Last week, I stated the principle and explained my case.
Now? Application to Facts and Possibly, Conclusions.
BOND 26: A period piece. But not in the 1960s. Instead, it is an 80s/90s affair but bookended by an older Bond (Pierce and /or Timothy?), thereby setting up a proper arc for a newly minted 007 (Cavill/whoever, just not flavour of the week from Netflix/Marvel etc?). Matches the multiverse / returning actor craze without doing the whole ‘Bond is a codename’ nonsense.
- Can exist as self contained experiment should it fail: bridging the Craig era to full reboot, whilst launching its own mini series continuity should it hit big. Reverse engineer tech, fashion and recent history to match a present day idiom.
- Mine unused Fleming and Maibaum / continuation novel plots/set pieces if need be. Reuse some old motifs, with the period gloss preventing it from feeling forced or tired. Great success awaits, surely?
But what of the details? Far be it from me to submit unsolicited and gratuitous pitches to EON Productions. Did that when I was 8. Tried to put James Bond on stage at Oxford, too, in my twenties. The producers were very sweet but also clear that the rights are not for grabs and quite right, too. Wait til Fleming has been dead 70 years?
But since 1: this is my blog and 2: I can simply take the names in my pitch and retool them and 3: even if Barbara Broccoli did want to use something of mine, I’d probably say ‘yes’? Then I see no harm in this passing bit of fan-fic for film. How would I make this Bond 26 pitch work? At a glance, maybe, as follows:
- Title: Needs to sound like Fleming, but big/bold/Brit rather than one word soft or another play on ‘death’ or ‘never’. UNDER THE QUEEN’S PEACE? It refers to the notion that anyone killing outside of wartime, in civilian context, is a prima facie murderer. So what makes Bond really any different to that? If he kills, off duty, without licence and official orders, then is he truly a mere criminal? That thematic question would crop up in the script whilst riding on a title that just sounds Bondian and fun.
- Tone: Mid road, something for everyone, from start to finish. Occasionally darker designs setting up more of said for future films but no so dour and melancholy that you leave the pictures feeling depressed. Romantic. Patriotic and shamelessly so. Traditional. And yes have the one liners, gadgets and girls. You actually draw more attention to those tropes by either losing them altogether or frantically apologising for their inclusion.
So we will see him BOTH a few years into his early 00 career (still a veteran but in need of maturing) AND post retirement from the service, much later in life. Two life stages, mirroring each other’s rites of passage. But unlike a certain recent iteration, our James is neither entirely blunt instrument nor brooding retreat on repeat.
Aged 60ish in the present book end scenes, Bond (Pierce/Tim?) runs a strategic services company and has made a tidy income stream, doing very nicely as a corporate warrior.
Flashing back, his younger self is brutal and effective in a fight, verging on thuggish but switches that off, immediately, once off duty, which he craves because he is an ethical hedonist.
The common denominator is they like to win, verging on arrogant self assurance yet lacking self awareness. They love and are SEEN ENJOYING the finer things in life and though driven by duty, relish any and all opportunities to unwind and escape into lazy, sporting, sensual pursuits.
- Plot: Come on: you think I would tell you all my secrets? What I would say is that the stakes are both geopolitical and personal.
Present day: Mi6 hunting down a powerful villain, or rather someone they suspect is a baddie. Industrialist figure with shadowy past who might be sabotaging British interests. M (Samantha Bond, promoted from MoneyPenny?) has her doubts. Because the target in the frame is BOND.
Yes, prima facie, 007 has become a villain? Is HE trying to take over the world? It’s possible. His company has been benefiting from certain insider know how that could come only from his past in the spy trade during the peak 1990s-2000s era.
And worse still..there was one case unsolved and unfinished from that time, implicating a real baddie even Bond could not bring down. Shall we call this antagonist..say..Hugo Drax (Hugh Grant) ?
And what if Mi6 use Bond the older to close this contract once and for all, thereby clearing his own name in the bargain? Drax’s plan has been brewing for years and spans the lock stock dismantling, destruction and sale of Britain itself as the ultimate macguffin. So we get MOONRAKER, done ‘right’, with young Bond taking on say half the machinations and older Pierce/Tim 007 finishing the job? MAYBE.
- Pre-Titles: Basic cut and paste Bond by 00-numbers stuff?
Go BIG! BOLD! BRITISH! Stopping short of Union Jack parachutes but nonetheless showing young peak Bond era in action. Perhaps a sequence aboard a Royal Navy ship /action in a theatre of war (Gulf?). Then cut to something smoother. Paris? He awakes with a French muse who herself lights a cigarette, sips a drink and slips on Bond’s double cuffed shirt? All she says is ‘Pour-Quoi’.
Bond recaptures his shirt, dresses, leaves breakfast and ‘merci’ note for the girl. He then slinks to a nearby Hotel, intercepting some nefarious briefcase swap / other double crossing /arms dealing spy shenanigans. Takes out the baddies. Swoops away. We meet him again at a nearby cafe where ‘Pour-Quoi’ awaits.
We get the beginnings of his rendition on ‘Bond…’ before cutting to his older, future self, who completes the name as opening credits begin. Sing along to some blast out, throwback 80s/90s pop flavoured tune backed by the blue and black silhouettes, martini glasses, union jacks and a summary of the lives of Bond past and present..merging together..
- Locations: London. As in proper tourist corporate gloss capital city, maybe even with hint of Christmas/snow? Ditto, Dublin: Shelbourne Hotel, Horse-shoe Bar. Paris: Rue Lafayette? Cyprus. USA: Grand Canyon.
- Style: Older Bond still enjoys the finer things in life. Young Bond gets a few montages to show him refining those tastes and associated professional skills, possibly with help from a mentor figure?
- Mi6 crew: Bond ‘prime’ still answers to a male M, perhaps played by a former Bond contender? No Q but maybe an R n D team (literally, R / D as codenames?). Older Bond meets M-oneyPenny, same Tanner/Robinson/Q crew from Brosnan era? You can maybe throw in Zukovsky / Wade and their younger counterparts too, provided continuity unharmed. Ronnie Valance can make an appearance, too (Alun Armstrong?). Ponsonby, Goodnight and even May, Bond’s housekeeper, could make appearances?
- Girls: Older Bond initially still sees Dr Molly and Danish Professor? But abandons his little black book at the close to embrace pipe and slippers with Natalya as he ponders a possible knighthood, smiling into the London sunrise? Younger him learns a trick or two from Rhoda Masters (Catherine Zeta Jones?) before having his heart broken by Gala Brand (Sienna Miller) as she returns to her groom to be despite brief affair with 007?
- Gadgets: Exploding laptop. Cufflinks with trackers built in. Suit containing bespoke parachute. Armoured Lotus/Bentley.
- Ending: Big bastards in boiler suits storm the baddie’s compound with young Bond. 007’s older self then finishes that unfinished business, years later; foiling evil plot (an assassination?). Flashback once more to younger Bond finishing THAT name introduction, as credits roll to THAT theme tune (rearranged by Carter Burwell, John Powell or a returning David Arnold?). JAMES BOND WILL RETURN. Etc..
CROWD PLEASING. SOPHISTICATED. NOSTALGIC. CURRENT. FASHIONABLE. FORWARD LOOKING. FUN. PATRIOTIC POPCORN PROPAGANDA.
That’s how I would do it, anyway. But it’s just a theory and this is but a blog. And contrary to belief in pseudo-erudite, lazy media circles? Pasting bond ideas together ‘aint rocket science..or even A Level English literature ‘difficult’. Anyone can do it, right? Though naturally, nobody does it better than James…(ok that’s enough: Grow up, 007!).
M(o)o)re next week? Possibly. WILL JAMES BOND RETURN? HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, ONE AND ALL, IN ANY EVENT. TRANSMISSION ENDS X