The Screening Room Blog
Thursday, October 30, 2008
A meeting with Mr Bond
LONDON,England -- As I enter the room I realise I have Bond at a disadvantage. His trigger-finger and indeed his right arm is trapped in a sling -- a reminder of recent skirmishes on behalf of Her Majesty's Secret Service. I raise my right hand and move in.

His injured arm flails helplessly but at the last minute, with the cat-like reflexes that have made 007 the most fearesome opponent, his left hand moves like a flash, intercepts and parries. Bond, it seems, can give a handshake with either hand.

A black cardigan would make me look like I need a pipe, a pair of slippers and a nice log fire, but somehow on James Bond it seems the epitome of causal elegance.

Our eyes lock and we each take stock of the combatant before us. I make the first move, telling the hitman that he is not unknown to me: "I believe we have met before Mr Bond."

"Really, where?" he responds, "'Casino Royale'"? I can tell he's stalling for time.

"No, no," I tell him, "Golden Compass," I add, savouring my triumph so early in the encounter. I remember him but he could not remember me -- I put it down to my mastery of disguise and ability to blend in with other, lesser reporters.

I long to add, "And if I recall correctly you were wearing the same cardigan," but he recovers before I have time to press home my advantage.

"Then it must have been in this very room!" His eyes flash as he surveys the plush chamber within the sumptuous folds of The Dorchester Hotel -- home to many a movie junket, and as British as MI6 itself.

"Who do you work for?" he demands. Suddenly the tables are turned. "I'll ask the questions if you don't mind, Mr Bond," I parlay smartly, but he's undaunted: "Who do you work for?"

"I work for CNN Mr Bond, and I must warn you -- we have people EVERYWHERE!"

The stand-off ends in a draw. We both take our seats and the interrogation begins. Five minutes later I realise I'm as far as I'm going to get with this Agent Bond.

Through the glare of a camera light to his left I notice two fingers being drawn across the throat of a shadowy figure. It's the globally acknolwedged sign for terminating -- either an enemy or a tv junket interview.

One final question Mr Bond: "What is your blueprint for achieving success at an audition?" Quick as a flash he responds: "Keep smiling."

Behind him, the fingers are being drawn across the throat more urgently now and it's time to plan my exit strategy: "Thank you for your time."

I cannot resist a smile as he hesitates for a moment, clearly scanning my words for hidden meanings, secret messages or clues to future missions.

We rise together and repeat the ambidextrous handshake. As I leave the room two tapes are pressed into my hand by strangers disguised as cameramen.

At the door I encounter the agent of a rival organisation -- BBC or maybe Fox. We regard each other suspiciously. "I'd be careful." I remark pointedly, "He's in a foul mood."

Judging by the expression on my enemy's face, my campaign of disinformation succeeds.

I smile and turn up the collar of my coat against the biting cold of a November morning in London and head for my meeting with "N", CNN's London Bureau Chief.

-- From Neil Curry, Screening Room Agent

To watch or read The Screening Room's interview with Daniel Craig go to www.cnn.com/thescreeningroom or watch more videos on CNN's YouTube page.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008
'Frost/Nixon' to open London Film Festival
LONDON, England -- "All the best things happen in the dark, and that's all that matters," London Film Festival Artistic Director Sandra Hebron quipped to an audience of more than 300 reporters in a nice twist on some of the Hadron Collider stories that have been dominating the headlines recently.

She was talking at London Film Festival's own bid to grab some headlines with its announcement of the line-up for this year's event.

The opening reel unwinds on October 15th with the world premiere of "Frost/Nixon," director Ron Howard's adaptation of Peter Morgan's stage play about the historic encounter between British TV showman David Frost and the disgraced ex-U.S. President three years after Watergate. Watch a clip from the film below.

Another American President comes under the spotlight at LFF in the shape of George W. Bush. Oliver Stone has aldready tackled Nixon and JFK on-screen and now turns his attention to Bush in "W." It is already causing controversy in the U.S. as it is a rare feature about an incumbent President.

A recent feature of the London Film Festival is to make use of the city's landmark venues. Hence the world premiere of the latest Bond movie "Quantum of Solace," which will be shown free in an open-air screening in Trafalgar Square moments after it's world premiere in nearby Leicester Square. It's hoped the stars might wander the short distance from one venue to the other to delight their fans.

Former Bond girl Eva Green is among the stars expected to shine in London this year. Hollywood-hunters can look forward to the likes of Peter O'Toole, Penelope Cruz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro and Rachel Weisz as well as directorial delights from Steven Soderbergh, Michael Winterbottom and Danny Boyle

Boyle is currently the focus of critical acclaim at Toronto Film Festival with his latest film "Slumdog Millionaire." It is the rags-to-riches story of a boy from Mumbai who becomes a star on the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," and it will close LFF on October 30th.

-- From CNN's Neil Curry

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The Screening Room brings you the inside track on all aspects of the movie business around the globe. Find out what presenter Myleene Klass has been up to, and send us your comments and suggestions for our Top 10 movie list of the month.
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