With a guest list comprising Academy Awards winners and British royalty, the latest James Bond film No Time To Die finally held its much-postponed world premiere in London on 28 September in the cinema’s most high profile red carpet since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wet weather failed to dampen spirits as Daniel Craig, dressed in an eye-catching pink velvet dinner jacket, and co-stars including Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch and Lea Seydoux reunited for the hotly anticipated Bond movie, which cinema operators hope will help bring audiences back to pre-pandemic levels.
The release of No Time To Die, the 25th Bond movie, was pushed back three times since its original April 2020 slot, as governments around the world forced movie theatres to down the shutters as well as impose audience number restrictions due to the pandemic.
The Universal Pictures and MGM film, part of one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises, marks Craig’s fifth and final outing as the suave British secret agent, wrapping up a 15-year tenure that began with 2006’s Casino Royale.
“It’s such a great relief. It was so important to me to come and celebrate with all the other cast and crew and to get it into the cinemas and we’re here,” the current Bond actor said.
“A year ago I didn’t think that was going to happen.”
Asked what he was going to miss the most from playing 007, he said: “The people.”
Costing an estimated $ 200 million to produce, No Time To Die has Bond come out of retirement in Jamaica to help track down a new villain, described by Oscar winner Malek as “mischievous (and) devious,” and armed with lethal technology.
“The most daunting part was just coming up with a good story,” director Cary Joji Fukunaga said.
“I think of it as a last chapter of this one book where we (first) met Daniel in ‘Casino Royale’ (and) it’s all part of the same story.”
The film introduces agent Nomi, played by Lynch, who said: “I’m just happy it’s here and we get to celebrate it in the way that it deserves.”
At the premiere were Britain’s Prince Charles and his son Prince William and their wives Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. As a mark of gratitude for their frontline work during the pandemic, health workers and members of the armed forces were also invited.
Former Bond actress Judi Dench and Grammy Award winner Billie Eilish, who sings the film’s theme tune, attended.
Beginning its cinema rollout this week, No Time To Die is among the most anticipated movies this autumn.
“I know the world is expecting this film,” said Seydoux, who reprises her “Spectre” role as Madeleine Swann.
“We gave everything to this film … and I hope people will love it.”
Expectations are high after the last two Bond films, 2015’s Spectre and 2012’s Skyfall, grossed $ 880 million and more than $ 1 billion globally.
“Now that the cinemas are open we’re really happy to be supporting the industry. We made this film for the cinema and we want people to enjoy it,” producer Barbara Broccoli said.