Peter Janson-Smith, Fleming’s literary agent, dies

Peter Janson-Smith

Peter Janson-Smith

Peter Janson-Smith, Ian Fleming’s literary agent and a behind-the-scenes figure in the success of the literary James Bond, has died according to multiple social media posts by friends and family members.

Janson-Smith, 93, helped raise the visibility of Fleming’s original novels and short stories during the author’s lifetime. After Fleming’s death, eventually he became the chairman of Glidrose, now known as Ian Fleming Publications.

In that capacity, Janson-Smith helped launch the 007 continuation stories penned by John Gardner and Raymond Benson than ran from the early 1980s into the early 2000s.

The literary Bond had its ups and downs after Fleming died in 1964. Kingsley Amis wrote Colonel Sun under the pen name Robert Markham. But that proved to be a one-off. In the 1970s, Fleming biographer John Pearson took a stab with a “biography” of Bond that was again a one-off. 007 screenwriter Christopher Wood wrote novelizations of the Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

It wasn’t until Gardner’s 1981 007 debut, Licence Renewed, that the Bond continuation novels began publishing on a regular schedule. After Gardner’s run, Janson-Smith helped recruit Benson, author of a non-fiction work about the 007 film and novels/short stories, to continue.

Benson wrote a 2010 article describing Janson-Smith’s life published on the Commander Bond 007 fan site.

Janson-Smith told Benson how the Christopher Wood novelizations came about.

“We had no hand in that other than we told the film people that we were going to exert our legal right to handle the rights in the books,” Benson quoted Janson-Smith as saying. “They chose Christopher Wood because he was one of the screenwriters at the time, and they decided what he would be paid. We got our instructions on that, but from then on, these books-of-the-films became like any other Bond novel—we controlled the publication rights.”

Near the end of the piece by Benson, Janson-Smith reflected on his career.

“At age eighty-seven,” Janson-Smith told Benson, “it is time to call it a day, but I am still a consultant where my experience has a value. I suppose you could say I’m on the ‘inactive duty’ list of the Double-O section!”

Mendes has a new movie project and it’s not Bond 25

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes

Apparently this time he meant it.

Sam Mendes, director of Skyfall and SPECTRE, told the BBC last year that he was “probably” done directing Bond films. Of course, after 2012’s Skyfall, he had said the thought of directing another 007 adventure made him “physically ill.” Mendes apparently took some Alka Seltzer and directed SPECTRE (plus got a big raise). So, naturally, there was some skepticism about his 2015 comments.

However, the Deadline: Hollywood website reported (and other outlets confirmed) Mendes has lined up another directing gig, a movie based on an upcoming book by author Gay Talese.

EXCLUSIVE: Sam Mendes and DreamWorks have captured screen rights to the Gay Talese article The Voyeur’s Motel that got the town all hot and bothered when the April 11th The New Yorker article hit. Mendes will direct and produce with Steven Spielberg a film based on the article and a book that Talese has written. The book, which bears the same title, will be published July 12th by Grove Press. Word is the deal was at or close to $1 million.

The story doesn’t specify when filming might start, much less when the film would arrive in theaters. But the news would seem to take Mendes out of the conversation for Bond 25.

The next 007 film has no release date because, for now, there’s no studio to release it because Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is still seeking a studio partner after Sony’s most recent contract expired.

On the other hand, if Bond 25 gets pushed back to 2019 or 2020, Mendes could be available to direct it.