- Associated Press - Thursday, November 3, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Ah, Mr. Bond, we’ve been waiting for you _ and at last 007 is back, several years after his last screen adventure.

Producers announced Thursday that filming has begun on “Skyfall,” the delayed 23rd film in the series and Daniel Craig’s third outing as the suave British superspy.

Craig, who has brought a hard edge to his portrayal, told reporters that the movie, directed by Sam Mendes and shot in London, Scotland, Turkey and China, would be “Bond with a capital B.”

Craig said he was “tremendously excited” to be stepping back into the role for the first time since 2008’s “Quantum of Solace.”

Work on the film was postponed, and Bond’s future looked uncertain, when studio MGM filed for bankruptcy in 2010. But MGM’s new management and EON Productions announced earlier this year that the spy would live to fight another day.

Craig will be joined by Spanish star Javier Bardem as Bond’s nemesis, while British actors Albert Finney, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw will play as-yet-undisclosed roles.

Judi Dench returns as spy chief M and the film introduces two new Bond girls _ English actress Naomie Harris as a field agent named Eve and French performer Berenice Marlohe as “a glamorous, enigmatic character” named Severine.

“There’s lots of surprises,” said Mendes, who won an Academy Award for his 1999 film “American Beauty.”

“I think this has all the elements of a classic Bond movie, including _ to quell any rumors _ a lot of action,” Mendes said.

Some have questioned the choice of Mendes, best known for his stage work and emotionally intense dramas like “Revolutionary Road” and “The Road to Perdition.”

But he and the producers said they did not plan to take the series in a radically new direction.

Producer Michael G. Wilson said the series had “started down a path” with Craig’s first appearance as a gruff, muscular Bond in “Casino Royale” in 2006.

“And we’re sticking to that path,” Wilson said. “An interesting story, well written, with a great cast and plenty of action.”

Mendes said action movies were “a world that’s new to me, and I’ve embraced it.”

“The action needs to coexist with the drama, and that’s the balance we’ve got to strike,” he said.

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