Fresh off his Oscar win for a film plagued by drama, Rami Malek has again found himself working on a rather chaotic production. He’s been shooting scenes in Norway as the villain of ‘Bond 25’, a working title for the 25th instalment in the spy film franchise, but has yet to do so with James Bond himself.
That’s because star Daniel Craig had to undergo ankle surgery last month after hurting himself on set in Jamaica, the latest injury to afflict an actor who famously once said he would rather kill himself than play Bond again.
While filming a fight scene for 2006s ‘Casino Royale’, his first outing as the iconic character, Craig reportedly lost a couple teeth after getting hit in the face. With 2008s ‘Quantum of Solace,’ he both tore his shoulder and sliced off the tip of his finger. Production on 2015’s ‘Spectre’ halted for a few days so Craig could undergo a minor procedure after injuring his knee on set. (This guy commits.)
It’s not unusual for production issues to set back a film — not even for Bond movies, given the mess that occurred with ‘Quantum of Solace’ script revisions in 2007, when Craig himself stepped in to help after the Writers Guild of America went on strike for a few months. But everything has played out quite publicly with ‘Bond 25’, to the point where actors have even addressed the issues on the record. Malek insisted in an interview with the British news website Digital Spy this week that Craig’s latest injury doesn’t spell doom for the film, which Cary Joji Fukunaga (TV’s ‘True Detective’, ‘Maniac’) is directing.
“Daniel was injured, so they are shooting what they can,” Malek said. “I talked to Cary yesterday and the schedule has been altered. I know that. But with a franchise like this, I think they have it together.”
Perhaps, as Malek suggested, drama present since the very start of production will soon be behind them. It began last August, when producers announced that Danny Boyle, the Oscar winner who had been announced as the ‘Bond 25’ director three months prior, would be exiting the project over “creative differences.”
Rumours spread that he and his ‘Trainspotting’ partner, John Hodge, had hoped to kill off Bond at the end of the film. Boyle neither confirmed nor denied this while speaking to Empire magazine last month but did say that their version of the film “could have been really good.”
“It would be unfair to say what it was because I don’t know what Cary is going to do,” Boyle said. “I got a very nice message from him and I gave him my best wishes ... It is just a great shame.” (Producers have since brought on ‘Fleabag’ and ‘Killing Eve” creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge to polish the script.)
Producers announced in September that Fukunaga would be handed the reins, marking the first time the franchise employed an American director. They also revealed that the release date had been pushed from October of this year to February 2020 — which was then pushed again to April 2020 — leaving plenty of time for more rumours to crop up. The most bizarre of them all came from the Sun, a tabloid reporting that “mutiny has erupted” on set because Fukunaga would rather play PlayStation than show up on time. He responded to the claim in a playful Instagram post this week, writing that “no one sleeps on this kind of job.”
“Sure it’s hard, but it’s still the best job in the world and I’d never disrespect the hardest working cast and crew. We’re all in this together,” Fukunaga wrote. “As for my PS4 relationship, if my RDR2 [Red Dead Redemption 2] progress is any indication, it’s been stunted at 63 per cent for months and if anyone spoils the end for me before I wrap on B25 I’m going to be pissed.”
A literal explosion, however, did occur on the ‘Bond 25’ set. The official Bond account tweeted this month that the exterior of the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios had been damaged due to a “controlled explosion.” While there were no injuries on set, a crew member outside “sustained a minor injury.”
None of these recent incidents seem to have knocked ‘Bond 25’ off track for its April 2020 release, a point producers drove home last week when the Bond account tweeted out a dramatic photo of Craig working out with his left foot in a cast. The cast is nowhere to be seen in photos tweeted on Thursday of Prince Charles swinging by set.
Hopefully, as Malek said, “they have it figured out by now.”