Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies begin with a bang, from the black-and-white bathroom beatdown in “Casino Royale” to the opening tracking shot shootout in “Spectre.” However, fans expecting Craig’s final 007 outing “No Time to Die” to kick off with similar action spectacle will surely be disappointed. “No Time to Die” director Cary Fukunaga revealed to The Wall Street Journal that his Bond opening pulls more from horror movies than action films in an attempt to make a 007 movie that feels more like a psychological thriller. The opening has shades of the Stephen King “It” adaptation Fukunaga never made.
As The Wall Street Journal reports: “Typically, the pre-title sequences have been throwaway scenes packed with gratuitous chases, violence, and sex. And in every Bond film, save the first (which had no pre-title sequence), they feature 007. However, with the opening scene, Fukunaga bucks tradition in every way: It’s slow-paced, visually arresting, subtitled with dialogue in French, and entirely Bond-free.”
Fukunaga’s opening instead focuses on Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine and recounts a tragic encounter from her childhood in which “Safin (Rami Malek), wearing a Japanese Noh mask, kills her mother, pursues Madeleine through the home, and hunts her down on a frozen lake. ‘Some clown chasing a child around the house,’ Fukunaga says with a laugh. ‘Yeah, it’s like I brought back “It” in the first five minutes of Bond.'”
Warner Bros.’ two-movie “It” franchise was originally developed by Fukunaga, who ended up leaving the film over creative differences. The filmmaker retained a screenplay credit on the first film, released in 2017 to strong reviews and blockbuster worldwide box office grosses. Fukunaga told Variety in 2015 that he exited “It” after Warner Bros. refused to let him make a more character-centric horror movie without “conventional” jump scare set pieces.
“They didn’t want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares,” Fukunaga said. “I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script. But I don’t think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive.”
Fukunaga, “The main difference was making Pennywise more than just the clown. After 30 years of villains that could read the emotional minds of characters and scare them, trying to find really sadistic and intelligent ways he scares children, and also the children had real lives prior to being scared. And all that character work takes time. It’s a slow build, but it’s worth it, especially by the second film. But definitely even in the first film, it pays off.”
While Fukunaga never got to realize his “It” movie, it seems he’s brought a bit of that horror spirit to his Bond movie. “No Time to Die” opens in U.S. theaters April 2, 2021.