Officials have urged York cinemagoers to remain calm amid reports of a ticket-buying frenzy for the new James Bond film, No Time to Die.
The phenomenon, known as panic-spying, has seen some fans go to the extreme length of emulating their idol in an attempt to ensure they can see the film.
Onlookers outside a Blossom Street cinema reported seeing one man parachuting directly into a queue in full evening wear, before casually taking out the person in front of him with a tiny dart fired from his cufflinks.
“Sorry, old boy,” he was heard to say as he stepped over his fallen adversary, pausing to deftly adjust his bowtie, “but it’s every man for himself…”
The wait is finally over…
No Time to Die
It’s a Bond special this week, with the new release schedule unsurprisingly cleared for the superspy’s (very) long-awaited 25th outing, delayed first by production upheaval (which saw original director Danny Boyle jump ship due to creative differences) and then by you-know-what.
With 80 screenings across all four York venues on Friday alone, cinemas are clearly anticipating huge demand for Daniel Craig’s swansong in the role he first took on 15 years ago in Casino Royale.
So then, what can we expect from 007’s latest – and at 163 minutes, longest – adventure?
Well, for starters, Bond’s retired – so the first half hour will presumably consist of him pottering round the garden and overseeing the conversion of his garage into a cocktail bar, while regaling the builders with tales of his MI6 days (“Of course, what no-one understands is 90% of the job is paperwork…”).
But! He soon realises it’s no time to DIY when he’s pulled back into the game by his old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright, returning for the first time since Quantum of Solace) – “Harder to tell the good from bad, villains from heroes these days,” Leiter opines in the trailer, apparently unaware he’s in a franchise with a near 60-year history of constant double-crossing and side-switching.
He needs Bond’s help in rescuing a kidnapped scientist – but the mission inevitably turns out to be a little more complicated than that, and somewhere at the heart of it all sits Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) as the villainous Safin.
In classic Bond villain style, Safin has a ‘thing’ – you know, crying blood, bullet in the brain, third nipple – which in his case is a Phantom of the Opera-style mask, and also in classic Bond villain style, he’s prone to listing all the ways he and Bond are the same, like a lovestruck teenager rhapsodising about their first crush: “We both eradicate people to make the world a better place,” he coos.
He’s not the only Big Bad in town, either – Christoph Waltz is back as 007’s arch-enemy Blofeld, cheerfully monologuing away in his MI6 cell.
Also returning is Léa Seydoux as psychiatrist Madeleine Swann, last seen driving off into the sunset with Bond at the end of Spectre – and who now appears to have been harbouring a deadly secret that Bond’s none too happy to discover.
The film also introduces Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) as Nomi, a new MI6 agent who is widely reported to have inherited Bond’s 007 mantle in his absence – while Craig’s Knives Out co-star Ana de Armas will play CIA agent Paloma, about whom little is known, but who certainly appears to have nailed the ‘firing off dual rounds of ammo in a glamorous ball gown’ look.
And of course, the trailers promise the usual variety of jaw-dropping stunts, explosive carnage in far-flung locations and souped-up transportation options, from Bond’s beloved Aston Martin to a rather nifty-looking plane that appears to double as a submarine.
Details beyond that are, naturally, scarce, but we do know the film is set to tie up the ongoing story arc for Craig’s Bond which has developed over the four previous movies – and given the Craig era’s penchant for the stealth reintroduction of classic characters, don’t bet against a surprise reveal for one of the new cast members, either…
On directing duties this time is Cary Joji Fukunaga, whose CV runs from 2015’s highly acclaimed war drama (and first-ever Netflix film) Beasts of No Nation to the tense, brooding TV hit True Detective – suggesting he should be a good fit for both the action sequences and Craig’s grittier, more introspective take on the character.
There’s another new face behind the camera in the form of Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was brought in at Craig’s suggestion to work on the screenplay alongside regular Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (fun fact – these two have not only worked on every film in the series since 1999’s The World is Not Enough, but also co-wrote the first film outing for Bond’s bumbling shadow self Johnny English).
With Craig’s third instalment, Skyfall, having been seen as a series high water mark by many, there was a feeling that Spectre was a solid but slightly underwhelming follow-up, so it’s encouraging to see some rave reviews come in for this one following its world premiere on Tuesday – and really, at this point, it’s just a relief the film’s finally out, isn’t it?
As to who takes over now Craig’s hung up the tux, we’ll have to wait and see – but my money’s on Walford’s own international man of mystery, Adam Woodyatt. After all, he’s been missing from EastEnders for months now – coincidence? I think not…