Some questions for the Bond 24 press conference

Bond 24 logo

While no date has been set, it’s still expected there’ll be a news conference held for the start of production of Bond 24.

We still stand by our idea that it may be best to even take questions. But that’s not likely to happen. So, here’s our suggestions for questions to ask the producers, cast and crew.

For Sam Mendes: You said in April that you came back to direct Bond 24 because “I felt there was a way to create the second part of a two-part story.” Given that both Skyfall’s villain and M were killed, what does that mean?

A question that depends on what the press release says: Is it really true that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade worked on the script? The involvement of Purvis and Wade was reported by Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail over the summer. Given Bamigboye’s record of 007 scoops being proven correct, it’s pretty assumed that is what happened.

But nothing has been said officially since MGM announced in November 2012 that John Logan would write Bond 24 and Bond 25.

It’s possible the press release that probably goes out at the same time will reference Purvis and Wade. If it does, this rephrased question could be used:

In November 2012, MGM announced John Logan was writing Bond 24 and Bond 25. What happened to change this? Why bring Messrs. Purvis and Wade back?

For Michael G. Wilson: Mr. Wilson, you’re in your early 70s now. Do you plan to continue on in your present capacity? Or might you retire?

For Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli: Skyfall did $1.11 billion in worldwide box office. Are you confident Bond 24 (or actual title if that has been released) can perform the same or better?

For Sam Mendes: Skyfall was shot digitally. Bond 24 is to be shot on film, according to your director of photography. What’s the reason for the change?

For Wilson and Broccoli: What’s the progress on your planned movie about Edward Snowden?

For Sam Mendes: Will the gunbarrel be at the start of the movie this time?

Purvis & Wade to adapt Len Deighton novel, Variety says

Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis.

Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis.

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who’ve worked as writers on the last six James Bond movies, will adapt the Len Deighton novel SS-GB for the BBC, VARIETY REPORTED.

The BBC production will consist of five one-hour episodes, Variety said. Here’s an excerpt:

It is set in an imaginary Britain controlled by the Nazis, if Germany had occupied the country. It centers on a police detective caught between the Nazis and the British resistance.

Purvis and Wade were summoned earlier this year to rewrite John Logan’s script for Bond 24, Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail reported in June. The duo delivered a draft that was “substantially different” that Logan’s original, Bamigboye reported July 31.

Purvis and Wade originally weren’t to have been involved with Bond 24 after working on 007 films starting with The World Is Not Enough in 1999 and through 2012′s Skyfall. The Bond 24 script was additional tweaked by playwright Jez Butterworth, ACCORDING TO A NEW YORKER PROFILE OF BUTTERWORTH. Butterworth also did uncredited work on Skyfall, the magazine said.

TWINE’s 15th anniversary: a transition for 007

The World Is Not Enough poster

The World Is Not Enough poster

The World Is Not Enough, the 19th film in the 007 film series made by Eon Productions, marked a transition.

Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli hired a director, Michael Apted, with little experience in action movies. Apted was brought on because of his drama experience.

The producers also hired a new writing team, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, to develop the story. They’re still in the world of 007 15 years later.

The script development established a pattern the duo would soon be familiar with. They delivered their script, which would be reworked by other writers. In the case of The World Is Not Enough, Dana Stevens, Apted’s wife, revised the story. Another scribe, Bruce Feirstein, worked on the final drafts. Purvis, Wade and Feirstein would get a screen credit.

Meanwhile, Judi Dench’s M got expanded screen time, something that would persist through 2012′s Skyfall. The film also marked the final appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Q. John Cleese came aboard as Q’s understudy.

Pierce Brosnan, in his third 007 outing, was now an established film Bond. In interviews at the time, he talked up the increased emphasis on drama. In the film, Bond falls for Elektra King, whose industrialist father is killed in MI6′s own headquarters. But in a twist, Elektra (played by Sophie Marceau) proves to be the real mastermind.

The movie tried to balance the new emphasis on drama with traditional Bond bits such as quips and gadgets, such as the “Q boat” capable of diving underwater or rocketing across land. Some fans find the character of Dr. Christmas Jones, a scientist played by Denise Richards, over the top.

Sometimes, the dual tones collided. Cleese’s initial appearance was played for laughs. In the same scene, however, Q, in effect, tells Bond good-bye in what’s intended to be a touching moment. It was indeed the final good-bye. Llewelyn died later that year as the result of a traffic accident.

The movie was a financial success, with $361.8 million in worldwide box office. Broccoli and Wilson, meanwhile, would return to the idea of increased drama in later entries after recasting Bond with Daniel Craig.

New Yorker says playwright tweaking Bond 24 script

Bond 24 logo

The New Yorker, IN A PROFILE OF PLAYWRIGHT JEZ BUTTERWORTH in its Nov. 10 issue, says the writer has tweaked Bond 24′s script, and did similar work on Skyfall’s story.

Here’s an excerpt:

It was early September, and Butterworth, who divides his time between London and a farm in Somerset, had spent the week in conference with Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig, tweaking story lines for the new Bond movie…This was Butterworth’s second Bond; he worked on “Skyfall,” too, making the kind of script changes that his twelve-year-old self, watching the movie at the St. Albans Odeon, would be pleased to see. “You know, like Bond doesn’t have scenes with other men. Bond shoots other men—he doesn’t sit around chatting to them. So you put a line through that.”

The Bond 24 script began with John Logan and then got overhauled by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who delivered their draft in July, ACCORDING TO BAZ BAMIGBOYE OF THE DAILY MAIL.

Bond 24: The calm before….

Bond 24 logo

It’s a little more than a month before Bond 24 is supposed to start production. Yet, compared to 2011, as Skyfall was gearing up to start principal photography, there’s a bit of a vacuum.

In 2011, some of the major casting had become known: Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Berenice Marhloe had all been reported.

For that matter, there were (correct) reports what the title would be. One major plot twist — that Judi Dench’s M was being killed off — was reported IN THE SPRING OF 2011. By this time in 2011, it had also been reported that Harris would be revealed to be the new Miss Moneypenny.

Bond 24? Not nearly as much has come out. The last big Bond 24 scoop was that scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were summoned to do a rewrite of John Logan’s script. Since then, there have been reports about the casting of a secondary Bond woman and some reports about locations.

Even Baz Bamigboye, the Daily Mail scribe who gets a lot of 007 scoops, has been quiet of late.

For a lot of fans, all of this is just fine. They don’t want spoilers. Still, for a movie that’s going to be the followup to a billion-dollar blockbuster, there’s not as much buzz as you might expect.

That will probably change shortly. Still, it’s an oddly quiet time.

Purvis & Wade deliver Bond 24 draft, Daily Mail Says

Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis.

Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis.

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have delivered their rewrite of Bond 24, which is “substantially different” than earlier drafts, THE DAILY MAIL’S BAZ BAMIGBOYE REPORTED.

According to the newspaper, the start of production for Bond 24 has been approved for “late November/early December.”

Bond 24′s original writer was John Logan, who rewrote Purvis and Wade’s earlier drafts of Skyfall. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced in late 2012 that Logan had been hired to write both Bond 24 and Bond 25. Originally, the plan was for a two-movie story arc but director Sam Mendes said in April that plan had been scrapped.

Here’s an excerpt of Bamigboye’s latest story:

‘Everyone’s excited, and all systems are pumping away at full speed,’ my 007 informant told me, adding that Purvis and Wade’s script is ‘substantially different’ from Logan’s.

‘There was an awful lot of work to do. It was a big job. The impression given was that Purvis and Wade were hired to add jokes — but it was a bigger deal than that,’ an executive at one of the studios associated with the Bond films explained.

The last comment is a reference to Bamigboye’s June story that Purvis and Wade being hired to rewrite Bond 24′s script. That article had a line that Purvis and Wade had been “asked to ‘punch up’ the script and sprinkle in more gags, emphasising the witty repartee between Daniel Craig’s 007 and Naomie Harris’s Miss Moneypenny, and focusing on the interplay between Bond and Ralph Fiennes’s M.”

The new Bamigboye story also says “Mendes almost went down on his knees to persuade Purvis and Wade to return to the Bond fold. The director had a lot of making up to do, I was told.” Mendes had brought in Logan to do rewrites for the Skyfall story begun by Purvis and Wade. The reporter says all involved did their Bond 24 work professionally.

Bamigboye had a number of scoops about Skyfall and Bond 24 proven correct, including that Naomie Harris was playing Moneypenny in Skyfall and that Logan had been hired initially to write Bond 24.

If the Daily Mail scribe’s latest story is correct that the Purvis-Wade draft is substantially different, that suggests they’ll get a Bond 24 writing credit. That would be their sixth of the 007 film series.

Bond 24 questions: the writers edition

Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis.

Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis.

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are back? There’s been no official announcement but it was reported last month by The Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye that the writers were retained to rewrite John Logan’s efforts.

Bamigboye had a number of Skyfall and Bond 24 scoops proven correct. Example: he wrote that Purvis and Wade were initially not going to be back for Bond 24, while their Skyfall co-scribe John Logan would be the new 007 film’s writer. Purvis and Wade subsequently confirmed they were leaving the series. Until, it now seems, things changed.

How extensive will Purvis and Wade’s Bond 24 script work going to be? If the duo end up getting a credit, you’ll know it will have been substantial.

The Writer’s Guild has extensive guidelines on how much work a scribe (with a team of writers such as Purvis and Wade counted as a single entity) should do to get a screen credit. A writer or writing team must contribute more than 33 percent of the finished product for an adapted script, 50 percent for an original one. Bond 24 falls under the adapted category since it uses a character who originally appeared in a novel.

Getting a credit isn’t as simple as counting lines of dialogue. A credit is supposed to reflect “contributions to the screenplay as a whole,” according to the guild. It’s possible, for example, for a writer to change every line of dialogue but for the guild to determine there’s been no significant change to the screenplay.

In any case, if Bond 24′s credit reads something like, “Written by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade,” Purvis and Wade will have done more than revamp some dialogue or tweak a scene or two.

Is this unusual?It’s the normal method of operation for both movies in general and James Bond movies in particular. Even 007 films that had only one writing credit had contributions from other writers. For example:

–From Russia With Love had a solo screenplay credit for Richard Maibaum, but also an “adapted by” credit for Johanna Harwood, while Len Deighton did work that didn’t earn a credit.
–You Only Live Twice had a “screenplay by” credit for Roald Dahl but an “additional story material” credit for Harold Jack Bloom, the film’s first writer.
–On Her Majesty’s Secret Service had a Maibaum solo credit for the screenplay but an “additional dialogue” credit for Simon Raven, who rewrote dialogue in some scenes.
–Tomorrow Never Dies had a “written by” credit for Bruce Feirstein. Other writers took a whirl without credit between Feirstein’s first draft and his final draft.

As far as anyone knows, Live And Let Die really represented the work of only one writer (Tom Mankiewicz), and he did plenty of rewrites himself.

Is this any reason to be concerned? The Daily Mail also reported the start of Bond 24 filming was pushed back to December from October. If true, that should still be enough time for Bond 24 to meet its release date of late October 2015 in the U.K. and early November 2015 in the U.S.

What should fans look for next? The date of the press conference announcing the start of Bond 24 filming. There should also be a press release. If Purvis and Wade get a mention in that press release along with John Logan, that’ll be a sign they did a fair amount of work on the script.

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