By Todd Allen
Michael G. Wilson is the current producer for the James Bond film franchise. He’s a Daniel Craig fan. Most people like Daniel Craig’s 007 performances, so that isn’t a surprise. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Wilson’s been talking about signing Craig to a five-film extension.
“Filming has gone very well and I’d love Daniel to surpass Roger’s [Moore] record and do eight pictures,” Wilson told the paper.
Signing your Bond up to be the actor in the most films sounds nice and all. Been getting him good publicity, too. The thing is, when you start throwing around Roger Moore’s name for longevity in the role, you also need to acknowledge Moore should NOT have been in eight movies. A View to a Kill was definitely one film too many and Moore just wasn’t credible playing the role at the age of 57. There are some less generous Bond fans who think he needed to stop after For Your Eyes Only, when he was 53 or 54. (For the record, I don’t mind Octopussy as light entertainment. The envelope was straining, but hadn’t quite burst… your own mileage may vary.)
Daniel Craig is currently 43. How old he would be for film number 5 depends entirely on how effectively Mr. Wilson can keep the films in production. Let’s have a look at the traditional time gap between 007 films.
Skyfall: scheduled for 2012
Quantum of Solace: 2008
Casino Royale: 2006
Die Another Day 2002
The World is Not Enough 1999
Tomorrow Never Dies 1997
License to Kill 1989
Living Daylights 1987
A View to a Kill 1985
For Your Eyes Only 1981
The Spy Who Loved Me 1977
The Man With the Golden Gun 1974
Live and Let Die 1973
Diamonds Are Forever 1971
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1969
You Only Live Twice 1967
From Russia With Love 1963
Doctor No 1962
For the most part, we’ve been looking at 2 year gaps between films, however, there have been larger gaps in more recent years. 4 years between Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. 4 years between Die Another Day and Casino Royale. 3 years between The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day.
If Wilson/Eon Productions can keep cranking out a 007 flick every two years like was done for the bulk of the franchise’s existence (the lawsuit years between Dalton and Brosnan excepted), then it’s a 10 year contract and Craig would film the last installment at age 53. It depends on how he ages, but that doesn’t automatically put fear into you. If 4 year gaps become the norm, then Craig will be filming the last movie in the contract at age 63. That ought to raise an eyebrow. If there’s a mix of 2 and 3 year gaps, call it an average of 2.5 years between movies, Craig would be looking at the last film in the contract when he’s 55 or 56 and that could be pushing it.
You do have a few people like Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood who keep making shoot ’em ups will into the retirement years of most action stars, but they’re more the exception than the rule. Will Craig follow their path? Wilson could be making a rather bet that he will.
The moral of the story is, if Wilson is issuing a 5 film deal, he’d better keep it together and keep those films coming out every other year, per the traditional schedule. If not, well… we’ve been through Roger Moore staying around one film too long and maybe a 3 year contract would be a better idea.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.