Every James Bond film is hotly anticipated, but the 25th movie in the legendary franchise is especially so. The release date for No Time To Die has been put back several times, first due to original director Danny Boyle's departure and then because of the global pandemic. However, it's finally due to be screened at Cineworld cinemas from 30th September, and it's fair to say we are VERY excited.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the movie over the past couple of years, it's quite possible that you've forgotten some of the key facts about it. With that in mind, we decided to refresh your memory, so that you know exactly what to expect when you take your seat later this summer. Cue the John Barry music!
1. Daniel Craig appears as 007 for the fifth time
It feels like Daniel Craig has been playing the iconic MI6 spy forever – and in a way he has because his first outing in the role, Casino Royale, was released way back in 2006. However, he's only actually appeared in three further Bond films prior to this one: Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015).
Following the release of Spectre, Craig remarked that he'd "rather slash my wrists" than make another Bond film. And yet here he is again, fighting baddies for Her Majesty's Secret Service. Rumours have been rife that this is well and truly Craig's final fling – he's admitted he now suffers from arthritis – but after what happened last time, we recommend he never says never again...
2. It was directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
You may recall that Sam Mendes directed the last two Bond films, Skyfall and Spectre – and what a fine job he made of them, too. However, for this movie he stepped down, to be replaced by Cary Joji Fukunaga. The latter is a relative newcomer to movie making, having only helmed four films prior to this one – including the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. But even more interesting is the fact that Fukunaga becomes the first ever American to direct an official 007 movie (Irvin Kershner took charge of the quasi-Bond flick Never Say Never Again).
As previously mentioned, Danny Boyle was originally in line to direct No Time To Die. However, three months after the project began, producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced that the Oscar winner was leaving due to "creative differences".
3. Rami Malek plays the baddie
We all remember Rami Malek's outstanding performance as Freddie Mercury in the 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. So what a treat it was when the announcement came that Malek had been cast as No Time To Die's villain, the suitably evil-sounding Lyutsifer Safin.
A terrorist on a revenge mission (where have we heard that before?), Safin was described by Barbara Broccoli as "a nasty piece of work", while Fukunaga called him "more dangerous than anyone [Bond has] ever encountered". Considering how lovable Rami Malek was as Freddie, that sounds like some pretty exceptional acting right there!
4. We haven't seen the last of Blofeld!
As you might expect from someone of his acting pedigree, Christoph Waltz was deliciously sinister as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Spectre. If you recall, 007 managed to overcome this most creepy of enemies at the end of that instalment, with Blofeld being collared by police on Westminster Bridge.
But was that the last we'd see of Bond's scarred foster brother? No, sir, it wasn't – he makes another appearance in No Time To Die, reportedly as a Hannibal Lecter-type figure, giving Bond clues about Safin from his high-security prison cell. Should be intriguing!
5. Phoebe Waller-Bridge contributed to the script
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade wrote the screenplay for No Time To Die – no surprise there, considering they've written every Bond film since 1999's The World Is Not Enough.
What raised a few eyebrows, though, is the fact that Phoebe Waller-Bridge made a contribution this time around. The Londoner has become hot property since writing and starring in the hit BBC sitcom Fleabag, and she's even set to star in the next Indiana Jones instalment, due to be released next year.
6. There's a new 007 in it
Confused? After all, we've already established that Daniel Craig has been cast in the James Bond role again. Let us explain: for No Time To Die, it was decided that there would be a new female '00', who is assigned the '007' codename after Bond retires from service. The new agent – real name Nomi – is played by British actress Lashana Lynch, who is perhaps best-known for her portrayal of Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel.
When it was first revealed that there would be a black, female actor playing 007, it didn't sit well with some fans – something that Lynch addressed in a recent interview with Harper's Bazaar. "I am one black woman," she said. "If it were another black woman cast in the role, it would have been the same conversation; she would have got the same attacks, the same abuse.
"I just have to remind myself that the conversation is happening and that I'm a part of something that will be very, very revolutionary."
7. Billie Eilish recorded the theme tune
Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Duran Duran – they've all had a turn at belting out James Bond themes. This time around, it's the turn of US songstress Billie Eilish, who co-wrote the song with her brother Finneas O'Connell in just three days, before flying to London to record it with composer Hanz Zimmer and his orchestra.
Hearing the track won't be a new experience for 007 fans, as the song was released in February 2020, topping the UK singles chart. Fact fans may be interested to know that Eilish is the youngest artist to ever write and sing a James Bond theme – she was just 18 at the time of its composition.
No Time To Die will be showing at Cineworld cinemas from 30th September – tickets will be going on sale soon.
What are you most looking forward to about the film? Drop us a line @cineworld.