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"
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
, 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
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.