Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lab Meeting

Because a lot of time and effort seems to get spent on things that do not matter.

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Battlestar Finale Rewritten, Depressing

adama1.jpgThe best thing about the recent WGA strike? It gave Battlestar Galactica writers the chance to rethink and rewrite the entire second half of their final season, according to showrunner Ron Moore, saving us from episodes with titles called "Oh Jesus, Can I Have Five More Minutes? No? Okay, Then, This Time Around Starbuck Is A Cylon, Whatever."

Speaking at a press conference, Moore explained the seeming change of direction:

The writers had worked out what the arc in the back half [of the fourth season] was already... I think [the strike] actually benefited the show in some ways in that... we started to think about things that we could change, things we could make better. And when the strike was over... we wrote the second half of the season all over again.
And as to how the season will end now? Edward James Olmos isn't optimistic:
It's devastating... don't watch this program; it's not an easy ride.

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NBC President Mocks Writers, Strike In Upcoming "My Name Is Earl" Commercial

Jeff Zucker, President and CEO of NBC Universal, will appear in a commercial to run before the April 3 return of NBC's "My Name is Earl." In the commercial, Zucker appears to mock both the writers and the strike that sidelined Hollywood for months.

"We put together a little recap to get everybody back to speed," Zucker says. "It's right here on, where you can watch all of your favorite shows, preferably within the first 17 days." A key point of contention in the writers' strike was that the writers received no residuals for any content downloaded online — and the strike agreement now provides a 17-day window during which studios can stream content without paying the writers royalties. Zucker also references online advertising, another centerpiece of the strike.

Zucker also took a non-strike-related dig at the writers, saying, "Earl gets hit by a car, just like he did in the pilot episode. Writers refer to that as a 'callback.' I call it getting paid twice for writing the same thing."


Children of Men: The Television Series

Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men was one of my top 10 movies of 2006. When I saw the movie I was so enamored with this post-apocalyptic world where women have become infertile, and no one had been born in the last 16 years. Basically it’s a world where everyone is living in knowledge that they are the last generation on earth. It’s an interesting place for a story, and I always wished it could be explored at more length.

And now my wish might be granted, as it was announced at last week’s SciFi upfronts that David Eick, writer-producer on the Battlestar Galactica and Bionic Woman contemporary remakes, is writing a pilot script for a series based on Children of Men. Of course in the movie, loosely adapted from the book (from what I understand the film used the story concept and not much more), “a disillusioned government agent agrees to help transport and protect a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea where her child’s birth may help scientists to save the future of mankind.”

“It’s really taking root more in the origins of the novels in that it will focus on the cultural movement in which young people become the society’s utter focus. Much like our culture, whenever Lindsay Lohan does something [and] it becomes the headline of every news show, it’s about how, when you don’t have a responsibility to the next generation and you’re free to do whatever you want, where do you draw the line?” Eick said in an interview with SciFi. “It’s not really a war show like the movie was. It’s more an exploration of that issue.”

The issue he speaks of is “how society defines responsibility, freedom and a sense of values when it doesn’t necessarily believe humans will survive as a species.” I’m in, especially if they try to incorporate some of the gritty visual cinematography that was part of the film.

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The Top 10 Worst Hairstyles In Music

Like Nickelback, we all yearn to be rockstars. But being a rockstar is tough for many reasons - not the least of which is landing a good stylist and securing a 'look' that'll be memorable, but in a good way. Here's a list of ten musical hairstyles that we wish we could forget.

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Mike Score
Almost too obvious to mention, the 'Flock of Seagulls'
haircut gets placed on our list for two reasons: 1) The fact that it is still parodied in the media, so that we can all relive the horror and die a thousand tiny little deaths every time it comes up on screen (Shame on YOU, diet Pepsi!) and 2) Prior to hitting the big time with their hit, "I Ran (So Far Away), (*shudder*), Mike Score was a hairdresser. His 'do was not the fault of some overzealous stylist, but sorely his own creation. Wowzers!

80's Hair Bands
Not wanting to single out one band (ahem, Poison - or Cinderella, pictured above) for this atrocity perpetrated by many, 80's hair bands belong here simply for the pure wuss-factor of this style. For some reason, rock bands spent hours teasing their hair instead of rocking out. For the sheer oxymoron-iness of the look, (and for the power ballad), 80's hair bands earned their spot on this list.

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Britney Spears
I think the MTV Music Awards have proved to us all that if you shave your head in a fit of crazy, you shouldn't buy extensions for $9.99 from a place called 'Skeevy Weavey.'

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Billy Ray Cyrus
Although Billy Ray was certainly not the first to give us the mullet, (thank you Canadian hockey players), he inspired legions of followers to get a 'Business in Front, Party in Back,' style by portraying himself as a sex symbol. Firmly believing in their sex appeal, the two-haircuts-in-one are still being sported by Cyrus' biggest fanbase much to the chagrin of those of us with, you know, taste.

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A.J. McLean
"Look at me! Look at me! Even though I'm in a boy band, I'm still a man. I can grow super-cool facial hair, and can shave it into rebel patterns that really let my audience know I'm dangerous. Sure, I sing love ballads to 11 year old girls (ew!), but as you can see by my tattoos and goatee I'm really badass."

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The Emo Cut
Just so you know, if you and all your friends share the same haircut, you're no longer unique and trendsetting. Now, you're just kind of a loser with a haircut that makes mothers all over the country want to scream, "Get your hair out of your eyes!" P.S. You look stupid. P.P.S. Cut your bangs.

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Michael Jackson
I know, I know, stop picking on Mikey! Although it is kind of easy, Jackson's hair is included more as a cautionary tale than anything else. Not only was the Jheri Curl pretty nasty to look at, (and if you ever see someone still sporting this look, stay away, as it's greasier than a vat of oil), it was also highly flammable. When shooting a commercial for Pepsi (again Pepsi?) in 1983, sparks showered on his Jheri Curl lathered head, causing Second degree burns to the King of Pop. Also, Rick James sported the Jheri Curl as well. 'Nuff said.

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Bill and Tom Kaulitz
Amazingly enough, these two twin boys from Tokio Hotel have separate looks for their hair, but each style is equally questionable. Tom sports dreads worn underneath a toque AND a baseball hat in a ponytail fashion. But that's nothing compared to Bill's 'do, which looks like he just touched the elecrticity ball at the Science Centre. It's like 80s Metal Hair on drugs, with a new-school penchant for giant weaves thrown in for good measure. Listen, twins. Dressing alike is unnecessary, but your mane style may be even more unnecessary-er (yeah, we went there). We know you've got a kabillion fans and while we do enjoy your attempts at being avant-garde, please consider a good visit to the barber in your 5 Year Plan.

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Amy Winehouse
Bundling a nasty rat's nest on your head doesn't make you alternative. Although I appreciate people that buck the trends, there's something to be said about a hairbrush. And shampoo. And that something is a little thing I like to call hygiene. (Of course, if she took down the beehive, she'd have to look for a new place to put her crackpipe.)

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The Faux Hawk
While it started off as a semi-cool look, it's been brought down to all-time douchey levels in recent years. We get it, you're hardcore. (Not quite as hardcore if you'd gotten an actual Mohawk but whatever). Here's a helpful tip: When guys like Ryan Seacrest, Jack Osborne or Chester Bennington start sporting the same haircut that you have - it's time to get a new look.

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YouTube yobs chase top video off the charts

The Italian blogger who uploaded what became the most watched YouTube video of all time says he decided to kill off his mega hit after he was subjected to a torrent of abuse from viewers on the Google-owned video sharing site.

The year-old video, which had been viewed over 100 million, was deleted from the YouTube servers last weekend by the Italian, who calls himself Clarus Bartel.

"I was fed up [with the abuse and accusations of statistical manipulation]," Bartel said in an email. "I am not interested in the first place if this is the price I have to pay."

The three minute clip was a home made video remix featuring the Brazilian band Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) and their song Music is My Hot Hot Sex .

According to the last published YouTube tally before it was deleted, the video had been watched 114, 281, 553 times since being uploaded last April.

Unusually, over 70 million of the views came this year in the month between February 17 and March 15, the day it was zapped.

On February 29, according to figures obtained from TubeMogul (see graph) , a video tracking site, Hot Hot Sex overtook Judson Laipply's Evolution Of Dance to become the most viewed YouTube video of all time.

Laipply's clip - which has now been viewed over 79 million times - had held the top spot for more than 18 months.

On March 7, YouTube removed the Hot Hot Sex video from the leaderboard pending an investigation into the unusual traffic spike.

"We don't condone efforts to affect the integrity of our video rankings or view counts," a YouTube spokesman told at the time. "We are looking into this matter and will take appropriate action when we resolve the investigation."

On or about March 16, Bartel's video reappeared at the top of YouTube's all time most watched video leaderboard (see screen grab) but disappeared again shortly after.

YouTube has not given any insights into its investigations nor explained why the video briefly reappeared on the leaderboard after it had been deleted from the server by its creator.

Bartel said even after he disabled comments on the Hot Hot Sex video, he continued to receive "obnoxious" comments from YouTube users on his other videos.

"I was forced to continuously delete comments," he said. "[Finally], the only solution was to remove the video."

In an earlier interview with Los Angeles-based blogger Andy Baio , Bartel denied fiddling the video's viewer statistics.

"I barely know how to turn a computer on and off," he said. "Never would I have imagined that such an ugly video, made on a whim, would make it to the top of the charts."

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19 Upcoming Horror Movies We're Dying to See!

#19: Rogue
Release Date: TBA
Aussie writer/director Gregg McLean follows up his incendiary feature length debut Wolf Creek with Rogue; a movie that highlights the travails of American journalists touring the Australian outback. Once there, they encounter man eating crocodile out for fresh feast; picking off the tourists one by one from a stranded muddy oasis. If this packs half the punch of Wolf Creek, this could be a bonafide '08 sleeper. The movie stars Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, John Jarratt (Wolf Creek's villain) and Robert Taylor (of Matrix fame). A tentative U.S. release date is un-slated at the moment.

#18: The Box
Release Date: TBA 2008
After Richard Kelly's sublime, cryptically dark cult debut Donnie Darko, it took him seven or so odd years to release his sophomore effort Southland Tales, a widely lambasted debacle of a film that resonated with neither audiences nor critics. It appears his plans as auteur have been relegated to work for hire, now Kelly opens The Box; about a couple who mysteriously receives a small wooden box on their doorstep. Opening the box rewards with the couple with instant wealth; yet little do they know that every time the box is opened, a complete and total strange is killed. The movie features James Marsden, Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella, based on the storied urban legend by Richard Matheson. The movie is in post-production and will be released some time in 2008.

#17: Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Release Date: July 11, 2008.
The Golden Army - Though not technically a horror film proper, Guillermo Del Toro returns with his kick ass off beat comic book character with Ron Perlman reprising the titular role. Not only directing, Del Toro's new script will focus on Hellboy and his team's attempt to save planet Earth from rebellious creatures out to conquer the world, stopping at nothing short of all out intergalactic war. On board this time are the familiar faces of John Hurt, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Brian Steele and Jeffery Tambor, among others.

#16: Cell
Release Date: TBA
Horror icon Stephen King lends his conception of a zombie filled technological future run amok in Eli Roth's new film Cell. The writer/director of Cabin Fever, the highly successful Hostel and Hostel Part II, now tries his hand at adapting perhaps the most notorious of difficult material in the genre; a King novel. The film revolves around a deadly pulse that radiates through the every cell phone; causing each user to degenerate into flesh hungry fiends out to eviscerate all who stand in there way. The film is currently in pre-production and is scheduled to hit theaters some time in 2009.

#15: Teeth
Release Date: May 6, 2008 (video)
Well, what can we say about Teeth? Perhaps the best premise combining horror with humor in the most unique way since, I don't know, Re-Animator? Evil Dead 2 maybe! Writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein (son of Pop Art pioneer Roy Lichtenstein) takes his first bite out of filmmaking with Teeth; a picture about a young girl who develops deadly fangs along the inside walls of her gender region. She lures horny teenage boys like flies to a trap, offering them something intimate they'll never forget. I mean, I've heard of a girl being a dog, but canines in her crack? DAMN!! The flick stars Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais, Hale Appleman, and Ashley Springer. Teeth starts with a limited release in May 2008, hoping for wider distribution in the months to come.

#14: Machete
Release Date: TBA
Robert Rodriguez's send up to action exploitation can never be more evident than his soon to be straight to video release of Machete. The film stars Danny Trejo as a one time Mexican Federale, hired and ultimately set up to assassinate a corrupt senator. As Machete survives an onslaught of initial attacks, he sets out to exact revenge on those conspiring to ensure his demise. Though not your typical horror fare, this will certainly have plenty of blood shed, campy humor, nudity, even cooler 70's low budget production values, and an awesome throw back soundtrack. Fun, if nothing else! No release date has been set. Note: below is the faux trailer of Machete from the film Grindhouse and not the official trailer for the planned full length film.

#13: Mirrors
Release Date: August 15, 2008
Alexandre Aja seems to be cornering the horror remake market. After his 2006 rendition of The Hills Have Eyes Aja is now focusing his efforts on the remake of perhaps the most original Asian (South Korea) horror flick to come out in many a moon, Into the Mirror. The film, about a mall security guard who notices strange happenings in a department store, focuses on one man's tireless determination to solve mysterious murders linked with the mirrors that align the store. Aja has locked familiar American talent such as Kiefer Southerland, Amy Smart, Paula Patton, as well as British imports John Shrapnel and Jason Femyng.

#12: The Ruins
Release Date: April 4, 2008
Director Carter Smith tackles his first horror effort with The Ruins; a film about a group of young twenty something friends whose rural Mexican vacation gets side swiped upon the decision to explore an archeological dig in the heart of the jungle. Inside the ruins, an ancient evil presence festers and threatens to overtake every last newcomer; a premise that pits the survivors against each other as much as against the root of the evil (ala The Thing). The Ruins features Jonathon Tucker, Jenna Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey and Joe Anderson.

#11: Giallo
Release Date: TBA 2008
Argento returns to his roots with Giallo, a slasher flick cut from the same cloth as Tenebrae, Deep Red and Opera. This time out, we have an American stewardess in Milan, who must cooperate with an Italian detective to reclaim her abducted sister from a deadly assailant simply known as "Yellow." In addition to literally translating in Italian as "Yellow," the word Giallo has come to represent a film genre unto itself; one featuring elaborate, bloodletting death scenes accompanied with strange musical tones and ambient sounds (Argento and Bava being the fathers). Along with daughter Asia Argento, Ray Liotta and Elsa Pataky will also star in Dario's latest dance with the dead. Giallo is in pre-production and has a provisional 2008 release date.

#10: The Midnight Meat Train
Release Date: May 16, 2008
From the demented mind of horror veteran Clive Barker, comes the twisted story of The Midnight Meat Train, where a photographer in the Big Apple is hell bent on tracking down and ending the life of a rampant serial killer. This particular yarn weaves horror with mystery as well as elements of the crime thriller; all helmed by Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura, who's dipped into this sort of territory with prior works such as Alive, Sky High (not the Kurt Russell piece) and Versus. The script is adapted by up and coming horror enthusiast Jeff Buhler, who currently has his own feature length horror debut in post-production called Insanitarium, which also might be worth keeping eyes on. The film stars Vinnie Jones, Bradley Cooper and Brooke Shields.

#9: Silent Night, Deadly Night
Release Date: TBA
Easily one of the most inspired, yet polemical slasher flicks ever to be sprung into the mainstream; Alexandre Aja is back at rehashing good ideas with his remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night. The movie focuses on a maniacal psycho killer who roams the streets of a small town decked in a Santa Clause outfit, viciously laying to waste all who cross his path; gorily disposing all he deems naughty, on Christmas Eve no less. The original '84 version was met with rabid criticism and protest, and although Aja can't seem to conjure an original idea for himself, he does seem to have a flare for directing this kind of material. No actors are on board yet, and a release date is nowhere in sight.

#8: Mother of Tears
Release Date: June 6, 2008
The undisputed maestro of Italian punk splatter Dario Argento is back at work, adding to his impressive oeuvre with the conclusion of the "Three Mothers" trilogy; the final installment being Mother of Tears. The film is set in Rome, where an ancient urn discovered in a cemetery becomes pierced, unleashing an evil spirit that plagues the city with murder, rape, looting; all around violent chaos. The fate of the city is left in the hands of a young art student, who with her own supernatural ability; has finally met her ultimate match. The film stars Asia Argento, Dario Nicolodi, Udo Kier, and Christian Solimeno; and a limited NC-17 theatrical release is in negotiation.

#7: 25/8
Release Date: TBA 2009
With recent artistic departures in films like Red Eye, and Paris, I Love You, Wes Craven is back with slasher vengeance in his newest project 25/8. Like many of the highly esteemed directors listed above, we all hope that one last savage entry into the genre will debunk any notion of these men slipping into effete categorization of washed up old hacks. In 25/8, a homicidal psychopath returns to his home town to stalk a handful of children who share the same birthday as the day he was left for dead. Not only directing, Craven penned his own script, and since the film is merely in pre-production without a cast, a 2009 release is looking more and more imminent.

#6: Wizard of Gore
Release Date: TBA
Herschell Gordon Lewis' original vision was so offbeat and underground that it took two years after the film was wrapped to find distribution. Almost four decades later, director Jeremy Kasten, who's headed such horror fare as All Souls Day and The Thirst, takes Allen Kahn's story updated by Zach Chassler, and attempts to put his own stamp on it. The flick is centered on a sadistic magician who finds pleasure in maiming, torturing and brutally killing his on stage volunteers. Or so it would seem! The movie will feature Crispin Glover, Bijou Philips, Brad Dourif, Kip Pardue and Jeffrey Combs. A release date has not been ascertained as of yet.

#5: From a Buick 8
Release Date: TBA 2009
Speaking of the aforementioned Tobe Hooper, the man responsible for genre greats like Eaten Alive, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Funhouse; also has the pick back in hand, ready to carve another master work in the Stephen King adaptation of From a Buick 8. The film highlights a strange car looking vessel, a Buick 8; that serves as a portal into another dark dimension for human beings to experience. Those who have read the book know this bears no resemblance to King's other automotive horror story, Christine. The film is currently in pre-production and is chalked for an unknown 2009 release.

#4: Stuck / House of Re-Animator
Release Date: May 30, 2008 (Stuck); TBA (House of Re-Animator)
Stuart Gordon, chiefly known for his comic horror gem Re-Animator, has immersed himself in the horror world once again, steadfast at work with the release of his next two features. The first, Stuck, is a blood-splattered horror/thriller dealing with the intricacies of a hit and run car accident, and the fate of being "stuck" in the wrong place at the wrong time. The flick stars Mena Suvari and Stephen Rea with a hopeful limited release to start May 30, 2008. Not to be outdone however, Gordon goes back to the well with the announcement of House of Re-Animator, delivering Jeffrey Combs' iconic role of Herbert West into the White House for some presidential comic gore. Along with Combs, George Wendt and William H. Macy are attached to star. No release date is set.

#3: L.A. Gothic
Release Date: TBA 2008
Along with colleagues like Argento, Hooper and Gordon, working on the Showtime series "Masters of Horror," has seemed to pump new, invigorated blood into horror legend John Carpenter. With a slew of misses (albeit at times fun) like Ghosts of Mars and Vampires, Carpenter now devotes his time and effort to L.A. Gothic; a quintet of horror stories surrounding an ex-Priest's fervent attempt to save his teenage daughter from the unnecessary evils of the Los Angeles underworld. With a hopeful 2008 release, so far only Brent Gorcie is rumored to play a part.

#2: Frankenstein
Release Date: TBA
Although Guillermo del Toro has been relatively silent about his plans to direct his own version of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, we're still extremely excited the acclaimed director is even considering to provide his own take on the classic story. Del Toro, who is known for directing Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, and other films, has said that he believes that he'll be able to "tell the myth in a different way." Prior Del Toro fare in the horror world include Mimic and the must see Cronos.

#1: Drag Me to Hell
Release Date: TBA
Before becoming an A-list director behind behemoth blockbusters like the Spiderman franchise, Sam Raimi was deeply steeped in the horror genre. He pushed the envelope with The Evil Dead series, combining technical ingenuity with a blend of horrific and humorous story elements. Not only that, but he basically apotheosized the character of Ash, the immortal Bruce Campbell camp cult hero. And now, for the first time since '92, he returns to the genre with Drag Me to Hell, about a supernatural curse gone awry, permeating a human host. So far, Justin Long is in line to star, an unsettled 2009 release date to be seen.

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Transformers 2 Filming Underway? Barricade Spotted!

A set of photos sent over by a friend this afternoon might lead you to believe that the filming of Transformers 2 is getting close to being underway. The pictures were snapped from a camera phone in Culver City, and they are clearly Saleen Mustangs with the Decepticon logo on the side. This just might prove that even if things have not started yet, they are getting close. We reported not long ago that Michael Bay worked on the story during the Writer’s Strike and that writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were excited to get things underway.

Transformers Saleen Mustang
Transformers Saleen Mustang
Transformers Saleen Mustang

The most recent update was that the script is currently in the working stage, with the production set to start in June, but I don’t think that Mr. Bay would let that stop him from blowing some stuff up. As well, you will notice that there are multiple instances of Barricade, the Saleen Mustang Decepticon. Conspiracy theorists would say that maybe Transformers 2 features multiple versions of Barricade — but that is a pretty wild theory. I would imagine it has to do with needing more than one for special effects purposes — you know, just in case one should get blown up. Which would be, to say the least, awesome.

So what do you think? Is this a significant discovery, leading you to believe that Michael Bay is getting the production of Transformers 2 in gear? Or is this just some dude with 3 replicas? I doubt that it is the latter.

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New Images: Iron Man Versus Iron Monger


Rather epic new images for this summer’s Iron Man have touched down over at Yahoo that show Tony Stark facing off against the film’s main villain Iron Monger aka Obadiah Stane (played by Jeff Bridges/killer effects). Loving how the SUV above is packed with people. Click to make them all pop. I’d say about 90% of the imagery from this film so far dazzles like few comic book films before it, but there is a debate waging about how well the film will do at the box office.

Over in the comments for Peter’s interesting Video Games Vs. Movies Rant, the questionable Grand Theft Auto IV-Iron Man “showdown” is mentioned, as well as Iron Man’s status as a “b-level superhero.” All that aside, these images of Iron Monger and Iron Man launching automobiles at one another have me more stoked than the TIH trailer with The Hulk and Abomination facing off in hang time. What do you think?



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Original 007 Sean Connery wants to be a James Bond baddie

It has been 25 years since he ordered a martini, shaken, not stirred.

But Sean Connery, who played James Bond in seven of the classic spy movies, has a sudden taste for a comeback - as a villain.

Preliminary discussions are said to have taken place between the 77-year-old actor and Bond producers since Daniel Craig reinvigorated the 007 role two years ago with Casino Royale.

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Hero or villain: Could Sean Connery be a baddie?

But it would take an exceptional pay-cheque to lure Connery, who usually commands £10million a film, out of retirement.

He first played Bond in 1962's Dr No, followed by From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever then Never Say Never Again in 1983.

"I wouldn't mind coming back as a Bond villain," he said. "But I don't think they would pay me enough money."

The actor who played Ian Fleming's agent on screen seven times, says he has been so impressed by Daniel Craig's debut that he wants to be pitched against him.

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The name's Bond, James Bond: Sean Connery in the 1962 film Dr No with Lois Maxwell

"I think Daniel Craig is a terrific choice," said Connery. "I think they're going back to a more realistic type of Bond movie as I don't think they could have gone much further with the special effects."

He added: "They don't pay the money for the other parts, only for the Bond character, although that wasn't the case when I was doing it."

The jibe about money is related to the fact that Connery earned just £50,000 to play James Bond for the first time. By his last 007 movie in 1983, where he also negotiated a percentage of profits, Connery was paid £3 million.

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Thunderball: Sean Connery with Lois Maxwell in the 1965 Bond movie

Daniel Craig has signed a £30 million deal to make the next four films in the Bond franchise.

Connery added that despite not playing 007 for the past 25 years, he is still typecast by the part.

Asked about losing the James Bond tag, he said: "It's not something that's ever likely to happen," he says. "It's with me until I go to the box."

He also revealed that although he has been given the all-clear from throat cancer, he suffered from the condition for over two decades.

"I'm healthy and happy. I did receive my annual medical checks last year and I'm feeling well. It means a great deal to me to know that people out there care so deeply about my well being."

His decision to semi-retire from acting has allowed him to spend more time with his French wife Micheline and he confesses that the marriage works because it's an attraction of opposites.

"There's no doubt that the French have a Celtic link with the Scots. But my wife speaks fluent English, which reflects rather badly on me, because I can't speak French. With her food and language she's very much more developed. I've had a poor education and can't even remember our wedding anniversary date."

He spends time playing golf – and watching old Bond movies.

He told My Weekly magazine: "I still haven't seen all the old Bond films, only the odd one or two. I have all the films on DVD so I must catch up on them."

Bond baddie? Sean Connery and his wife Micheline

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