Speedback GT


A limited edition, classically styled GT car, evoking the Bond look of the 1960s, has been unveiled in London and is on show now in Monaco

Videogame Concepts Interview


MI6 caught up with Ryan Dening, one of the artists who contributed to the previsualisation of 'Quantum of Solace' VG
 
 

MI6 Confidential - Issue #25


Issue #25 of the James Bond 007 magazine MI6 Confidential is out now, featuring exclusive interviews and features on action and animation

The World Is Not Enough


The theme to Bond's 19th screen outing charted at 15th place in the MI6 survey of 007 title songs
 
 

Roger Moore Interview 1977


Roger Moore appeared on UK television ahead of 'The Spy Who Loved Me' world premiere to talk about the film and life as 007

Book Preview - Goldeneye: Ian Fleming's Jamaica


MI6 previews a new book about James Bond creator Ian Fleming's time in Jamaica
 
 

Casting Net Opens


The casting process for Bond 24 has begun as producers reportedly identify Chiwetel Ejiofor as the leading contender for the villain role

MI6 Calendar - Miss April 2014


Miss April 2014 for the MI6 Calendar is Maria Grazia Cucinotta
 
 

'Fleming' DVD


Sky Atlantic have released their 'Fleming' mini-series on DVD for fans in the UK

Book Preview - One Lucky Bastard


MI6 previews the new memoirs of James Bond star Sir Roger Moore, due out September 2014
 

MI6 Confidential - James Bond Magazine - Bond girls special

James Bond News :: MI6

James Bond News :: MI6

28 February

USA release date for Young Bond 3 `Double Or Die` set

MI6 can reveal that the USA release date for the third Young Bond novel by author Charlie Higson has been set.

Amazon USA have listed the "Double Or Die" audiobook for release on July 10th 2007.

Click here to pre-order and save.



"Double Or Die" was first released in the UK on 4th January 2007, and the title was revealed a day before at the launch event in London.

Click here for complete coverage of Young Bond on MI6.

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05:47:53 - HQ -

Audi TT spotted with 007 licence plates for new TV commercial

MI6 exclusively reported back in January that Jaguar may be supplying 007's car in the 22nd James Bond film due out in November 2008.

But Germancarblog report on a remote possibility that another car company may be in the mix too.

According to the piece, "the other day I saw something that caught my eye – the new Audi TT – a car I’ve followed eagerly in the press. But seeing it in the flesh was much more impressive. I noticed its number plates – ‘007’ – and I got talking to the driver. He told me that he was looking after the car ahead of filming an Audi commercial the following day."

This probably does not indicate that Audi will feature in Bond 22, especially as Ford (who own Jaguar) still have the licence to supply cars for the film.

But Audi may be in trouble if their use of 007 moniker is unauthorised. Back in 2005, French car manufacturer Peugeot were slapped for branding their latest model the "1007". Their marketing could not refer to the car as the "one-007" for legal reasons, and the pitch had to be changed to "one thousand and seven" instead.

Discuss this news here...
05:41:17 - HQ -

27 February

Sega confirm Daniel Craig will appear in `Golden Compass` videogame ahead of 007

As MI6 reported back in September last year, Daniel Craig will not make his debut in a videogame as James Bond, but instead as Lord Asriel in "The Golden Compass" lending his voice and likeness to the title. Activision, who took over the James Bond licence last year from Electronic Arts, are planning to release their first 007 game to coincide with Bond 22 in November 2008.

SEGA® of America Inc. and SEGA® Europe Ltd. today revealed details regarding the development of the video game adaptation of the highly anticipated theatrical release, The Golden Compass, based on the first book in the award-winning trilogy, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. The game is being developed for multiple platforms and will ship in fall 2007, just prior to the opening of the New Line Cinema motion picture on December 7, 2007. Featuring pivotal environments from the movie, the vivid characters are brought to interactive life, featuring the likenesses of the movie’s impressive cast, which includes Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel and newcomer Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra Belacqua.

Produced by New Line Cinema and Scholastic Media, The Golden Compass follows the screenplay adaptation of the first book in the acclaimed trilogy, capturing the exciting fantasy adventure set in a parallel world where giant armored bears rule a kingdom, beautiful witches fly through the frozen skies, and human beings’ deepest essence is manifest as talking animals that remain their faithful companion for life – their daemon. Players can assume the role of Lyra, a young girl, along with her daemon Pantalaimon (Pan), as she journeys through the frozen wastes of the North to rescue a friend kidnapped by a mysterious organization known as The Gobblers and winds up on an epic quest to save not only her world, but ours as well. Gamers can also take on the character of Iorek Byrnison, a great armoured polar bear who joins the quest.

As Lyra, players will use their daemon and collaborate with in-game characters, collecting special items in order to explore, evade, and deceive their way through confrontations with the Gobblers, the Magisterium, and the horribly dangerous spy fly to find her friend. They can also do battle as Iorek with special attacks and a riding mechanic as he protects Lyra during the journey. Gamers will be able to unlock secrets and mini-games using a mysterious, truth-telling golden compass device called an alethiometer. Players can explore 13 vast locations, including all-new breath-taking environments not seen in the film, on this massive journey of collaboration, exploration and the eternal struggle between good and evil.

This epic tale will be brought to the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, the Wii™ video game system, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, the Nintendo DS™, and the PC for holiday 2007.

The Golden Compass video game is being developed by Shiny Entertainment, best known for developing games based on the blockbuster The Matrix film franchise. Shiny was acquired by Foundation 9 Entertainment in October 2006. The Nintendo DS version is being developed by A2M.

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05:23:00 - HQ -

MGM rub the pennies together to fund United Artists slate

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is raising hundreds of millions of dollars to produce sequels to some of its most popular films, such as The Terminator and The Pink Panther, at a time Wall Street investors are eager to pay for movie making in Hollywood, the company's chairman said.

"We are putting together a fund to finance our franchise movies -- James Bond, The Pink Panther, The Terminator and The Hobbit," MGM Chairman Harry Sloan told reporters, explaining the financing may be raised in more than one single fund - reports Reuters.

The $60 million to $150 million it will take to make each of these movies "is a big enough number to merit bringing in outside investors and outside financing," Sloan said after a luncheon at the Boston College Executives Club.

The independent, privately-held motion picture, television home video and theatrical production and distribution company that counts Gone with Wind among its classic hits and has won more than a dozen Best Picture awards, is also in the throes of negotiating a financing deal for its United Artists unit and may look to arrange similar deals for other units, Sloan said.

The long moribund United Artists studio is being revived by actor Tom Cruise and his production partner, Paula Wagner, who own roughly 35 percent, of the 88-year old studio by four of Hollywood's biggest stars.

"I've always said that United Artists needs to have its own funding and stand on its own and have its own credit line. And that continues to be our goal," Sloan said, declining to give a time frame for when the new financing, will come through. "The announcement will come out when it comes out."

In the meantime MGM, largely owned by Providence Equity Partners, will pay for the slate of UA movies, Sloan said.

"We are financing "Lions for Lambs" a movie starring Cruise, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep that is already filming, Sloan said. Cruise, Sloan said, has agreed to defer his fees up front fees for the movie.

Looking ahead Sloan said it is possible for other of MGM's units to possibly stand alone at some point just like UA.

"MGM is a conglomeration of a number of brands like Orion and AIP and, while they are not as close (to standing alone) as UA, they are good subjects for talking about," he added.

Sloan said the time to raise money for independently made movies is right and that nearly every Wall Street investment bank is raising a fund to finance the industry and satisfy the public's voracious demand for new content.

"Given the demand for new content and that so much money is available to fund it, we will continue to create and arrange funding for independent entities," Sloan said. "The strategies for MGM to be mainly a distributor for independently made movies is our strategy."

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05:20:00 - HQ -

26 February

Esquire vote Daniel Craig `best dressed` at the Oscars

Esquire Magazine has voted Daniel Craig the best dressed man at the 79th Academy Awards held at the weekend.

They said: "He looks perfect. He had a great tailor--it's actually tailored--and the proportions are spot-on. He looked comfortable in it. All that time spent in a tux as James Bond clearly paid off."



Click here to view the Oscars gallery on MI6.

Thanks to `beano` for the alert.

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23:16:00 - HQ -

Daniel Craig talks about the need to work on independent films

At the Spirit Awards in support of Infamous, Daniel Craig chatted briefly about that film while on the 'blue' carpet set up on a beach in Santa Monica to About.com

Why is it important for you to continue to do independent films in addition to big feature films like Casino Royale?
“I mean, for me it’s crucially important.

It’s kind of like it’s where you get… Independent movies are what shore up the film industry. It’s where people get their experience as well. It’s what I’ve done; it’s what I’ve been doing for all of my career. It’s where I learned my trade."

Why are the Spirit Awards so important?
“It’s good to have a celebration day. I mean, it really is. It’s important because everybody works so hard and usually for very little money, so it’s good to have a day where we kind of recognize it.”

Does being Bond help sell Infamous?
“I don’t know. I hope so (laughing).”

What did it mean to be nominated for Best Supporting Male?
“It means a tremendous amount to me. I’m very proud of the movie we did and hopefully we can share it about a bit with everybody who was involved in it.”

What’s the most rewarding thing about being involved in an independent film rather than a big action movie?
“I don’t know. I like working so I don’t really make that comparison. You do have more freedom in movies like that because there are less constraints. You can tackle difficult subjects and that, I think, is important.”

What did you think about the fact two Truman Capote films were made at around the same time?
"We made, I think, a very beautiful movie. We made them at the same time and they both turned out. [This award recognition] is very important for everybody involved."

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00:17:00 - HQ -

25 February

Daniel Craig presented Art Direction Oscar at 79th Academy Awards

James Bond actor Daniel Craig presented an Oscar at the 79th Academy Awards.

Click here to view the MI6 photo gallery.

Early in the show, Craig stood with a stiff face and arms crossed as he watched the opening monologue on a monitor and waited to present the Oscar for art direction with Nicole Kidman. Craig finally cracked a grin when DeGeneres joked onstage that Americans were the most qualified to fill seats at the Kodak Theatre.

On stage, Craig and co-presenter Nicole Kidman announced the Art Direction Oscar to Pan's Labyrinth.

Craig and girlfired Satsuki Micthell then headed to the exclusive Vanity Fair afterparty. According to SFGate, Craig was on his way out of the party when the photogs spotted him and started screaming. He shook his head and walked right by them, refusing to pose.

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23:09:00 - HQ -

USA TV - `Die Another Day` on Spike, Sunday night

Film: "Die Another Day" (2002)
Channel: Spike TV (USA)
Date: Sunday 15th February 2007
Time: 20:30

When his top-secret mission is sabotaged, James Bond finds himself captured by the enemy, abandoned by MI6 and stripped of his 00-licence. Determined to get revenge, Bond goes head-to-head with a sultry spy, a frosty agent, and a shadowy billionaire whose business is diamonds... but whose secret is a diabolical weapon that could bring the world to its knees!

Director: Lee Tamahori
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, Dame Judi Dench, Michael Madsen, John Cleese.

Thanks to `carlos_D29` for the alert.

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21:45:20 - HQ -

German TV - `Thunderball` on Kabel 1, Sunday night

Film: "Thunderball" (1965)
Channel: Kabel 1 (Germany)
Date: Sunday 15th February 2007
Time: 20:15

In his fourth outing as James Bond, Sean Connery comes up against the evil Emilio Largo, who holds the world to ransom with a nuclear bomb stolen from NATO. 007 promptly packs his bags and heads for the Bahamas armed with a devastating array of gadgetry and surrounded by the usual bevy of beauties.

Directed by: Terence Young
Cast: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Martine Beswick.

Thanks to `Louis Wu` for the alert.

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21:41:43 - HQ -

24 February

David Arnold to guest at Bradford International Film Festival in March, plus Casino Royale and From Russia With Love screenings

James Bond composer David Arnold will be a special guest at the upcoming Bradford International Film Festival in March.

The organisers are delighetd to welcome David Arnold to introduce Casino Royale and talk about writing music for such a classic series in the footsteps of John Barry. The acclaimed composer behind the soundtracks of Independence Day, Zoolander, Venus, Amazing Grace and the 007 series will discuss his work as one of the most indemand musicians in the business.

The screening takes place on Thursday 15th March 2007 starting at 19:30 at the Pictureville Cinema in Bradford, UK.

David Arnold is also the keynote speaker at the 3rd Film & Music Conference on Friday 16 March.

Also at the festival will be the premiere of a new digital print of Sean Connery's second outing as 007 in "From Russia With Love". The event organisers hope Bond series producer Michael G. Wilson will be present to introduce the film on Saturday 10th March at 18:00 in the Pictureville Cinema.

Single tickets to an event cost £10 for adults. Click here for full event information.

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06:00:02 - HQ -

Cover art released for `Secret Servant` Moneypenny Diaries paperback

Following its original hardback release in November 2006, the second novel in the Miss Moneypenny Diaries series will be published in paperback on 12th July 2007 in the UK.

Click here to pre-order from Amazon UK.

The paperback edition of "Secret Servant" also sports new cover artwork.



Click here for the MI6 interview with author Samantha Weinberg on her second Miss Moneypenny outing.

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05:51:39 - HQ -

Eva Green rumoured for Wonder Woman role

Earlier this month the news broke that Joss Whedon was off Wonder Woman, and that Warner Brothers had bought up someone else’s script and planned to move on to making the movie without him. Now that the big, lumbering, Whedon roadblock is out of the way, maybe this movie can finally get made.

Tonight a scooper for Cinema Blend, who’s reportedly given them good information before, informed that site that Casino Royale star Eva Green may be up for the part of the Amazonian superhero.

Now hold on, don’t run around screaming that she has it. Right now they’re considering several different people. Even if this rumor is true, Eva is just one of the names on their shopping list.

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05:42:22 - HQ -

Casino Royale tops UK cinema goers poll of 2006

Whichever movie comes out on top at this Sunday's Oscars, Casino Royale has already won best film for UK viewers, according to research.

The new James Bond flick topped a recent nationwide survey carried out by Tickbox, while the Da Vinci Code came a close second - reports Metro.

But the Da Vinci Code scooped more votes overall from viewers around the globe, making it the world's top choice for best film.

More than 80% of the people taking part in the online poll voted for the Da Vinci Code, said Royal Philips Electronics, who commissioned the survey.

The Hollywood blockbuster beat Casino Royale, The Devil Wears Prada and Oscar contender Babel to the top spot.

The action thriller, starring Oscar-winning Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, was based on Dan Brown's best selling novel about Christ's bloodline.

More than 1,000 people around the world took part in the survey.

Thanks to `Q` for the alert.

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05:34:15 - HQ -

23 February

Prodrive boss still in running for Aston Martin

Prodrive boss David Richards is one of a handful of bidders still in the running to take over Aston Martin, it was claimed yesterday - reports icBirmingham.

He was reported to be heading an investment consortium prepared to put up an estimated £450-£500 million for the Warwickshire-based builder of grand touring cars which has been put up for sale by owner, Ford.

Reports said that Mr Richards, who already has close links with Aston Martin, was working with a number of investors, including Egyptian bank Naeem Capital, itself a final bidder. The team, which is being advised by US investment bank Jefferies, is competing against UK-based buyout group Doughty Hanson and Syrian-born property tycoon Simon Halabi.

It is understood that Oxfordshire-based Prodrive, the company behind Aston Martin Racing, is itself not involved in the bid.

Mr Richards, who was said not to be commenting on his reported interest in Aston Martin, is best known as the former boss of the BAR Formula 1 racing team, is a major force in the British high-performance car industry. Prodrive was recently given the go-ahead to develop a £100 million motor racing research and development centre at Fenn End, near Kenilworth, which is expected to create up to 1,500 jobs.

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09:06:41 - HQ -

Caterina Murino raises the temperature at Milan Fashion Week

Dolce & Gabbana spiced up the sixth day of winter womenswear shows in Milan this week with metal masks, crops and corsets that eschewed cosy warmth for sizzling fetish sex appeal.

On hand to help raise the temperature further was Caterina Murino, who played Solange in the latest James Bond film "Casino Royale".





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09:04:14 - HQ -

22 February

Casino Royale receives five Saturn Award nominations

Daniel Craig's debut outing as James Bond in Casino Royale has earned five nominations at the upcoming 33rd annual Saturn Awards (the academy of science fiction fantasy & horror films).

Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
CASINO ROYALE (Sony / MGM)
THE DEPARTED (Warner Bros.)
FLYBOYS (MGM)
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III (Paramount)
NOTES ON A SCANDAL (Fox Searchlight)
PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER (DreamWorks / Paramount)

Best Actor
DANIEL CRAIG (Casino Royale) (Sony / MGM)
TOM CRUISE (Mission Impossible III) (Paramount)
WILL FARRELL (Stranger Than Fiction) (Sony)
HUGH JACKMAN (The Fountain) (Warner Bros.)
CLIVE OWEN (Children of Men) (Universal)
BRANDON ROUTH (Superman Returns) (Warner Bros.)

Best Supporting Actress
KO A-SUNG (The Host) (Magnolia Pictures)
IVANA BAQUERO (Pan’s Labyrinth) (Picturehouse)
JODELLE FERLAND (Tideland) (ThinkFilm)
TRISTAN LAKE LEABU (Superman Returns) (Warner Bros.)
MITCHEL TATE MUSSO (Monster House) (Sony)
EDWARD SPELEERS (Eragon) (20th Century Fox)

Best Writing
ANDREW BIRKIN, BERND EICHINGER, TOM TYKWER (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) (DreamWorks / Paramount)
GUILLERMO DEL TORO (Pan’s Labyrinth) (Picturehouse)
MICHAEL DOUGHERTY, DAN HARRIS (Superman Returns) (Warner Bros.)
ZACH HELM (Stranger Than Fiction) (Sony)
NEAL PURVIS & ROBERT WADE and PAUL HAGGIS (Casino Royale) (Sony / MGM)
THE WACHOWSKI BROTHERS (V for Vendetta) (Warner Bros.)

Best Music
DAVID ARNOLD (Casino Royale) (Sony / MGM)
JOHN OTTMAN (Superman Returns) (Warner Bros.)
DOUGLAS PIPES (Monster House) (Sony)
JOHN POWELL (X-Men: The Last Stand) (20th Century Fox)
TREVOR RABIN (Flyboys) (MGM)
TOM TYKWER, JOHNNY KLIMEK, REINHOLD HEIL (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) (DreamWorks / Paramount)

The winners will be announced at this year’s 33rd Annual Saturn Awards which takes place on Thursday, May 10, 2007 in Universal City. Hosting the event will be actor Greg Grunberg and comedian Jeffrey Ross.

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08:17:19 - HQ -

Daniel Craig discusses past Bond girls, possible revisits

MEDIA RUMOUR
According to a report by Contact Music, Daniel Craig "wants veteran Bond girl JANE SEYMOUR to feature in the next instalment of the spy series - as his love interest".

Seymour, 57, starred opposite Roger Moore in 1973's Live And Let Die, and Craig is apparently "petitioning movie bosses to bring her back for his follow-up to last year's Casino Royale".

The site quotes Craig as saying, "Casino Royale was about early James Bond and I love the idea of him revisiting his past and meeting up with ex-loves. That has to include Jane Seymour. I'm a huge fan, I thought she was fantastic."

Thanks to `Dog Bond` for the alert.

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07:56:58 - HQ -

Rumours fly that Halle Berry wants to return to James Bond

MEDIA RUMOUR
According to the latest Hollywood gossip column in London's Metro newspaper, Halle Berry is making noise that she is 'desperate' to star in another James Bond film - this time opposite Daniel Craig.

Berry played Jinx in Pierce Brosnan's fourth and final big screen outing as 007 in 2002's "Die Another Day".



The report alleges that Berry, 40, is so keen to return to the franchise with Craig at the helm that she is willing to do it 'for free'.

What do you think about a possible return for Halle Berry? Click the discuss link below.

Thanks to `Inter_Beer` for the alert.

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07:52:31 - HQ -

First 20,000 Australian PS3 gamers to receive `Casino Royale` on Blu-Ray

During its official media briefing for the upcoming launch of the PlayStation 3 console, Sony Australia disclosed several details regarding its next generation debut in Australia, which will commence on March 23 - reports Palgn.com.au.

Much like the European release (where 500,000 copies are being handed out), Sony will be giving away copies of the Blu-ray edition of the latest James Bond film, Casino Royale, to the first 20,000 Australians to register on the PlayStation Network.

Additionally, Sony Australia will be devoting AU$6million in marketing to promote its PlayStation 3 console during March. Sony also expects to release its ‘Cross Media Bar’ to other Sony-branded products in the future.

Thanks to `Q` for the alert.

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05:57:00 - paul -

21 February

Sir Sean to appear in Scottish National Party commercials

Former James Bond Sean Connery plans to take a stand for Scottish nationalism ahead of the May 3 elections for Scottish parliament - reports CBC.ca.

Connery, 76, will appear on screen in a series of TV ads for the pro-independence Scottish National Party.

Connery, an Edinburgh native, is a longtime supporter of the SNP, which has promised a referendum on Scottish independence.

Connery has promised to front some three-minute election spots for the party during the campaign.

In the past, the star of Thunderball and Finding Forrester, has voiced ads for the SNP, but this is his first endorsement before the camera.

In the first of the ads, Connery, who won a best supporting actor Oscar for The Untouchables, talks about the vibrant arts scene in Scotland and predicts it will continue if the SNP is elected.

"All my life experience tells me that an independent Scotland will be successful," he says.

The Labour Party currently shares power with the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish parliament, created in 1999 after a vote showed Scots wanted an independent legislative body.

London retains authority for all matters relating to Britain as a whole, including defence, energy and employment policy, and foreign relations, while the Scottish parliament governs education, health and justice.

Thanks to `Q` for the alert.

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19:11:09 - paul -

Bond gaming studio Activision could face NASDAQ delisting

Activision might have thought it could breathe a little easier after the best 3rd quarter financial results in the company's history, but according to NASDAQ, this is not the case. According to an Activision press release, the company's common stock is in danger of being delisted from the NASDAQ market after failing to file its Form 10-Q for the third quarter of fiscal year 2007 - reports GamePro.com.

This is the second straight delayed filing for the publisher, which received a similar notice on November 14th, 2006 for failure to submit its financial results for the second quarter of the same fiscal year. NASDAQ has given Activision a deadline of May 9, 2007 to file both of the delayed Form 10-Q reports, and if that deadline is not met, the company may suffer a genuine delisting.

The release indicates that Activision's delayed submission of its last two quarterly financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission is the direct result of an "ongoing review of the company's historical stock option practices by the special subcommittee of the company's board of directors". As a result, Activision's recent financial statements to its shareholders have been listed only as "preliminary" reports.

Not good news for Bond gamers as back in May 2006, MI6 revealed Activision are the sole owners of James Bond video game rights, taking over from EA Games.



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01:47:00 - paul -

20 February

Casino Royale loses out to `The Queen` at Costume Designers Guild awards

The Costume Designers Guild was in a royal mood, honoring Miramax Films' "The Queen" and HBO's "Elizabeth I" at its ninth annual awards ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire on Saturday night - reports the Hollywood Reporter.

Lindy Hemming's work on "Casino Royale" was nominated in the "contemporary film" category, against "The Devil Wears Prada", "The Queen", "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Babel".

The awards went to Consolata Boyle for Excellence in Contemporary Film and Mike O'Neill for Outstanding Contemporary Television Series. Both the feature and the miniseries starred Oscar-nominated Helen Mirren, who received the guild's Distinguished Actor Award.

Chung Man Yee won for Excellence in Period Film for the gilded designs of "Curse of the Golden Flower" and the Excellence in Fantasy Film award went to Lala Huete for "Pan's Labyrinth." Both winners' awards were accepted on their behalf at the Jane Kaczmarek-hosted gala.

Patricia Norris received a Lacoste Career Achievement Award for Film for her body of work, which includes "Victor/Victoria," "The Elephant Man" and the upcoming "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

The Lacoste Career Achievement in Television went to Grady Hunt whose credits include "Hart to Hart" and "Fantasy Island."

Swarovski President's Award recipient Sandra Bullock amused the audience with tales of her experience with costumers on her films and praised the art form. "The brilliant Penny Rose said, 'Clothes go to you to die!'," recounted Bullock, who admitted ruining one of the gowns designed for her by Rose, nominated for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

Eduardo Castro took home the prize for Outstanding Contemporary Television Series for his work on ABC's "Ugly Betty," and April Ferry won for her work on HBO's "Rome"

Jennifer Rade bested in the Excellence in Commercial Costume Design category for her work on "Target Branding Circle."

Oscar and Emmy-nominated designer Donfeld, whose credits include "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" "Prizzi's Honor" and several episodes of the "Wonder Woman" television series, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He died February 3.

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04:58:17 - HQ -

19 February

Bond guests confirmed for Memorabilia UK show, March 31st

The next Memorabilia show is taking place at the NEC in Birmingham, UK between 31st March and 1st April 2007.

Bond guests confirmed so far include:

Michael Madsen - Damian Falco - Die Another Day

Oliver Skeete - Concierge - Die Another Day

Garrick Hagon - USS Wayne Crewman - The Spy Who Loved Me

Terence Mountain - Raphael/Blofelds Guard - On Her Majestys Secret Service/Diamonds Are Forever

Joe Robinson - Peter Franks - Diamonds Are Forever

Visit the official event website for ticket information and updates.

Thanks to `Mr Saint John Smith` for the alert.

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04:46:00 - HQ -

Bond guests confirmed for Autographica UK show, March 2nd

The 2007 Autographica show will be held at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Heathrow, London between March 2nd to 4th 2007.

Bond guests confirmed so far include:

Steven Berkoff - Gen Orlov - Octopussy
Andreas Wisniewski - Necros - The Living Daylights
Barbara Carrera - Fatima - Never Say Never Again
Gavan O'Herlihy - Jack Petachi - Never Say Never Again
Catherine Schell - Nancy - On Her Majestys Secret Service
Lana Wood - Plenty O'Toole - Diamonds Are Forever
Burt Kwouk - Mr Ling - GF

Admission tickets start from £15. Visit the event website for further details.

Thanks to `Mr Saint John Smith` for the alert.

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04:41:00 - HQ -

18 February

Casino Royale wins at Art Director`s Guild Awards

Production designers Huo Tingxiao, Eugenio Cabellero and Peter Lamont took top honors at the Art Directors Guild’s 11th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards on Saturday night - reports Variety.

“Pan’s Labyrinth’s” Cabellero won in the fantasy category, while Tingxiao took home the period film prize for his work on “The Curse of the Golden Flower.” Lamont scored a win in the contemporary category for his work on “Casino Royale.”

On the television front, “Ugly Betty” captured the single camera category, while “MADtv” snared multi-camera and “Stephen King’s Desperation” walked away with the movie or mini-series.

The 58th Annual Emmy Awards garnered the variety kudo, while Victoria’s Secret “Sexy” ad won commercial honors

Warren Beatty presented “The Godfather Part II” Oscar winning art director Dean Tavoularis with a lifetime achievement nod. Multi-hyphenate Terry Gilliam was also feted for outstanding contributions to imagery.

“This is generally quite wondrous because it’s literally the first award I’ve won in Hollywood,” Gilliam proclaimed.

“The amazing thing is, I’m still here,” quipped art director Gene Allen when announcing the late great inductees into the guild’s Hall of Fame.

“This is a terribly important category for me because I lived with some of the honorees. The people we are talking about are like those who wrote the declaration of independence, they fought the battles for us,” Allen said of inductees Hilyrad Brown (“Cleopatra,” “Back to God’s Country”), Henry Bumstead (“Flag’s of Our Fathers”, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Sting”), Carroll Clark (“Mary Poppins,” “Old Yeller”), Stephen Goosson (“Lost Horizon,” “The Lady from Shanghai) and Harry Horner (“The Heiress,” “The Hustler”).

Awards were held at the Beverly Hilton in BevHills.

11th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards winners:

FEATURE FILM

Period Films
“Curse of the Golden Flower” — Huo Tingxiao

FANTASY FILM
“Pan’s Labyrinth” — Eugenio Caballero

CONTEMPORARY FILM
“Casino Royale” — Peter Lamont

TELEVISION

SINGLE CAMERA
“Ugly Betty,” (The Box and the Bunny) — Mark Worthington

MULTI-CAMERA
“MADtv,” (Episode 1207) — John Sabato

MOVIE OR MINI-SERIES
“Stephen King’s Desperation” — Philip Dagort

VARIETY, AWARDS SHOW, MUSIC SPECIAL OR DOCUMENTARY
“58th Annual Emmy Awards” — John Shaffner, Joe Stewart

COMMERCIAL
Victoria’s Secret “Sexy” — Jeffrey Beecroft

HONORARY

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS TO CINEMATIC IMAGERY
Terry Gilliam

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Dean Tavoularis

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Hilyard Brown
Henry Bumstead
Carroll Clark
Stephen Goosson
Harry Horner

Thanks to `Q` for the alert.

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21:47:00 - paul -

17 February

Fleming's Goldeneye estate in Jamaica getting a facelift

Goldeneye, the scenic rural retreat in eastern Jamaica where British author Ian Fleming created the James Bond character that spawned dozens of novels and films, is getting a facelift - reports NC Times.

Work begins in June on 82 villas, cottages and suites at the 100-acre property overlooking a harbor in St. Mary parish, according to Jason Henzell, president of luxury hotelier Island Outpost.

Henzell said Goldeneye's current owner, media mogul Chris Blackwell -- who is also the owner of Island Outpost -- wants to use the property for tourism.

"He wants to develop a new niche in Jamaica called residential tourism, where people buy land, visit and ultimately promote the island," he said. He declined to comment on the project's cost.

Fleming bought Goldeneye in the mid-1940s when it spanned just 40 acres, and wrote several books there. One of those novels, Casino Royale, was the first to feature the super spy and charmer James Bond.

Fleming died in 1964 and some of his memorabilia is kept at the site.

Several 007 movies including "Live and Let Die" and "Dr. No" were filmed near the estate, and it shares a name with the 1995 Bond film "GoldenEye."

The property was also briefly owned by the late reggae great Bob Marley, who bought Goldeneye in 1976 and sold it the following year to Blackwell.

Blackwell founded the Island Records label that launched Marley to international stardom.

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07:46:00 - HQ -

16 February

Casino Royale DVD (Region 3 - Asia) released today

The 2-disc Casino Royale DVD has been released today in Region 3, almost a month ahead of the USA and Europe releases.

Region 3 covers Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan - an area rife with piracy where studios often release major films first in an attempt to stem the tide of illegal copies.

CD WOW in the UK is now shipping Region 3 DVDs of Casino Royale for 9.99 GBP. Anyone wishing to play these discs outside of Region 3 will require a region-less DVD player or software player and the ability to display NTSC format video - the same as used in North America.

Certificate: 15
Category: Thriller
No. of Discs: 2
Running Time: 145 minutes
Year Produced: 2006
Region: 3 (South Asia)
Audio: English - Dolby Digital 5.1, English - DTS 5.1, Thai - Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Thai, Korean, Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 (Widescreen)
Anamorphic: Yes
Encoding: NTSC

Special Features:
Becoming Bond - featurette
Bond Girls Are Forever - documentary
James Bond: For Real - featurette
Chris Cornell music video

Thanks to `vmsns` for the alert.

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05:27:28 - HQ -

60 second interview with Timothy Dalton on Bond and his latest film

Actor Timothy Dalton is best known for playing James Bond in Licence To Kill and The Living Daylights. Sci-fi fans also remember him playing Prince Barin in the 1980 Flash Gordon film. More recently, he's been in TV shows such as Miss Marple. He can be seen in Simon Pegg's new comedy, Hot Fuzz, which is on release from tomorrow - reports Metro.

You play a baddie in Hot Fuzz – was it fun?
I loved making the film. There were some fantastic people involved. I play a worthy, upright pillar of the community; at least that’s what he thinks. He believes he’s perfectly respectable – he runs the supermarket but he’s not all that he seems. It was very good fun.

Did you ever want to run a supermarket yourself?
No

Weren’t Simon Pegg and his pals more impressed you were in Flash Gordon than by your role as James Bond?
Absolutely. It was so long ago I’d nearly forgotten about it but they liked the fact I played Prince Barin. Movies stick with you, they saw the film when they were children and they’ve grown up with it.

Is comedy really as difficult to do as actors say?
Yes, it really is the most difficult. You’ve got to have a knack for it but in film it also relies on the director and editor and everyone else. I’ve done films where it’s worked brilliantly on set but the editing ruined the timing. There are so many people involved in movies that it makes it much trickier. On the other hand, there are times editing does save a performance when the timing’s wrong.

Have you ever made a film you thought was great during filming but turned out to be rubbish?
No, ha ha ha, but there have been some things I thought weren’t very good when I was doing them and turned out not to be very good when they were released. You generally know. I haven’t had any surprises.

What did you make of Daniel Craig as James Bond?
I thought he was great. He got a lot of stick when he was doing it. There was a lot of negative press. I said how wrong everyone was at the time because he’s a very gifted actor. I’m pleased that the movie turned out as well as it did.

Did you get the same amount of criticism when you were making the Bond films?
You always get people saying: ‘I would have preferred this actor.’ There’s always some controversy about who has been chosen. Craig was criticised by people who didn’t have a clue what was in the script or what he was going to look like in the film, which was deeply unfair.

Do you regret not making more Bond films?
I was supposed to make one more but it was cancelled because MGM and the film’s producers got into a law suit which lasted for five years. After that, I didn’t want to do it.

Do you look back fondly on playing Bond?
It was a remarkable time of my life. I don’t think anyone except the few people who have played James Bond can tell you how strange and special it is and how much your life changes. I have no regrets about doing it at all. You also have to deal with the press and people’s expectations of what James Bond represents – you end up living in a world which is rather separate. It’s a unique role.

How was it to suddenly become world famous?
It’s quite odd at first. You realise that everyone in the street is eyeing you up and down. You become very, very known. There’s virtually no privacy at all except that which you carve out for yourself. I made a documentary about wolves and was 800km (500 miles) from the North Pole. My little plane flew into this small Eskimo village that I was to stay in and all the Eskimos started saying: ‘It’s James Bond! Come and eat some raw fish!’ You’re known everywhere.

If you were Prime Minister, what would you do?
I’d make sure the National Health Service and the education system were sorted out and working properly. Those were the two best things about Britain when I was growing up – the fact everyone got a decent education and everyone could get good hospital care. Both have been run down by successive governments.

If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?
It’s not a car but I’d be a BMW motorbike.

Do you put up your own shelves?
Not all the time. I put up shelves in the garage two years ago, though.

Have you ever written a fan letter to anyone?
No, but I did the TV equivalent to Clint Eastwood. As part of a programme, I said how much I admire his work. I’ve respected his acting even from the earliest films he did, things like High Plains Drifter. Look at films such as Unforgiven – he’s great and a fabulous director. I’ve told him that in person as well. I haven’t worked with him but definitely wouldn’t say no.

What have you got coming up?
I want to do work I care about. I was sent a couple of animated films by a young Russian producer/director about Beethoven and Vivaldi. They’re stunning, really good and are aimed at children. I agreed to do the narration because things like that deserve help. I want to do work that’s worthwhile. Movies have changed in the past 20 years – everything is getting really commercialised so I’m not enthusiastic about working for working’s sake. If something’s not good, what’s the point?

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05:16:10 - HQ -

Casino Royale first edition book fails to sell at auction

A damaged first edition of the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, has failed to sell at auction in London.
The copy of Ian Fleming's novel was expected to fetch £8,000 to £10,000 but bidding did not reach its undisclosed reserve price at Bloomsbury Auctions - reports the BBC.

"It's very disappointing. But the fact that it's an auction means you never know what's going to happen," said Bloomsbury spokesman Richard Caton.

The book's big screen adaptation last year was a box office hit.

It starred Daniel Craig as the latest incarnation of 007 spy James Bond.

Other Bond memorabilia which did sell at the auction included a first edition of The Spy Who Loved Me which sold for £1,200.

Casino Royale was first published in 1953 by the then unknown author Fleming, the first edition selling for the equivalent of 52p.

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05:03:42 - HQ -

`You Know My Name` singer Chris Cornell splits for solo album

Chris Cornell has split Audioslave, the band he formed with three former members of Rage Against The Machine, due to unspecified "irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences," according to a statement - reports Billboard.

"This is something I don't want to do anymore," Cornell tells Billboard.com of Audioslave. "There were problems from the very beginning and we dealt with them in a great way. We made three great records. We were a band that got along great, but we've also had our differences. My focus is definitely on doing my own music now.

Indeed, Cornell is quickly moving on to his second solo album, "Carry On," due May 1 via Suretone/Interscope. The 14-track set was produced by Steve Lillywhite and includes a cover of Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" (which Cornell has been known to play live) as well as "You Know My Name," the theme to the recent James Bond film "Casino Royale."

The album is Cornell's first solo affair since 1999's "Euphoria Morning." Among the other songs set to appear are the country-leaning "Finally Forever" and the harder-edged "Poison Eye" and "No Such Thing."

"Lately, when I'm writing a song, I've gotten used to the idea that no judgments should happen until a song is done and recorded," he says. "Thinking about it that way, I've become pretty prolific and really enjoyed some of the directions my songs have gone in. For this record, I've written a lot of songs that are unlike anything I've ever done."

Cornell is already assembling a band and plans to tour "extensively" in support of "Carry On," and says Audioslave's 2005 trip to Cuba made him realize "there are a lot of people who would enjoy seeing me play 20 years of recorded music in any context."

Last month, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk announced they were reuniting with Rage vocalist Zack de la Rocha for what they are claiming to be a one-off performance at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in late April in Indio, Calif.

Cornell admits he was surprised by the decision, noting that it was De La Rocha who quit Rage initially. "I never really got into it with them in terms of what happened or what the problems were," he says of Rage's split. "I only know that I was coming from a band that a few years before that had split up, and I knew what that experience was like. It's not something I'd want to do, but with them, it's a different can of worms. It's four completely different people."

That said, Cornell is taking a "never say never" approach to any potential work with his ex-Soundgarden bandmates, with whom he has not played in a decade. "If we got together to play one show, sure," he says. "A tour wouldn't make sense to me. To make another record? I think it's possible, but I don't know what it would take to make me feel that."

Plus, he adds with a chuckle, "I like the idea that Soundgarden fans will always be able to listen to their Soundgarden records without having to think about a show or a [new] record that's going to bum them out."

Thanks to `RisicofanMovie` for the alert.

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01:16:00 - HQ -

15 February

Casino Royale wins Visual Effects Society award

Last month, MI6 reported that Casino Royale was nominated for a Visual Effects Society award.

The fifth annual VES Awards ceremony was held on 11th February at the Kodak Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland, where Dennis Muren was honored with the VES Lifetime Achievement Award.

Daniel Craig's debut James Bond film scooped the award for "outstanding special effects in a motion picture" - beating Superman Returns.

Bond special effects wizards Chris Corbould, Peter Notley, Ian Lowe, Roy Quinn were named for the prize.

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08:16:34 - HQ -

007 inspired `Royale` pizza becomes world`s most expensive

A chef has flown more than 1,000 miles to make a £2,150 pizza topped with gold from the Queen's jeweller - reports Sky.

The world's most expensive pizza - named after James Bond - is being created as a St Valentine's Day treat for an Italian lawyer.

As well as edible gold, award-winning Glasgow restaurateur Domenico Crolla's creation will also contain champagne-soaked caviar and lobster marinated in the finest cognac.

The antipasto-style feast was sold during a charity auction on eBay in November to Maurizio Morelli, a gastro-expert from Rome.

Mr Crolla has flown to the Italian capital to prepare the 12in pizza as a Valentine's surprise for Mr Morelli's wife, Sabrina, at the couple's local restaurant.

The story stirred up some controversy among Italians unhappy at the modern twist on a national classic.

But Mr Crolla said: "This is the perfect romantic Valentine's gift.

"We Italians are experts at 'amore' and I think this pizza will show that the way to a woman's heart is definitely through her stomach."

His luxury treat has been named the Pizza Royale 007 after the expensive tastes of suave super spy James Bond.

Other toppings on the organic base, spread with a sunblush tomato sauce, include Scottish smoked salmon and medallions of venison.

The meal is finished off with edible 24-carat gold shavings from the Queen's jeweller, Mappin & Webb.

The pizza was created to raise funds for The Fred Hollows Foundation, which aims to prevent curable blindness in developing countries.

The title for world's most expensive pizza was previously held by a £100 white truffle, mushroom and fontina cheese pizza at Gordon Ramsay's Maze restaurant in London.

The full list of toppings on the Pizza Royale 007:
Beluga caviar
Scottish smoked wild salmon
Prosciutto drizzled with vintage balsamic vinegar
Lobster marinated in £1,300 Louis XIII Cognac
Grilled venison and Aberdeen Angus fillet
Corn-fed chicken
White truffle
Gold shavings

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08:11:18 - HQ -

14 February

Timothy Dalton heaps praise on Daniel Craig as James Bond

Former 007 actor Timothy Dalton is full of praise for Daniel Craig - hailing him one of the best James Bond's ever - reports ContactMusic.

The British actor, who played the superspy in 1987's The Living Daylights and 1989's Licence To Kill, was bemused at the criticism levelled at Craig before Casino Royale was even released.

And Dalton is glad Craig has proved them wrong with his powerhouse performance in last year's (06) blockbuster hit.

He says, "Daniel was a wonderful Bond in a great James Bond movie. I'm delighted for him."

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23:07:00 - HQ -

Aston Martin announce `Ultimate Edition` Vanquish S

Aston Martin has announced two exciting developments for both new and existing customers of the company’s flagship Vanquish S.



Just 40 examples of a new Vanquish S Ultimate Edition will be handcrafted at the company’s Newport Pagnell production facility in Buckinghamshire. The model represents a luxurious and unique limited edition befitting the Vanquish S status as the ultimate Aston Martin and also celebrates the skilled craftsmanship of the team working at Newport Pagnell.

The Ultimate Edition will be available by special request to customers wishing to celebrate the last of a significant car in Aston Martin’s history. Initial feedback suggests the whole allocation of this special edition will be sold within weeks of launch.

The Ultimate Edition centres on changes to the Vanquish S renowned colour and trim. On the exterior, these changes include a unique ‘Ultimate Black’ – a striking new colour which will only be available with this car. Inside, the Vanquish S cabin is trimmed in a semi-aniline leather, with coarse stitching, leather headlining and black chrome finish interior fittings. Each car will also be fitted with personalised sill plaques denoting the limited edition number.

The Vanquish S Ultimate Edition retains all performance capabilities of the standard Vanquish S – and accordingly its position as the fastest ever production Aston Martin, capable of a top speed in excess of 200mph (321km/h). No additional charge will be made for the Ultimate Edition, available only with the 2+2 seating arrangement, priced at £182,095.

For existing Vanquish customers, Aston Martin’s world renowned Works Service department are to offer a new transmission conversion for owners of the company’s flagship model, adding to their reputation for an unparalleled level of personalisation.

Serving as a further example of the depth of bespoke services available via Works Service, existing Vanquish owners will now be able to order a transmission conversion from the car’s existing Auto Shift Manual (ASM) system, to a conventional stick-shift manual.
Working in conjunction with the company’s Special Vehicles Operations team from Gaydon, Works Service has developed the system over the last 12 months, before previewing the conversion to selected Vanquish customers.

Kingsley Riding-Felce, Director, Customer Care and Works Service, said: “This project underlines our commitment to adapting to customer requests, whether they are for Aston Martins from the past or modern cars such as the Vanquish S.”

Since its launch in 2001, the Vanquish has been equipped with fingertip controlled, Formula 1-style paddles which enables almost imperceptible gear changes in under 250 milliseconds. Advanced electronics also permit the close ratio six speed manual transmission to be programmed to operate automatically.

Drivers with a preference for a conventional stick-shift transmission will now have the option of this new Works Service-only modification which is available to order immediately, with prices commencing from £13,250 (+ VAT).

Established as a modern classic, the Vanquish’s muscular 2+2 epitomises Aston Martin's core values of power, beauty and soul. It is the ultimate sports car for the discerning owner. Since its launch, the Vanquish has proved to be a huge success for Aston Martin with over 2000 cars delivered to customers around the world. In 2002 the Vanquish graced the screens of millions, starring alongside 007 in the James Bond film ‘Die Another Day.’

Located at Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, Aston Martin Works Service offers a factory-backed workshop with the experience necessary to care for any Aston Martin or Lagonda with unparalleled skill and attention to detail. With more than 40 years experience, the Works Service team offer accident repair, servicing, maintenance and even full restoration capabilities to Aston Martin and Lagonda owners. In 2006 more than 2000 customers called upon Works Service expertise, a number which is expected to be surpassed again in 2007.

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00:01:00 - HQ -

13 February

Free Casino Royale Blu-Ray for first 500,000 PlayStation 3 owners in Europe

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced today that, in addition to the extensive line-up of games, the first 500,000 purchasers of PlayStation 3 who registered on the PlayStation Network would receive a Blu-ray disc movie of Casino Royale, starring James Bond newcomer Daniel Craig.

Casino Royale, which has already grossed more than $560 million at the box office worldwide, and has established itself as the most successful Bond film of all time will debut on a 50GB dual-layer Blu-ray disc encoded in MPEG-4 AVC. With a ground breaking collection of added-value features in 1080P High Definition visual quality, and with uncompressed audio features for the best possible audio experience, Casino Royale not only demonstrates the exceptional visual quality of Full 1080P High Definition movies on Blu-ray disc, but is the perfect vehicle to highlight the broader entertainment credentials of the PlayStation 3 system.

Explaining the offer, Darren Carter, VP Brand and Consumer Marketing said, “The PlayStation Network unlocks the broad range of interactive entertainment features of PlayStation 3. It’s easy to set up, offers free online gaming, has great tools for staying in touch with friends and family, and includes a wide variety of content for download through the PlayStation Store.”

“All this, and more, will enable users to experience a whole new world of interactive entertainment, and that is why we are offering the phenomenal incentive of Casino Royale, on Blu-ray disc, to PS3 owners who register on the PlayStation Network. Casino Royale not only makes the most of the features and capabilities of the Blu-ray format, but is one of the most exciting and entertaining movies to debut on Blu-ray this year.”

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05:31:39 - HQ -

Barbara Broccoli interview on BBC Radio

Barbara Broccoli, co-producer of the James Bond films, spoke to BBC Radio 4 about her career and the world's most successful movie franchise.

She speaks about acquiring the rights to make Casino Royale, the decision to go with a new actor, casting Daniel Craig, filming that Ursula Andress homage, and more...

Click here to listen to the complete interview on the BBC Radio 4 website.

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05:29:27 - HQ -

12 February

Casino Royale skims another $2.8m at international box-office

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sony's "Casino Royale" surpassed 2002's "Spider-Man" and now occupies the No. 21 slot on the all-time international boxoffice chart.

Daniel Craig's debut film as James Bond earned an estimated $2.8 million on the weekend from 1,305 screens in 33 markets.

The overseas total for the latest in the 007 series is $420.9 million.

Added to the North American haul of $166,275,268, Casino Royale's worldwide total now stands at $586,854,128 (as of 11th February 2007).

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05:17:00 - HQ -

HMV to release UK exclusive Casino Royale DVD with free mini-book

HMV in the UK have secured an exclusive version of the upcoming Casino Royale DVD. As well as the two-disc DVD, the slipcase comes packaged with a mini-book based on the Bond On Set publication.

HMV Exclusive Limited Edition Version - Contains:
* Slipcase Sleeve
* Bond On Set - 40-Page Mini-Book Featuring Onset Photos From Casino Ryale
* Casino Royale 2DVD Special Edition

DVD Special Features
* Becoming Bond (30 Minutes)
* James Bond For Real (30 Minutes)
* Bond Girls Are Forever (30 Minutes)
* Chris Cornell 'What's My Name?' Music Video
* Widescreen 2.40:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1
* Languages - English
* Subtitles - English, English Hard Of Hearing, Hindi
* Audio Descriptive Track - English
* Region 2 / PAL / Colour
* Running Time 138 Minutes

Thanks to `overkill` for the alert.

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05:10:00 - HQ -

Best Actress nominee Judi Dench will skip this year's Oscars

One person you won't get to see win an Oscar this year, even if she does win, is Dame Judi Dench. The six-time nominee (and the only actor to make the crossover from the Pierce Brosnan Bond films to the Daniel Craig Bond films) is unable to attend this year's ceremony because she will be having a knee operation - reports Cinematical.

Apparently she is fine with missing the event, though, and told reporters not to bet on her to win for her performance in Notes on a Scandal. Of course, nobody in their right minds would bet on anybody but Helen Mirren for the Best Actress trophy. Still, it is always nice to see Dench at these things.

It would also be nice to see her win in the Best Actress category at some point. Although she won a supporting Oscar in 1999, for Shakespeare in Love, she also deserves the honor of winning a lead prize. In many ways, she is like Meryl Streep -- dependable, always amazing and often nominated, but perhaps appreciated enough already as one of our 'great actresses' that the Academy feels no obligation to recognize her any further. Hopefully this isn't really the case.

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05:07:00 - HQ -

A million tourists expected in Montenegro thanks to James Bond

If it is to judge by the prognosis of the tourist employees the year 2007 will be a real tourist boom for Montenegro, and it is expected that the dream of the tourist employees will come true, that is, that the visit will surpass the “magical million” of guests. In the Ministry of tourism they are estimating that this year 1, 1 million of tourists will come, which is more than 10% than it was the case last year - reports Visit Montenegro.

According to the circumstances, led by the adventures of the actual James Bond, Montenegro this summer will be the most intriguing, undiscovered destination. According to the words of the of the PR of the Ministry of tourism Jelena Paovic it is estimated that in the year 2007 Montenegro will be visited by a half a million of foreign guests, which is for ¼ more than in the last year, and they will have about 3 millions of overnight stays.

-The main goal of the development of tourism in the year 2007 is sustainable and diverse tourist product which enables the growth of the number of tourists, expenditure per day and per guest, and opening of the new working places during the season. They are planning the income of about 350 millions of euros, which is about 17% more than last year. For comparison, total income from the tourism in the year 2006 was 322, 3 millions of euros, which is 23, 5% more than the year before. This year, also, we are expecting the increase of the number of employees in tourism on about 15.000 which is the increase of 7% compared to the previous year – said Paovic.

She added that the basic activities will be directed to the development and promotion of complementary aspects of tourism with the goal of prolonging of the season and full usage of the capacities during 150 days.

They are expecting the arrival of about 600.000 domestic guests in which we still include tourists from Vojvodina, Serbia, and Kosovo, which is on the level of the previous year. Namely, according to the official statistics Montenegro during the year 2006 was visited by 952.000 guests, 15% more than a year before. From the total number, 382.000 were foreign guests, which is 40% more than the previous year. As for the structure of foreign guests, half of the total number of them came from the countries which are members of EU, 13% from other European and non European countries, 19% foreigners were from ex Yu areas, while 18% came from Russian market and the market of the former members of SSSR. Statistically, most numerous guests were from Russia, who were registered during the last year in number of 60.196. They had more than 80% overnight stays than it was the case a year before. Russians came to Montenegro not just for pleasure and rest, but also because of business duties, and many of them which are not listed in the statistic data became the citizens of Montenegro, and for a longer time they have been living in apartments or houses which they bought on the coast. Traditionally faithful to Montenegrin coast are by all means tourists from BiH, who were here during the last year in the number of 54.747, and who had ¼ more overnight stays that in the year 2005. even though their country is considered to be a to destination in the world, Croats like to spend their vacation in Montenegro, so during the last year there were about 11.000 Croats registered, or 60% more than in 2005. In difference to the previous years, Macedonians last year came in smaller number, so there were about 14.320 Macedonians registered, or 15% less then a year before, while Slovenian tourists came in number of 17.310 or for 325 more. Most numerous among tourist from the countries from EU were Czechs who came in number of 28.634, and who made 7% more overnight stays than in the previous summer.

What is expected as one of the biggest successes of Montenegro on some market of the EU countries, is the arrival from the Austrian market where solely based on the contract with the Alliance of the pensioners of that country already in the preseason of 2007, 10.00 guests will come, which is twice as much that there were in the entire 2006. Last year they marked a mass arrival of guests from the market of Germany which were registered in number of 20.088, and who made 6% more overnight stays than a year before. French were not far behind, 17.6626 which is 60% more, while the guests from Italy came in number of 16.251, and they made 1/3 more overnight stays then in 2005. Tourist employees were surely happy because of the fact that guests from Great Britain again recognized Montenegro as a place for vacation, and about that testifies the official record that in the year 2006 there were 12.822 guests from Britain, and they had 62% more overnight stays than a year before. A real boom during the last year happened on the market of Albania from which 23.842 guests were registered, and who had two times more overnight satys that the year before.

Interesting are data that there were 4.111 guests from Sweeden, 6.359 guests from Poland, 5.072 Norwegians, 8.709 Hungarians, 4.251 Irishmen, 3.175 Dutch, 2.361 Fins, 1.208 Danish and all of them together had significantly greater number of overnight stays that a year before.

As for the across the ocean countries, Montenegro was visited by 5.783 tourists from USA, 80% more than a year before, 880 of guests came from Australia, and 183 from New Zeeland as well as 565 from Japan.

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05:04:00 - HQ -

11 February

Sir Sean Connery arrives in Delhi, India

There are just seven superstars in the world today and Sean Connery is one of them'. When Steven Spielberg said these words, India must be listening intently. So, when the original James Bond came calling in to Delhi on Saturday morning, and made a fleeting appearance at a five-star hotel's lobby where he is staying put, such was the crowd's reaction that he had to beat it immediately - reports Times of India.

But ask Sean and his wife, artist Micheline Roquebrune, and they say that they absolutely love the Indian experience and are "very happy" to be here. He terms this a "business visit", just the reason why it is being kept so hush-hush.

Despite all embargos, Sean and Micheline were accorded a traditional welcome at the Hotel Imperial with garlands and tilak. From then, it was time for a quick breakfast with a lot of fresh juices. After that, they slept the day away. It was only in the evening when Sean came to the lobby of the hotel for some work and his fans present there recognized him that he had to return to his room immediately.

On Sunday, they travelled outside Delhi and would be returning by Tuesday.

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21:46:06 - HQ -

The Guardian reviews Young Bond `Double or Die`

The Guardian has reviewed the third Young Bond novel by author Charlie Higson - "Double or Die".

It is hard to imagine anyone less troubled by an inner life than James Bond, a figure exquisitely defined by the appurtenances and demands of his trade. The exploding cufflinks, the aesthetic sensibilities, the skills in the field, the predatory instincts (even for women) are all super-functional. His core virtues - courage, endurance, single-mindedness - are moulded to the job. He is unburdened by friendships, suffers no existential doubts or moral dilemmas.

In Charlie Higson's redrawing of 007 as a 16-year-old at Eton in the Thirties, there's early evidence of that grit and appetite for danger. But the boy has a heart too. He has a gang of schoolchums to eat toast with. He has second thoughts about everything. Sure, he's good at games and drives a car like a maniac, and one senses a modicum of emotional damage as a result of his being an orphan, but you do wonder if it really matters two hoots whether he's going to be James Bond when he grows up or not. It doesn't seem to.

This third in Higson's bestselling series of 'Young Bond' stories, a superbly wrought old-fashioned adventure about a kidnapped English boffin who leaves a twisting trail of cryptic clues in a letter, is cranked up with heart-stopping action and climaxes and terrifying villains and people having their ears blown off. Though the final chase seems to go on for months, the novel barely stops to draw breath.

I did keep asking myself, like James's less gung-ho friends, why he doesn't just tell the headmaster what's going on, but it's hardly the Eton way to blab on one's psychopathic pursuers.

It is all very Bond, though, with Russians and a casino scene and a car chase and a bloody slew of near-death experiences. As the clock ticks down, James even gets the girl, though admittedly, when he does, it all goes a bit Famous Five. What's the boy waiting for, I wondered - a licence to snog?

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06:46:25 - HQ -

10 February

Dame Diana Rigg stills looks for plum roles

An idea suddenly seizes Diana Rigg, one of the co-stars of The Painted Veil. "Suppose the well-written, well-constructed movie is coming back in fashion?" - reports The Star.

And she should know. Rigg and the rest of the cast of the adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's novel have been drawing sturdy notices for material some reviewers deemed old-fashioned.

"Maugham could write parts for women," she says. "Simple as that. Ours is a love story set in an exotic location giving the female star, Naomi Watts, a wonderful part as a young, wayward wife. It all works according to the psychology of the piece, and Edward Norton is equally convincing as the very naive scientist who marries her, then takes her away to an outpost in China.

Rigg jests, "I'm also in a few short but very dramatic scenes I loved doing. I flew around the world to get them done."

Rigg says she got a hurried telephone call from Beijing from director John Curran to play the movie's Mother Superior, who is stuck in a nunnery deep in the heart of China.

"I rather suspect they had somebody else (for the part) who backed off. I'd recently been back to India so I didn't have to have any needles, but it was quite rushed getting visas." After a non-stop flight she found herself in Beijing, where the movie was filmed.

"I think I understood the character, who has a speech people seem to remember about being constantly let down by God since she was 17," Rigg says. "That helps us understand her quiet dedication even when mobs roam the streets."

Some industry insiders feel with a bit more of a push she could have received a supporting Oscar nomination.

Rigg agrees North American audiences only get to see half her career. In recent years she has shone on the British stage in such West End successes as Medea, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Suddenly, Last Summer, and Honour.

When Medea made it to Broadway, she earned a Tony Award.

Canadians tend to think of Rigg as the long-running host of PBS's Mystery! It's a role she gratefully inherited from her "papa," Vincent Price – they'd played father and daughter in the 1973 horror movie Theatre of Blood.

Hollywood has called, if infrequently. She giggles at the mention that U.S. TV Guide readers once selected her character in The Avengers, Emma Peel, as the sexiest leading lady ever.

"It was the black-and-white photography that people still adore. They'd spend hours lighting the close-ups. In colour it just didn't have the same sheen. I only wish I were getting more than the pittance given me (for reruns) – it was so long ago, you know."

She's also the only Bond girl who married the boss, although in this case it was Aussie import George Lazenby, who made but one appearance as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Rigg was conspicuously missing from the photo spread in Vanity Fair a few years back that reunited the Bond girls. Why? "I'm still working," she told me around that time.

Her oddest assignment must have been a brief stint in an English offshoot of Mary Tyler Moore titled Diana (1973-74).

The NBC sitcom cast her as an English divorcée who had just moved to New York.

Rigg recently acknowledged to one reporter she doesn't have a great film to her credit. The closest is Hospital (1971), which she recently watched again and thought she could have done better.

She says, "At my age (69) I'm searching for nice, little parts. Like this one, it had a few big scenes for me and introduced me to a new generation of movie stars. A mother superior? Fine and dandy. I understood her. More like that would be very nice. Just don't call me a veteran, it's rather scary."

In 2005, all the then British Dames (Rigg has been one since 1994) got together at a concert to help tsunami victims. Dames Joan Plowright, Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren whooped it up for an adoring audience (Dame Maggie Smith was otherwise engaged).

Rigg is far more interested in debating which dame, Dench or Mirren, will take home this year's Best Actress trophy at the Oscars. Told that old chum Peter O'Toole (Venus) is leading the male pack, she wonders who the other nominees are.

Recent newspaper reports have Rigg retiring to a French village. "Rubbish!" she retorts. She was phoning from London, where she keeps a flat. She does have a home in southern France, but it's for summers.

She will probably open in another play this fall, she reports, unless that elusive great movie part appears.

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06:41:00 - HQ -

Aston Martin to ramp up production - sights on Bentley

It was not so many years ago that Aston Martin celebrated the production of their 10,000th car. Ever! It took more than five decades for the company to build it's first 10,000 cars. Now Aston is making plans to build that many cars annually and challenge Bentley. For the most part Ford's adventure in building expensive British vehicles has been a resounding financial failure (see Jaguar and Land Rover), with the distinct exception of the apparently now profitable Aston Martin - reports AutoBlog.

Since the mid-nineties introduction of the DB7, the firm has been transformed from a place where craftsman hammered out aluminum body panels by hand to assemble quaint but expensive luxury coupes into a manufacturer of high-tech, high-performance sports-GT cars. Before the launch of the DB7 Aston was turning out about 300 cars a year. The DB7 started out at 700 per year. Last year, 7,000 Aston Martin cars were produced. Now on the brink of a spin-off from Ford, Aston Martin is studying how to increase production because their main plant in Gaydon is already running at full capacity.

The popularity of the DB9 (2500 units in 2006) and Vantage (4200 copies) has caused the company to back off on plans to build the Rapide four door that was shown last year. With plans for a new Vanquish, a production version of the DBS from the latest James Bond movie and the Rapide, a number of options are being evaluated. Possibilities include moving body-in-white and tub assembly and painting out of the Gaydon plant, or potentially building an extension to the plant. No final decision is expected until after the sale of the company is completed.

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06:38:00 - HQ -

Daniel Craig voted best dressed man by Esquire magazine

New James Bond actor Daniel Craig has been voted the best dressed man by Esquire magazine - reports MPD Click.

The star, who is set to debut as the suave spy in the upcoming film Casino Royale, narrowly beat US musician John Legend to the title.

Other celebrities that made it into the top ten include actor Terence Howard, musician Nick Cave and Brokeback Mountain star Jake Gyllenhaal.

The magazine paid Gyllenhaal one of the most flattering compliments by claiming that he could "pull of a tux better than George Clooney".

Saddam Hussein was voted the best dressed defendant, while Friends star Jennifer Aniston was forced to settle for Accessory of the Year.

J-Lo's husband Marc Anthony, Guns 'N' Roses rocker Axl Rose and Britney Spears' 11-month-old son Sean Preston were named the worst dressed by the magazine.

The complete list, which includes stars from the world of showbiz, politics and sports, will be available in the September issue of Esquire.

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06:37:00 - HQ -

09 February

Pierce Brosnan forced to pull out of IFTA appearence in Dublin

The stepfather of actor Pierce Brosnan is battling a serious illness - reports the Irish Independent.

The Hollywood actor is spending time at the bedside of William Carmichael in a London hospital.

The former James Bond star was due to attend the IFTA ceremony in Dublin on Friday night, but was forced to pull out at the last minute because of his stepfather's illness.

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23:24:00 - HQ -

Science Museum opens interactive spy exhibition in London, UK

Always fancied yourself as a bit of a 007? Well, here's your chance to be a spy for the day - reports ThisIsLondon.

The Science Museum is staging the world's largest interactive spy exhibition, with visitors entering the world of espionage through a secret door.

After being recruited as a trainee spy, you'll be taught how to crack a safe, make a disguise, and spot a liar before embarking on a secret mission.

All the latest Bond-style gadgets will be at your disposal, including night-vision goggles, hidden bugs, remote-control spy planes and biometric face scanners.

To complete your mission, you'll have to evade counter surveillance and get through a body or brain scanner in order to discover the hidden clues.

The Science of Spying, The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7. 10 February to 2 September 2007. 10am to 6pm. Ticket prices vary. Tel: 0870 906 3890 or visit www.sciencemuseum.org.uk to book

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07:45:00 - HQ -

08 February

Eva Green speaks on the eve of the BAFTA awards

The lovely Eva Green will need no introduction to any Bond fan - she's an instrumental and unforgettable part of the Bond juggernaut that is Casino Royale. Her performance as Vesper Lynd has shot her to stardom, garnering her a nomination for the Orange Rising Star Award at this year's BAFTAs, while she's already onto another hefty series of films, the His Dark Materials trilogy. Empire Magazine caught up with Eva during her time in Beijing to discuss awards, Bond, The Golden Compass and the future...

Congratulations on your nomination for the Orange Rising Star Award. How's that feel?
So exciting! I really am thrilled to be nominated for this one. It's incredible to be nominated for a BAFTA - I'm French, after all!! I moved here last year so this really is the best welcome!

You're in good company, have you seen the work of the other nominees?
Yes - wonderful company. I am very honoured to be among such a high calibre. I really liked Emily Blunt in My Summer of Love, especially.

We know you're generally not one for the spotlight, so what's your opinion of awards in general?
I think it's very important to recognize talent in all facets of filmmaking. Making a movie is such a lengthy and intense experience, so it's wonderful to honour actors, directors, producers and all crew members who put so much hard work and passion into a project. It's true that I'm not competitive and that I am rather shy, but I'm also rather proud of being nominated for this!

It's also voted for by the public - the people who have paid to see your work. Is there a comfort in that?
Yes, I'm really pleased that the public vote, because if they have enjoyed my work and vote for me then I am extremely honoured. However, I don't think many people know me in England, so I don't expect to get many votes!

You’re also a musician – which instruments do you play?
I play the piano. I bought an upright piano that is actually electric so I can practice my scales with headphones on and not make my neighbours' lives hell!

The Orange Rising Star recognises a body of work, but you're certainly in the public’s consciousness at the moment for Vespa – was there ever a time when you were worried about taking that role?
Initially, when I heard that they were interested, I was a little cautious. I had not read the script and the words "Bond Girl" were swimming in my conscience. My first role was with Bertolucci and I'm inclined towards independent movies, so I worried about the stigma of the female role in a Bond movie, and thought that I would just be pouting and wearing a bikini. However, when I read the script, I fell in love with the role and also the way that Bond was portrayed. I saw a whole new Bond, and a role that was simply magnificent. So many layers - a character that had a strong facade but that was very vulnerable at the same time.

For our money, you’re the best Bond girl yet – was it all there on the page when you started, or did you have to work on bringing out a lot of the strength and intelligence that we see in Vespa onscreen?
It was a really well-written role on the page. I worked a lot with Lindy Hemming (the costume designer) to make her feminine but strong. I really didn't want the character to be just one big cleavage and so we worked on finding sharply tailored suits. I wanted to make her like Ingrid Bergman in the 1940's - strong and witty but also fragile and warm. Vesper Lynd was the first female role that Ian Fleming ever wrote so it was a great responsibility to make her fabulous - I just hope I pulled it off!

And you’ve since chosen a role in what is set to be another huge film, The Golden Compass – what attracted you to playing Serafina?
I read the Philip Pullman trilogy and really liked the role – she's strong and hundreds of years old. She is a witch who is a guide, philosopher and friend to Lyra. It is quite a mysterious role which I found attractive.

Obviously without giving too much away, what are some of the choices you've made so far in bringing the character to life?
I wanted to make her sound quite other worldly and yet from another age. I worked with my voice coach, Roisin Carty to create a sort of medieval Scandinavian drawl.

Do you have any other roles lined up?
I'm superstitious so will be jinxed if I mention anything - and am touching wood right now!

And finally, we've noticed that you’ve studied as a theatre director. Do you have any plans to step behind the camera in the future?
I feel that I'm still very young and so need to acquire a lot more confidence. When I do and learn more, then perhaps I will be able, but for the moment I am going to stick to being in front of the camera as I have to prove more there.

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17:14:00 - HQ -

Trade secrets were swapped when James Bond met Philip Marlowe,

Nearly 50 years ago, on July 10, 1958, two of the most influential popular-fiction writers of the 20th century recorded a 25-minute conversation in London's BBC studios. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series, and Raymond Chandler, creator of hardboiled detective Philip Marlowe, had met three years earlier and developed an enormous respect for each other's writing - reports The Australian.

Fleming admired the older writer's literary prose, inscribing one of his Bond books to "Field Marshall Chandler from Private Ian Fleming". Chandler in turn wrote an endorsement of Live and Let Die in which he praised Fleming's ability to capture the American milieu and in particular its street slang.

Chandler wrote, "Ian Fleming is probably the most forceful and driving writer of what I suppose still must be called thrillers in England." Only months before the author of The Big Sleep died, the two discussed the art of writing thrillers, an event Fleming described in the December 1959 issue of The London Magazine: "When the day came, it was very difficult to get Ray into the studio and when I went to pick him up at about 11 in the morning, his voice was slurred withwhisky."

Since the death of his wife Cissy four years earlier, Chandler had been slowly drinking himself to death, and on the tapes he sounds inebriated. Fleming described him as being puffy and unkempt: "When he did look at you, he saw everything and remembered days later to criticise the tie or the shirt you had been wearing. Everything he wrote had authority ..."

Oddly, this tape, which was buried in the BBC archives for more than 30 years, possibly because Chandler was under the influence, had its first world publication in the February 1991 issue of Australian crime magazine Mean Streets. Editor Stuart Coupe had received a copy from an Australian crime writer who "didn't explain exactly where he got it from, but I knew it was genuine". Having failed to trace the tape's origins, Coupe transcribed the entire conversation, editing out some of Chandler's unintelligible passages, before publishing it.

The conversation ranges from how to arrange an underworld killing ("It's simple," Chandler says. "You want me to describe how it's done?" "Yes," Fleming replies) to the difficulties of taking fingerprints from a handgun. "How much do they (the syndicate) get paid for a hit?" Fleming asks. "Ten thousand," Chandler says. "Ten thousand each?" Fleming asks, adding that killing someone would be a difficult thing to imagine doing. He loathed violence.

Chandler: Well I've known people I'd like toshoot.

Fleming: Anyone in England?

Chandler: No, not in England.

Fleming: What do you want to shoot them for?

Chandler: I just thought they'd be better dead. (laughs)

Both writers enjoy each other's wit, Fleming at one point observing that they are both humourists, although he regards Chandler as a more accomplished stylist. "Of course, you don't write thrillers and I do," he says.

Chandler: I do, too.

Fleming: Yours are novels.

Chandler: Other people call them thrillers.

Fleming: You develop your characters very much more than I do, and the thriller element, it seems to me, in your books is in the people, the character building, and to a considerable extent in the dialogue, which I think is some of the finest dialogue written in any prose today.

Chandler was impressed by Fleming's ability as a full-time journalist to finish his seventh Bond book, Goldfinger, so quickly.

Chandler: How do you write so many books with all the other things that you do?

Fleming explained that he holidayed every year in Jamaica, sat down and wrote a new Bond in two months.

Chandler: I can't write a book in two months.

Fleming: But then you write better books than I do.

Chandler: Well maybe or maybe not, but I still can't write a book in two months. The fastest book I ever wrote, I wrote in three months.

For Fleming, Philip Marlowe was a real hero who behaved in a heroic fashion while James Bond was never meant to be a hero. "I intended him to be a sort of blunt instrument wielded by a government department who would get him into bizarre and fantastic situations and he'd have to shoot his way out," Fleming says.

One weakness Chandler saw in the Bond series was that there was always a torture scene; he advised Fleming to try brainwashing. Fleming admitted his torture scenes were a weakness. On the other hand, he explained, Bond always has a good time, he beats the villain, he gets the girl and he serves his government. In the process of that, he's got to suffer something. "What do I do?" he asks, "dock him on his income tax?"

Fleming was tired of the heroes in "other people's thrillers" who get a bang on the head with a revolver butt and then were perfectly happy moments later. Chandler admitted this was one of his faults: "They recover too quickly. I know what it is to be banged on the head with a revolver butt. The first thing you do is vomit."

Both agreed that the basic ingredients of a good thriller were a cracking pace from the first page, violence, a certain amount of sex, and an element of mystery.

Towards the end, after discussing the difference between American and the English thrillers (the former are much faster paced, the policemen in England are always drinking cups of tea), Fleming tells his friend, "It's been nice to see you again, Ray".

"Well, I love to see you always," is the Chandler response.

The two never met again. Chandler died the following year of alcoholism and pneumonia, and two years after the release of the first Bond film, Dr No, in 1962, Fleming died of a heart attack. He would never know how wildly successful the film adaptations of his Bond thrillers would become. "Ian Fleming's writing," Chandler once said in an interview, "is hard, racy, direct, vivid stuff. I've enjoyed all his books (but) the one I liked most is Casino Royale."

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17:11:00 - HQ -

David Hedison to attend MegaCon in Orange County, FL, next weekend

David Hedison, who played CIA agent Felix Leiter in two James Bond films ("Live And Let Die" - 1973, "Licence To Kill" - 1989) will be appearing at the 2007 MegaCon in Orange County, FL next weekend

Event: David Hedison Signing @ MegaCon
Location: Orange County Convention Center Hall C, Florida, USA
Friday, February 16th from 1pm*– 7pm
Saturday, February 17th from 10am – 6pm
Sunday, February 18th from 10am – 5pm

Visit the MegaCon website for further details.

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17:09:00 - HQ -

07 February

Daniel Craig self-portrait doodle up for charity auction

A host of TV and showbiz celebs have donated their scribbles for charity as part of National Doodle Day.

The event on February 23 will see a massive auction on eBay of star drawings from the likes of Coronation Street's Roy (David Neilson), Fearne Cotton, EastEnders Minty and Big Mo and former Sun Page 3 girl Sam Fox.

Big name movie actors have also obliged including James Bond Daniel Craig who penned a guy in a tuxedo and his screen spy boss Dame Judi Dench.


Above: Daniel Craig's doodle

Others from the world of soap also took part including Charlie Clements (Bradley, EastEnders); Lacey Turner (Stacey, EastEnders); Roxanne Pallett (Jo, Emmerdale) and William Roache (Ken, Coronation Street).

Also finding time to put pen to paper to raise funds for Epilepsy Action and the Neurofibromatosis Association are Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Chris Tarrant.


Above: Dame Judi Dench's doodle

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07:07:00 - HQ -

Young Bond author Charlie Higson to appear on Celebrity Mastermind

Young James Bond series author Charlie Higson will be sitting in the infamous black chair later this week as he takes part in Celebrity Mastermind.

Show: "Celebrity Mastermind"
Channel: BBC Prime (Europe and Africa)
Date: Saturday 10th February
Time: 11:00

Celebrities take to the famous black chair to pit their wits against the Mastermind challenge. John Humphreys is quizmaster. In this edition, comedian and naturalist Bill Oddie on American jazz, Fast Show comic Charlie Higson on James Bond, newsreader Julia Somerville on Winnie the Pooh, and writer and academic Germaine Greer on Australian rainforests.

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07:04:00 - HQ -

More tabloid rumours of Daniel Craig`s driving abilities

MEDIA RUMOUR
According to the Daily Record, James Bond actor Daniel Craig to be the butt of much humour around Hollywood because he can't park his car.

The paper reports that he's just bought a Cadillac 4x4 that's nearly 17ft long, and locals say they often see it jutting out at crazy angles or bumped up on the pavements.

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07:02:00 - HQ -

06 February

Aston Martin to fetch more than $880m in Ford sell-off

U.S. carmaker Ford Motor Co. is set to receive more than 450 million pounds ($880 million) for the Aston Martin luxury car unit, which it is selling, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Bidders including UK-based private equity firm Doughty Hanson and Syrian-born property tycoon Simon Halabi submitted second-round offers for Aston Martin last week in an auction being run by investment bank UBS AG, the sources said.

Investment bankers have said the marque is likely to attract wide interest due to its desirable brand and could be viewed by some bidders as a trophy asset rather than a private equity-style business investment with rigorous returns targets.

Ford, Doughty Hanson and Halabi declined to comment.

Ford last year said it would sell all or part of Aston Martin to raise funds for other businesses. A deal for Aston Martin -- which analysts call a rare and unusual asset worth as much as $1 billion -- is expected within weeks.

Aston Martin is on solid financial footing, a top Ford official said last month, adding the British car made famous as fictional spy James Bond's favorite ride boosted sales last year by around half to some 6,500 units.

Other bidders reported to be circling include activist investor Nelson Peltz, the Times reported on Tuesday.

Magna, the Canadian auto-parts maker, and a consortium including Australian media executive James Packer could also lodge offers, according to the Financial Times.

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06:25:00 - HQ -

Honor Blackman admits her assets were too big for early film roles

Veteran actress Honor Blackman had problems securing a film part when she was younger - her breasts were considered too big. The glamorous actress, who played Pussy Galore in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger and leather clad Cathy Gale in British TV show The Avengera, admits her "burgeoning bosom" was a curse not a blessing when she started out acting - reports Contact Music.

She recalls, "She (her agent) told me 'For Gods sake, do something about your titts! I was taken to the Queen's couturiers and two ladies measured me, supported me, pushed me, patted me and stroked me. "Eventually I emerged a wiser and somewhat firmer young woman."

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05:26:00 - HQ -

05 February

First edition copy of Casino Royale up for auction next week

A copy of "Casino Royale," which introduced the world to British secret agent James Bond, is expected to sell for nearly $20,000 at a London auction - reports PostChronicle.

Roddy Newlands, an Ian Fleming expert at London-based Bloomsbury Auctions, which will run next week's auction, said interest in buying first editions of Ian Fleming novels shot up since the latest Bond film, "Casino Royale," was released, the Daily Mail said.

Newlands said "Casino Royale," of which only 4,728 copies were printed in 1953, is "an exceptionally important book because it is the first."

The 1953 copy of the book, still in its original dust cover, has the previous owner's name and the bookseller's stamp inside the front cover. Newlands said if the book were in better condition, it could sell for as much as $30,000.

If Fleming had signed it, "it would be the Holy Grail for James Bond collectors," he said.

First editions of other Bond thrillers such as "Moonraker," "From Russia With Love," "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "The Man With The Golden Gun" also will be auctioned, along with a copy of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," signed by one-time Bond portrayer George Lazenby.

Thanks to `James Bond007` for the alert.

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23:20:00 - HQ -

Daniel Craig wins Best Actor at 34th annual Evening Standard British Film Awards

Daniel Craig was honored but Helen Mirren was denied Sunday at the 34th annual Evening Standard British Film Awards.



Craig was named best actor for "Casino Royale," his debut outing as James Bond. Craig, who has won both critical praise and box office favor as the first blond Bond, is also up for the best-actor prize at next week's British Academy Film Awards.

Mirren, who is an Academy Awards favorite for her turn as Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen," lost the best actress prize to Judi Dench, awarded for her portrayal of a predatory schoolteacher in "Notes on a Scandal."

The best-film prize went to "United 93," Paul Greengrass' harrowing dramatization of the final flight of one of the planes hijacked in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Peter Morgan won the screenplay award for two scripts - "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland."

Sacha Baron Cohen, creator of the gauche Kazakh journalist Borat, won the Peter Sellers Award for comedy.

Stephen Frears, director of "The Queen," received a special award for "for making British film reverberate around the world." The veteran director's socially conscious films include "My Beautiful Laundrette," "Dangerous Liaisons" and "Dirty Pretty Things."

The Evening Standard awards are sponsored by London's afternoon newspaper and selected by a jury of film critics.

Thanks to `beano` for the alert.

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07:49:09 - HQ -

04 February

Eva Green to present Oscar at Academy Awards on 25th February

Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney, Hugh Jackman, Cameron Diaz and Eva Green have been set as presenters for the 79th Academy Awards ceremony by telecast producer Laura Ziskin - reports the Hollywood News.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 will be presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.

The Oscars will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST), beginning with a half-hour red carpet arrivals segment, "The Road to the Oscars."

Thanks to `Vesper` for the alert.

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06:50:39 - HQ -

Casino Royale Bond girls make AskMen`s Top 99 Women of 2007 list

The women of Casino Royale have made it in to the top 50 of Askmen.com's Top 99 Women of 2007 list, along with a few other girls from James Bond's recent past.

Caterina Murino, who played femme-fatale Solange in Daniel Craig's debut 007 film, placed #41.

French actress Eva Green, best known for her portrayal of Vesper Lynd in the 2006 outing, came in at #23 - one spot above Natalie Portman.



Both Murino and Green (above) were new entries in this year's poll.

Jinx from "Die Another Day", better known as Halle Berry, came in at #11, up 8 places from last year's #19 position.

Maria Menounos, who leant her voice and likeness to 'Eva' in the 2005 videogame adaptation of "From Russia With Love" starring Sean Connery, came in at #8 (down from #5 last year).

Alessandra Ambrosio, who had a brief cameo in Casino Royale looking over Daniel Craig, came in at #6 - up from #36 last year.

Thanks to `Vesper` for the alert.

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06:46:06 - HQ -

03 February

Judi Dench heads up cast for new BBC mini-series

Current Academy Award nominee Judi Dench — who also now headlines the Royal Shakespeare Company's Merry Wives - The Musical — will star in "Cranford Chronicles," an upcoming BBC series, reports PlayBill.

A five-part BBC One serial, "Cranford Chronicles" was created by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin based on the three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. BBC Drama Production and WGBH will produce in association with Chestermead Ltd.

"Cranford Chronicles" will begin filming this April in the Cotswolds and London.

Set in 1842 in "a small rural Cheshire town on the cusp of great changes," the drama "captures the small absurdities and major tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, as they are besieged by forces they cannot hope to withstand," reads a BBC release. "Some people find romance and opportunities, while others fear the breakdown of social order. Who will embrace the changes on offer by becoming modern?"

Dame Dench will play the role of Miss Matty Jenkyns, "whose hopes and lively spirit were crushed when she was forced as a young woman to give up the man she loved and to live afterwards in the shadow of her elder sister, Deborah, the arbiter of correctness in Cranford." Further casting is yet to be announced.

"I am so excited to be doing 'Cranford Chronicles.' A summer of fun to look forward to!," said Dench in the announcement.

The actress currently appears opposite Simon Callow at the RSC through Feb. 10. She was just nominated for an Oscar for her turn in the film "Notes on a Scandal." The actress — seen previously at the RSC in All's Well That Ends Well and known for her film turns as M in the James Bond films — earned an Oscar in 1998 for her turn in "Shakespeare in Love."

"The logistics of mounting such a production have inevitably taken a while to pull together," said BBC Fiction controller Jane Tranter, "but the best things are well worth waiting for, and we are all very excited at the prospect of such a piece, and of welcoming Judi Dench back to the BBC."

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06:35:00 - HQ -

Plans for Goldeneye resort expansion pleases Jamaican press

The Goldeneye-linked resort village being built in St Mary by Mr Chris Blackwell is the kind of development that is pleasing to the Jamaica Observer.

But even more important is our anticipation of the project's potential to further promote Jamaica as a vacation and investment destination, as well as the economic impact it will have on St Mary.

As reported in the Business Observer this week, the high-end resort, when completed, will feature just over 90 rustic villas and cottages, a marina, swimming pools, spa, a natural, secluded lagoon and an offshore bar.

From what we have seen, courtesy of an artist's impression, the resort is very impressive and will no doubt appeal to visitors with discriminating tastes, particularly those who patronise elegant resorts around the world.

In fact, the Business Observer reported Mr Roger Brown, the director of development at Island Outpost - the company behind the resort - as saying that 50 per cent of the villas in phase I were sold after the developers went to the market in New York, Los Angeles and London late last year.

That, we believe, is a statement of confidence in the product itself and Jamaica on a whole, especially for the fact that the average cost of each unit is US$1 million and that owners will be required to pay a monthly maintenance fee of between US$1,000 and US$4,000.

It is obvious that the people who have already bought units in this resort are also attracted by its association with James Bond, the fictional British spy created by author Ian Fleming. Indeed, Mr Fleming penned his James Bond novels at Goldeneye in St Mary during the time he owned the property, which is now owned by Mr Blackwell, who operates it as a resort catering to high-end visitors.

Although Mr Brown assures us that the developers of this new resort intend to respect the Fleming legacy rather than the Bond brand, we suspect that they will encounter some difficulty doing so. For the reality is that James Bond has become one of the film industry's most successful franchises ever, and the character's lure cannot easily be overshadowed.

But this, we believe, has created a wonderful opportunity for Island Outpost, in conjunction with Jamaica's tourism authorities, to market both the Bond brand and the Fleming legacy.

Some years ago, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) staged a 'James Bond Festival' in the St Mary/Ocho Rios areas. The event generated invaluable publicity overseas for Jamaica.
At the time, we had hoped it would have become an annual event. That, unfortunately, has not happened.

There is, however, no reason why Jamaica should not be the destination where each new Bond film has its world premiere, and where tourists can visit the house where the Bond novels were conceptualised and written.

The JTB and JAMPRO, we suggest, should engage Mr Blackwell in discussions on this possibility, after which they all should approach the film industry with the aim of not only having Jamaica host Bond world premieres, but including the island in the production of the films.

The island, we feel, can earn considerable sums from its historic link with Messrs Fleming and Bond, given that the Bond films enjoy a cult-like following that ensures their success at the box office.

If anyone doubts this, just consider that last year's release, Casino Royale, earned US$128.9 million in only four weeks.

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06:32:00 - HQ -

Bond fan Jonathan Ross to host BAFTA awards, Daniel Craig nominated

English television personality Jonathan Ross is to host this year's British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) ceremony Feb 11. He had been widely tipped to take over the role from previous host Stephen Fry.

Said David Parfitt, chairman of the BAFTA Film Committee: 'We are delighted that Jonathan Ross will be our master of ceremonies in the elegant surroundings of the Royal Opera House for what promises to be an outstanding celebration of cinema.'

Some of the celebrities who have confirmed their presence at the show include Kate Winslet, Forest Whittaker, Sienna Miller and Penélope Cruz. New Bond star Daniel Craig will also be present at the ceremony, said ananova.com.

Craig is nominated in the best actor category for 'Casino Royale' - the first time in the event's history that an actor has been nominated for playing James Bond.

The event will be aired on BBC TV.

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06:11:00 - HQ -

German TV - `Octopussy` on ARD, Saturday night

Film: Octopussy (1983)
Channel: ARD (Germany)
Date: Saturday 3rd February 2007
Time: 23:25 MET

James Bond is assigned to solve the murder of agent 009, killed in East Germany clutching a fake Faberge egg. The trail leads to India where an enigmatic woman operates a smuggling ring under the cover of a travelling circus. But her real motives prove to be far more sinister, and Bond uncovers a plot to blow up a US air force base in West Germany.

Director: John Glen
Starring: Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Kabir Bedi, Steven Berkoff

Thanks to `Doctor Kaufmann` for the alert.

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01:00:00 - HQ -

02 February

Dame Shirley Bassey to release first single in 10 years

A little-known band have revealed exactly how they persuaded Dame Shirley Bassey to record her first single in 10 years - reports icWales.

The Tiger Bay diva - who celebrated her 70th birthday on Monday - releases her new single The Living Tree next month.

But the tune may never have made it into the shops had the great Dame not been convinced she had a potential hit on her hands.

The single has been written by Never The Bride, made up of Bristol-born lead singer Nikki Lamborn and Scot Catherine Feeney.

The duo have already recorded their version of the song, but convinced Dame Shirley it was right for her during a recent trip to Monte Carlo, where the legendary singer now lives.

A spokesman for the band revealed: "The girls have always been told that their song would be ideal for Shirley. So when they checked out of a hotel in Monte Carlo last summer, they remembered how Dame Shirley spends four days a week at the hotel gym.

"Before hopping in their cab, they left a copy of the song with the hotel concierge with a note telling Shirley how great it would be if she was to record the song.

"The girls didn't hear anything for weeks. But as they opened their e-mails one morning they found one from 'The Bassey Office'.

"It told how Shirley had fallen head over heals in love with the song, playing it in her room continuously and was demanding to know who were the writers and who owned the rights to the song.

"A month later, Catherine and Nikki met the Dame herself at a swanky London hotel. Their meeting, which was meant to last 20 minutes, ended up lasting two hours.

"Dame Shirley agreed to record the song. She later debuted it on Another Audience with Dame Shirley Bassey on ITV1. She also performed it at last year's Royal Variety Performance."

Nikki added: "I was there when Dame Shirley performed the song for her ITV1 show.

"Her hits Goldfinger and Big Spender were met with applause but the best reception was for The Living Tree. X Factor judge Louis Walsh commented on how good it was at the after show party. We can't wait for it to be released next month!"

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23:44:00 - HQ -

Pierce Brosnan collects Golden Camera award for eco-activism

Former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan found himself mixing with an eclectic crowd at the Golden Camera awards ceremony in Berlin on Thursday.

Jazz singer Katie Melua, veteran soul singer Lionel Richie, Ghost Rider actor Nicolas Cage and his glamorous co-star Eva Mendes were also gracing the red carpet at the Golden Camera awards, which pay tribute to outstanding artistic achievement.


Brosnan was awarded a gold-plated replica of the world's first electronic camera for his environmental work.

Thanks to `Craigfan` for the alert.

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23:33:00 - HQ -

Casino Royale Blu-Ray version now available to pre-order

The Blu-Ray high definition edition of Casino Royale is now available to pre-order in the UK and USA.

The Blu-Ray edition is due out on 13th March 2007 in the USA with a suggested retail price of $38.96, and on Monday 19th March 2007 in the UK.

You can now pre-order the Blu-Ray edition and save up to 30% off the suggested retail price.

Pre-order Blu-Ray "Casino Royale" (Amazon USA)

Pre-order Blu-Ray "Casino Royale" (Amazon UK)


Above: Blu-Ray and UMD cover art

Click here for a full preview of the Casino Royale DVD with links to DVD and UMD versions.

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01:18:21 - HQ -

01 February

Revised bids for sale of Aston Martin in second round

Revised bids for Aston Martin, the luxury carmaker put up for sale by the troubled US-listed car giant Ford Motor Company, are reportedly expected in today - reports Business Sale.

According to the Financial Times, bidders remaining in the second round of the auction are thought to include Syrian-born property tycoon Simon Halabi, buyout group Doughty Hanson, Canadian car parts group Magna, and a consortium that includes Australian media magnate James Packer.

One Equity, Alchemy Partners and Texas Pacific Group have all dropped out of the bidding process, and it is unclear whether Permira will submit a further offer.

Ford is hoping to reap over £450m from the sale of Aston Martin, as it struggles amid a declining US market share and record losses in 2006.

Aston Martin is part of the Premier Automotive Group, which also includes the Jaguar, Volvo and Landrover brands. Ford previously considered selling all the brands within this division, but only Aston Martin was formally put up for sale.

The auction is being handled by UBS.

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23:09:00 - HQ -

Details of James Bond costumes to be auctioned March 6th

Bonhams have released more details on the outfits from James Bond 007 that will be auctioned on March 6th.

Outfits worn by Pierce Brosnan in three of the films he starred in from 1995 to 1999 will feature. From GoldenEye (1995) is Brosnan’s Brioni grey three piece-suit (£8,000-10,000), a similar blue suit (£5,000-6,000) and a cream linen suit (£8,000-10,000).

In GoldenEye, a new Bond for the 1990s was created, when Pierce Brosnan took over as 007. The long-established house of Brioni in Rome, supplied him with their famed look of style and elegance. Brioni has a stipulated way of tailoring their suits with a minimum of 185 steps to produce the finished article which creates an ageless fashion statement. The grey Brioni suit was used extensively throughout the film, most memorably in the scene between Alec Trevelyan and Bond in the disused communist statue park. A black dress, shoes and jacket, from GoldenEye as worn by Famke Jansen is estimated at £3,000-4,000.

In Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Brosnan donned the Bond mantle again. Brosnan’s leather jacket, black roll neck sweater, black ski jumper and green combat trousers,(£8,000-10,000) and a blue cotton shirt, black sweat pants and blue canvas deck shoes (£4,000-5,000), as worn in the film, continue the Bond theme.

A ski suit worn by Brosnan (£6,000-8,000) and a wine coloured ski suit, with fur-lined hood, worn by Sophie Marceau (£1,200-1,500), will be sold, as well. These items featured in the third Brosnan instalment, The World is Not Enough (1999).

Outfits worn by Roger Moore - James Bond from 1973-1985 - include a navy battle dress jacket, complete with commanders epaulettes and inner pocket for the Walther PPK, (£3,000-4,000), made for The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977. This jacket was used in the finale of the film during the battle between Bond and the Stromberg operatives on the super-tanker.

In addition, a ‘false front’ for a Naval Commander’s jacket, from The Spy Who Loved Me is estimated at £800-1,200. The item features in the scene where Bond travels to Atlantis from the American submarine. The garment was used to give the impression that Bond is fully clothed under his wetsuit. Military berets, navy crew jackets and trousers, from The Spy Who Loved Me, as worn by the Stromberg crew, in the finale of the film, estimated at £800-1,000 can also be seen. A Showgirl outfit made for the circus girls in Octopussy (1983) ranges from £400-600 per item and a Drax personnel jumpsuit, from Moonraker (1979) is £800-1,200.

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23:06:00 - HQ -

Daniel Craig talks about the pressure of being Bond at Shanghai premiere

Craig has worked hard for recognition as the sixth James Bond, reports the Shanghai Daily. He has had to face the unsparing global media that complained he was too blond, too plain. And he has been compared with Sean Connery and Roger Moore.

"It's pressure, but it's good pressure," says the 39-year-old blue-eyed British actor. "The experience of being cast in such an iconic role in film history is exciting and inspiring."

This action-packed movie, which has already taken in US$500 million globally, was released in China on Monday. It is the first James Bond film that has been officially allowed to screen at Chinese theaters.

The film crew, including director Martin Campbell, Craig, and new Bond temptress Eva Green attended a press conference and chatted with the local audience on Tuesday.

Based on the first James Bond novel by Ian Fleming in 1953, the 21st Bond adventure centers on the hero's first assignment as a "00" agent (00 means "license to kill").

He attempts to dismantle an international terrorist network, a mission that leads to a poker showdown with terrorist banker Le Chiffre. The locations include Prague, Venice, London, South Africa and the Bahamas.

Director Campbell, who also introduced Pierce Brosnan in his Bond debut in "GoldenEye," avoids excessive weaponry. This Bond doesn't showcase the type of high-tech gadgets given to him later in his career by Q. Instead, he is uses guns, knives and more physical forms of combat.

"It is actually the first of the 007 movies to reveal the superspy's true origins," he says. "The movie recounts the start of Bond's career. Here Bond is a darker character, which is how Fleming originally wrote him."

"GoldenEye," in Campbell's eye, is a traditional Bond film in which the spy is a perfect superhero. But in "Casino Royale," the script's emotional complexity and the way Bond's character evolves are fresh to Bond fans.

"The agent looks tougher, more realistic and very near to the author's vision of Bond," says the director.

Unlike those happy endings of most Bond films, this Bond undergoes the painful loss of his lover for whom he even thought of quitting the secret agent business and embarking on a new life.

"Bond really falls in love this time," Craig says with a grin. "Apart from his courage and strength, we read his sweetness inside. I'm very keen to show people this unknown side. Maybe next time he will appear stronger but with a broken and closed heart."

French actress Green appreciates her good fortune in portraying the woman (Bond's lover) who forges the rough-around-the-edges spy into the hardened and seductive type that everyone knows and loves. "Craig presents a sensational, charming and sexy Bond," she says.

Bond fans will be pleased to find Craig's performance largely surpasses their expectation. Some say "Casino Royale" ranks among the best Bond offerings.

"Craig makes an impressive debut as the new James Bond, with his macho charisma and cool look," says Minnie Jiang. "He has magnetism and portrays a much more real 007 - sometimes arrogant and incautious, which reminds us that the hero is never a superman."

Born in Chester, the son of a steel worker and art teacher, Craig began his film career with "The Power of One," a coming-of-age drama by John Avildsen in 1992.

He raised his profile in the United States in Sam Mendes' movie "Road to Perdition" with Tom Hanks as a cunning murderer, in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" with Angelina Jolie, in "Sylvia" with Gwyneth Paltrow, and in "Enduring Love" with Rhys Ifans.

But none of these pictures cost Craig more time and energy than his Bond debut. To get in shape for the part, he started a rigorous fitness regime. In the movie, the physically imposing actor did much of the action work himself.

"After taking every job, you just have to give your life to it," he says. "I committed myself to it during the six-month shooting. If you don't get bruised playing Bond, you're not doing the job properly."

Sean Connery is Craig's favorite Bond. Both the "007" film debut of "Dr No" in 1962 and the 1963's "From Russia With Love" made a great impact on him.

"Connery defined the role, for which he was perfect," Craig explains. "He was bad, sexy, animalistic, and cool."

Craig is contracted to do two more Bond movies and shooting the second will begin by the end of next year. He gave no details.

Craig is aware that being typecast as Bond could limit his work.

"My ambition is to make the movie I like," Craig says. "I'm certainly going to try and get as much out of Bond's aura as I can. This year I will make one or two films out of my personal interest. I just won't stop working."

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23:04:00 - HQ -

China shows 007 the love with $1.5m opening

James Bond has opened with a bang in China - reports Variety.

Sony's "Casino Royale" cashed in with $1.5 million at 470 playdates on its Tuesday opening, plus Monday previews. That's 6% better than the first day of "The Da Vinci Code," which went on to gross more than $13 million.

It's the first time a Bond pic has been on the bigscreen in China. Sony's promoted "Casino" extensively with Daniel Craig, Eva Green, helmer Martin Campbell and producer Barbara Broccoli attending Monday's prem in Beijing and Tuesday's in Shanghai.

Chinese censors approved the pic, which opened more than two months ago in most markets, without any cuts. Chinese run for "Casino" may be aided by attendance spike during Chinese New Year celebrations in mid-February.

The international cume for "Casino" has hit $407.5 million and worldwide is at $573 million -- 34th highest of all time.

Thanks to `english agent` for the alert.

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22:12:51 - HQ -