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BOND: 10 Things You Might Not Know About SKYFALL

Geek Dave's interior decorating tips have always been appreciated.

1. In September 2009, Daniel Craig made his Broadway debut in the play A Steady Rain, where he starred with Hugh Jackman as a pair of Chicago police officers who have to deal with the ramifications of an earlier error of judgement. The play became a massive hit, breaking the record for the highest weekly gross of a non-musical production on Broadway.

During the limited 12 week run, Hugh Jackman celebrated his birthday by hosting a lavish party in New York City after that evening's performance. Among the guests was Sam Mendes, who had worked with Daniel Craig on the 2002 film Road To Perdition. As the two old friends caught up, a rather drunken Craig offered Mendes the job of directing the next James Bond film.
"I'd had a few too many drinks and I completely overstepped the line and said, 'Why don't you do it'? And Sam said, 'Why not?'"
Fortunately, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson agreed.

2. However, even though the producers were happy to have Mendes on board, the production itself was not going well. Although a potential treatment by Peter Morgan (Netflix's The Crown) was in place for Bond 23, neither Broccoli or Wilson were happy with it, so after Craig's reveal of approaching Mendes the pair flew to New York to discuss ideas with him. As the director explained,
"I was very honest about Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and where I thought it might be possible to take this movie, in the most general of terms. Michael did say at one point, 'Why would an auteur or somebody who has a career in serious pictures want to do a Bond movie?' I said, 'Bond is a serious movie.' And I stuck to that throughout

I wanted to know, would they consider killing M and bringing back Q and Moneypenny? And did they want -- as I did -- a more flamboyant, old-style villain, the sort that emerged in the Sean Connery movies? And the answer to all those things was yes. And that was in many ways our starting point for working out what the story would be."
Mendes then spent the next three months, from October 2009 into early 2010 refining a new script with regular James Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, aiming for a mid-2010 start to location scouting, principal photography from November 2010 with an original release date of October 2011. However, the production was about to come to a screaming halt.

3. In February 2010, MGM (the main studio who finance the James Bond franchise) were looking for a buyer. It was already common knowledge that they were in serious debt, a reported $3.7 billion, and so any future project that hadn't entered filming was put on hold.

An eerie sense of deja vu took hold within the Bond camp. Behind the scenes financial troubles had derailed production of Timothy Dalton's third outing as 007, the same was now happening to Daniel Craig's third film. Barbara Broccoli recalled,
"We were gutted! We thought, here we go again!"
MGM Holdings, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and 160 affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on November 3rd 2010, with a prepackaged plan for exiting bankruptcy which led to MGM's creditors taking over the company. On December 20th 2010, MGM executives announced that the studio had emerged from bankruptcy, with pre-production on Bond 23 resuming January 2011.

As troubling as the whole period was, in retrospect it did the franchise a favour as the new release date for Bond 23 would be October 2012 - 50 years since Dr. No, the first official James Bond film, premiered.

4. Throughout the "year of hell", as MGM struggled to remain active, Sam Mendes was not actually contracted as director for Bond 23, despite having mapped out the screenplay already. He remained attached as a "consultant" to the film whilst the franchise's future looked uncertain, but with no end in sight to the financial troubles he seriously considered leaving the project.

At the time Daniel Craig had first drunkenly offered him the job, Mendes was already developing an adaptation of Ian McEwan's 1960s-based drama On Chesil Beach and went back to this briefly, but he had problems casting it. He was then offered the director's chair for the first film in what would be a new cinematic franchise - The Hunger Games.
"I was tempted by it. I said to Barbara, 'Can you give me some assurance [Bond] is going to happen?' She said, 'To be honest, I can't.' But I had a feeling it would be sorted out, so I took the risk of turning down the other work and just waiting.

While we sat around waiting, we quietly carried on with the script, and as a consequence we ended up with a much better draft."

5. The main cast for Bond 23 was announced at a press conference held at the Corinthia Hotel in London on November 3rd 2011, fifty years after Sean Connery had been announced as James Bond in the film Dr. No.

6. The same press conference revealed the film's title as Skyfall. A wholly original name, it was chosen after alternative titles including Silver Bullet, A Killing Moon, and Once Upon a Spy were all rejected. 

7. As a very nice nod to the legendary John Barry, the long-term composer on the James Bond series,  the set of M’s house was his former residence.

8. Talking of M - Skyfall reveals M’s name. It’s a little difficult to make out but it appears on the gift box that is given to James Bond at the end of the film. The inscription at the bottom is “Olivia Mansfield”.

9. Upon release Skyfall became a record breaker, becoming the first James Bond film to gross over $1 billion worldwide, with a final total of $1.109 billion - double the take of Quantum Of Solace on a budget almost $50 million less.

Skyfall also became the most Oscar-nominated Bond film of all time, with five nominations, including two wins, for Best Sound Editing and Best Original Song for Adele's theme tune. Despite three previous nominations, this was the first time a Bond song had won the accolade.

10. In what could've gone down in Bond history as, possibly, the most controversial decision the franchise ever made, the role of Kincade (Albert Finney) was originally written with Sir Sean Connery in mind.

Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson originally wanted Connery to come out of retirement for what would be the fiftieth anniversary celebrations. The official line surrounding this idea has been repeated, almost ad verbatim, by various members of the production team over the years, like in this interview with Sam Mendes...
"There was a definite discussion about (Connery playing Kincade), way, way early on. But, it was a very brief flirtation with that thought." 
However, that may not be entirely true at all, and the decision to cast Albert Finney as Kincade was more a necessity than revealed.

In 2015, an unnamed source who worked on Skyfall spoke to Den Of Geek about Connery's involvement in the film, claiming that not only did the actor rehearse for the part but that the character of Kincade and Skyfall Lodge itself would've been quite different...
The story goes that, as initially written, Skyfall Lodge was intended as an isolated refuge for retired agents — and that Connery would have been one of them. The conclusion of Skyfall would therefore have seen Craig’s Bond defend Skyfall Lodge from Silva’s goons; we understand that Connery wouldn’t have been specifically referred to as a 00 Agent — “it was left reasonably vague,” we’re told — but the implication would have been there.

According to our source, who was on the production at the time, rehearsal footage was shot with Connery as Kincade, but the actor’s ill health was such that, regrettably, Connery had to bow out.

Following Connery’s departure, all mention of his involvement was quietly glossed over. One of the other cinematic Bonds was allegedly sought — George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton are the two names provided to us — but ultimately, the script was rewritten and Albert Finney was brought in to play Kincade, now a groundskeeper.
A retirement home for former 00 agents may have gone some way to confirming the code-name theory of James Bond 007 - that multiple agents have held the title and name, explaining the change of appearance over the years and offering up a freedom from Bond-age (excuse the pun) whilst setting up the next 50 years of the franchise.

But how it would've sat with the fans, we will never know.

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