Production of "Never and Always" is Complete
Agent 07 is back! GK Productions has announced the completion of production for Never and Always, the twenty-first Philip Krieg movie, and the first since Shadows of the Past was released in 2013. The short film will run about 16 minutes--the shortest Agent 07 project since 2009, but comparable to more recent GK Productions like Slides (2017) and Means to an End (2016). Despite its shorter length, producers Martin Groff, Philip Krieg, and Peter Groff have promised higher overall quality. As Peter Groff explains, "we all put a lot more thought into what we've done as far as stunts, acting, and even just the roles our characters play." Pre-production began in November, so that a lot of thought could be put into the script and potential for sequels.
Never and Always, with a title that evokes the first Agent 07 film Now or Never (2005), goes back to the basics in many ways. It features the core cast from the early films: Philip Krieg as MI7 Agent 07, Martin Groff as his superior 17, and Peter Groff as the main antagonist, this time a certain MIX agent named Bronson. While recurring characters like Miss Pennypacker are mentioned, don't expect to see them on screen. Never and Always is the first step in a potential new story arc that will involve more characters later, but for now strips things down to the foundations of the franchise. The film opens six years since the events of Shadows of the Past, and some things have certainly changed, even if various themes carry on directly from past storylines. It leaves many questions unanswered with a classic Philip Krieg cliffhanger ending, but the producers have suggested that, sooner or later, follow up films will bring more clarity to the secrets each character is keeping.
One thing to look for are references to what has been called the Legends Cinematic Universe, or LCU. Originally the brainchild of independent filmmaker Tom Smith, the LCU creates a loose interconnected continuity between several characters from multiple independent film groups, including Smith's own US-based Blue Diamond Filmmakers, DEP Films of Sweden, and of course, GK Productions and the Agent 07 franchise. Of particular interest within this continuity is the Jack Stone character of the Finnish filmmaking group Fox Way Studios. Creator Antton Nikula has suggested that the Jack Stone films were directly inspired by the Agent 07 franchise, and one can find many equivalencies, such as Stone's MIX branch of the secret service which is vaguely reminiscent of Krieg's MI7 branch, itself inspired by James Bond's employment by MI6. As mentioned previously, Peter Groff's character Bronson is a MIX defector, establishing some LCU continuity between GK Productions' and Fox Way Studios' franchises. This continuity is expected to remain loose as these two production groups maintain total independence from one another, but producer Martin Groff has revealed that the crossover goes far deeper than just Bronson's history: "In many ways, the story arc we have envisioned for Agent 07 runs parallel to events in recent Jack Stone films such as Diamond Cutter. Stone and Krieg are on similar missions, but coming at them from different angles, situations, and personalities."
How the story arc will progress remains to be seen, and the producers are not exactly sure when the next film will enter production, although they have discussed potential next steps. In the meantime, Never and Always promises a long-awaited, exciting return for the MI7 agent, with a mixture of both old and new. The entire film was shot primarily in one location, the same property on which much of Gone Rogue (2011) was filmed eight years ago. Production commenced on March 15th and was completed two days later. As producer Philip Krieg explains, "We've obviously used this farmhouse area before, and trying to get it original and fresh was always a challenge, but overall I'd say everything went pretty smoothly, and I think it's going to turn out pretty good."
AMPCorp has positioned the premier shortly after its other major 2019 release, the series finale of Charlotte Ferris Today on May 3rd, to kick off the summer as perhaps the group's biggest project of the year. Stay tuned for more trailers and promotion in the coming weeks, as the June 1st premier approaches.