Uh-Oh Seven

Shortly before the Oscars, screenwriter Paul Haggis talked to MTV’s Kurt Loder about scripting the upcoming 007 film CASINO ROYALE.

Loder: Were you called in to be a script doctor for the upcoming Bond movie, "Casino Royale"?

Haggis: Yeah. They sent me a script, a very good script, and
asked me to think about the character and re-conceive the character of
James Bond. I took 10 weeks on that.

Loder: How is this film going to be different than the 1967 original?

Haggis: It will be completely different, I think. You know, it
takes James Bond from the very first Ian Fleming book, "Casino Royale,"
when he becomes James Bond — when he gets his "Double 0"
status, which means he has two kills, and therefore has his license to
kill. But all the bells and whistles, all the things that Q used to
give him, the gadgets, those are all gone. So you deal with the
character as an assassin and what it feels like to be an assassin. And
I ask the question, "Why does he treat women the way that he treats

So I’ve either helped to re-energize this series, or I’ve just ruined James Bond for everybody forever.

I don’t want to pre-judge the film, but I’m a major James Bond fan. What’s the point of doing a James Bond movie if the character isn’t James Bond? Isn’t the fun of a James Bond film seeing Bond be  Bond? I hope they don’t screw it up (then again, it couldn’t be any worse than A VIEW TO A KILL, by far the worst 007 movie yet)(then again, look how reimagining BATTLESTAR GALACTICA created something far better)(then again, the original BSG was crap, so it would be hard NOT to improve upon it)

19 thoughts on “Uh-Oh Seven”

  1. Personally, I agree with Lee. We don’t need to see how Bond became Bond, any more than we need to see how Simon Templar became The Saint, or how the Impossible Missions Force was formed, but the re-invention “origin” story seems to be the big thing with established heroes these days. Being a major Bond fan from the age of seven, I’m willing to keep an open mind and wait to see what happens. One thing the movies did lose sight of is that James Bond is a professional assassin for his government, and this version seems to want to look into that. So, we’ll see what happens come October.
    Then again, the “new” version of Crockett and Tubbs scares me……..

  2. I suppose the point would be to try to get back to the root of the Bond character, as Fleming created him.
    I was skeptical at first, but after seeing Layer Cake, I think Craig will make a fine Bond.

  3. The Bond from Fleming’s books strikes me as a man who–despite the pleasures he takes in life–cannot fill the cold void created by the job of killing people. I’m glad they’re trying to get back to that. We’ll see how it turns out.

  4. Based on the brutal honesty with which Paul Haggis writes his characters, I choose to believe that he would sooner give Jessica Rabbit a breast reduction than reign in Bond’s hormones with a view toward political correctness.

  5. Based on my fuzzy memories of Ian Fleming’s novel, this actually seems to be an intelligent way to “reboot” the series. Make Bond meaner, nastier, yet arrogant and suave.
    Casino Royale might wind up being the first Bond movie I see in the theater since Licence to Kill. (I stopped watching Bond after being underwhelmed by Goldeneye.)

  6. And A VIEW TO A KILL managed to be lame with Christopher Walken and Grace frickin’ Jones as the villians!
    That is the sort of screw-up that requires many meetings with Senior Vice-Presidents involved.

  7. I’m afraid Maryan hits it. I clearly don’t like Haggis, but he’s connected and has years of credits so. Unfortunately the sad knockoff that Crash was is telling. The film about differences of merit belongs to Kasdan. He’s kill Bond. Imagine a nonsexist appearing rendition from that time period complete with dialogue. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

  8. You are so far off base. A VIEW TO A KILL, although crappy, was not nearly as crappy as LIVE AND LET DIE.
    It seemed to be written by a man whose entire education on the American South and on black Americans had been gleaned from other films. Every black person in that movie was either Uncle Remus or Shaft.
    Come to think of ti, there have been a lot of crappy Bond films. Could Haggis really do any worse?

  9. I thought they were trying to be more faithful to the books with Timothy Dalton’s versions, and they didn’t go over terribly well. Pierce did a pretty good job, but the last one left me wondering if the franchise has run out of steam.

  10. Mark, you don’t like Haggis? Crash gets better with each viewing and Million Dollar Baby? Brilliant work.
    Haggis was also the creator of EZ Streets, one of the best shows, albiet short-lived, in its season.
    He’s a smart writer. And that’s what Bond needs.

  11. Every few years, people wonder if Bond has “run out of steam”; at one point back in the late 80’s/early 90’s (between Dalton and Brosnan) discussions were held to possibly cast Sharon Stone as “Jane Bond”, or cast Wesley Snipes as the first black Bond.
    When Sean Connery quit, everyone said it was over; personally, I think OHMSS ranks as one of the best in the series, and I firmly believe George Lazenby would have grown into the part. As much a fan as I still am of Roger Moore as Simon Templar, his 007’s left me bored, but I went every two years like clockwork. Timothy Dalton WAS Ian Fleming’s character to perfection, but that was not what audiences were used to.
    The Brosnan Quartet was great in some spots, not so great in others, but the films were very personal in nature: Bond’s best friend betrayed him in one, he was forced to kill the woman he loved in another, etc. which was an attempt to inject some humanity in the character.
    As I said above, I’m willing to wait and see how things shake out. It’s not the actor who will make it work, it’s the script he’s given to work with.

  12. Lee,
    Thought you might be interested in this that I came across today.
    Apparently, he’s getting hate mail from die hard Bond fans…
    He’s a good actor. I think it will be interesting to see what he makes of the role. Although if I was being honest, I’d much rather see Pierce back in the role for one last time…and then the franchise to be put to bed.
    Oh and off topic – third series of Hustle starts this week on the BBC.

  13. I am still trying to wrap my head around Loder’s question, “How is this film going to be different than the 1967 original?”
    Whoever wrote his notes for him does know that the 1967 CASINO ROYALE was a PARODY, right?
    I mean, with David Niven and Woody Allen and Peter Sellars … how in the world would this new film NOT be different???

  14. Lee, I’m with those who are excited about the change, hopefully backtracking to the feel of the originals. From Russia, to me, is the single perfect work of art in the whole franchise, and though Dr No is imperfect, it’s more faithful to Fleming’s original cold Bond. Why keep the gadgets? They always get between the action and reality. I’m tired of pocket lasers saving Bond when by all right he sould be crushed or mangled by [take your pick]. The cartoon Bond with his toys has no emotional urgency.
    Think about Die Another Day. You might disagree, but to me the best part of that film was the beginning, where it’s a simple straightforward military action that leads to him being captured and tortured. No silly gadgets to get him out of that, though he tries his best. Later, we’ve got remote control invisible cars…what???


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