Director Sam Mendes took to the stage this morning to announce that the twenty-fourth official James Bond adventure, due for release on October 23 2015, is to be titled ‘Spectre’. Bond enthusiasts will clock the reference immediately: in the classic Bond flicks, Spectre (or the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) are a global network dedicated to spreading fear, death and confusion, and getting rich in the process. Exactly what the plot of the new movie will be remains to be seen, but Mendes did say it’ll be shot in Rome, Mexico City, the Alps, Morocco and, of course, on the massive James Bond stage at Pinewood Studios in London.
Talk then turned to the cast: Daniel Craig returns as the louche secret agent, with ‘Skyfall’ alumni Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw all set to join him. Mendes then introduced the female leads, making things decidedly awkward by referring to them as ‘Bond ladies’, which may be a slight improvement over the traditional ‘Bond girls’ but still provoked a wince. When you’re working with actresses as talented as Monica Bellucci (‘Irreversible’) and Léa Seydoux (‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’), do they really require a patronising epithet? Anyway, the press conference hit its peak with the announcement of Christoph Waltz as the villain, sparking a Twitterstorm of rumours. Given that the film is called ‘Spectre’, will he be getting his head shaved to play Bond’s oldest rival, Ernst Blofeld? Rumours that Waltz was spotted in his local pet shop eyeing up fluffy white kittens are also, as yet, unconfirmed.