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Ahead of American Ultra's arrival in UK cinemas, here's our pick of the 25 finest, sneakiest secret agents in film...
Operatives. Spies. Moles. Infiltrators. Secret agents go by many names. In fact, Britain's national security agency doesn't even call them agents - they're covert human intelligence sources, or simply “officers".
Whatever we choose to call them, secret agents lead necessarily furtive and obscure lives - so obscure that most of what we know about them is defined by what we've seen and read in books and movies.
During the Cold War, the image of the secret agent as a well-groomed sophisticate in a suit proliferated all over the world, and even in the high-tech landscape of the 21st century, that image still stands - just look at such movies as Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and, of course, the Bond franchise. But secret agents can come in many other guises, »
Former 007 says canonical shift would make for interesting viewing, but that the producer would never allow it – and suggests starting with a black Bond first
Former James Bond Pierce Brosnan has praised the idea of a gay 007, while admitting producers would never let it happen.
Interviewed in Details, the 62-year-old Irish actor suggested a version of Ian Fleming’s suave super-spy with homosexual leanings would “make for interesting viewing”. But he pointed out that Bond production company Eon, in the former of long-term 007 flame-keeper Barbara Broccoli, would most likely torpedo the idea.
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- Ben Child
Pierce Brosnan would like to see a gay James Bond in the future, but doesn’t think “Spectre” producer Barbara Broccoli wouldn’t let that happen “in her lifetime.” “Sure. Why not?” the 62-year-old actor told Details when asked if he could picture a gay 007. “Actually, I don’t know how it would work. I don’t think Barbara would allow a gay Bond to happen in her lifetime. But it would certainly make for interesting viewing.” Broccoli began producing Bond movies in the mid 1980s, starting with “The Living Daylights,” which starred Timothy Dalton as the spy created by British author Ian Fleming. »
- Beatrice Verhoeven
Having stood the test of time for over 60 years, few characters in popular culture can hold a candle to James Bond. Ian Fleming’s indelible super-spy made his bow in the original Casino Royale back in ’53 and since then, his globe-trotting adventures have entertained readers and viewers for generations. Then again, with so many directors, novelists and actors adding their own idiosyncrasies to the 00 agent, his origin story has been left largely unexplored, and that’s precisely the area that Sam Mendes will explore in this year’s Spectre – albeit it with a twist.
Per Entertainment Weekly, the director touched upon his approach to Bond’s legacy, and how he believes Skyfall – the most recent in the longrunning series and the only one to grace $1 billion – left audiences at the beginning of the rebooted story.
“Bond has been rebooted at the end of the movie. This is only the beginning »
- Michael Briers
Oh my, is it be “spy time” once more? Already? Wow, 2015 has been a big movie year for all those “cloak and dagger” undercover men (and women)! Early in the year, audiences were introduced to the “hush-hush” exploits of Kingsmen: The Secret Service, ripped fresh from a very adult graphic novel. As Summer began to heat up, funny lady Melissa McCarthy took satiric aim at the genre in Spy (aided by action vets Jason Statham and Jude Law). And just two weeks ago, film fans were gasping at the daredevil work of Tom Cruise, risking life and limb in his fifth go-round as Ethan Hunt, leader of the Imf in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (number one at the box office for the last couple weekends). And before the end of the year, the king of “gentlemen agents”, 007 Aka James Bond returns in his (official) twenty-fourth action extravaganza feature film Spectre. »
- Jim Batts
David Oyelowo, acclaimed for his stirring performance as Dr. Martin Luther King in last year's Selma, will be the first black actor to portray James Bond. He has accepted an invitation from the estate of writer Ian Fleming, the creator of the British secret agent, to voice Bond and other characters in an audiobook recording of Trigger Mortis, a new novel by Anthony Horowitz. According to an interview with The Guardian, Oyelowo dealt with "very real resistance" more than 10 years ago when he played Henry VI in a stage production for the Royal Shakespeare Company, "which made him the first black actor to play an English king in a major Shakespeare production." He received a flood of hate mail in protest; he notes: "You’d hope that wouldn’t...
- Peter Martin
He follows in the footsteps of Kenneth Branagh, Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hiddleston, Rosamund Pike and Holby City star Hugh Quarshie, who in 2012 became the first black actor to play the role of Bond in audio form reading Dr No as part of a Classic Bond boxset.
"I am officially the only person on planet Earth who can legitimately say: 'I am the new James Bond'," said Oyelowo. Even saying that name is the cinematic equivalent of doing the 'to be or not to be' speech.
"I was asked specifically by the Fleming estate, which is really special. »
Eon Productions, MGM and Sony Pictures Entertainment have released a new video blog for the upcoming James Bond film "Spectre" with this one focusing on the two lead actresses in the film - Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux.
"Spectre" kicks off when a cryptic message from the past sends James Bond (Daniel Craig) on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as Spectre.
In other Bond news, David Oyelowo will become the first black James Bond... albeit only in audiobook form. THR says that the "Selma" actor has been selected to voice 007 in the official Bond book "Trigger Mortis" by Anthony Horowitz.
Oyelowo's voice casting was a direct invitation from the Ian Fleming estate and he says: "I »
- Garth Franklin
After accepting a personal invitation from the Ian Fleming estate, David Oyelowo is now the first black actor set to play James Bond. The Guardian reports that Oyelowo will voice Bond, as well as a slew of other characters, in a forthcoming audiobook version of Trigger Mortis. "I am officially the only person on planet Earth who can legitimately say: ‘I am the new James Bond’ — even saying that name is the cinematic equivalent of doing the ‘to be or not to be’ speech," Oyelowo said. (That's a fun quote because, as The Guardian points out, Oyelowo was also the first black actor to play an English monarch in a major Shakespeare play, Henry VI.) Trigger is an official 007 novel, commissioned by the Fleming estate and written by Anthony Horowitz (oh, and very much approved by Fleming's niece Lucy, who says “[it's] almost as if Ian had written »
- Sean Fitz-Gerald
David Oyelowo is set to become the first black James Bond — sort of. The British actor will read the audiobook version of “Trigger Mortis,” which was written by Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by the Ian Fleming estate, the Guardian reported Thursday. Oyelowo, who was highly praised for his portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Selma,” will play 007 and other characters in the official Bond book set for release Sept. 8. The announcement comes amidst recent debate as to whether a black actor — such as rumored frontrunner Idris Elba — would ever be cast as the famous British spy currently played by Daniel Craig. »
- Debbie Emery
David Oyelowo is set to become the first black James Bond. At least in audiobook form. The Guardian reports the English actor has been selected to voice 007 in Trigger Mortis, an official Bond book written by Anthony Horowitz, and commissioned by the Ian Fleming estate, to be released on Sept. 8. Oyelowo's voice casting was a direct invitation from the Fleming estate, and the actor said he was “very honored” to be chosen. “I am officially the only person on planet Earth who can legitimately say: ‘I am the new James Bond’ — even saying that name is the
- Abid Rahman
Actor says he is ‘very honoured’ after the Ian Fleming estate asked him to be the voice of 007 in upcoming thriller Trigger Mortis
David Oyelowo will play James Bond. Although his performance will be heard rather than seen – in an audiobook.
The announcement on Thursday follows long-standing rumours that Idris Elba is in line to replace Daniel Craig when the latter’s run playing James Bond on the big screen comes to an end, potentially in two movies’ time.
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- Dalya Alberge
Roger Moore and Daniel Craig are positioned at polar opposite ends of the Bond spectrum. Both have great and not so great (Quantum of Solace, never forgive, never forget) credits as England’s spy du-jour, but their approaches contrast vastly. Moore a wise-cracking gentlemen, splitting his time between Playboy cover-girls of the 70s and foiling cartoonish schemes for world domination. Craig on the other hand broods and struggles his way through each adventure, with an “I’ll knock your shit in” attitude more inline with Ian Fleming’s novels.
But what would happen if Moore stepped into Craig’s darker, nastier world?
Well the chaps at Mars VFX have given us an indicator by cutting Moore into a trailer for upcoming Craig outing Spectre.
Pretty awesome right? Rather than contrasting the styles for comic effect, the trailer balances them to create an authentic looking hybrid. In fact, it tonally »
- Daniel Kelly
The Man from Uncle review: A fizzy antidote to 007
Suave spy caper The Man From Uncle opens this week, revamping the cult '60s TV series and bringing it to the big screen for the first time in nearly 50 years. If you've never seen the original show or its eight movie spin-offs, here's your handy guide to get you up to speed...
1. The Man From Uncle was created by James Bond's Ian Fleming... sort of
The original idea to make a television series about a suave, sophisticated spy who travelled the world fighting villainy came from producer Norman Felton. He was interested in presenting each episode from the point of view of an innocent person - say, a housewife or a farmer - who find themselves drawn into an adventure beyond their wildest dreams.
In 1962, Felton pitched the idea to none other than James Bond creator Ian Fleming; based not »
Light on its feet, utterly inconsequential, and quite often a pleasure to look at and listen to, "The Man From Uncle" is Guy Ritchie's big-screen reboot of the classic '60s spy show. Showcasing the charms of Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, and Alicia Vikander, it is a piffle, a fetish piece for anyone who loves the pop side of the '60s, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It is not a non-stop action movie, though, and I suspect that on the heels of "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation," it's going to be treated more roughly than it deserves. Ritchie has been working with writer/producer Lionel Wigram since "Sherlock Holmes," and they seem to have settled into a pretty happy system of doing things. They share screenplay credit on this one, with the story attributed to Jeff Kleeman & David C. Wilson as well as Wigram and Ritchie, and it's a pretty simple, »
- Drew McWeeny
After giving us two steampunk-flavored reboots of Sherlock Holmes, director Guy Ritchie has aimed the Wayback Machine to the Golden Age of Kennedy, Khrushchev and, perhaps most importantly, Ian Fleming with “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” based on the 1964-1968 TV show. The Cold War got sexier after the release of the first big-screen 007 adventure, “Dr. No,” and Ritchie’s new movie, set in the early ’60s, harkens back to a time when pop culture had spies, gadgets and deadly dames behind every dust jacket and on every screen, large and small. This new “Man from U.N.C.L.E. »
- Alonso Duralde
Whatever tough-guy notion of 1960s masculinity Robert Vaughn and David McCallum once embodied as reluctantly paired Cold War rivals has clearly gone the way of the Berlin Wall in the otherwise retro-flavored “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” a PG-13-rated loose-nukes caper whose target audience is too young to remember the classic spy show that inspired it — much less the once-frosty deadlock between American capitalism and Soviet communism that pits its distractingly handsome leading men against one another. Starring Henry Cavill as American art thief Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Kgb operative Illya Kuryakin, Guy Ritchie’s latest feels more suave and restrained than his typically hyperkinetic fare, trading rough-and-tumble attitude for pretty-boy posturing. And though the pic is solidly made, its elegant vintage flavor simply doesn’t feel modern enough to cut through the tough summer competition. Those seeking stylish spies will surely wait for “Spectre” or that promised “Kingsman” sequel instead. »
- Peter Debruge
The rumours have been flying ever since producers revealed the title of the new Bond movie to be Spectre, once an acronym for Ian Fleming’s nefarious Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.
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- Ben Child
It opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 6.
The 24th film in the Bond franchise, “Spectre” co-stars Christoph Waltz as the villainous Franz Oberhauser, Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw as Q. New cast members include Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux.
The previous Bond pic, “Skyfall,” delivered the best performance in the series with grosses topping $1.1 billion worldwide.
The name Spectre was featured in Ian Fleming’s Bond novels and stands for “Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.” It’s a fictional global criminal syndicate and terrorist organization, led by supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and first appeared in the novel “Thunderball” and in the film »
- Variety Staff
If Daniel Craig’s 007 has been continually evolving throughout the actor’s tenure as Ian Fleming’s shaken-not-stirred agent, then Spectre is primed to offer an introspective look into the super-spy’s dark and eschewed psyche. Set to pick up shortly after the events of Skyfall, Sam Mendes’ anticipated sequel will see our world-famous operative hunt down the titular organization, and unearth secrets about his own past in the process; secrets that are merely teased in this tantalizing second trailer for the upcoming actioner.
Opening in the thick of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, the footage starts there and never lets up, whisking Bond back to London and off to the streets of Rome for that all-important car chase sequence with Dave Bautista’s Mr. Hinx. Finally, there’s a bigger and better look at Christoph Waltz as lead villain Franz Oberhauser, who looks to be holding all »
- Michael Briers
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