No Time to Die

USA-UK 2020, 157 mins
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Where once the James Bond films played as separate adventures, linked by characters both malevolent and benign, EON Productions wanted the Daniel Craig series to unfold as a unified whole. Quantum of Solace (2008) picked up immediately after Casino Royale (2006), which had tracked Bond’s initiation into the life of a double-O agent.

Skyfall (2012) slotted into the series to reveal important aspects of Bond’s early life. Now, the 25th film in the EON series, No Time to Die, begins in the aftermath of Spectre (2015) where the film’s conclusion saw Bond (Craig) and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) drive away in the Aston Martin DB5.

When Bond makes his first appearance in No Time to Die, he and Madeleine are in Matera, a rocky, hilltop city perched atop Southern Italy. According to series producer Michael G. Wilson, the narrative was always going to pick up with the Bond and Madeleine relationship. ‘The question was when,’ he says.

Fellow producer Barbara Broccoli explains: ‘There was the debate on how we continue telling the love story and explore the themes that have become so pivotal across the Daniel Craig movies.’

‘With No Time to Die there was a strong story to finish off, lots of loose ends to tie up,’ says Craig. ‘I think we have managed to tell that story and get everything rounded up.’

Themes exploring secrets, betrayal and trust have stitched together the last four films and they propel the narrative towards its thrilling conclusion in No Time to Die. After the heartbreak he suffered with the loss of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in Casino Royale, his fluctuating relationship with M and MI6, and the pain inflicted by the revelations imparted by Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), Bond has taken another risk, letting down his guard with Madeleine as he bids to try and love again.

‘If Bond is going to commit to a relationship, this throws up so many emotional challenges for him,’ continues Broccoli. ‘So trust is the biggest theme in this movie; making an emotional commitment with someone is very difficult because of his history with attachments, and then betrayal being a big part of the break-up of those attachments.’

Though he is committing to his relationship with Madeleine, No Time to Die begins with Bond having severed his longest-lasting relationship, his employment with MI6.

Associate producer Gregg Wilson notes that Bond’s retirement opened the filmmakers to a new reality.

‘Bond being retired was a new place for us,’ he says, ‘thinking what this man would be like if he didn’t have his day job. When you have devoted your life to the service, like Bond, what is the legacy that you leave behind?’

To tell this story, the filmmakers turned to visionary filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga (Jane Eyre, Sin Nombre, True Detective), who stepped in after the production parted ways with director Danny Boyle. Michael G. Wilson and Broccoli had long admired Fukunaga’s work as both a writer and a director and first met the filmmaker in New York shortly after the release of Spectre.

‘When we met, Cary said he would love to do a Bond film at some point,’ explains Broccoli, ‘So when Danny Boyle exited the project, we were looking for a new director and he reached out. It was amazing that he was available. His enthusiasm for the project and also his ability as a writer really came into it. It all worked out miraculously.’

Fukunaga is the first American to direct a Bond film. ‘I think that all Cary’s films are incredible and he is able to work in any kind of genre,’ explains Michael G. Wilson, ‘and he is also a wonderful writer.’

‘He is great with characters and with actors and he brings a level of complexity to everything he does. He is a very international person. He speaks several languages, is very well travelled and is also a kind of maverick. He is young and enthusiastic and he is visually extraordinary. Cary is also able to make very complicated things understandable and that fit so well with what we wanted from this story.’

Fukunaga’s introduction to the Bond stories came when he went to watch Roger Moore’s swansong, 1985’s A View to a Kill, at his local cinema. ‘I remember loving the finale on the Golden Gate Bridge,’ he recalls. ‘It seemed like Bond had crossed over into my world. It was just a cool film with Roger Moore kicking ass.’

As Fukunaga’s career developed as a writer, producer and director, those memories remained and he says that he always hoped to direct a Bond film one day and, like the producers, Fukunaga was particularly excited by Bond’s emotional journey across the preceding films. ‘When you’re coming after Casino, Quantum, Skyfall and Spectre, you have a good idea of the arc that Bond’s character has been going through,’ he says.

‘For us, this film comes five years after Spectre. The world has changed a lot since then and much of our discussion was around how we make this film feel of the time, but also of the universe of Bond, which is never really specific to a time. That was part of the very first conversations we had together with the producers and with Daniel. You also want to bring something new to the story and also you want to honour all the Bond films in terms of leitmotifs and expectations.’

Chief among those expectations is adventure and the associated danger. ‘Every Bond film has danger,’ the director adds. ‘You take the scariest thing you can imagine facing the world, and then you have Bond to get in front of it and stop it. And what has been interesting in Daniel’s run is the added layers that he’s brought to that character.’

‘There’s complexity, there’s damage, there’s also vulnerability that’s been covered up since the first of his films when Vesper Lynd died. His decision-making is interesting because of his ingenuity and also because of his flaws. I think his is a really interesting story.’

With the story taking shape under the guidance of Fukunaga and of long-time Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the producers and Daniel Craig also invited contributions from writer and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve), who brought her unique take on character and story, while also maintaining what Broccoli describes as Bond’s ‘essential Britishness’.

‘Phoebe had a big impact on the script and we love working with her,’ says Broccoli. ‘All the writers made a contribution and Cary tried to incorporate as much of everybody’s work as possible. The story is very complicated but it is told in a very understandable manner. The revelations are fascinating.’

‘The character development is very deep and the relationships are complicated yet interesting and emotional. I think the script has turned out great,’ Broccoli adds.

With No Time to Die picking up the story immediately after the events of Spectre, Fukunaga says that the first part of the film ‘is tracking the honeymoon story of Madeleine Swann and Bond once he’s retired.’

Of course, things don’t always go to plan. ‘They end up going their separate ways,’ Fukunaga continues. ‘We then pick up with him five years later and the world’s changed. The world’s moved on. The whole political landscape has changed as well.’

‘There is a threat brewing that involves SPECTRE and some other outside elements, and Bond is drawn back in to helping MI6 prevent a diabolical weapon from getting out in the world. It’s a fascinating tale with such brilliant characters, new and old.’
Production notes

Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga
©: Danjaq LLC, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Made by: Eon Productions, B25 Ltd
Presented by: Eon Productions, Albert R. Broccoli
Executive Producer: Chris Brigham
Produced by: Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli
Co-producers: Daniel Craig, Andrew Noakes, David Pope
Associate Producer: Gregg Wilson
Unit Production Managers: Katherine Tibbetts, Chris Brock
Location Production Managers: Matt Jones, Martin Joy
Production Supervisor: Samuel Sharpe
Production Co-ordinator: Adele Steward
Financial Controller: Andrew Noakes
Production Accountant: John Udall
Supervising Location Manager: Ben Piltz
Post-production Supervisor: Michael Solinger
2nd Unit Director: Alexander Witt
1st Assistant Director: Jon Mallard
2nd Unit 1st Assistant Director: Dominic Fysh
Key 2nd Assistant Director: Matthew Sharp
Script Supervisor: Sylvia Parker
2nd Unit Script Supervisor: Susie Jones
Casting: Debbie McWilliams, Jemima McWilliams
Additional Casting: Lauren Evans
French Casting Consultant: Florie Carbonne
Jamaica Casting: Cecile Burrowes
Screenplay by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Story by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga
[Creator of] James Bond 007: Ian Fleming
Director of Photography: Linus Sandgren
2nd Unit Director of Photography: Alexander Witt
Splinter Unit Director of Photography: Jo Eken Torp
Aerial Director of Photography: John Marzano
Camera Operators: Ossie McLean, Jason Ewart, Oliver Loncraine, Clive Jackson, Gary Spratling, Tim Wooster, Chris Plevin
Electrical Supervisor: David Sinfield
Stills Photographer: Nicola Dove
Visual Effects Supervisor: Charlie Noble
2nd Unit Visual Effects Supervisor: Richard Bain
Visual Effects Producer: Mara Bryan
Visual Effects Editor: Billy Campbell
In-house Visual Effects by: TPO VFX
Visual Effects by: DNEG, FrameStore
Visual Effects and Animation by: Industrial Light & Magic
Visual Effects by: Cinesite, Lola | VFX
Special Effects Supervisor: Chris Corbould
Film Editors: Tom Cross, Elliot Graham
Production Designer: Mark Tildesley
Supervising Art Director: Chris Lowe
Set Decorator: Véronique Melery
Property Master: Ben Wilkinson
Construction Manager: Stephen Bohan
Costume Designer: Suttirat Anne Larlarb
Associate Costume Designer: Michael Mooney
Costume Supervisor: Sarah Robinson
Daniel Craig’s Tailored Clothing by: Tom Ford
Wardrobe Supervisor: Pashelle Clayton
Hair and Make-up Designer: Daniel Phillips
Make-up and Hair Supervisors: Pippa Woods, Beverley Binda
Personal Make-up to Mr Craig: Polly Earnshaw
Personal Hair Stylist to Mr Craig: Zoe Tahir
Prosthetics Make-up Designer: Barrie Gower
Key Prosthetic Make-up Artist: Patt Foad
Main Titles Designed by: Daniel Kleinman
Main Titles Sequence Created at: FrameStore
End Titles Designer: Matt Curtis
Music by: Hans Zimmer
‘No Time to Die’ Written by: Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell
The James Bond Theme Written by: Monty Norman
Additional Music: Steve Mazzaro
‘No Time to Die’ Performed by: Billie Eilish
Music Supervisor: Randall Poster
Supervising Music Editor: Chris Benstead
Production Sound Mixer: Simon Hayes
Re-recording Mixers: Paul Massey, Mark Taylor
2nd Unit Sound Mixer: Tom Barrow
Supervising Sound Editor: Olivier Tarney
Co-supervising Sound Editor: James Harrison
Sound Effects Designers: Michael Fentum, Bryan Bowen, Eilam Hoffman
Sound Effects Editors: Dawn Gough, Mark Taylor
Supervising Stunt Coordinator: Olivier Schneider
Stunt Coordinator: Lee Morrison

Daniel Craig (James Bond)
Rami Malek (Lyutsifer Safin)
Léa Seydoux (Madeleine Swann)
Lashana Lynch (Nomi)
Ben Whishaw (Q)
Naomie Harris (Moneypenny)
Billy Magnussen (Logan Ash)
Ana de Armas (Paloma)
David Dencik (Valdo Obruchev)
Rory Kinnear (Tanner)
Dali Benssalah (Primo – Cyclops)
Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter)
Christoph Waltz (Blofeld)
Ralph Fiennes (M)
Lisa-Dorah Sonnet (Mathilde)
Coline Defaud (young Madeleine)
Mathilde Bourbin (Madeleine’s mother)
Hugh Dennis (Doctor Hardy)
Priyanga Burford (Doctor Symes)
Joe Grossi (hotel porter)
Nicola Olivieri (cemetery caretaker)
Pio Amato (cemetery attendant)
Javone Prince (MI6 security guard)
Davina Moon (Madeleine’s receptionist)
Mattia Lacovone, Giansalvatore Duca (young shepherds)
Amy Morgan (Alison Smith)
Lizzie Winkler (Sarah Jones)
Andrei Nova, Ernest Gromov (bunker guards)
Gediminas Adomaitis (Blofeld’s right hand man)
Andy Cheung (Chinese businessman)
Brigitte Millar (Vogel)
Hayden Phillips (Sir Sebastian D’ath)
Winston Ellis, Adnan Rashed, Rae Lim, Chi Chan, Denis Khoroshko, Lourdes Faberes, Philip Philmar, Raymond Waring (SPECTRE agents)
Eliot Sumner, Rod Hunt (SPECTRE guards)
Michael Mercer (El Nido bartender)
Gemmar McFarlane, Leighton Laing,
Kimo Armstrong (passersby)

USA-UK 2020©
157 mins

Welcome to the home of great film and TV, with three cinemas and a studio, a world-class library, regular exhibitions and a pioneering Mediatheque with 1000s of free titles for you to explore. Browse special-edition merchandise in the BFI Shop.We're also pleased to offer you a unique new space, the BFI Riverfront – with unrivalled riverside views of Waterloo Bridge and beyond, a delicious seasonal menu, plus a stylish balcony bar for cocktails or special events. Come and enjoy a pre-cinema dinner or a drink on the balcony as the sun goes down.

Enjoy a great package of film benefits including priority booking at BFI Southbank and BFI Festivals. Join today at bfi.org.uk/join

We are always open online on BFI Player where you can watch the best new, cult & classic cinema on demand. Showcasing hand-picked landmark British and independent titles, films are available to watch in three distinct ways: Subscription, Rentals & Free to view.

See something different today on player.bfi.org.uk

Join the BFI mailing list for regular programme updates. Not yet registered? Create a new account at www.bfi.org.uk/signup

Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email