LONDON (REUTERS) - With a guest list made up of Oscar winners and British royalty, James Bond film No Time To Die finally held its delayed world premiere in London on Tuesday (Sept 28) in the city's most high profile red carpet since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wet weather failed to dampen spirits as Daniel Craig, dressed in an eye-catching pink velvet dinner jacket, and co-stars including Lashana Lynch and Lea Seydoux reunited for the hotly anticipated movie, which cinema operators hope will bring audience numbers back to pre-pandemic levels.
No Time To Die, the 25th Bond movie, has been delayed three times since its original April 2020 slot as movie theatres around the world were forced to shut their doors as well as impose audience number restrictions due to the pandemic.
The Universal Pictures and MGM film marks Craig's fifth and final outing as the suave British secret agent known for his love of fast cars and cool gadgets, wrapping up a 15-year tenure that began with 2006's Casino Royale.
"It's such a great relief. It was so important to me to come and celebrate with all the other cast and crew and to get it into the cinemas and we're here," Craig told Reuters.
"A year ago I didn't think that was going to happen."
Asked what he was going to miss the most from playing 007, he said: "The people."
Costing an estimated US$200 million (S$270 million) to produce, No Time To Die sees Bond come out of retirement from an idyllic life in Jamaica to help track down a new villain, played by Oscar winner Rami Malek, armed with lethal technology.
It introduces new character Nomi, a 00 agent, played by Lynch.
"I'm just happy it's here and we get to celebrate it in the way that it deserves," Lynch said.
Beginning its cinema rollout this week, it is among the most anticipated movies this autumn.
"I know the world is expecting this film," said Seydoux, who reprises her Spectre role as Madeleine Swann.
"We tried to give the best, we gave everything to this film... and I hope people will love it."
Among the premiere's guest list were Britain's Prince Charles and his son Prince William and their wives. As a thanks for their frontline work during the pandemic, health workers and members of the armed forces were also invited.