The financial problems that threatened to ensnare James Bond have been thwarted, allowing the Ian Fleming hero to return to the screen next year in time for his 50th anniversary in film.
The 23rd Bond film will star Daniel Craig – his third stab at playing 007 – and will be directed by Sam Mendes, the director of American Beauty, a darkly comic take on suburbia that won a clutch of Oscars in 2000.
The latest Bond film hit the skids last year when MGM Studios filed for bankruptcy protection. The company has since been restructured.
The new owners of MGM, along with Bond producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, confirmed last night that 007 will be back on 9 November 2012. Production is set to begin at the end of this year.
There had been fears that Daniel Craig, a more ruthless and cold-blooded Bond than portrayed by Pierce Brosnan, would walk away because of the uncertainty.
But Craig said last year that he had "every confidence" in the films' producers and that he was looking forward to production resuming "as quickly as possible".
Since the film was put on hold Craig has been busy with other films – Cowboys and Aliens, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan have been confirmed as the writers of the screenplay.
MGM has the rights to the Bond films, based on the books by Ian Fleming. It is thought to be the longest running franchise in film history. Wilson and Broccoli took over from Broccoli's father, Albert R "Cubby" Broccoli, in 1995 and have produced the most recent films.
James Bond is easily MGM's most profitable franchise. The 22 Bond movies are third in the list of most successful film franchises, according to the website Box Office Mojo. The last film in the series, 2008's Quantum of Solace, made $586m (£381.6m) worldwide. The 2006 movie Casino Royale, which unveiled Craig as a meaner Bond, took in $594m.
The first Bond film, starring Sean Connery, was released in October 1962. Bond 23 will be part of year-long celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Dr No.
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