James Bond: A product placement sell-out?

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Is this the next Bond Babe? (She'd look smashing in a bikini, no?)

If reports are correct, producers of the James Bond film series are committing one of the greatest outrages since the unjust trial and barbarous execution of Jean d'Arc:

Replacing the MI6 agent’s trademark beverage vodka martini shaken not stirred (and with “a large thin slice of lemon-peel,” as Ian Fleming wrote in Casino Royale) with beer. Why?!

There are 45,000,000 reasons:

In a $45 million product placement deal, the makers of Craig's next Bond outing, Skyfall, have 007 drink Heineken in the movie.

Sure, Craig's two previous Bond films, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, had plenty of product placement, including the various autos he has driven.

But the Heinie deal strikes at the very heart of the James-Bond-ness of James Bond -- TMZ cites anonymous sources who says Bond drinks the beer instead of his martini.

Former Bond star George Lazenby, who played the famed spy in 1969’s On Her Majesty's Secret Service, tells TMZ he is outraged. The film producers, he says, always “go where the money is.”

Worse, he adds, “it’s not the best beer out there, either.”

Craig recently told the New York Times branding, product placement and the various other whoring involved in making Hollywood movies are just part of the process.

(Just as cockroaches are part of the ecosystem?)

“We have relationships with a number of companies so that we can make this movie,” the 44-year-old English thesp said.

“The simple fact is that, without them, we couldn’t do it. It’s unfortunate but that’s how it is.”

There are too many “simple facts” we could do without.

But is such a move – actually replacing the martini with the beer – even conceivable?

I think not: I'll bet the new film will have 007 also drink his usual libation. Anything else would spell disaster.

Photo: Daniel Craig brandishes his 007 license to kill pistol.

Video: Teaser trailer for Skyfall.