According to a new report, they're not only backing the bank truck onto Daniel Craig's front lawn to play James Bond again, they're leaving it there.
Radar (via Indiewire) reports that Craig -- who, when we last saw him, was mumbling that he would rather slash his wrists than don 007's tux again -- has an offer on the table from Sony for $150 million to suit up as the British spy for two more films.
A source told the site:
"The studio is desperate to secure the actor’s services while they phase in a younger long-term successor...Daniel’s the key for a seamless, safe transition as far as Sony and Bond bosses are concerned, and they’re prepared to pay a king’s ransom to make it happen."
I've got a problem with a few things in this report, which is why it's got the old "Rumor of the day" banner slapped (figuratively) across it. For starters, the source itself, Radar, is kind of a step or two above the notoriously inaccurate British tabloids. Sure, they get something right once in a while, but even a monkey can hit a target with its own poop if it flings enough of it in the target's general direction.
Second, the report says that Sony, which has distributed all four of the Bond films that Craig has done, is the company offering him the big bucks. The only problem is that Sony's deal to distribute James Bond movies ended last year with Spectre, and Eon Productions -- the entity that has controlled the 007 franchise from the very beginning -- has been actively looking for a new studio home.
So, unless Sony and Eon have kissed and made up after what Birth.Movies.Death says was a reportedly tumultuous partnership on Spectre, the studio is free to offer Craig whatever it wants but will have to write him into Spider-Man: Homecoming, the only other successful tentpole they have at the moment.
Third, what is this "phase in" nonsense? What does that mean? Is the new guy (who won't be Tom Hiddleston or Idris Elba, so forget about them) going to walk through and wave to the audience during the end credits? Are they going to let him do a scene or two in each of Craig's next pictures to "phase him in"?
And finally: two movies? Craig, by many accounts, including his own (see that "slash my wrists" interview again), barely made it through Spectre. Would any amount of money, no matter how crazy, be enough to lure him back for a double of that famous vodka martini?
I have no doubt that Eon and whoever their new studio backer is will offer Daniel Craig stupid money -- maybe not as stupid as $150 million, but still up there -- to reprise the role in at least one more movie. And after the scathing response Spectre got in some quarters, Craig might want to try and go out on a high note. But I'm going to take this latest report with a healthy dose of skepticism. How about you?