It was the night the cast & crew as well as the fans had been waiting for – the Royal World Premiere of the latest Bond extravaganza “No Time To Die”.
Bond premieres are much like the films themselves. Large-scale sets designed to make an impact, to leave a lasting impression. This is a feeling shared by the talents who make the films and their fans alike. Never before has a Bond premiere been so important and uplifting as today. Six years after the last film “Spectre” and following a global pandemic that brought with it six delays of the film, it was the night to demonstrate BOND IS BACK!
Strolling down the red carpet is a magical experience. For those that did not get a chance to attend in person, the official Facebook livestream captured this very well. Peaking at almost 14.000 views at times and also being streamed in selected cinemas worldwide, everyone could be a part of this phenomenon – the Bond microcosm.
In a somewhat odd style choice, actor Daniel Craig was undoubtedly the star of the evening. Dressed in a dark pink suede dinner jacket, he could be seen walking down the red carpeted stairs leading up to the Royal Albert Hall ahead of the official start of the premiere night.
What must have gone through the 53 year old actor’s mind, walking down these steps alone, throwing a quick glance at the huge projection of himself?
In 2006, at the age of 38, he had taken over the part of agent 007 as the first actor to have been born after the start of the film series. The casting choice by producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson was sneered at by the media, despised by internet trolls and doubted by fans before “Casino Royale” had even been released.
Fifteen years later, Craig walked the red carpet in London with a heavy heart as the longest serving 007. He gave a quindecennial to the portrayal of a fictional character that has endured for almost 60 years, spawning a franchise that is unmatched in the cinematic world.
With the stars arriving on the left side of the red carpet and fans on the right, the glamorous event began to take shape. On display were the vehicles from the film, namely the Aston Martin DB5, the V8 as well as a Triumph motorcycle.
In their individual interviews, the stars gave valuable insights into the making of “No Time To Die” and what makes the 25th entry of the series so special. For Academy Award winning actor Rami Malek, saying yes to the part of enigmatic villain Safin was one of the easiest decisions he had to make in his life. With regard to the difficult months of the COVID pandemic, he added that there would be no “better film to choose to bring everybody back to the theatre”.
Stunt coordinator Lee Morrison, who has worked on all Craig Bond films, highlighted the action being driven by the story and the stunt work having been adjusted in order to match Bond’s age. He named his favourite scene as filming in a Norwegian lake under 30 cm of ice.
Composer Hans Zimmer called his contribution “the biggest deal you can have”. He added that getting Billie Eilish to do the theme song was an adventure and that “we won a Grammy for a song from a movie that nobody had seen”. When asked how he approached doing the score for the film, Zimmer responded that this was “the only time I really approched something with true humility and true respect to what John Barry had done in the past.”
Special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, who became a fixture in the Bond family in 1985 with “A View To A Kill”, praised the emotional level of the film as well as the action sequences.
Having gained international attention with her portrayal of Madeleine Swann in “Spectre”, French actress Léa Seydoux praised Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s writing to give the character more complexity and vulnerability. Talking about Craig, Seydoux mentioned her first film in the cinema was “Casino Royale” and that she loves the way Craig made Bond complex, human and relatable.
Fellow actress Lashana Lynch said she was proud representing the Bond family who had carried the franchise into a new era. Equally praising Phoebe Waller Bridge, Lynch emphasized how important it was to her to “really explore what the strength of a black woman is.”
Stepping onto the interview podium, Daniel Craig thanked everyone attending the premiere and emphasized that Bond is a cinema experience made to be seen on a big screen. Speaking about his final day on set in Pinewood Studios, Craig said he “didn’t expect to get emotional about it but I got very emotional about it.” A fantastic witty moment occured when he was asked for his ultimate favourite thing about being 007. London being known for the occasional downpour, a hand from the off handed Craig an umbrella to which he replied “oh, THIS! This happens all the time. And it is going to stop after tonight.”
BAFTA winning Director Cary Joji Fukunaga named time pressure as one of the challenges in making “No Time To Die” but praised Daniel Craig’s amount of humanity he brought to the role as well as his very nuanced and conflicted portrayal.
Finally, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson felt the anticipation building and seemed visibly relieved to finally deliver their product. Praising everyone who brought people through the pandemic, Barbara Broccoli said they “feel like it’s really a time for celebration”. Michael G. Wilson noted how much Daniel Craig will be terribly missed, but promised he would “go out on a high”.
Quizzed about streaming services, Barbara Broccoli once again made clear that they had produced a film for the cinema audience for celebrating Daniel Craig’s final James Bond film and the fictional hero himself. Speaking highly about their cast & crew, they called “No Time To Die” the “best one yet.”
Finishing with sweeping shots over the red carpet and the arrival of their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, the livestream concluded after 90 minutes.
The stage was set, the lights dimmed and the Gunbarrel heralded the final chapter in the Craig era. By the time I am finished writing this, my fellow Bond friends, who were lucky enough to get a ticket to this fantastic night, will have experienced the 163 minute epic already. I wonder what they make of it…