2012 Summer Olympics: Opening ceremony today
When the curtain goes up on the 2012 Summer Olympics Friday, England is taking advantage of the chance to show off its utter Englishness to the rest of the world with an opening ceremony that is expected to showcase James Bond, more than 100 farm animals and -- it's rumored -- Sir Paul McCartney.

The festivities kick off at 9 p.m. London time -- that's 1 p.m. Seattle time -- and will be streamed live by NBC, but also re-broadcast on the air starting at 4:30 p.m. PT.

The extravaganza is being directed by Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting," "Slumdog Millionaire") and Stephen Daldry. The high-brow theme is "Isle of Wonder" as inspired by William Shakespeare's "The Tempest." The ceremony will kick off with the sound of the world's largest harmonically tuned bell, reports AOL Sporting News.

James Bond (aka actor Daniel Craig) will also be on hand -- in fact, he'll drop into the stadium on a rope ladder suspended from a helicopter as the James Bond theme music plays over loudspeakers. For real. This will follow a short film directed by Boyle in which 007 is instructed by Queen Elizabeth to launch the games.

McCartney is also rumored to be at the ready to play at the ceremonies (though not past curfew).

The ceremony is predicted to be viewed live by a worldwide TV audience of more than 1 billion people.

Real farmyard animals expected to feature in the opening ceremony include 12 horses, 3 cows, 2 goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, 9 geese, 70 sheep, and 3 sheep dogs.