Bond is back After MGM Crisis
Filming on the latest James Bond movie will start later this year for release in November 2012, its producers said Tuesday after debt-ridden studio giant MGM was saved from financial oblivion.
The project, starring Daniel Craig as 007, was put on ice last April after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was offered for sale to resolve its debt problems and stave off bankruptcy.
But the legendary studio, with a catalog that includes the Bond franchise as well as the "Pink Panther" and "Rocky" series, announced a debt-restructuring rescue deal late last year, paving the way for Bond's return.
With the working title of Bond 23 -- the 23rd installment in the mega-grossing franchise formerly embodied by stars such as Sean Connery and Roger Moore -- the new movie will be directed by British filmmaker Sam Mendes.
The film "will commence production in late 2011 for a worldwide release on November 9, 2012," said Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions and Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum of MGM in a statement.
"Daniel Craig will be returning as the legendary British secret agent, with Sam Mendes directing a screenplay written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan," it added.
MGM -- famous for its trademark roaring lion logo -- announced in October that creditors had approved a reorganization plan with U.S. firm Spyglass Entertainment.
Spyglass was favored over a rival offer from billionaire Carl Icahn, who reportedly owns about 800 million dollars of MGM’s debt, to merge the studio with film producer Lionsgate in which he is the largest shareholder.
The studio has a 4,000-title strong back catalog that also includes "The Wizard of Oz" and "Singin' in the Rain."