Tradecraft For Wednesday July 11, 2007
After a slow week for spy news, when it rains, it pours! There are a couple of stories of interest in today's trades.
Steve Martin Spy Project
I guess teaming up with Clive Owen's 006 in the fake Pink Panther wasn't enough for Steve Martin; he craves more spying! This time, though, he's serious. And he's writing, not acting. Well, not quite. The script is by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who's also directing, "based on an original idea from Steve Martin." Guy Pearce and Don Cheadle have signed to star. The Hollywood Reporter says: "The story centers on a CIA operative working undercover with a terrorist group who becomes a terrorist suspect. Cheadle is the undercover agent, while Pearce is an FBI agent investigating terrorist activities." Interesting premise. And the approach is relatively fresh as well. Producer David Hoberman tells the trade, "The movie deals with the subject of terrorism evenhandedly. It's not black and white but gray and religious-based."
Goldfinger Back In Theaters
As was widely reported earlier this summer, Goldfinger will get a theatrical re-release in Britain later this month. Variety says it's the first in a series of classic British films being released digitally on 136 screens starting July 31. Other excellent titles in the series include Billy Liar, The Wicker Man and Brief Encounter. I love the idea of wide, full-blown theatrical re-releases for such classics. If you're in England this summer, be sure to enjoy it!
Lion Roars Again For James Bond
An article on franchises in The Hollywood Reporter clarifies the unusual rights situation between Sony and MGM regarding Agent 007. "As it stands, Sony has the right to distribute the upcoming Bond film theatrically, with MGM set to handle the film's release on cable and home entertainment." The article says that the two studios share a 50/50 financial stake in the film, but that MGM has the right to buy back Sony's half ownership after five years. That means that MGM, and not Sony, stands to profit for decades off the films' lucrative TV and home video sales. It really sounds like Sony got the short end of the stick! They did a great job with Casino Royale, but I'm a traditionalist so I like the idea of Bond movies being distributed by MGM. The story continues: "Indeed, MGM holds the rights to all future outings, and the resurrected studio is equally determined to make the most of Bond. Executives recently renegotiated the company's deal with star Daniel Craig to continue as 007, significantly upping his salary though declining to give him a share of back-end." So, ultimately, it looks like the Sony chapter will be a brief one in Bond history.