The next Bond movie has a release date, though technically no Bond

Daniel Craig will probably be returning, but nothing's in ink and notorized yet.
James Bond
Daniel Craig hasn't officially signed up for the next Bond film, though it already has a release date of Nov. 8, 2019. Credit: MGM

It’s been a bumpy ride, but the next Bond film — what will be its 25th — is locked in with a release date: November 8, 2019. Great! All they need is a script, a story, a director, a Bond woman, a Bond villain and maybe even a Bond. Technically, Daniel Craig hasn’t yet officially signed back up on for the role, of which he once said he’d “rather slash [his] wrists” than play again. Recently, he’s cooled out, in the manner of someone who’s been deprogrammed in a seedy motel over the course of a long weekend. Sources say he’s had one of his characteristic changes of heart, claiming he’d do it, fine, whatever.

 

Whether Craig will return looking detached-bordering-on-mannequin-esque, à la Sean Connery in “Diamonds Are Forever” — in which the original movie 007 returned to the role after bequeathing it to George Lazenby for the one-off “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” and generally looked like he was mentally counting his sizeable paycheck at every second — remains to be seen.

 

Craig has always been above this fun-dumb franchise, even when it turned into a gritty semi-reboot that, at least in “Casino Royale,” featured not one silly gadget or gizmo, nor even much martini drinking. He’s a serious actor, which we don’t mean as an anti-elitist affront. He’s so serious about his craft that next month, viewers can see him finally and gleefully cutting loose. In Steven Soderbergh’s first post-retirement movie, the heist comedy “Logan Lucky,” James Bond gets to act like a total goofball on screens for the first time ever. He plays an explosions expert wrangled into a ruse by two redneck brothers (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) to swindle a racetrack. He rocks dye-blonde hair and a nasal Foghorn Leghorn accent; he gets to pronounce the word “naked” as “nekkid.”

 

Craig is clearly mapping out his post-Bond life. If he does indeed return — or if Idris Elba or Charlize Theron suddenly winds up with the job — all we’re asking is that it’s no “Spectre.” Then again, the Craig-Bonds have so far alternated between a really good one and one that’s either really bad (“Quantum of Solace”) or just kind of crappy (“Spectre”). So this one, a bit rushed or not, will probably be pretty good.

 
 
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