The movie business is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings inherently full of starts and stops, but few have experienced the phrase “hurry up and wait” like “No Time to Die” director Cary Fukunaga.
The 44-year-old director of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the first season of “True Detective” took on the task of directing the 25th James Bond film after Danny Boyle retired. What followed was, for a big budget movie like “No Time to Die,” a race to rewrite the script (with Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Phoebe Waller-Bridge), start production in the spring of 2019, finish in the fall and have the film ready for release in April 2020.
But when the pandemic hit, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings the appropriately titled “No Time to Die” was shelved for a year and a half while MGM and United Artists Releasing waited for the right conditions to release a movie that cost at least $ 250 million.
Fukunaga, the first American to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings direct a Bond film in the franchise’s 58 years, has since worked on other projects. But the wait for the biggest film of his career has been, like most things during the pandemic, bewildering. It has even affected his dreams.
Fukunaga recently spoke by phone from London with The Associated Press before “No Time to Die” finally premieres, on September 30 in the UK and October 8 in the United States. Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
AP: How was the experience of waiting for the release of “No Time to Die”?
Fukunaga: I have never experienced anything like this. There have been premieres that were put off for later, but never that long, especially since we broke our backs just trying to finish on time. So it was strange. You want to see it with an audience and see how people react. But you just leave it behind. What I haven’t gotten in this case is the satisfaction of someone else watching the movie and saying “I hated it” or “I like it.” That is the part you are waiting for. Some people are going to like it. Some people are not going to like it. But you still want to hear it. Even if you don’t want to hear it, you want to hear it.
AP: How sure are you of the release date?
Fukunaga: Nothing is certain until it really is happening. After several delays, I am always the last to know about these things. So I follow what they tell me. I am not involved in making sure this happens or not. I just showed up now.
AP: Do you ever wake up and wonder: did I really make that movie?
Fukunaga: Last night I had a dream where (the director of “Skyfall” and “Specter”) Sam Mendes was there. We were on vacation on a frozen lake. There was a feeling like he had finished the Bond movies and he said, “Oh, you did one. Now you can take a break. ” Then we started skiing on the frozen lake. It was a strange dream.
AP: Hollywood has been struggling through the pandemic to decide what is best for its most expensive movies, like “No Time to Die,” which needs to sell a lot of tickets to cover expenses. Do you feel pressure for that?