It is the second best-selling film franchise only behind Harry Potter, grossing close to £8 billion pounds* with its 23rd film, Skyfall, to be released next year.

Ian Fleming, writer of the original James Bond novels and short stories, co-wrote the first screenplay and titled it James Bond Secret Agent. It would have been the first James Bond film to be produced, but Fleming could not come to an agreement on the cast. It is said Fleming wanted Alfred Hitchcock to direct the film and Richard Burton to star in it, but they both turned down the offers. Subsequently, Fleming turned that script into a novel titled Thunderball and sold the rights of almost all of his works to two eager North American producers who then set up Eon Productions and exclusively developed the series.

The 23rd instalment in this successful franchise will be Skyfall…

Since then, the role of Agent 007 has been cast 6 times, with Roger Moore having played James Bond in 7 films (1973-85), followed by Sean Connery in 6 films (1962-71), Pierce Brosnan in 4 (1995-2002), Daniel Craig in 3 (2006-2012), Timothy Dalton in 2 (1987-89) and George Lazenby in 1 (1969).

The 23rd instalment in this successful franchise will be Skyfall, which will be directed by Oscar-winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty) and co-written by John Logan (The Aviator, Gladiator).

The film is set for release in November 2012, marking 50 years since the release of the first Bond …

Shoot first... ask questions later...

The title of the film was surrounded by much speculation until it was finally revealed on 3 November, exactly 50 years after Sean Connery was first announced to play the role of James Bond. The film is set for release in November 2012, marking 50 years since the release of the first Bond film, Dr. No.

In 2010 the films pre-production stalled due to the studio’s financial troubles (MGM filed for bankruptcy that year). Since then, the film has been plagued with rumours regarding what Mendes’s directing style will do to the series, as well as what characters from the novel will come to life within the film.

…“Bond should always fight Blofeld”.

The plot focuses on M’s (Judi Dench) secret past and it features Daniel Craig reprising his role as Agent 007. Alongside Craig, Ralph Fiennes is thought to be the one to revive the character of Ernst Blofeld. Rumours about this increased after co-writer John Logan was quoted saying at a BAFTA screenwriters Q&A: “Bond should always fight Blofeld”.

Also joining the cast is Javier Bardem who will be unsurprisingly playing a villain. Rising star Ben Whishaw (Perfume, The Story of a Murderer) will play the part of a young Q (the gadget expert made famous by Desmond Llewelyn).

…this film will be paramount in bringing the franchise closer to what it once was…

Even though the premiere of Skyfall is a year away, everything seems to point to the fact that this film will be paramount in bringing the franchise closer to what it once was at its best, back at the beginning of the 1960s: the promise of undeterred action mixed with beautiful women, amazing locations and dangerous villains.

*Adjusted for inflation

Images courtesy of Skyfall

 

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