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New James Bond gets a little bit closer to the screen

Steven Zeitchik
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — There are still questions about who will actually be handling the release of the new James Bond movie, to be directed by Sam Mendes and starring Daniel Craig. But fans of 007 will be heartened by a press release from MGM on Tuesday that says the production is expected to begin late this year, with the aim of releasing the movie on Nov. 9, 2012.

The film, dubbed "Bond 23," has been hobbled by studio MGM's financial struggles as well as possible script issues that have pushed back production. (The last movie in the rejuvenated franchise, "The Quantum of Solace," came out in fall 2008.) But the reconstituting of MGM in recent months means that things look to be moving forward again. (The release also confirms the involvement of Mendes, who was previously announced as the director but who was not formally on the project during the worst of the MGM turbulence.)

The late-2012 date is a function of Craig's schedule, among other things; he'll need to finish shooting the David Fincher Millennium Trilogy film "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and promote the late-July release of Jon Favreau's "Cowboys & Aliens" before he rolls up his sleeves on the new Bond. (What the Bond shoot will do to Craig's schedule and a potential second film in the Millennium trilogy remains an open question.)

With various entities in contention to distribute and finance the movie, there's still corporate uncertainty around it. And there have been more than a few bumps in the road with Bond before. But those looking for a new installment from the tuxedoed hero can take comfort in knowing that, at least for now, it's scheduled to come out in just about 22 months.

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