The opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games are scheduled for Friday, and the performance—like each Olympic opener before it—is sure to provide its fair share of bells, whistles and eye-catching visual effects.
English director and producer Danny Boyle, best known for his work with the Academy Award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, was the man put in charge of the production. With a budget spanning past $40 million, his show is sure to be one to watch Friday night.
Some programming details:
The ceremonies are scheduled to kick off at 9:00 p.m. London Time, but no live showing of the event will be available for viewers in the United States. Instead, NBC is showing a tape-delayed version in the U.S. at 7:00 p.m. ET. Coverage of the event will start at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Below, we run down the performances (rumored, of course) to watch on Friday.
(Note: Spoilers below. Also, all rumors, unless otherwise stated, come from Jill Lawless of the Associated Press, who put out the most informational rumors piece on the opening ceremonies to date.
The Name's Bond, James Bond
England's most famous MI6 agent will be making an appearance, as Daniel Craig, the most recent Bond actor, will be shown in a pre-recorded segment from Buckingham Palace. The Queen of England will also take part in the short act. Following the skit, a Bond stuntman will parachute into the ceremonies.
Fans of the James Bond series span the globe, so this could be a nice touch from Boyle. There's no word, however, if 007's trademark Walther PPK will be included in either stunt, but for the safety of the Queen and the 60,000-plus crowd in London, it's probably best if James left his trusted side kick at home. Hopefully that tricky Oddjob doesn't show up.
No, there won't be flying brooms introduced as an Olympic sport. But one character from J.K. Rowling's universally popular book-series-turned-movie Harry Potter will reportedly be in London Friday.
According to Lawless, who uses information from a Sunday Times report (the Times website is subscription locked), Lord Voldemort—Potter's nemesis in the series—will be portrayed Friday. And not just any Voldemort. A 40-foot tall version that will apparently be struck down by a number of other well-known characters from English literature.
There hasn't been any info on whether Harry himself will show up.
Ringing It In
A small but subtle touch from Doyle will be the ringing of the world's largest harmonically tuned bell, which is scheduled to start the ceremony.
The bell has a historic background; the manufactures are the same that made the bells in Big Ben in London and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
Parade of Talent
It's a tradition you see ever four years, but rarely do you get to witness a collection of physical and athletic talent like during the parade of athletes.
In the end, the Olympic Games are about the athletes. The faces you'll recognize will be numerous.
The closing musical hit won't be one to miss Friday. Former Beatle Paul McCartney is expected to send the ceremony off, with a rendition of "Hey Jude" as the final act. The song, arguably one of his all-time bests, will surely be a crowd-pleaser.
"Take a sad song, and make it bettttter."