Happy 106th birthday, Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming

Today, May 28, is the 106th birthday of James Bond creator Ian Fleming (and the fictional Ernst Stavro Blofeld, for that matter).

Anyway, a lot of things, this blog included, wouldn’t be possible without the author.

Not a whole lot happening for Mr. Fleming’s birthday this year. However, later in 2014, there will be the first in a new series of Young Bond novels. UPDATE: The Book Bond website reports the cover image is out and the title will be Shoot to Kill.

A year from now, there will be even more to talk about related to Fleming’s birthday.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie will have been out (and may be out on home video already). It will be interesting if Fleming receives some sort of credit for naming the Napoleon Solo character or is mentioned in the movie’s publicity. Also, The filming for Bond 24 should either be finished or fairly close to it.

U.N.C.L.E. 50th anniversary event planned for LA

The original U.N.C.L.E.s

The original U.N.C.L.E.s

The 50th anniversary of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is scheduled to be celebrated in September in the Los Angeles area. All the details aren’t set yet, but here’s information FROM A FACEBOOK PAGE for the gathering.

“The Golden Anniversary Affair” – a two day event “Somewhere in Los Angeles”, Sept. 26th-27th, 2014, will be celebrating a half century of U.N.C.L.E.. This once in a lifetime event will feature a cast and crew reunion, a display of original props, presentations by U.N.C.L.E. aficionados as well as other surprises. A special feature will be an exclusive “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” MGM /SONY Studios tour that features a visit inside STAGE 10 where U.N.C.L.E HQ once stood. Keep Channel “D” open for more information as it becomes available.

The show debuted on Sept. 22, 1964, and ran until Sept. 15, 1968. A movie based on the series will be released in January 2015.

UPDATE (May 28): The event now HAS A WEBSITE, which says that participating U.N.C.L.E. crew members include Joseph Sargent, a leading director on the series; Fred Koenekamp, who photographed 90 of the 105 Man From U.N.C.L.E. episodes; and George Lehr, who was assistant to the producer and associate producer.

Three Tom Mankiewicz 007 anecdotes

"Mankiewicz? I have some more ideas."

“Mankiewicz? I have some more ideas.”

Empire magazine’s website has A 2010 INTERVIEW with screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz about his work on James Bond films.

A couple of anecdotes may be of interest.

Connery’s contribution to the script of Diamonds Are Forever: There may been various tellings of a script meeting Mankiewicz had with star Sean Connery. This interview had additional details.

When Lana Wood appears at the crap table and says, “Hi, I’m Plenty.” Bond says, “Why, of course you are.” She says, “Plenty O’Toole.” (Connery) asked me if he could respond, “‘Named after your father perhaps?’” I said, “It’s a great line.” But the very fact that he asked me – I was (only) 27 years old – shows you the kind of way he goes about his work. He’s totally professional. Any other actor would just have tried it right in the take. I was amazed. It’s a good line, and it’s his line.

The writer’s deleted reference to From Russia With Love in The Spy Who Loved Me: Mankiewicz did an uncredited rewrite on The Spy Who Loved Me. The finished film referenced, briefly, Tracy from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It occurred in a scene where Bond and Soviet agent Triple-X verbally joust to show off how each knows the other’s dossier.

Mankiewicz wanted to insert a From Russia With Love reference in the same scene.

The Best Bond quip maybe that I ever wrote – and I wrote hundreds of them – was cut out of The Spy Who Loved Me. It’s when Roger (Moore) meets Barbara Bach at the bar. He knows that she’s a Soviet Major or something and she knows he’s 007. Anyway, he says, “I must say, you’re prettier than your pictures, Major,” and she responds, “The only picture I’ve seen of you, Mr. Bond, was taken in bed with one of our agents – a Miss Tatiana Romanova.”…Roger then said, “Was she smiling?” And Barbara Bach answers, “As I recall, her mouth was not immediately visible.” Roger retorts, “Then I was smiling.”

You can read the entire Bond-related portion of the interview by CLICKING HERE. From the same interview, you can read what Mankiewicz said about the Christopher Reeve Superman movies BY CLICKING HERE.

UPDATE: In the Superman portion of the interview, Mankiewicz provides some 1972 quotes from Connery. According to the screenwriter, he had been asked by 007 producer Albert R. Broccoli to see if Connery could be enticed to play Bond in Live And Let Die.

He said, “Listen, Boy-o, one of the things I always hear is that I owe it to the public to play Bond. I’ve done six fucking movies. When do I stop owing it to the public? It’s not a question of being kind or unkind. What, after the twelfth or fifteenth? After they stop making money anymore and people say, “What, that’s all he plays? How much do you owe after six films?” I understood completely. If he didn’t get out then, he would just be James Bond. His other films wouldn’t be taken seriously.

Bond 24: some teasing from Mendes

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes brushed off one of his favorite Skyfall sayings to briefly discuss Bond 24.

Here are the details (as few as they are) from THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD from May 21:

Sam Mendes was pressed for clues about the next Bond film, entitled Bond 24, at a BFI Southbank screening of Paris, Texas, last night — but the director’s lips were sealed. “It’s being written, that’s all I can tell you. If I told you I’d have to kill you.”

Not much more to pass along. Back in March, Bond 24 scribe John Logan said the movie’s first draft script was almost done. Logan was hired to write Bond 24 and Bond 25 as a two-part story. The two-part plan was jettisoned to lure Mendes back as director. Mendes has referred to Bond 24 as the “second part of a two-part story.”

The movie is scheduled to start filming this fall for an October 2015 release in the U.K. and the following month in the U.S. (Typo from earlier version eliminated).

A shoutout to our friends at the James Bond Dossier who mentioned the London Evening Standard story.

Matthew Vaughn’s latest looks more U.N.C.L.E. than 007

The Movies.com website has a post about Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The website describes the movie, directed by Matthew Vaughn and due out this fall, as “like James Bond but way more ridiculous.” But it actually looks more U.N.C.L.E. than 007.

Based on the trailer, it’s about the exploits of an international spy organization, like U.N.C.L.E. was. Also, characters enter a hidden entrance via a hook in a trailor shop, like Del Floria’s in U.N.C.L.E.

Judge for yourself:

Wilson and Broccoli to produce Snowden movie

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson

The co-bosses of Eon Productions, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, are slated to produce a movie about NSA leaker Edward Snowden, entertainment news websites reported including VARIETY.COM and DEADLINE: HOLLYWOOD.

Sony optioned “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State,” a book by journalist Glenn Greenwald, for Wilson and Broccoli to produce, according to the websites.

Several studios were seeking to make the book into a movie, The New York Times reported in October 2013. The Times, at that time, identified Barbara Broccoli as being part of the Sony effort. Sony’s Columbia Pictures has released the last three Bond movies and will do so again with 2015’s Bond 24.

Wilson and Broccoli have pursued a number of non-Bond film projects in recent years. It’s part of a new normal at Eon, where the principals want longer breaks between 007 movies to work on other projects.

007 films to get a theater showing near Chicago

Sean Connery during the production of Goldfinger.

Sean Connery during the production of Goldfinger.


Three James Bond films are scheduled to be shown again on the big screen near Chicago in September.

A 50th anniversary showing of Goldfinger has been scheduled at the Classic Cinemas Paramount Theater in Kankakee, Illinois, at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 5, according to the Classic Cinemas website. A digitally remastered copy of the third James Bond is slated to be shown.

The next day, the same theater will have two Bond movies: a 40th anniversary showing of The Man With The Golden Gun at 4:15 p.m., and The Spy Who Loved Me at 7:15 p.m.

Admission for each movie is $5. Kankakee is about 60 miles south of Chicago