Licence to Kill treatment: Bond meets Sanchez

Licence to Kill’s poster

Continuing the blog’s examination of a 1988 treatment by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson for what would become Licence to Kill. The treatment was provided by Gary J. Firuta.

Bond finally meet his target, Sanchez. Bond is covered by Sanchez’s security personnel. Bond is relieved of his Walther PPK and his passport.

Sanchez holds up the PPK.

“Why Senor Bond?”

Bond says he often carries around a lost of cash.

Sanchez nods and looks back to the TV screen where “Joe and Deedle conclude” their TV evangelist act.

Bond is free to walk around Sanchez’s quarters. He spots where an attack could be launched at Sanchez.

As this occurs, Sanchez orders a donation to the televangelists in his employ.

“Wonderful work these people do,” Sanchez tells Bond. “I always watch them. It is good for the soul.”

Sanchez then compliments Bond at his skill in playing blackjack. “I like your style. Your credit rating is impressive. What business are you in?”

Bond replies: “Your business, Senor Sanchez. I distribute pharmaceuticals in London. That’s why I asked your beautiful, charming Senorita Lupe to introduce us.”

Sanchez laughs.

“Your direct approach is refreshing but I do not discuss business in front of women,” Sanchez says.

Lupe leaves

Bond sits down in a chair opposite Sanchez.

“I want the East Coast business,” Bond tells Sanchez.

“Have we business there?” Sanchez asks.

“Let’s not play games, Senor Sanchez,” Bond says. “I’m interested in Milford (sic) Krest’s operation.”

Sanchez doesn’t back down. He tells Bond that “you come in here without references, carrying a weapon, talking about business I don’t understand. What’s your point?”

Bond also doesn’t back down.

“Krest is finished,” Bond says. “The D.E.A. turned over his warehouse in Key West. They took everything. Krest’s so desperate he’s ripped someone off.”

Sanchez is interested. “How do you know this?”

Bond continues: “He’s put 500 keys on the London market at bargain prices. It’s hot, I wouldn’t touch it.”

Sanchez tells Bond it will take a few days to investigate all this.

“I’m at the Hotel Presidente,” Bond says. “Be careful, Senor Sanchez. It is dangerous to corner a desperate man.”

Sanchez says he has known Krest for years. “We are hermanos, like brothers.”

Bond gestures to the television screen.

“Ask your favorite evangelists to tell you about Cain and Abel.”


1988: Licence to Kill treatment Part II

Licence to Kill’s poster

We pick up the 1988 treatment by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson after Felix Leiter has gotten married to Della.

The newlyweds drive off in a car. Meanwhile, Bond’s attention is drawn to “Pamela, standing alone further down the curb.” Bond attracts a cab and offers Pam a ride. “Thank you, no.”

Bond “accepts the rebuff with a smile and slight shrug, then gets into the cab,” the treatment says.

Meanwhile, Franz Sanchez is being questioned by Hawkins, Leiter’s associate, and Killifer. “a tough experienced D.E.A. agent.” As in the final film, Sanchez says he’s willing to pay $2 million to whoever helps him get away. Also, as in the final movie, Killifer makes a show of being offended.

Bond has made it to the “crowded wedding reception.” He encounters Della. “Obviously old friends she holds up the ring, laughing, says it took a long while but was worth it.”

Della asks Bond to get Leiter. Bond then finds Leiter in conversation with Pamela, who quickly exits.

From here, the treatment is very similar to the film, with Killifer helping Sanchez escape. We then go back to the wedding party as it is breaking up, with Bond one of the last guests.

Leiter tells Bond his honeymoon with Della will be a long one. Leiter is retiring, according to the treatment. “He’ll go partners with Jericho and he and Della will spawn a few sprats.”

After Bond leaves, Della says: “What’s this sprat stuff? Just a fish story or on the level?”

Leiter laughs and draws her closer. “Let’s find out. We’ll clean up, tomorrow.”

Things quickly go awry as Sanchez’s goons attack Leiter. Della is horrified as her husband slumps to his knees.

The treatment then shifts to Milton Krest’s Ocean Exotica Warehouse. Krest is described as “a burly, coarse, florid-faced American drug distributor.” Krest’s business, we’re told, is a front for drug operations. Killifer also is present.

As in the final film, Sanchez is going to get even with Leiter. “Sanchez castigates him for daring to think he could destroy him. To Sanchez he is nothing but a cockroach to be stepped on. But he can be useful as an example of what happens to those who stand in his way.”

As Leiter is about to get chewed on by a shark, he says, “See you in hell.”

Sanchez’s response is a bit longer than the final film. “Yes, a living hell. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

After the shark has attacked Leiter, Sanchez instructs Dario. “Pull him up,” Sanchez says. “I want enough left for his people to see.”

The next morning, Bond is at the Key West airport. He spots a newspaper headline: “COLONEL CRACK ESCAPES.” Bond quickly leaves and heads to Leiter’s bungalow. He finds Della’s body (the treatment specifies she has been strangled). He also discovers Leiter, his hair still wet, barely alive.


1988: Treatment for Licence to Kill Part I

Licence to Kill’s poster

In March 1988, Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson filed a “revised treatment” for what was still being called Bond XVI. The document resembles the finished Licence to Kill film. But, as often is the case, there are notable differences.

The treatment runs 66 pages with several pages of storyboards.

As in the film, James Bond and Felix Leiter are dressed up for the latter’s wedding and riding in a limousine.

“At the wheel is Jericho, a black friend of Leiter’s acting as chauffeur for him,” the treatment says. Leiter gets a telephone call. He “sees Hawkins, his assistant at the Drug Enforcement Agency, at the window of a Coast Guard helicopter skinning the water alongside them.”

As in the film, all of this concerns Franz Sanchez, “the legendary Colombian drug kingpin, an ex-army officer known as Colonel Crack.”

The treatment adds this bit of background: “Now with the D.E.A. Leiter has tried to arrest him for five years, but has never caught him out of his home base.”

Five years? Presumably, this means there was a longer time gap between the events of The Living Daylights (released in 1987) and this adventure.

Now, Leiter has a chance to nail Sanchez, who is on his way to Cray Cay (“a private Bahamian island”). Initially, Leiter wants Bond to explain things to his fiancee Della. “Send Jericho,” Bond replies. “I’ll come along as an observer.”

The treatment shifts to Cray Cay and includes a description of Sanchez as he steps out of his private jet. He “is forty, tall, strong, exuding authority and confidence. He has a rough surface charm but occasionally bursts into sudden murderous rages.”

At this point, Lupe Lamora, “his current inamorata,” is also on the plane with Sanchez goons including Dario, the chief bodyguard for Sanchez who gets out last.

Concerning Lupe, we’re told Sanchez “has pursued her relentlessly, turning her head with gifts and attentions. Once happy-go-lucky, she now feels trapped by his possessiveness.” Sanchez tells Dario to stay with Lupe in the plane.

Sanchez now catches up with Velasquez who is “nude in hot tub with two girls.” Sanchez tells the women (well, let’s hope they were young women) to leave and they grab towels and run off. Velasquez double-crossed Sanchez on a drug deal (“I sell real dope. I want real money”). Sanchez’s goons drown Velasquez in the hot tub.

What follows is similar to the final film. Sanchez heads to Velasquez’s single-engine light plane. The Coast Guard helicopter pursues.

“We almost got the bastard!” Leiter says.

“He’s not away yet,” Bond replies.

Bond is lowered by the Coast Guard helicopter, and attaches a cable. The Coast Guard helicopter gives it full power and the single-engine plane is helpless. “Bond sits triumphantly on the tail plane,” the treatment says.

The treatment, adds a scene not in the film. It describes the plane with Sanchez being taken to a Coast Guard base. Leiter approaches Sanchez with an arrest warrant. “Welcome to the U.S., Colonel Crack.”

The writers then describe how the main titles should unfold, with Leiter and Della getting married. “It ends as Leiter and Della, followed by Bond, come down the stairs of the church in a shower of rice.”


Frank McRae, LTK co-star, praised after his passing at 80

Frank McRae, a likeable presence in 1989’s License to Kill, received tributes after he passed away at age 80.

McRae played Sharkey, a friend of Felix Leiter who becomes an ally of James Bond as the British agent seeks to avenge Leiter’s maiming by villain Franz Sanchez. Sharkey ended up as Licence to Kill’s “sacrificial lamb.”

Robert Davi, who played Sanchez, was among those who took to social media.

Grand L. Bush, another member of The Licence to Kill cast, weighed in.

The official James Bond feed on Twitter also noted McRae’s death.

Licence to Kill’s 25th: 007 flops in the U.S.

Licence to Kill's poster

Licence to Kill’s poster

Licence to Kill, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is mostly known for a series of “lasts” but also for a first.

It was the last of five 007 films directed by John Glen, the most prolific director in the series; the last of 13 Bond films where Richard Maibaum participated in the writing; it was the last with Albert R. Broccoli getting a producer’s credit (he would only “present” 1995’s GoldenEye); it was the last 007 movie with a title sequence designed by Maurice Binder; and the it was last 007 film where Pan Am was the unofficial airline of the James Bond series (it went out of business before GoldenEye).

It was also the first that was an unqualified flop in the U.S. market.

Bond wasn’t on Poverty Row when Licence to Kill began production in 1988. But neither did 007 travel entirely first class.

Under financial pressure from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (which acquired half the franchise after buying United Artists earlier in the decade), Eon Productions moved the home base of the production to Mexico from Pinewood Studios.

Joining Timothy Dalton in his second (and last) outing as Bond was a cast mostly known for appearing on U.S. television, including Anthony Zerbe, Don Stroud, David Hedison (his second appearance as Felix Leiter), Pricilla Barnes, Rafer Johnson, Frank McRae as well as Las Vegas performer Wayne Newton.

Meanwhile, character actor Robert Davi snared the role of the film’s villain, with Carey Lowell and Carey Lowell and Talisa Soto as competing Bond women.

Michael G. Wilson, Broccoli’s stepson and co-producer, took the role as lead writer because a 1988 Writers Guild strike made Richard Maibaum unavailable. Maibaum’s participation didn’t extend beyond the plotting stage. The teaser trailer billed Wilson as the sole writer but Maibaum received co-writer billing in the final credits.

Wilson opted for a darker take, up to a point. He included Leiter having a leg chewed off by a shark from the Live And Let Die novel. He also upped the number of swear words compared with previous 007 entries. But Wilson hedged his bets with jokes, such as Newton’s fake preacher and a scene where Q shows off gadgets to Bond.

Licence would be the first Bond film where “this time it’s personal.” Bond goes rogue to avenge Leiter. Since then, it has almost always been personal for 007. Because of budget restrictions, filming was kept to Florida and Mexico.

The end product didn’t go over well in the U.S. Other studios had given the 16th 007 film a wide berth for its opening weekend. The only “new” movie that weekend was a re-release of Walt Disney Co.’s Peter Pan.

Nevertheless, Licence finished an anemic No. 4 during the July 14-16 weekend, coming in behind Lethal Weapon 2 (in its second weekend), Batman (in its fourth weekend) and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (also fourth weekend).

Glen and Maibaum were done with Bond, the latter being part of the 007 series since its inception.

Initial pre-production of the next 007 film proceeded without the two series veterans. Wilson wrote a treatment in 1990 for Bond 17 with Alfonse Ruggiero but that story was never made.

That’s because Broccoli would enter into a legal fight with MGM that meant Bond wouldn’t return to movie screens for another six years. By the time production resumed, Eon started over, using a story by Michael France as a beginning point for what would become GoldenEye. Maibaum, meanwhile, died in early 1991.

Today, some fans like to blame MGM’s marketing campaign or other major summer 1989 movies such as Batman or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. But Licence came out weeks after either of those blockbusters. In the end, the U.S. audience didn’t care for Licence. The movie’s total U.S. box office of $34.7 million didn’t match Batman’s U.S. opening weekend of $40.5 million. Licence’s U.S. box office was almost a third less than its 007 predecessor, The Living Daylights.

Licence to Kill did better in other markets. Still, Licence’s $156.2 million in worldwide ticket sales represented an 18 percent decline from The Living Daylights.

For Dalton, Glen, Maibaum and even Broccoli (he yielded the producer’s duties on GoldenEye because of ill health), it was the end of the road.

The Best Film Villains of the 1980’s(?)

While HMSS perhaps might have included Christopher Walken’s “Max Zorin” from A VIEW TO A KILL and Robert Davi’s “Franz Sanchez” from LICENSE TO KILL, (or even Alan Rickman’s “Hans Gruber” from DIE HARD), this is an interesting list of ’80’s film baddies from The list also does illustrate the relatively weak Bond villains of that time compared to the 1960’s and even the 1970’s.

Click here to view the list.

“Biff Tannen”? Ha! Those wacky college kids!

Ian Fleming Foundation acquires Licence to Kill aircraft

The Ian Fleming Foundation which, among other things, seeks to preserve and display vehicles that appeared in James Bond movies, has acquired a single-engine aircraft used by villain Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) in 1989’s Licence to Kill.

In the film, it appears that Bond (Timothy Dalton) hooks a cable aroound the Cessna plane and a U.S. helicopter hauls it in. In real life, multiple Cessna planes were used. The foundation has acquired the plane shown after the U.S. helicopter takes control.

You can see the plane in its prime in this clip near the end of a 1:30 clip on YouTube that you can view by CLICKING HERE. The clip was uploaded so it doesn’t permit embedding. But we’re leaving an image from it below because it makes this post look better.

Robert Davi’s newest political ad voiceover: Michigan’s governor race

Recently, we noted how actor Robert Davi, who played a memorable James Bond villain in 1989’s Licence to Kill, had done the narration for a political ad in California that had gotten national attention.

It’s not the only such work Davi is getting in 2010. Earlier this week, Rick Snyder, a Republican candidate for governor in Michigan, started running television ads and Davi was his narrator also. Snyder is an Ann Arbor businessman and the spot says Snyder isn’t the same as career politicians.

Here’s the spot:

Davi isn’t just a voice for rent. He’s a political conservative, which is one reason he ends up doing such spots. Here’s Davi at the 2008 Republican convention:

Robert Davi’s latest job: voiceover in a political ad

Licence to Kill may not be the most popular James Bond movie but actor Robert Davi made a strong impression as its villain, Franz Sanchez. Here’s his latest “starring” role, that of a narrator in a California political commercial:

Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann had a “quick comment” on his MSNBC show on Feb. 5, mentioning Davi (suggesting the writers of the ad should have given him easier lines than “financial conservatives in name only”). You can check that out by CLICKING HERE. After watching a commercial, there will be a menu of videos from the show. The segment about the commercial should be easy to spot (saying how the ad was baaad or words to that effect).