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In the run-up to No Time to Die's theatrical release this November, Somethin' Else, MGM, and Eon Productions are rolling out a six-episode podcast (hosted by film critic James King) that takes a deep dive into the world of James Bond. The first installment — "Bond in Context" — dropped this morning and offers a slew of fun tidbits about the franchise and Daniel Craig's final outing as MI6 super-spy 007.
For instance, Léa Seydoux, who is returning to play Dr. Madeleine Swann, says that No Time to Die is "even more psychological and even more emotional" than the previous installment of Spectre. "I think that it's something that Daniel, as James Bond ... he created a character that is more vulnerable and who has flaws. I think that's what we like as an audience. It's true that James Bond is not a real world, but what we like is that in this world that is not real, we can relate to the characters."
Going off that point, writer-director Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Maniac) is of the opinion that "the Bond films ... do exist in their time, but not too specifically. They're very much in a parallel universe. You never really mention prime ministers' names or world leaders and very, very rarely [you'll name] other countries."
This fits nicely into what Fukunaga previously said about him wanting James to be in a coma after the torture scene in Spectre, whose latter half would have been a figment of the spy's imagination. The idea was to have him awaken for real in the next movie, but obviously that never came to pass. Nevertheless, the filmmaker does share No Time to Die screenplay credit alongside Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
While there won't be any hallucinations in the movie, producer Barbara Broccoli promises that we'll get "a few lines that are in the script that Bond fans will love from the books" written by Ian Fleming. There are also going to be "some wonderful locations that are described in the" source material. One of those locales is Jamaica, which dates all the way back to Dr. No, Fleming's sixth 007 novel and the first one to be adapted with Sean Connery playing James.
"We consider this film to be a classic Bond film, but with a modern twist," Broccoli says of No Time to Die. "It's an emotional ride as well as an action-adventure ride, which I think is what makes it so great."
"[Original Bond producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli] used to say that he thought On Her Majesty's Secret Service was a very important Bond film and maybe one of the best-written ones and one of the best stories," adds producer Michael G. Wilson. "I think this one, he would feel the same way about. It has the same elements in it: a tragic love story and a very emotional-based story about Bond."
Episode 1 of the podcast doesn't touch on Rami Malek's mysterious new baddie, Safin, but it does give us a bit more context on the return of iconic Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Played by Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, the character was captured and jailed at the end of the last film and will serve a Hannibal Lecter-esque role in No Time to Die by offering up information that may lead to the defeat of Safin, who, based on the latest trailer, seems to have a history with Blofeld.
"Obviously, he's a character that is iconic for the Bond franchise. Blofeld is a villain that has haunted Bond since the novels and when he came back in Spectre, he was put in jail," says Fukunaga. "It seemed to me like that can't be the end of Blofeld's story. Here is an intelligent mind beyond the rest and prison and the confines of prison wouldn't stop him."
In addition, Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) stops by the podcast to discuss her new character, 00-agent Nomi. "She's very much there to shake things up at MI6," the actress explains. "She's very skilled and any skills that she doesn't have, she'll probably just learn [them] on the spot and then pretend like she knew it all along. She's a good representation of where women are — very opinionated, very opinionated, and gives people a run for their money."
Lynch goes on to say that despite some head-butting early on, her professional relationship with James "turns into a mutual respect ... because they come from the same program and they know what each other are capable of. But at the beginning, she's definitely [more] technologically advanced and because he's been away for a long time, she knows exactly what buttons to press. She almost has like a James Bond file on her shelf at home and has been studying it for two years, and now she has that opportunity to sit down with him, tell him exactly what she thinks. It's a real powerful moment because he's stopped in his tracks by a woman who does the same thing as him for the first time. And we've never seen that before."
No Time to Die is scheduled to hit U.S. theaters Friday, Nov. 20. The film was one of the first major blockbusters of 2020 to move its release date over concerns relating to COVID-19. It was originally supposed to debut in early April.