Production of James Bond 21 has been officially delayed by MGM...

James Bond 21 - Delayed
30th September 2004

MGM, which is in the process of being sold to a group headed by Sony, has insisted on a business-as-usual stance, but that business no longer involves the immediate production of the next James Bond film. The studio confirmed Wednesday that it has put the development of a new installment of its most important franchise on hold.

Plans Canned For November 2005

"Bond 21", which as usual for the 007 series during production was simply titled after the number of the installment, was officially scheduled for release November 18th 2005 (not November 21st as reported by some news sources). It will no longer be hitting theaters in its traditional November slot as originally planned.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, an MGM spokesperson said they made the decision because it has not yet found a director for the film.

Typically, the studio's Bond films go into production in January or February of the year in which a November release is planned, but to do that, a director has to be on board by the end of the previous summer.

For Bond's last outing "Die Another Day", director Lee Tamahori was officially announced as helming the project in August 2001 for the November 2002 release.


Sources familiar with the situation said that the producers plan to meet next month to decide whether to aim for a summer 2006 or November 2006 release date. The last James Bond film to open during the summer blockbuster season was 1989's "Licence To Kill" starring Timothy Dalton, which suffered at the box-office due to stiff competition. A 2006 release date will create the second biggest gap between Bond films, only surpassed by the six year hiatus between "Licence To Kill" (1989) and "GoldenEye" (1995).

Above: Paul McGuigan was the favorite choice of Eon Productions to direct Bond 21.

Lack Of Direction

The five months of negotiations that preceded the Sony deal also are said to have affected the development of the film because during that period, executives were unable to move forward on the project.

A steady flow of directors' names has been associated with the assignment, with Paul McGuigan, who directed MGM's recent "Wicker Park," understood to be the first choice of producers.

This delay is despite Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who wrote "The World Is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day", having their plot for Bond 21 agreed with producers and the first draft of the screenplay completed. Back in April, MGM chief Chris McGurk was adamant that Bond 21 production was still on track.

During the past year there was also wild speculation that Pierce Brosnan would not resume the role of James Bond, which would necessitate recasting. MGM was unable to confirm that possibility, although sources confirmed to MI6 this month that Brosnan had returned to negotiate a possible fifth outing as 007 once the news of Sony's buyout deal had been officially announced. The delay to Bond 21 production further facilitates Brosnan resuming his licence to kill, as his schedule for early 2005 is already busy with "Instant Karma" and "Mexicali".

Film news site DarkHorizons reports that MGM will shift the new "Pink Panther" film starring Steve Martin into Bond 21's November slot.

Fodder For Fans

Although Bond fans will have to wait until 2006 for the next cinematic adventure, there are plenty of new 007 projects on their way. Puffin and Miramax are set to publish the new series of "Young Bond" books in the UK and USA respectively in March 2005, EA Games are set to release "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent" - the latest game based in the Bond universe - in November 2004, and Titan Books continue to republish the classic 007 newspaper comic strip adventures with "Goldfinger" announced for November 2004 and "Casino Royale" set for February 2005.

Stay tuned to MI6 for further news on Bond 21.

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