Hawaii Five-0’s fixation with Die Another Day


Goldfinger said, “Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: `Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”‘

We’re way beyond coincidence now. Clearly, the makers of CBS’s Hawaii Five-0, a remake of the 1968-80 television series, have a thing for Die Another Day, the 20th James Bond movie, released in 2002.

The April 15 installment featured an episode where the setting, for the second time in consecutive seasons, was set in North Korea. One of the villains was played by Rick Yune, who played Zao, the “physical villain” of Die Another Day.

Well, that could be happenstance, you say. Except, the show previously has had Will Yun Lee, who played North Korean Colonel Moon (who transforms himself into Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stephens), from the same movie. Lee has had a recurring role since the start of the show.

More tellingly, a November 2011 episode borrowed even more from Die Another Day. In that episode, scenes set in North Korea are photographed so they’re all dark while scenes set in other locales have bright colors. Also, there’s a scene where McGarrett 2.0 (Alex O’Loughlin) is tortured much the same way that Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is tortured in the 2002 Bond movie.

We’re definitely passed coincidence. Die Another Day these days tends to get mixed reviews among 007 fans. But it seems clear that it has fans among the Five-0 crew.

McGarrett 2.0 clearly has never watched Die Another Day (Nov. 21, 2011)

Compare Die Another Day vs. Hawaii Five-0 (Nov. 24, 2011)

Open Channel D: William Boyd’s Fleming research gap

William Boyd

William Boyd

For more than a year now, fans of the literary James Bond have been told how William Boyd is the right man to do a new James Bond continuation novel.

For example, an APRIL 12, 2012 story in the U.K. newspaper the Telegraph had this passage:

Corinne Turner, managing director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, said: “William Boyd is a contemporary English writer whose classic novels combine literary elements with a broad appeal.

“His thrillers occupy the niche that Ian Fleming would fill were he writing today and with similar style and flair. This, alongside his fascination with Fleming himself, makes him the perfect choice to take Bond back to his 1960s world.” (emphasis added).

Apparently the author’s fascination with Ian Fleming himself didn’t extend to titles. Boyd said April 15 that his 007 novel will be called Solo. In a written statement, Boyd said that Solo is “also a great punchy word, instantly and internationally comprehensible, graphically alluring and, as an extra bonus, it’s strangely Bondian in the sense that we might be subliminally aware of the “00” of “007” lurking just behind those juxtaposed O’s of SOLO…”

Of course, many people who are fascinated with Ian Fleming know he used the very same title — but for a television series, not a novel. While Fleming left the heavy lifting to others (principally writer Sam Rolfe), there were title pages for scripts and presentation materials that said “Ian Fleming’s SOLO,” featuring a character named Napoleon Solo, co-created by Fleming and producer Norman Felton.

The series, of course, became The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which ran from September 1964 to January 1968. The reason it wasn’t called Solo was 1) Fleming, under pressure from 007 film producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, pulled out of the TV project, selling his interest in the series for 1 British pound; 2) Broccoli and Saltzman unsuccessfully attempted to shut down production of the TV show, claiming their rights to Goldfinger (including a minor villain named Mr. Solo) had been violated but settling for the title being changed.

The Solo that William Boyd forgot

The Solo that William Boyd forgot

This is not an especially hard piece of information to find. Andrew Lycett, one of Fleming’s biographers, reminded his Twitter followers of the connection in a POSTING ON THE SOCIAL NETWORK SERVICE.

Andrew Lycett‏@alycett1
#IanFleming discussed Bond style tv series in US with producer Norman Felton, then backed out. Sold name Napoleon SOLO to Felton for £1.

Apparently, Corinne Turner also forgot about Solo and Ian Fleming (or, for that matter, the Mr. Solo character in Goldfinger). Here’s a Turner quote from the official PRESS RELEASE (VIA THE BOOK BOND WEB SITE): “Ian Fleming had a great aptitude for naming his books and his Bond titles have become true classics. Solo is a simple yet striking title which fits perfectly alongside the other books in the Bond canon.”

Now you might say, “Hey, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. hasn’t been broadcast for 45 years now.” True. “Hey, that’s just a footnote in Ian Fleming’s career.” Not really. Fleming was involved with the TV show from October 1962 to June 1963. It wasn’t just a passing fancy. He was seriously interested for a time. More importantly, it’s not just the name of an old television series. It was the name of an old television series that Ian Fleming was a participant. Some people might even find that fascinating.