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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.