Writer selected for Ian Fleming movie

Writer John Orloff, who scripted A Mighty Heart, has been selected to develop a screenplay for a movie about 007 creator Ian Fleming, the Hollywood Reporter disclosed this week.

To read the story, click RIGHT HERE.

To read a blogger’s take on the project, click RIGHT HERE

And for more on Orloff’s career, take a look HERE.

Thanks to our friend Gary F. for bringing this to our attention. Next question: who would be cast?

1964: U.N.C.L.E.’s crew hams it up, aka Richard Donner, ACTOR

No matter how much a writer or a director or a producer accomplishes, some cannot resist the allure of appearing before the camera. Alfred Hitchcock certainly couldn’t and his cameos in his movies probably egged others on.

In its first season, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. took the concept further. Four crew members went before the cameras in a party scene during Act I of “The Giuoco Piano Affair.” Executive Producer Norman Felton is a chess player; producer/developer Sam Rolfe is an oilman (you can tell by his string tie); and associate producer Joseph Calvelli is a writer.

But towering above them all is Richard Donner, ACTOR. The director, who wouldn’t become a big-time movie director for another 12 years, was the only crew member to get lines. Here, he shows David McCallum and Jill Ireland how acting is done. The question is which is louder: Donner’s spoken delivery or his sport coat. The scene lasts for the first 3:30 or so of this clip.

1983: ABC attempts a TV spy revival

The year 1983 was a big year for spy entertainment. Two James Bond moves, Octopussy and Never Say Never Again came out, prompting an outburst of Bondmania.

ABC, looking to cash in, gave the goahead to a new series, Masquerade, in which spymaster Lavender (Rod Taylor) recruits people who’ve never done intelligence work to perform missions.

Series creator Glen A. Larson drew upon two ’60s spy shows. The episodes were often constructed like Mission: Impossible, where the audience would get intriguing glimpses of the plan but not the entire blueprint until the end of the story. William Read Woodfield, one of the ace writers of M:I ended up contributing scripts for the show. And The Man From U.N.C.L.E. had already used the “innocent” idea where ordinary people (in effect a surrogate for the audience) were recruited to assist the heroes.

Masquerade was short lived. But if you want to get a sense of the show, here’s the start of the pilot, where KGB bad guy Oliver Reed is knocking off U.S. agents, prompting Lavender to begin Operation: Masquerade. Note: the director of the pilot was Peter H. Hunt, NOT the same Peter Hunt who directed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and a major figure in the early 007 films.

1972: 007 makes his U.S. television debut; Sam Rolfe revisits the spy genre

In the early 1970s, ABC would run long-form promos where it would spend a half-hour to highlight its programming for the upcoming television season. For 1972-73, that included a segment on the movies that would be shown. Top on the list was Goldfinger, the first 007 movie to appear on U.S. television. The first 35 seconds or so of the following clip show that. Character actor Harold Gould provides the voiceover:

Goldfinger was shown on The ABC Sunday Night Movie that season. In fact, it was the first Sunday Night Movies for the season, airing in September 1972. The network ended up editing out the gunbarrel sequence (while playing its music). Goldfinger took up 2 hours and 15 minutes, with commercials, airing from 9 vp.m. eastern time until 11:15 p.m.. In later showings, ABC cut out the entire pre-credits sequence and other scenes entirely to keep the movie to a 2-hour time slot.

There’s also something of interest for fans of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. At the end of the clip, there’s a promo for The Delphi Bureau, a short lived series created by Sam Rolfe, the developer of U.N.C.L.E.

This is an interesting clip beyond the spy entertainment. It also reflects its era. Networks considered movies an important part of their schedules. Other movies ABC promos include Lawrence of Arabia (which must have looked really crappy in pan-and-scan) and the original Dr. Doolittle. What’s more, ABC actually promotes its news coverage of the upcoming presidential election.

2009: Another big 007 centennial year

Last year was the centennial of the birth of James Bond creator Ian Fleming. It was a big year, with the release of a new Bond novel, Devil May Care and the release of the 22nd film of the Eon-produced series Quantum of Solace.

It turns out 2009 will also be a major centennial. It will be the 100th anniversary (on April 5) of the birth of Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, the producer who helped bring 007 to the screen, and (on May 26) Richard Maibuam, the screenwriter who’d be involved in 12 of the first 16 Bond films and, after Fleming, arguably the writer who had the biggest impact on Bond and his popularity with the public.

No new novels are on the horizon and who knows when Eon will have its next film. But for Bond fans this year will still merit a look back.

Meet 007 screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz

During its 2007 strike, the Writers Guild of America produced featurettes about its members. One was about Tom Mankiewicz (b. 1942), whose credits include three 1970s James Bond movies, Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun.

Mankiewicz also did the final shooting scripts for two Christopher Reeve Superman movies with the vague credit of “creative consultant.” He’s also part of a clan of writer-directors who’ve had an impact on everything from Citizen Kane to All About Eve to the script for the pilot of Ironside.

Mankiewicz gets a mixed reaction among 007 fans. His scripts ramped up the humor compared to previous films. Two examples: Blofeld in drag in Diamonds, and the presence of Sheriff J.W. Pepper in Live And Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun.

Still, in interviews for extras on 007 DVDs, the screenwriter comes across as articulate, with a gift for amusing anecdotes. So here’s a look at his WGA video:

007-themed Super Yachts

Well, here’s a devoted Bond fan for you: John A. Staluppi, founder of the Millennium Superyachts shipbuilders, names his signature yacht creations after the James Bond movies. He created the firm to build The World Is Not Enough in 1998, and then went on to build the Octopussy, Moonraker, and Thunderball. The 43.5 m Octopussy broke the 50-knot barrier 18 years ago, securing Staluppi’s reputation in the super-yachting world.

copyright CNN

copyright CNN

His latest, the 49.7 m Casino Royale, has a range of 4300th nautical miles at its 10 knots cruising speed. its interior was codesigned by Staluppi’s wife. The lounge has a theater system stocked with every James Bond movie, and it’s divide is decorated with a figurine of Vesper Lynd.

CNN.com has got the whole story. Check it out, and start thinking about how you too can get rich and play like this guy!

The FBI Vs. Spies — in German!

Back at the mothership, we had a recent ARTICLE about espionage-oriented episodes of The FBI, the long running Quinn Martin show that starred Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

Well, here’s one we didn’t get to watch when doing research. We’re not exactly sure what’s going on because, well, it’s in German. But it sure looks gripping. Spy stuff! Microfilm in a pocket knife! And former Bond girl Karin Dor is in the cast.

Take a look:

Patrick McGoohan, RIP

Like many, we were fans of Patrick McGoohan, star of The Prisoner and Danger Man (known as Secret Agent in the U.S.). His persona was unique and he took chances that other stars of his era didn’t. Reportedly, he turned down the role of James Bond, that made Sean Connery a star. But you got the impression that McGoohan never looked back.

He was also a talented director (helming some memorable episodes of Columbo). Below is a collection of clips from The Prisoner, including the line that defined the character of Number Six:

And here’s some excerpts of a Danger Man/Secret Agent episode called “Say It With Flowers.” It was directed by Peter Yates and the film editor was future 007 director John Glen.

007 back on the big screen

James Bond fans in the New York City metropolitan area have a chance to see three of Roger Moore’s 007 adventures on the big screen.

The historic Landmark Lowe’s Jersey Theater, in Jersey City, will be running The Man with the Golden Gun on Friday, January 30, and For Your Eyes Only & Octopussy on Saturday the 31st.

The Jersey Theatre is a spectacular 1920s-vintage “movie palace” lovingly restored to its original lustre. Half the fun of the show is just being in the building itself!

Details on the Moore-a-thon can be found at the theater’s “Friends of” website RIGHT HERE.

HMSS’s thoughts on the three films being presented are at:
The Man with the Golden Gun;
For Your Eyes Only ;
Octopussy .

(Thanks to Gary J. Firuta for the hot tip!)