Danny Boyle’s James Bond 25 Was Going to Be a Crazy, Madcap Adventure
No Time to Die, the final Bond movie with Daniel Craig essaying the role of 007, was intended to be a fresh take on the bond mythology, and to that end, the movie initially had maverick filmmaker Danny Boyle attached to direct. But Boyle soon left the project and was replaced by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Recently, the film’s production designer Mark Tildesley revealed to Total Film Magazine the reason behind Boyle’s departure.
“Unfortunately Danny’s crazy, madcap ideas didn’t quite tie up with what Barbara and Michael had planned. It was definitely a good thing to do. Maybe another time though. I’m revving Barbara up to have another go with Danny. [The script featured] some extraordinary ideas, they just needed a little pulling together”.
It seems ironic that a Bond movie under Daniel Craig, who has been credited with bringing a welcome sense of raw and gritty reality to the often over-the-top franchise, would find Boyle’s ideas too crazy to use.
Danny Boyle has established himself as one of the strongest voices in the realm of gritty cinema ever since his first breakout hit, the 1996 black comedy crime film Trainspotting about drug abuse among Britain’s economically depressed classes. He won the Oscar for best director in 2009 for Slumdog Millionaire, another gritty drama, this time about a boy from the slums of Mumbai trying to escape a life of squalor.
It was these grounded filmmaking sensibilities, along with an unquestionable flair for narrative drama that prompted the makers of Bond to offer Boyle a chance to direct No Time to Die.
However, as gritty as Bond movies would like to pretend to be, the fact is, they are still very much in the same mould as the MCU or the Fast and Furious franchise, remixing established blockbuster archetypes like the indestructible hero, the femme fatale, world-threatening danger and absolute, black and white morality for a new generation of viewers without actually adding anything new to the narrative of the Bond films that has been established since the days of Sean Connery.
For his part, Boyle seems to acknowledge the truth of this type of moviemaking, and the difficulty that a filmmaker as focussed on exploring the morally grey area of society as himself would have fitting into that world. To that end, he had declared in the days following his departure from the James Bond movie that he would not work on any more franchise films, and would focus on telling original stories.
Meanwhile, No Time to Die has finished filming, and fans are hyped for what has been promised to be Craig’s final performance as Bond. With the threat of the coronavirus looming large, the movie’s release was recently pushed back from April to November. This is the latest in a long history of problems the movie has had to deal with on the road to its creation and release, but hopefully, the long wait will be worth it once audiences finally get to see the film.
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