James Bond No Time to Die is a forthcoming spy film and the twenty-fifth instalment in the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions. It features Daniel Craig in his fifth and final outing as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga from a screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles from previous films, with Rami Malek and Lashana Lynch joining the main cast.

Development of the film James Bond No Time to Die began in 2016. It will be the first film in the series to be internationally distributed by Universal Pictures, which acquired the rights following the expiration of Sony Pictures’ contract after the release of Spectre in 2015. United Artists Releasing holds the rights for North America, including worldwide digital and television rights. Universal will also release the film on physical home media worldwide.

Danny Boyle was originally attached to direct and co-write the screenplay with John Hodge. Both left due to creative differences in August 2018; Fukunaga was announced as Boyle’s replacement a month later. The majority of the cast had signed on by April 2019. Principal photography lasted from April to October 2019 under the working title of Bond 25. The official title was announced to be No Time to Die in August 2019.

James Bond No Time to Die was originally scheduled for release in April 2020, but was postponed worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now scheduled for release on 12 November in the United Kingdom and on 25 November in the United States.

Premise

Five years after the capture of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, James Bond has left active service. He is approached by Felix Leiter, his friend and a CIA officer, who enlists his help in the search for Valdo Obruchev, a missing scientist. When it becomes apparent that Obruchev was abducted, Bond must confront a danger the likes of which the world has never seen before.

James Bond No Time to Die Cast

  • Daniel Craig as James Bond. Formerly known as agent 007, has been retired for five years at the start of the film. The director Cary Joji Fukunaga compared Bond to a “wounded animal” and described his state of mind as “struggling to deal with his role as a ’00’ agent”.
  • Rami Malek as Safin, an adversary of Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli described the character as “the one that really gets under Bond’s skin. He’s a nasty piece of work.” Malek described the character as someone who considers “himself as a hero almost in the same way that Bond is a hero”.
  • Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann, a psychiatrist and Bond’s love interest who assisted him in his mission in the film Spectre. Fukunaga underscored Swann’s importance to the film as her presence allowed him to explore Bond’s unresolved issues stemming from the death of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale.
  • Lashana Lynch as Nomi, a ’00’ agent who entered active service some time after Bond’s retirement.
  • Ben Whishaw as Q, the MI6 Quartermaster who outfits ’00’ agents with equipment for use in the field.
  • Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, M’s assistant and Bond’s ally.
  • Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter, Bond’s friend and a CIA field officer.
  • Christoph Waltz as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond’s archenemy and foster brother. He is head of the criminal syndicate Spectre and is now in MI6 custody.
  • Ralph Fiennes as M, the head of MI6 and Bond’s superior officer.
  • Ana de Armas as Paloma, a CIA agent assisting Bond. De Armas described her character as “irresponsible” and “bubbly” and playing a key role in Bond’s mission.
  • Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner, the MI6 chief of staff.
  • Dali Benssalah as Primo, a soldier and an adversary whom Bond first encounters in Matera.
  • David Dencik as Valdo Obruchev, a scientist whose disappearance Bond investigates.
  • Billy Magnussen as Logan Ash.

James Bond No Time to Die Production

Development

Cary Joji Fukunaga, director of No Time to Die

Development of James Bond No Time to Die began in early 2016. In March 2017, screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade—who have worked on every Bond film since The World Is Not Enough (1999)—were approached to write the script. Sam Mendes stated that he would not return after directing Skyfall and Spectre. Christopher Nolan ruled himself out to direct. By July 2017, Yann Demange, David Mackenzie and Denis Villeneuve were courted to direct the film. In December 2017, Villeneuve decided against the role due to his commitments to Dune.

In February 2018, Danny Boyle was established as a frontrunner for the directing position. Boyle’s original pitch to Broccoli and Wilson saw John Hodge writing a screenplay based on Boyle’s idea with Purvis and Wade’s version scrapped. Hodge’s draft was greenlit, and Boyle was confirmed to helm the film with a production start date of December 2018. However, Boyle and Hodge left the production in August 2018 due to creative differences.

During Boyle’s time as director, a leaked casting sheet described the male leading role as a “cold and charismatic Russian” and the female leading role as a “witty and skillful survivor”. Production also sought male supporting roles of Māori descent with “advanced combat skills”. It was reported at the time that Boyle’s exit was due to the casting of Tomasz Kot as the lead villain; however, Boyle later confirmed the dispute was over the script.

Following Boyle’s departure, the film’s release date became contingent on whether the studio could find a replacement within sixty days. Cary Joji Fukunaga was announced as the new director in September 2018. Fukunaga became the first American in the history of the series to direct an Eon Productions Bond film and the first director to receive a writing credit for any version. Fukunaga was previously considered for Spectre before Mendes was brought back after Skyfall. Regardless, Fukunaga had expressed an interest to Broccoli and Wilson about directing a future Bond film. Linus Sandgren was hired as cinematographer in December 2018.

Purvis and Wade were brought back to start working on a new script with Fukunaga in September 2018. In April 2020, Fukunaga discussed one of his initial ideas for the script, which would have seen the film take place inside Bond’s head while being tortured by Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Spectre and retconning the ending of the film. Fukunaga went on to describe the final cut of the film as exploring the world of espionage “in an era of asymmetric warfare”.

Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace screenwriter Paul Haggis turned in an uncredited rewrite in November 2018, with Scott Z. Burns doing the same in February 2019. At Craig’s request, Fleabag and Killing Eve writer and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge provided a script polish in April 2019. Waller-Bridge was hired to revise dialogue, work on character development and add humour to the script. Waller-Bridge is the second female screenwriter credited with writing a Bond film after Johanna Harwood co-wrote Dr. No and From Russia with Love.

Barbara Broccoli was questioned about the Me Too movement at the Bond 25 launch event, where she stated that Bond’s attitude towards women would move with the times and the films should reflect that. In a separate interview, Waller-Bridge argued that Bond was still relevant and that “he needs to be true to this character”, instead suggesting that it was the films which had to grow and evolve, emphasising “the important thing is that the film treats the women properly”.

Safin, the film’s villain, was originally conceived as having a henchman and both characters were to wear masks based on Siberian bear hunting armour. The henchman character was written out before the start of filming and Fukunaga requested changes to Safin’s costume design. A new mask based on Noh, a Japanese style of theatre, was introduced as Fukunaga felt that the original mask design was dominating the costume.

The film entered production under the working title of Bond 25. The film’s official title was announced as No Time to Die on 20 August 2019.

Casting

After Spectre, there was speculation that it was Daniel Craig’s final Bond film. Immediately after the film’s release, Craig had complained about the rigours of performing the part, saying he would rather “slash [his] wrists” than play Bond again. In May 2016, it was reported that Craig had received a $100 million offer from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures to do two more Bond films, but turned it down, suggesting that Spectre may have been his last.

In October 2016, Craig denied having made a decision but praised his time in the role, describing it as “the best job in the world doing Bond”. He further denied that $150 million was offered to him for the next two instalments. In August 2017, Craig confirmed that the upcoming film will mark his final appearance as Bond on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He reiterated his position in November 2019 and again in March 2020, following reports that he was in fact considering a reprise of the role one last time.

Craig later acknowledged that the physicality of the role had deterred him from returning to the cast, having sustained injuries while filming Quantum of SolaceSkyfall and Spectre. With Craig’s departure, Broccoli said that No Time to Die would wrap up several loose narrative threads from the previous Craig Bond films, and “come to an emotionally satisfying conclusion”.

Rami Malek plays Safin, a villain described as “a nasty piece of work”.

It was reported that Christoph Waltz had signed on to return as Ernst Stavro Blofeld for further Bond films on condition that Craig returned. Despite Craig’s definite casting as Bond, Waltz announced in October 2017 that he would not return as Blofeld.

In December 2018, Fukunaga revealed in an interview that Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris and Ralph Fiennes would all be reprising their roles in the film, with Fukunaga not ruling out a possible return from Waltz’s Blofeld. Fukunaga also disclosed that Léa Seydoux would be reprising her role as Madeleine Swann, making her the first female lead to appear in successive Bond films. Rory Kinnear returns as Bill Tanner, as does Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. Wright makes his third appearance in the series after Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and becomes the first actor to play Felix Leiter three times.

Ana de Armas, Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen and Rami Malek were announced as cast members in a live stream, at Ian Fleming’s Goldeneye estate in Jamaica. The event was on 25 April 2019 and marked the official start of production. Malek was further announced as playing Safin, the film’s villain. Malek revealed in an interview that Safin would not be connected to any religion or ideology.

Waltz’s casting as Blofeld was not announced at the press launch but was officially revealed in the film’s trailer in December 2019.

James Bond No Time to Die Filming

Production was scheduled to begin on 3 December 2018 at Pinewood Studios, but filming was delayed until April 2019 after the departure of Boyle as director. James Bond No Time to Die is the first in the series to have sequences shot with 65mm IMAX film cameras. Fukunaga and Sandgren pushed for using film over digital to enhance the look of the film.

No Time to Die features the Aston Martin Valhalla

Filming locations included Italy, Jamaica, Norway and London, in addition to Pinewood Studios. In addition scenes were filmed in the Faroe Islands in late September 2019. Production commenced in Nittedal, Norway, with the second unit capturing scenes at a frozen lake. Principal photography officially began on 28 April 2019 in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Daniel Craig sustained an ankle injury in May whilst filming in Jamaica and subsequently underwent minor surgery.

Production was further interrupted when a controlled explosion damaged the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios and left a crew member with minor injuries. Production went back to Norway in June 2019 to shoot a driving sequence along the Atlantic Ocean Road featuring an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Aston Martin also confirmed that the DB5, DBS Superleggera and Valhalla models would feature in the film.

Production then went back to the UK in late June. Scenes featuring Craig, Fiennes, Harris and Kinnear were filmed around London, including Whitehall and Hammersmith. Filming took place in July in the town of Aviemore and in the surrounding Cairngorms National Park area. Some scenes were also shot at the Ardverikie House Estate and on the banks of Loch Laggan, just outside the park. There was further filming at Buttersteep Forest, Ascot, during August 2019.

The second unit moved to southern Italy in late August, where they began to shoot a chase sequence involving an Aston Martin DB5 through the streets of Matera. The main unit, Craig and Seydoux arrived in early September to film scenes inside several production-built sets, as well as further sequences in Maratea and Gravina in Puglia. Scenes were shot in the town of Sapri in southern Italy throughout September. Locations included the town’s “midnight canal” and railway station. The city will be referred to as “Civita Lucana” in the film James Bond No Time to Die.

Principal photography wrapped on 25 October 2019 at Pinewood Studios with the filming of a chase sequence set in Havana, Cuba. Production had intended to shoot the sequence in April, but was forced to reschedule it when Craig injured his ankle while shooting on location. Further pick-up shots at Pinewood were confirmed by Fukunaga on 20 December 2019.

James Bond No Time to Die Music

In July 2019, Dan Romer was announced as composer for the film’s score, having previously scored Fukanaga’s Beasts of No Nation and Maniac. Romer left the film due to creative differences in November 2019. Hans Zimmer replaced Romer by January 2020. It is the first time in the Bond series history that a composer has been replaced during post-production, and the second major personnel change for the film after Boyle left as director. Steve Mazzaro produced the score, while Johnny Marr played the guitar. The No Time to Die score album was set to be released through Decca Records on in March 2020 but was delayed until November 2020.

In January 2020, Billie Eilish was announced as the performer of the film’s theme song, with her brother Finneas O’Connell serving as co-writer as well as the track’s producer. The song, which has the same title, was released on 13 February 2020. At the age of eighteen, Eilish is the youngest artist to record a Bond film title track.

James Bond No Time to Die Release

Distribution rights

The Sony Pictures contract to co-produce the James Bond films with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Eon Productions expired with the release of Spectre. In April 2017, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Annapurna Pictures entered a bidding competition to win the distribution rights. MGM secured the North America, digital and worldwide television rights to the film through its distribution arm United Artists Releasing, while Universal became the international distributor and holder of the rights for physical home entertainment worldwide.

Release date

The release of James Bond No Time to Die was originally scheduled for November 2019, but was postponed to February 2020, and then to April 2020 after Boyle’s departure. The film’s premiere in China and a countrywide publicity tour had been planned for April 2020, but these were cancelled due to a coronavirus outbreak in the country. By March 2020, the global spread of the virus and declaration of a pandemic prompted a joint open letter from two James Bond fan sites that were addressed to the producers. The letter asked that the film’s release be delayed to minimise the risk of spreading the disease and to ensure the film’s commercial success.

On 4 March 2020, MGM and Eon Productions announced that after “thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace” they had postponed the theatrical release of James Bond No Time to Die until 12 November 2020 in the United Kingdom and 25 November 2020 in the United States. The film was the first major production to be delayed, but its release became one of the many films affected by the pandemic.

Universal Pictures brought forward the release of Trolls World Tour to replace James Bond No Time to Die in its release schedule. Deadline Hollywood reported from speaking with inside sources that the rescheduling was a purely economic choice and not directly related to the coronavirus. Shifting the film to November would match with the traditional window for Bond film releases since GoldenEye, and MGM and Universal needed to assure a strong performance across all international markets or could potentially lose the Bond franchise.

Thus, the rescheduling was to make sure all cinemas particularly those in China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and France that were closed due to the pandemic, were open and operational. At the height of the pandemic, an estimated 70,000 theatres in China alone had been closed, and many countries including Australia and Britain moved to close theatres as a means to minimise the spread of the virus. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the delay cost MGM between $30 and $50 million because of the costs of marketing that had already been purchased, although the publication also estimated the potential box office losses globally would have exceeded $300 million had the film stayed in its April slot.

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