James Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have revealed some of their thinking behind the "Casino Royale" script...

Purvis & Wade Talk Casino Royale
14th March 2005

James Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have revealed some of their thinking behind the next movie, "Casino Royale" due out sometime in 2006, in an interview with Screen International this month.

The writing duo who penned "The World Is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day" started work on the "Bond 21" script back in March 2004, but then the title was unknown. Last month MGM confirmed the 21st James Bond film would be "Casino Royale" directed by "GoldenEye" helmer Martin Campbell.

A Faithful Adaptation
In the interview, Purvis & Wade reveal that a lot of the elements from the Ian Fleming novel will be retained, including the torture sequence and the famous final line "the bitch is dead". On the subject of the torture scene, Robert Wade said, “if it is done the right way, there are going to be a lot of crossed legs in the cinema”.

The script currently deals with 007's early years of his career in the double-O section, and will explore how the character the world is so familiar with came to be. Wade explained, "At the moment it is a very faithful adaptation, updated. The book is the story of the incident that actually forges James Bond as a secret agent. There is a James Bond that everyone knows, but it would be nice just once to show how he got there".

As Martin Campbell discussed in an interview last month, "Casino Royale" will not, however, be set in the 1950's. Purvis & Wade have been tasked to update and expand Ian Fleming's novel to modern time. Wade said, "That is our attempt at a sleight of hand. We can’t make it as a period piece".
Above: Robert Wade & Neal Purvis

The 1953 novel, which is almost entirely set around Royale-les-eaux (France), poses another problem for the writers - lack of variation in location. Wade said, "it doesn’t have the global vista and it doesn’t have the level of action with which the cinematic Bonds have become synonymous with. We’ve opened it up but tried to keep the action fairly contained, and of realistic proportions. And everything that we’ve done that expands on the book is providing a modern context for what happens”.

So does this mean a return to the style of the early Connery films? No, Neal Purvis explained, "We don’t want to hark back to the old Bond films, because everyone goes on about that. We want to do something new, faithful to the original sense".

Conceptual Integrity
But does the vision of director Martin Campbell gel with that of the writers? "Die Another Day" director Lee Tamahori brought in a lot of his own ideas (including the slated CGI ice parasurfing sequence) on the original script, so will the vision for "Casino Royale" change? Another factor that is likely to cause alterations to the script is the casting of a new James Bond. Purvis & Wade said back in early 2004 that they had written their first draft with Pierce Brosnan in mind. On the subject of a change of 007, Purvis said, "Pierce Brosnan is a very, very hard act to follow, so you need something very different. You don’t want to have Pierce-lite".

Die Another Day Post-Mortem
Their last film "Die Another Day", despite box-office success, came into criticism that 007 had become a tired format and had slipped into self-parody. On the subject of the way the film turned out, Purvis sad "The film started off down-and-dirty and got into the realms of You Only Live Twice and Moonraker, which was fun to do once". Wade explained the other motivation on moving back-to-basics, "You can’t go bigger than [Die Another Day], you have to re-conceive the thing. It has coincided with Casino Royale now being owned by Danjaq, so the timing was perfect".

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Martin Campbell Signs To Direct Bond 21 - 5th January 2005
Interview - Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Part 1)
Interview - Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Part 2)
Interview - Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Part 3)
Interview - Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Part 4)
Interview - Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Part 5)