There was a time, last year, when the future of the James Bond franchise was in more danger than 007 himself: The studio behind the movies, MGM, teetered on bankruptcy, leaving the series in limbo. But “Bond 23” — now officially called “Skyfall” — is a go. “We start shooting today,” announced Daniel Craig from a press conference in London on Thursday. Among the top five facts confirmed:
1. The title!
Although previous titles have referenced creator Ian Fleming’s works, “Skyfall” is apparently brand new, with no connection. Perhaps it’s meant to evoke the Transformer with the same name. 007 versus the Decepticons? No: “It has emotional context which will be revealed in the film,” said producer Barbara Broccoli. The official 007 Twitter feed revealed more a few hours later: “Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her,” it said, regarding the role that will be reprised by Dame Judi Dench. “As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.”
2. Villain Javier Bardem is a softie in real life.
“One of the most beautiful memories I had as a kid was going to see all these movies,” said the badass from “No Country For Old Men” at the press conference Thursday. His character’s signature quirky feature (all Bond villains have one) will remain a secret (bad haircut?). “Amazing stories on screen,” he says.
3. Naomie Harris, star of “28 Days Later” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” will star as field agent Eve.
Is she good or evil? The Bond Girl is not telling, except to say: “I’m still pinching myself. Raring to go. I spent two months training for the part.”
4. Sam Mendes can handle this.
The director of “American Beauty” isn’t known for his action movies. But he said he has a good second-unit director — Alexander Witt, who directed set pieces for “Casino Royale” and “X-Men: First Class.” He added: “The action needs to coexist with the drama.”
5. And perhaps most important: Will Craig and Bardem take off their shirts?
“Damn right,” said Broccoli.