Hunt],'" McQuarrie said. "Going into this, I said, 'I want to take what we learned from Fallout and apply it to every character in the movie. I want everyone to have an emotional arc. ... I just want the movie to have more feeling across the board."

Tom Cruise Gets Foggy

Another image that McQuarrie posted shows a silhouette of Tom Cruise’s character running - in a dark and very foggy shot.  You can check it out on here on Cinemablend.com.  

THE GRAY MAN

The Gray Man’s updated cast list

We’ve talked about the cast for The Gray Man in previous editions of Spy Movie News.  We now have some updated news. In this article on Cinemablend.com, they tell us that Chris Evans plays a villain, Ryan Gosling plays the protagonist.  Other previously announced performers in this star-studded cast include Ana De Armas, Jessica Henwick,  Wagner Moura, Dhanush, and Julia Butters. They just announced the three newest performers: Billy Bob Thorton, Alfre Woodard , and, Tom’s wife’s pick for the next James Bond actor, Regé-Jean Page.  This sounds like a fantastic cast with filming to begin later in the year.  We can’t wait.

How Ana de Armas trains

We’ve seen Ana de Armas in a few roles like Knives Out and Knock Knock.  In her upcoming role as Paloma in No Time To Die, she has to do a lot of fighting.   Now in The Gray Man, she rachets that up a notch.    In this article on Cinemablend.com, de Armas talks about her training regimen to handle these action-type roles. She tells us: “I have to prepare for this action film I’m doing with really intense, physical work, training and choreographies. I do it from 9am to 2pm and then I get a break – and then on the weekends I go to the shooting range and I practice shooting with firing arms that I have to use in the film. And some knife training, too. I enjoy it very much.” We are hoping to see the fruits of those efforts when No Time To Die and The Gray Man are released.  

JAMES BOND

No Time To Die to arrive in U.K. theaters a week early?

According to this article on MovieWeb.com, No Time To Die will be released in the United Kingdom September 30th.  This is a week ahead of the previously announced October 8th release date.  This is an interesting development given that the official James Bond website (007.com) still lists the release date as October 8th.  As much as we want the movie out as soon as it is safe, we, at US-based Spy Movie Navigator, would like to see a global release date for No Time To Die. With the internet and all the buzz about this movie, those of us in the US and other non-UK parts of the world are unlikely to be able to keep away from all the buzz during the week between releases.  It will be tough to see this movie after this wait if we hear or read the ending before getting to see it.  We know this is change is probably for marketing and buzz creation.  Our guess is they will hold multiple premier events as they have in the past.  But, this news does sadden us a bit as we here at Spy Movie News will know the ending before seeing the movie. And, in a supporting article on Collider.com, dated March 6 2021, they talk about the same October release date and the new poster which shows Craig as Bond facing left, holding a pistol in his right hand clearly says October 2021.  And they talk about the UK release of September 30th in the UK. We think we will wait until the official notification from Eon Productions and the studios.  Digital posters with dates are easy to make at virtually no cost! We have seen similar posters for all the other “release” dates as well.   Let’s just hope the world is ready for people to return to theaters and we can finally see No Time To Die – and on a big screen!

Ana de Armas view as a Bond Girl!

Back to Ana – sure why not?! DigitalSpy.com released this article,   on March  6th called, No Time to Die star Ana de Armas on being a Bond girl In the article, they reference Ana de Armas having spoken to Vogue about joining the Bond team, and what makes her character, Paloma in No Time To Die different from previous Bond girls. A snippet of what she says: “Paloma is a really beautiful woman in her own way – and she's badass and very glamorous.” We at SpyMovieNavigator.com think we will see more Bond women who are beautiful, and also tough characters who can stand on their own.   We saw that early on, in Licence to Kill with Carey Lowell’s character, Pam Bouvier.  We will see more – as it should be! In a contest by NerdBear.com, you can get paid to watch all 24 Eon Productions 007 movies.  NerdBear will pay one fan $1000 and a $50 AMC gift card to watch them all in 30 days. Also included is a $100 Amazon gift card to rent the movies on Amazon Prime. The winner will be required to watch all 24 movies and complete a simple worksheet over 30 day.  Go to this NerdBear.com webpage for all the details.  The closing date for entry into the competition is April 16, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST.

No Time To Die Still Expected To Smash Box Office

Mike Reyes  tells us in this CinemaBlend.com article that the 5-time delayed No Time To Die should still be a hit.  With so many people having been locked up during the pandemic, they are looking for nights out.  This being the last Daniel Craig movie also helps fuel the desire to see the movie.  Plus, we’re talking about James Bond here.

Could the new James Bond be Henry Cavill?

Ok, so this is just speculation on our part here at Spy Movie Navigator.  But in this article on MovieWeb.com, the rumor is that Henry Cavill won’t be cast as Superman in the upcoming reboot.  The article doesn’t mention it, but could be because Cavill will be locked up playing James Bond?  I guess this is how rumors start.  

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON GETS ITS LEAD

This article on HollywoodReporter.com touts the signing of Jesse Plemons to star in the upcoming Martin Scorsese movie Killers of the Flower Moon.  Jesse will play an FBI agent.  Lilly Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro round out the leads.   Killers of the Flower Moon is expected to shoot this May to late summer.

 

AGENT GAME SIGNS KEY ROLES

In this article on Deadline.com, by Amanda N’Duka, we find out that Dermot Mulroney, Katherine McNamara, Rhys Coiro , Annie Ilonzeh , and Mel Gibson have been signed for the movie Agent Game.  This spy thriller has Mulroney starring as a CIA officer who is involved with relocating foreign nationals.   When Washington has a political change, he finds that the people he thought were his friends are now his enemies.  

BOON PICKS UP GROSSE FOR KEY ROLE

Demetrius Grosse is joining the Derek Presley-directed movie Boon in the role of Agent Redd.  According to this article on Deadline.com, Boon “is described as a “strong, burnt out FBI agent on a personal mission to find and bring in an assassin that is causing turmoil to a few criminal organizations.”  His long-time friend gets killed and he is out for vengeance.  

NETFLIX PICKS UP OPERATION MINCEMEAT

We’ve talked about Operation Mincemeat, the actual operation, in our podcast Spy Movies & Real-World Connections and our podcast on the movie The Silent Enemy.  This was a real World-War II espionage operation focused on a dead man.  We don’t want to give any more away. Well, this article on Deadline.com discusses how Netflix has bought the North and Latin America rights for already completed Colin Firth movie called Operation Mincemeat which is based on this real-life operation.  The movie counts Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, and Penelope Wilton among its cast members.  This one will be high on our “to-see” list when it releases.  

RED NOTICE

Speaking of Netflix, Red Notice is still scheduled to premiere on Netflix in 2021.  Of course, looking at Red Notice, it’s about an Interpol agent tracking an art thief.   And  in real life, a Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action. Additionally, as reported by CinemaBlend.com, Dwayne Johnson, who collaborated on and will star in Red Notice, has attached himself to another project, Teddy and the Guardians of the Night which has been picked up by Netflix.   While not a spy movie, it is about teddy bear protecting a sleeping child from a monster.  Johnson is growing his bond with Netflix.  

INDUSTRY NEWS

New York City Movie Theaters Start To Reopen

Branden Roberts reports in this article on CinemaBlend.com, that New York City theaters are able to open for the first time since the pandemic started.   Capacity will be limited to 25% and up to 50 people.  We see this as a huge step forward and gives us hope that maybe, Black Widow will finally get released on its now targeted May 7th, release date.  

Paramount+ announces a 45-day release window on 2 movies

Jon Fuge reports in this article on MovieWeb.com, that Mission: Impossible 7 and A Quiet Place 2 will stream on Paramount+ 45 days after the theatrical release.  This is a nice hype-move for promoting the new Paramount+ service.  It also gives some clarity to the Theater vs. Streaming release window debate on release schedules that have been mangled during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve previously reported on the tension between movie theaters and movie production companies about how long a window the theaters will have before a movie hits streaming services (if there is a delay at all). This past weekend Cinemark, Harkins, and Cineplex theaters decided not to show Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon in its theaters because of this tension.  They were supposed to but because Disney announced a simultaneous release at the theater and on Disney Plus, these three chains decided to play hardball and cancelled their showings. It’s good to see Paramount announce this early like this so we know the ground rules.   Not all releases will have this long of a “in-theaters first” window.  Historically, the window was about 90 days so these changes put more pressure on the theater chains. The industry is changing with all of the streaming competition and the desire to have theaters survive.  This will be interesting to watch play out.  

IN MEMORIAM

We are sad to announce that the spy movie world has lost two more of its cast and crew.

William P. Cartlidge (1942-2021)

As posted on 007.com, Bond associate producer and assistant director, William P. Cartlidge, who worked on 3 James Bond movies directed by Lewis Gilbert has died.  He had worked on You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker.  He had a 30 year directing and producing relationship with Gilbert.

Ronald Pickup (1940-2021)

Variety reports, that Ronald Pickup, who James Bond fans would know from his role as Elliott in the movie Never Say Never Again, has passed away.  He had a 54-year career and some of his other memorable roles include Norman Cousins in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Neville Chamberlain in Darkest Hour.   That wraps up our Spy Movie News for March 9th  2021.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@SpyNavigator) and InstaGram too!  Subscribe right now to our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show on your favorite podcast app!

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Spy Move News Article Feb 16, 2021 No Time To Die, M:I 7, Disney, Streaming, Black Widow More!

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

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Here’s our February 16, 2021 edition of Spy Movie News with updates on spy movies and TV series, Black Widow Mission: Impossible 7No Time to Die, a Jinx script?, Tom HollandRalph Fiennesa Disney studio shuttered The Gray ManJack Ryan and more!   Let’s go! 

SPY MOVIES TURNED INTO TV SERIES 

 Movies get made into series and series get made into movies.   This time, the industry is retreading two movies from the 1990s and 2000s into series. 

TRUE LIES ON CBS 

The spy movie True Lies has been given the first pilot order of 2021-2022 for CBS.  This is the second attempt to get a pilot made of a tv show based on the movie.  Fox made a pilot commitment in 2017.   The movie was a fun spy movie with Jamie Lee Curtis’ character, Helen, finding out that her husband Harry, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger was an international spy.  You can read more about it on Variety.com in this article.  

Mr. & MRS. SMITH

The Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie movie about assassins hired to kill each was released in 2005.  It has been announced that Mr. & Mrs. Smith will be brought out as a 2022 series by New Regency and Amazon Prime Video.  This series will have two of the hottest names in the industry starring and executive producing the series. Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are both signed up in these roles.  Mr. & Mrs. Smith was a fun movie, and with Donald and Phoebe involved is likely to be a fun series too.  You can read more about this in this article on Variety.com

DISNEY IS STILL PLANNING TO RELEASE BLACK WIDOW THEATRICALLY 

In our last Spy Movie News, we reported that the Marvel CEO, Herb Schribner hinted that Black Widow could possibly debut on Disney +.  Well,  Not so fast.  According to an article on Variety.com, Disney CEO Bob Chapek in discussing Black Widow says, “We are still intending it to be a theatrical release”.  However, he did not say if they are still planning the scheduled May 7, 2021 release date.  If it does release to theaters on May 7, it would be the first tentpole movie to release this year.  “We’re going to be watching very carefully the reopening of theaters and consumer sentiment on going back to theaters,” he added.  

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 7 

Cinemablend Says This Is What They Know About Mission: Impossible 7 

 According to this article on CinemaBlend.com, we know this about Mission: Impossible 7: 
  • The current release date is November 19, 2021.  As we all know too well, due to the pandemic, any movie release dates could change. 
  • Mission: Impossible 8 will follow a year later with a targeted release date of November 4, 2022. 
  • Christopher McQuarrie is directing both M: I 7 & 8, although in 2018 he was quoted as saying he’d “rather have leprosy” than direct M: I 7.  So that was either a negotiating strategy or maybe it was like Daniel Craig’s quote about doing another James Bond movie back in 2015 when he said “I’d rather slash my wrists than play James Bond again” as he was just tired when asked right after production wrapped. 
  • Of course, we know the cast no surprise with most of the filming finished 
  • It will likely get a PG-13 rating like the earlier Mission: Impossible movies 

FILMING AT JAKKU FROM STAR WARS 

An article on CinemaBlend.com tells us that Mission: Impossible 7 has filmed in the same United Arab Emirates desert that Star Wars: The Force Awakens shot its scenes of Jakku.  It has a picture of Simon Pegg, who plays Benji in the MI series, sandboarding on the desert.  Simon appeared as Unkar Plutt in The Force Awakens so he’s now filmed two movies in the same desert.  But . . . Well, this article on DailySabah.com reports that Mission: Impossible 7 was just filming in the United Arab Emirates as we said – until February 12th 2021 when the UK issued new travel restrictions for people coming into the UK from 33 “red listed” countries – meaning that starting February 15th – anyway coming into the UK must quarantine for 10 days and pay 1750 pounds for hotel accommodations to quarantine them.   The crew and cast basically demanded to be returned home before this went into effect.   And they were returned home over the last weekend.   They expect, of course, because of this, more delays – but they will continue filming in England.  Mission: Impossible 7 is still scheduled for a November 2021 release.    

JAMES BOND 

 No Time To Die

Well, technology waits for no one.  The Nokia product placements in No Time To Die are now . . . old technology!   In this article on GSMarena.com, they claim that the Nokia spots, now featuring the Nokia 8.3 5G phone must be reshot – as their 2019 phone is not looking so shiny and new in 2021.  What about other sponsors like Adidas, Bollinger, Omega watches and so on?    We will see – these are unprecedented times and unheard of delays in releasing movies.   So,  this different approach may be required.   Makes sense. 

Jinx Script Online? 

 After Die Another Day was released, there was supposedly a spin-off in development based on Halle Berry’s character, Jinx.  That movie was never released, but according to this article on CinemaBlend.com,  a script attributed to Neal Purvis and Robert Wade has surfaced.    The movie was reportedly going to tell the pre-Die Another Day backstory on Jinx.  It supposedly was to have Michael Madsen as Damian Falco as her handler.  That would have been interesting to see.  Maybe it would have been better than our opinion of Die Another Day.  The article mentions that there are now rumors of spinoffs of the characters Moneypenny and Nomi.  This could get interesting.

Ralph Fiennes Would Like to Continue As M After No Time To Die 

Mike Reyes has this article in CinemaBlend.com in which Ralph Fiennes says “If anyone from Eon Films is listening, I’m very keen to continue training the new Bond.  I love playing M, and I love being part of the franchise.”   Given how well he plays the role, and wit the history of the James Bond movies keeping the main supporting actors while the James Bond actor changes, we hope Eon listens to him and keeps him.     

Tom Holland Would Love To Play James Bond 

24-year old Tom Holland talks about how he would love to play James Bond in an article on movieweb.com.  The article, while talking about Holland’s age mentions that Henry Cavill, when 22,  first auditioned for the role of Bond for Casino Royalebut lost to Daniel Craig.   The article suggests Holland, being so young, may be better suited for The Kingsmen series which has used younger actors in its leading role.  We think, who knows, by the time the next Bond movie after No Time To Die finally releases, maybe Holland will be in his 30s.   He’s played Peter Parker in the Spiderman movies and was the voice of Walter in the spy movie for kids, Spies in Disguise.  So, he may be too famous for EON to consider him for the role as some of their choices for Bond have been less famous actors.   

Will Future James Bond movies End Up On a Streaming Service? 

We mentioned in our December 29, 2020, Spy Movie News that MGM might be looking to sell.  So, with the pandemic delay costing MGM around $1 million a month in interest, it is rumored that MGM is looking for a buyer.  A couple of articles have updated information on this.  This article on CinemaBlend.com discusses this rumor and points to an article on Forbes.com which says that MGM wants $9-10 billion and Forbes doesn’t think they will get it.  MGM has tried selling itself twice before.  However, the current rumors are that Amazon Studios might be interested.  Both articles point out that Eon Productions can throw a wrench into any sale.  If a service like Amazon bought the franchise, Eon Productions would wanto be able to have an exclusive all of the Eon Bond movie, past and future.  Currently, multiple platforms have streaming rights to the various previous Bond movies.  We here at Spy Movie Navigator will continue to monitor the situation and let you know if anything changes. 

James Bond First Edition Books For Sale 

This article on MovieWeb.com points out that a collection of the first edition of James Bond books is selling for more than $600,000.  Ten of the books have personal inscriptions from Ian Fleming.  Even though we at Spy Movie Navigator are not in the market for these first editionswe did visit the Reading Room in the Lilly Library at Indiana University – Bloomington Indiana to read their collection of the original Fleming manuscripts, including Fleming’s hand-written notes (like Moneypenny’s name change) – exciting!  The Reading Room at the library is closed until the end of the year for renovations and you need a reservation to view the manuscripts.  However, if you have an opportunity in 2022, it is worth a visit for any James Bond fan.  Yes, you won’t own the books, but you won’t have to shell out $600,000 to read them either (there is no charge to read them in the reading room).  We have a 2-part podcast on our trip that you can find on this link on our website.   

STUDIO BEHIND SPIES IN DISGUISE SHUTTERED BY DISNEY 

Disney has decided to shut down the animation studio Blue Sky Studios.  Blue Sky was responsible for the Ice Age seriesThe Peanuts Movie as well as one of our favorite spy movies for kids,  Spies in Disguise, which was released after Disney bought the studio as part of its deal with 21st Century Fox in 2019.  This news saddens us, as we had hoped that Spies in Disguise could have been turned into a series of movies.  The characters of Walter and Lance could have evolved to a Q and Bond-type of relationship in future movies.  The gimmick of Lance turning into a pigeon worked for Spies in Disguise, but wouldn’t have to be repeated in future movies.  However, Walter’s gimmicks could be there to help Lance out.  Oh well, another good idea shuttered as the original movie only grossed $171 million worldwide against an estimated $100 million budget.   It's frustrating to see that a movie that only made $71 million over it budget is considered unworthy of a follow-up. This article on HollywoodReporter.com gives more details.

FACE/OFF (2?) 

Paramount Pictures is bringing out a new Face/Off and has signed Adam Wingard to direct and co-write the movie.  In this February 11th article on Movieweb.com, it is implied this will be a remake.  The original 1997 movie starred John Travolta as an FBI agent and Nicholas Cage as the villainIt was an interesting, albeit improbable plot, but an entertaining movie with Travolta and especially Cage’s performance.  Not many people can play a lunatic better than Cage in our opinion.   Seeing Travolta playing the lunatic Cage’s character was fun.  However, in this February 12th article on Movieweb.com, Wingard states that this wont be a reboot or a remake, but rather a sequel to the movie.  Given how the 1997 Face/Off ended, it will be interesting to see how Wingard makes this a sequel.   

The Gray Man 

In our December 29th Spy Movie News, we talked about how COVID-19 was delaying production of the movie The Gray Man.   Now, in this article on Movieweb.com, more information about the movie is coming to light.  Production has been pushed to March.   This movie supposedly has a $200 million budget and stars Chris Evans as the CIA agent, Gray Man,  who tracks  Gentry, played by Ryan Gosling.   Ana De Armas, of No Time To Die and Knives Out fame, has also joined the production.  She starred in Knives Out with Chris Evans who was the bad guy.  The Gray Man is based on the novel by Mark Greaney and is being directed by Joe and Anthony Russo.  Joe Russo says “This is being conceived as a series of films, and again, potentially branching out, we could follow other characters, but we're not gonna answer every question in the movie.”  The Russos call this a “ modern interpretation of a spy thriller’ inspired by the Bond franchise   

WHO OWNS JACK RYAN? 

This article on HollywoodReporter.com discusses a judge’s dilemma trying to untangle the mess of who owns the rights to the Jack Ryan character that was created by Tom Clancy. Instead of the judge deciding, this will either go to trial or be settled.  The judge says that a reasonable jury could differ on what the evidence suggests.  However,  as the article puts it “A dispute with the publisher. A Divorce. A Death. A Copyright Termination” all contribute to the problem.  We’ll be watching this one as it is a legal nightmare based on the history of agreements and even the rights to the character are being challenged by Clancy’s ex-wife, Wanda King. 

Five Eyes 

In this Deadline.com piece, Hugh Grant, who we reported in the last Spy Movie News was, more than likely,  joining the Five Eyes team speaks here of his role in “The Undoing” and his respect for Guy Ritchie who is directing Five Eyes.  He said, “ He changes the titles of his films every Tuesday but for the moment it’s called that,” Grant said, adding that his role will be “quite different” from the last Ritchie film he did, The Gentleman.  That wraps up our Spy Movie News for February 16, 2021.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@SpyNavigator) and InstaGram too!  Subscribe right now to our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show on your favorite podcast app!  

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