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film news

Javier Bardem applies for a licence to kill James Bond

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Sunday, January 30, 2011

In its second big casting scoop of the day, Deadline is reporting that Javier Bardem has been offered a "starring role" in the next James Bond movie. The site is very cautious to offer any details on what Bardem's character or involvement could be, but it's an easy guess to make that any major actor starring in a James Bond movie would likely play the adversary to Daniel Craig's 007.

Nikki Finke and Mike Fleming's article then goes on to dive into the business side of MGM and how its new chairmen, Spyglass Entertainment owners Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, are supposedly playing off the lucrative sheen of the Bond franchise to gain whatever competitive edge they can get for the financially troubled studio. One of the hardline tactics that MGM/Spyglass are taking is supposedly this: whichever other movie studio strikes a deal to co-distribute James Bond 23 will have to open its wallet and pay some money upfront immediately. MGM in turn will use this cash to get other developing projects to move forward.

So what's the harm in that, right? Sounds like a smart business strategy to elevate MGM out of bankruptcy. Sure, but as Finke and Fleming go on to say, the way that Barber and Birnbaum are playing off the interest of their possible partner studios is beginning to provike their ire.  Writes the Deadline dynamic duo, "One studio even described its strategy to win Bond 23 was reduced recently to 'pleading'."

At the present time MGM only has the James Bond franchise as its ace. The remake of Red Dawn is vaulted; even if that movie had money for its marketing and advertising, no one really expects it to be a big moneymaker. The credit that MGM had with the rights for The Hobbit have been seriously marginalized and are now controlled by Warner Bros (via its New Line Cinema subsidiary.) Let's face facts: the 007 movie franchise is the only way for MGM and Barber/Birnbaum to buy their way into the game. They have to push it because there is no fallback strategy; it's either win big or go home for MGM, and the time to capitalize on that opportunity is right now. And it it ruffles the feathers of the execs at the majors, so be it. This is their Rocky moment and they know it.

-Deadline.

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