Eon Productions are re-visiting the younger James Bond concept from 20 years ago according to reports, clashing with Sony on direction...

James Bond Begins Redux
16th September 2005

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Paul Haggis, who joined Casino Royale production last month to polish the script, has spoken briefly to the Hollywood Reporter about his work on the film and the prospect of a younger James Bond 007.

The trade paper said that whilst in Toronto, "Haggis returned to his hotel room to work on his polish of the 21st James Bond film, "Casino Royale." "It's going to be good," he says. "We're trying to reinvent Bond. He's 28: no Q, no gadgets."

This confirms earlier reports that the producers and director Martin Campbell wanted "Casino Royale" to follow a "Bond Begins" concept, much like the recently rejuvenated Batman franchise.

Long-term Bond fans may recall that Michael G. Wilson wanted to take 007 back to his early career after Roger Moore's tenure as Bond was over. Back in 1985, following the disappointing performance of "A View to a Kill" and the end of Moore's era as 007, Eon Productions decided that the time had come for a reinvention of the Bond series. Veteran series scriptwriter Richard Maibaum joined forces with executive producer Michael G. Wilson to create a screenplay exploring 007's very first mission, detailing how he became the great agent that we had all come to know and love.


Above: Writer Paul Haggis

Although Albert R. Broccoli could appreciate what the men had done, he was unhappy - he reasoned that no-one would be interested in a younger Bond. What they wanted was what they were used to, just bigger and better, so Broccoli decided to stick with the tried and tested formula and hired Timothy Dalton to star in "The Living Daylights".

Twenty years on and now a co-producer in charge of the franchise, Wilson appears to be trying out the concept again.

This clashes with the studio, who want Pierce Brosnan to return for a fifth time and a guaranteed box-office success. Sony have asked Brosnan to come back, but the four-times 007 said that the invitation has to come from the producers.

Above: Co-Producer Michael G. Wilson

Brosnan explained in a GQ interview last week, "Sony are pulling their hair out over it, apparently. I was in their offices just a few weeks ago pitching Thomas Crown 2. They said, "come back" and I said "it's not up to me, guys."

"I think I was caught up between the egos of the producers and the studios, really. They (the producers) didn't know whether to go younger, they didn't know what to do, period. I don't know what the truth is. It could be as honest as that, but it seems strange, especially as each film made more and more money."

The search for an actor to play a younger Bond is proving difficult, with neither party finding common ground on any of the contenders. With the start date of principal photography looming in January, a decision one way or another is needed soon to avoid a significant delay in production.

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"Casino Royale", the 21st James Bond film, will be directed by Martin Campbell and shooting is scheduled to commence on January 17th 2006 for release on October 19th 2006. No casting decisions have been made officially, including the role of 007. Stay tuned to MI6 for the latest and most accurate coverage of Casino Royale.

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