Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman
It’s been a few days since stories came out that there are plans for a James Bond stage musical to be produced by Merry Saltzman, daughter of Harry Saltzman, co-founder of Eon Productions.
Since then, there haven’t been any more details about James Bond: The Musical. We can’t offer many answers, but we’re more than willing to pose the questions.
Where did Merry Saltzman get the rights for this project? Stories in BROADWAY WORLD.COM and PLAYBILL said Saltzman had “secured the rights” for a stage production. But where from?
Ian Fleming Publications, run by 007 creator Ian Fleming’s heirs, controls the literary rights. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Danjaq (holding company for the Broccoli-Wilson family) control the film rights.
Once upon a time, Harry Saltzman had half of Danjaq. But he sold his share in 1975 to United Artists because of financial troubles. MGM acquired UA in the early ’80s.
Neither Ian Fleming Publications or MGM/Danjaq has publicly commented about Ms. Saltzman’s plans.
Is there any kind of precedent for this? In the 1980s, there was an attempt to mount a non-musical Casino Royale play but nothing happened.
Raymond Benson, who’d go on to write 007 continuation novels published from 1997-2002, was involved in the ill-fated project. He gave an interview in 2007 to the journal Paradigm. Excerpts were published by the MI6 JAMES BOND WEBSITE as well as the COMMANDER BOND FAN WEBSITE.
According to the interview excerpts, the Fleming literary estate commissioned the play. Benson adapted Ian Fleming’s first novel into a play but the literary estate opted not to continue. By the late 1990s, Danjaq/Eon secured the film rights to Casino.
Benson is quoted in the interview as saying the “stage play cannot be produced without the movie people’s permission…I own the copyright of the play, but the Fleming Estate owns the publication rights and the movie people own the production rights.”
It should be noted that Merry Saltzman’s project is supposed to have an all-new story, rather than adapt any Fleming novel, According to the Playbill story it will have “several Bond villains, plus some new ones.”
Is this a good idea? Decades ago, there were probably some who scoffed that Pygmalion could be made into a musical. Yet, My Fair Lady was made. Then again, some people thought a musical play featuring Spider-Man was a sure winner and things didn’t turn out that way.
For now, color us skeptical. Until we know more, however, here’s a 2012 video that our friends at The James Bond Dossier found a few days ago.
Filed under: James Bond Books, James Bond Films, Uncategorized | Tagged: Broadway World.com, Casino Royale, Danjaq LLC, Eon Productions, Harry Saltzman, Ian Fleming Publications, James Bond: The Musical, Merry Saltzman, Playbill, Raymond Benson | 3 Comments »