Sam Stryker and Kevin Noonan | Friday, November 9, 2012
Breaking news: following the smash success of “Skyfall,” Daniel Craig and everyone else involved with the newest James Bonds movie, from director Sam Mendes to the guy who gets sandwiches for the break room, shocks the world and quits. Billionaire Warren Buffet sees an investment opportunity, and opens his checkbook to Scene Editor Kevin Noonan and Assistant Managing Editor Sam Stryker.
“Make the greatest Bond movie imaginable; spare no expense,” Buffet tells the enormously talented, wildly good-looking and rather humble pair.
All right, so most of that isn’t true. But what if it was? What if Sam and Kevin could build an entire Bond film from the ground, picking everything from the car to the villain to Mr. Bond himself?
Well, it would be a great Scene story, that’s what.
Kevin: I think the first place to start is to figure out exactly what we need. What are the core pieces that make up a Bond film puzzle? Off the top of my head, I’d say it’s the Bond actor, the villain, Bond’s car and the gadgets. And probably the director, too. Did I miss any?
Sam: Kevin, you missed a key ingredient – the Bond girl. A James Bond movie without a leading lady is like chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips. It just isn’t right. Now, I may not know a lot about ladies, but I do know this – behind every great man is a woman. In James Bond’s case, sometimes she wants to kill him and take over the world. Regardless, she’s an important ingredient. One other key ingredient is who sings the theme song. In recent years, we have had Madonna, Alicia Keys and Adele lend their vocals to 007. You need someone with a solid set of pipes to sing a Bond theme song.
Otherwise, I think you have a pretty good grasp on what makes a Bond movie tick.
Kevin: So now that we’ve decided what we’re deciding on, let’s get to it.
1. Who’s going to wear the tux?
Sam: I’ll be the first to say I am very disappointed Daniel Craig quit his role as James Bond. As a fellow blond, it was nice to see someone who looked (somewhat) like me in the role, fulfilling my fantasies of one day being an international man of mystery. He even looked good in a Speedo, to boot. Alas, now that he is gone, we need to find a new man for the job. James Bond needs to be handsome, suave and witty (like yours truly). But most important, he needs to be an embodiment of all things British. That is why I choose Christian Bale to be my new James Bond.
When he is not too busy cursing out production assistants or saving Gotham City, Christian Bale is a handsome, proven Oscar-winning actor. And a little-known fact is that he is actually English. Now that he is done suiting up as Batman and hanging around in the Bat Cave, he has more than enough free time to don a tuxedo and save the world. I know an Aston Martin is a step down from the Batmobile, but somehow I think he would agree.
Kevin: While I won’t say that I don’t like Christian Bale for the Bond role for fear of Sam going Patrick Bateman on me, I’m going to go in a different direction. An actor from the U.K. has traditionally played the role, but I’m going to pluck from one of the empire’s former colonies – Guy Pearce. The Aussie actor has dipped in and out of the spotlight after a promising start to his career (“L.A. Confidential” and “Memento” followed by a decade of junk), but regardless, it appears no role is outside of his range.
Daniel Craig brought a stony handsomeness to the role and it’s been wildly successful for him, because – let’s call a spade a spade – he’s a stonily handsome man. With Pearce though, Bond returns more to the Sean Connery model: suave and capable, yes, but also always the hint of a wisecrack on the tip of his tongue. I think Pearce brings a different angle to the role, and I like it.
2. The Villain
Kevin: A wide range of characters has taken up the mantle as Bond’s rival – Christopher Walken once plotted to destroy Silicon Valley in “A View to a Kill.” The villain must be menacing, of course, but Bond villains always seem to have a little character to them. They’re never just ordinary villains, they’re always a little unique, if not a bit gaudy. A Bond villain has to scare you, but also intrigue you to a degree.
My instinct is to go with John Malkovich, because I’m pretty sure he’s the square root of every movie villain ever, but it feels a little obvious.
Instead, I’m going to go out on a limb and go with Adrien Brody. Brody is a spectacular actor, but always seems to play good guy roles. I think he could delve into a Bond villain like nobody else and surprise people with a legitimately creepy character. Plus, with his facial hair skills, he could be from just about any place in the world.
Sam: Some of the most memorable Bond villains have been women. Evil does not have a gender. That’s why I am choosing Angelina Jolie – who has expressed interest in playing a Bond baddie in the past – to play the villain in my James Bond movie. She’s got looks, she has traveled the world and she has a slight edge to her. She certainly is scary, having worn a vial of blood around her neckewhen she was married to Billy Bob Thornton.
Most importantly, she is one of the few ladies on the planet who is not only a talented actress, but also someone who can match the action star power of James Bond. She’s been a tomb raider, Mrs. Smith and a handful of other shoot-em-up roles. Jolie is the perfect Bond femme fatale.
3. Bond Girl
Sam: A Bond girl has to be beautiful, that is to be sure, but she also has to match wits with one of the most interesting men in the world. She needs to be smart, independent and hopefully a bit spunky. By no means should she just be eye candy. She needs to have a certain sense of allure to her, like Eva Green did as Vesper Lynd in “Casino Royale.”
That’s why I choose Charlize Theron as my Bond girl. She’s got acting chops and a serious mean streak, having won an Oscar for portraying a serial-killer prostitute in “Monster’s Ball.” She also has starred in her fair share of action movies. This South African stunner is no dumb blonde, and she is more than capable of defending herself. Plus, she gets mad props for starring in “Mighty Joe Young.” If she can handle a gigantic gorilla and Bill Paxton, then James Bond should be a piece of cake.
Kevin: I’m picking two. Deal with it.
For my first Bond Girl, even though it might break the mold of the usual Bond fare, I’m going to go with a proven actress – Freida Pinto. She’s proven her merit in “Slumdog Millionaire,” and played a core role in the likely to be forgotten, but still pretty good “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” She’s tough, she’s gorgeous, she can complete sentences and given a few weeks of training, she could probably kick some butt. I’m going to cast Pinto in the role of “the one who seems questionable at first but turns out to be the good one.”
The second Bond Girl, who will play the role of “the one who falls for Bond’s charms a little too quickly to be believable and turns out to be bad and probably dies before the end,” is Emmanuelle Chriqui. “Entourage” fans will know Chriqui as Sloan, E’s off and on love interest, in what should be forever known as the textbook definition of “outkicking your coverage.” Chriqus is absurdly stunning, with just enough deviousness in her to deceive Bond, for a while at least.
4. The Song
Kevin: Like Sam said, a long line of accomplished singers have belted out the Bond theme song, including Paul McCartney, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, Madonna, Alicia Keys and Adele. Those are some big, soulful shoes to fill. When it comes to soul, power and musical genius, there’s no better in the music world right now than John Legend. A musical prodigy, there seems to be no limit to Legend’s infinite abilities, and there’s no doubt that he could belt out a memorable tune. Plus, with his collaboration connections, there could be some pretty sweet possibilities for “featuring” credits.
Sam: Bond themes have been their best when sung by a British singer with power vocals – that’s why Adele was chosen to sing “Skyfall” and absolutely nailed it. She may not quite have the star power of her English compatriot, but Florence Welch has a powerful set of pipes. Her voice is soulful and introspective and would serve the new Bond series well. She fits in the classic mould of Bond singers – think Shirley Bassey and Carly Simon – while also appealing to a modern audience. My backup choice is Sia. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
5. The Car
Sam: Choosing James Bond’s car is obvious. It has to be an Aston Martin. Yes, he has driven other cars, including a BMW and – gasp! – a Ford, in addition to a Lotus that converted into a submarine. But Bond will always be synonymous with Aston Martin. Seeing him drive something else is like seeing him order something besides a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred. I sure don’t want to see Bond sipping a Cosmo. So buckle up, Bond – you’re still riding an Aston Martin if I have a say.
Kevin: The Aston Martin is indeed the typical Bond choice, but little known fact; Aston Martin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of – gasp! – Ford. My movie is going to be a little progressive; I’m going after the hippie, environmentalist, “save the whales” crowd and that stuff. Therefore, my James Bond will be driving a model from the coolest electric motor company on the market – Tesla. The Tesla Roadster reportedly gets 120 miles to the gallon, in addition to look absolutely filthy awesome.
6. The Gadget
Sam: I’m going to be honest; the gadget question perplexed me at first. Sometimes, when Bond’s gadgets get too high-tech, the movie loses credibility. Remember the laser guns in “Moonraker” meant to mimic “Star Wars” or the invisible car in “Die Another Day”? Absolutely ridiculous. I prefer my Bond gadgets futuristic but within the realm of realism. That’s why Bond absolutely must have a jetpack in his next film. Because when the Aston Martin can’t get you to the top of a building, Q better have a good backup plan for you.
Kevin: I was an engineering major for three days once upon a time. I’m anti-qualified to invent a gadget for a Bond movie. But, if I must, I think there might be a good joke somewhere if Bond had bulletproof pants. Simple-minded maybe, but they have bulletproof vests; who wants to get shot in the pants?
Sam: Christian Bale as Bond, Angelina Jolie as The Villain, Charlize Theron as The Bond Girl, Florence Welch for The Theme Song, Aston Martin for The Car, Jetpack for The Gadget.
Kevin: Guy Pearce as Bond, Adrien Brody as The Villain, Freida Pinto and Emmanuelle Chriqui as The Bond Girl(s), John Legend for The Theme Song, Tesla for The Car, Bulletproof Pants for The Gadget.
To paraphrase the late great Buffalo Bill, would you see those movies? I’d see those movies.