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No Time To Die: the 'cursed' Bond movie that almost didn't happen

Daniel Craig makes his final appearance as James Bond in the new movie No Time To Die which hits cinemas today, having overcome an almost impossible number of hurdles during a disaster-plagued production.

 It is 15 years since Craig made his Bond debut in Casino Royale, back in 2006, and since then he has become one of the most iconic and beloved actors to play the role.

During that time, the bingo world has expressed plenty of love for the Bond franchise, nowhere more so than over at Ted Bingo, where the site’s theme and mascot are heavily influenced by 007.

Craig takes up the role for the fifth and final time in No Time To Die, bringing to an end a chapter that he described as “one of the greatest honours” of his life as he bade a tearful farewell to the movie’s cast and crew.

In a clip that you can view on Twitter via Filmthusiast, he said: “A lot of people here have worked on five pictures with me.

I know there’s a lot of things said about what I think about these films and all of… whatever, but I’ve loved every single second of these movies and especially this one, because I’ve got up every morning, and I’ve had the chance to work with you guys. And that has been one of the greatest honours of my life.”

Boyle bows out

 Craig’s chances of playing Bond for the fifth time were hanging in the balance back in March 2017, when pre-production began and the names on the shortlist of directors for the film ruled themselves out, one by one.

First Denis Villeneuve said he could not take on the job due to his involvement in the remake of Dune, and then Tenet director Christopher Nolan said the 25th Bond film was not for him, either.

Trainspotting director Danny Boyle was finally persuaded to take on the task and he began working on a script that got the green light in May 2018, with filming set to commence at the end of that year.

But disaster struck in August 2018 when Boyle quit the project, citing “creative differences” with collaborator John Hodge.

Re-writes and injuries

 After True Detective director Cary Fukunaga agreed to pick up the pieces and take on the movie in September 2018, things seemed to be back on track.

But eight months later there was more bad news coming from the film’s set in Jamaica, where rumours were rife that the script was being subjected to multiple re-writes by Fukunaga and Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was brought in at Craig’s request to inject some humour into the script.

Matters were made worse when production reportedly ground to a halt after Craig sustained an ankle injury while shooting an action scene in May 2019.

Craig, who was 51 at the time, was said to be sprinting while dressed in Bond’s trademark smart suit and shoes when he slipped and fell awkwardly on his ankle, leaving him out of action for some time.

He described the moment it happened, saying: “Unfortunately, I’ve been in the same situation before and I know the feeling of a rupturing tendon. I was just like, ‘Oh, f—’.

Bond goes boom

 No Time To Die really did start to feel cursed when a controlled explosion on the set left a crew member with a minor injury in June 2019.

A “miscalculation” was blamed for the incident, in which two faces of the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios in London were blown outwards from the building.

Things calmed down for a while after that, and by Christmas 2019 Bond fans were excitedly enjoying the first teaser trailers for the film and the theme song, which was performed by Billie Eilish.

The film was due for release in April 2020, but further problems lurked around the corner.

Pausing for the pandemic

 January 2020 saw composer Dan Romer leave the film due to yet more “creative differences”, but legendary music maker Hans Zimmer replaced him to ease any fears of the film’s score being in unsafe hands.

Then, of course, the world turned upside down as the coronavirus pandemic spread and closed cinemas along with most other indoor public spaces, forcing the film’s release date to be pushed to November 2020.

But with key global markets still in the grips of COVID-19 towards the end of 2020, a new release date was set for April 2021.

That date also had to be shelved after a third wave of the pandemic hit the UK and other countries, but now, after 18 months of coronavirus delays, we can finally allow ourselves to get excited for September 30th 2021, when No Time To Die fianlly hits the big screen at cinemas across the country.

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