Ex-007 scribe Morgan tells NYT about near-death of his Hereafter screenplay

Peter Morgan, hired to write Bond 23 before production got shut down, got his newest screen credit this week when “Hereafter” hit theaters. It turns out his script for the movie directed by Clint Eastwoods went through some complications almost as severe as he has experienced in the world of 007.

Charles McGrath of The New York wrote about it in an Oct. 13 article, which included extensive quotes from both Morgan and Eastwood. A sample:

(Morgan’s) involvement in a project about the afterlife is in many ways even more remarkable than Mr. Eastwood’s, and his script, as it happens, underwent a near-death experience and then a resurrection.

“How did this come about? I have no idea, really,” Mr. Morgan said from his car while stuck in traffic in Vienna, where he lives part of the year and does almost all of his writing. “I am a person of the Enlightenment, as it were.”

Normally an obsessive outliner and reviser, he began writing a screenplay without any clear idea of where it was going. “So much of what I usually do offers solution or explanations, but this time I wanted to write something open ended,” he said. “I didn’t want answers. I wanted to ask questions.”

To read the entire story, which goes on to describe how M. Night Shyamalan and Steven Spielberg got interested before Eastwood took over, just JUST CLICK HERE. You can also read Times movie critic A.O. Scott’s evaluation of the film BY CLICKING HERE.

The question for Bond fans is whether Morgan’s Bond 23 work fares as well as his efforts for Hereafter. In an interview with the Coming Soon Web site(which you can read by CLICKING HERE), Morgan indicated he hadn’t gotten past the outline stage when financial troubles at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. shut down production. Morgan also made it sound like he won’t return to the project:

CS: I don’t know how much you can talk about this, but as far as working on the James Bond script, how far had you gotten along before they pulled the plug? Did you have a finished script?
Morgan: No, no, no, I hadn’t gotten that far. I was working on an outline when they said, “We’re going to have to stop this process now,” and when it came to the point where I was going to commit to doing the Freddie Mercury film, I sort of discussed with my reps that it would probably take me out of all consideration and that’s what’s happened, and I wish them the best.