Len Deighton on From Russia With Love

Len Deighton and Michael Caine

The Deighton Dossier blog has a new interview with author Len Deighton. You can read the entire interview by CLICKING HERE One thing that caught our eye was Deighton’s description of his work on From Russia With Love, the second 007 film.

The Q and A featured questions from readers. One of those readers was Jeremy Duns, journalist (he dug out Ben Hecht’s screenplay drafts for producer Charles K. Feldman’s Casino Royale) and spy author.

Richard Maibaum got the screenplay credit for From Russia With Love, with Johanna Harwood receiving an “adapted by” credit. Maibaum had a long association with Eon Productions co-founder Albert R. Broccoli. On the early Bond films, Harry Saltzman, the other Eon co-founder, was involved heavily in developing the scripts and often sought English writers such as Paul Dehn and John Hopkins. Saltzman later produced the Harry Palmer series, starring Michael Caine, based on Deighton novels.

Here’s how Deighton in the Deighton Dossier interview, prompted by a question from Duns, described his time working on the film:

I’m very interested in your work on From Russia With Love – do you have any surviving drafts of your script and how do you regard it?

Len: I went to Istanbul with Harry Saltzman, plus the director and the art director. As with virtually all movies, the producer is the driving force who gets the idea, buys the rights, commissions the screenplay, chooses the actors and employs the director.

Harry demonstrated this creative power. We took breakfast together every day so that he could guide me and teach me how film stories worked. It was a wonderful course in movie making especially as the rest of each day was spent roaming around Istanbul with Harry plus the director and art director talking about locations and building the sets back in England.

I’ve always been rather careless about typescripts and notes etc. And having a restless disposition I have packed, unpacked and repacked countless times as my family and I lived in different countries, I don’t have much written stuff left.

Terence Young directed the movie and Syd Cain worked as art director, with Michael White as assistant art director.

The Deighton Dossier and this blog, are members of the Coalition Of Bloggers wRiting About Spies. We noticed the From Russia With Love mention from Tweets by Jeremy Duns.

Skyfall ticket sales total $287 million after 10 days

Ticket sales of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, totaled $287 million after 10 days of release, the DEADLINE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS WEB SITE and BOX OFFICE MOJO WEB SITE reported in separate stories.

The movie, which comes to U.S. theaters on Nov. 9 (the day before at Imax theaters), had ticket sales of $156 million this weekend. Nikki Finke, founder and editor-and-chief writes of Deadline writes:

“Overseas Bond numbers are huge. Exceptional results across the board fr Skyfall,” a Sony exec tells me. Sony’s markets earned an estimated $139 million for the weekend and MGM’s licensees did and estimated $17 million. IMAX issued an estimated weekend gross of $4.3M in 132 overseas locations over 36 territories, or $33,000+ per screen. Among holdovers, the UK fell off just 21% from its opening weekend to gross $25.7M and bring the 10-day market cume to a staggering $85.8M. France added $14.3M in its 2nd frame to bring the market cume to $30.0M, already passing the lifetime of Casino Royale and a day from passing Quantum Of Solace.

Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures unit is releasing Skyfall and co-financed the film with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

You can CLICK HERE to read the entire Deadline story or CLICK HERE to view all of the Box Office Mojo story.

One item of note in Finke’s piece. It says, “Skyfall cost much less than” either Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace. Finke doesn’t provide an estimate of production costs. If correct, that would mean that Skyfall is more profitable than the previous two 007 entries. That’d be good news for Sony and MGM because of falling sales for DVDs.

Quantum cost as much as $230 million to make. Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the co-bosses of Eon Productions, have said Skyfall cost about as much as Quantum, though they haven’t provided a figure either.

UPDATE: A reader (see response) noes that Casino cost less and provided an estimate. Other estimates have been $102 million at The Numbers Web site and $150 million at Box Office Mojo..