If you'll indulge me, I'd like to paraphrase one of my all-time favorite actors, William Shatner, from his now-infamous 1986 appearance on television's "Saturday Night Live": "Get a life, will ya, people?"
Shatner's rant, of course, was directed at fanatical "Star Trek" fans who knew far too much about his personal and professional life. (He made the statement during a skit, so he wasn't being a jerk . . . at least not that time.)
I would like to direct the comment to a group of James Bond fans who are making much ado about nothing.
According to several media reports, a group of 007 fans are actually in the process of organizing a boycott of upcoming James Bond film, "Casino Royale."
Apparently, they're voicing their displeasure with the casting of Daniel Craig ("Road to Perdition," "Layer Cake") as the new big-screen Bond. They've even started a Web site, www.craignotbond.com, to petition the film's producers and Sony Pictures to can Craig, whom they call a "Bill Murray look-alike," and bring back his predecessor Pierce Brosnan.
There's no way Sony could do that this late in the game, so the role recasting is pretty much a done deal. Filmmaker Martin Campbell is nearly behind schedule as it is — the film is supposed to be done in time for a Nov. 17 worldwide release.
This may seem hypocritical of me to judge this particular group of Bond fans, since I obsess over movies based on comic books, and I have jumped all over a few film projects based on casting announcements.
For example, I was wrong to think the first "X-Men" movie would be a dud after seeing publicity shots of the actors in their black leather superhero outfits. (Although the upcoming sequel, "X3: The Last
Stand," still worries me a bit.)
But I did get over it.
Anyway, Brosnan has clearly moved on. In fact, his amusingly sleazy performance in the dark comic thriller "The Matador" shows that maybe he's better off not being tied to 007.
AND BESIDES. . . . Campbell and Sony have made a whole series of seemingly questionable casting moves for "Casino Royale."
Joining Craig in the Ian Fleming adaptation will be French actress Eva Green ("Kingdom of Heaven"), who will play Vesper Lynd. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen ("King Arthur") will co-star as the villainous Le Chiffre. And Jeffrey Wright — who has received acclaim for his performances in such films as "Syriana" and "Broken Flowers" — will play Bond's CIA counterpart Felix Leiter. None of these is a well-known actor.
However, two of Brosnan's co-stars will be back for this film — Judi Dench and John Cleese will reprise their roles as Bond's boss M and his weapons supplier R, respectively.
I'm more concerned about the script, which was co-written by Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, responsible for one of the worst Bond films to date, "The World is Not Enough." Thankfully, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Paul Haggis ("Million Dollar Baby," "Crash") also took a crack at it.
YOU GET A LIFE, TOO! But I shouldn't just single out the Bond fans for criticism. Fans of Superman raised a similar ruckus when relative newcomer Brandon Routh was cast in the upcoming sequel "Superman Returns."
Evidently there's a heavy contingency of fans from TV's "Smallville" who were hoping the small-screen Man of Steel, Tom Welling, would play the part on the big screen.
In fact, they practically hounded director Bryan Singer at a "Superman Returns" panel held during the recent Wonder Con in San Francisco. But some impressive footage of Routh from the film quickly shut them up.