007 scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade recently talked about their work on Casino Royale and have revealed some details on the upcoming film Bond 22...

Purvis & Wade On Bond 22
29th January 2007

James Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade talked to The Trades this week about their work and of the upcoming "Bond 22". Purvis & Wade have been the regular writing duo for 007 since 1998, delivering scripts for "The World Is Not Enough", "Die Another Day" and, most recently, "Casino Royale". Although Oscar-winner Paul Haggis got a lot of media attention for the success of "Casino Royale", it was Purvis & Wade who massaged Fleming's story in to a modern day movie format and produced the first draft screenplay.

The pair enjoyed a BAFTA nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay at this years' awards, to which Neal Purvis was pleased, "We were very surprised by the nominations, because it takes something for people to think of Casino Royale as just a good film and not a Bond film." Wade added "Being nominated is a huge leap forward for a Bond movie."

Above: Neal Purvis and Robert Wade on the "Casino Royale" Venice set at Pinewood Studios

As well as ushering in a new 007 in the shape of Daniel Craig, Purvis & Wade also took Bond's character back to the roots of Ian Fleming's first novel - a factor which was key to the movie's success explained Purvis. "The important thing was that Casino Royale was very much a character piece. It's something you really couldn't do with the other Bonds, because they were already up and running. If you gave them a problem, it wasn't something they could carry throughout the film very easily because it was something that just appeared there and then."

The first act of "Casino Royale" and the finale in Venice did not feature in Fleming's novel, and is a product of Purvis & Wade's imagination when they expanded the 1953 story for a modern day audience.

"We brought in quite a lot of new stuff," Wade explained. "In the end, that whole sequence in Venice, there's nothing of that in the book. It just seemed emotionally right that that's where their relationship should come unstuck. The book doesn't have enough for the modern audience that is used to what the Bond movies give you. We had quite a lot of work to do. But, in the end, the great thing about the book is that it focuses on James Bond."


And a lot of that focus is well spent says Purvis, "[Daniel Craig] is such a good actor that he can convey things without being given a line. And also, once you saw the way the film worked, he just feels like an unstoppable force. A Bond film is meant to be entertainment, so it has to be slightly removed from reality. This one is much closer to reality. It's still a heightened world though, where you try to make a card game a major part of financing terrorism. It's just extreme."

Aside from the media controversy surrounding Craig's casting as Bond, some fans were upset before the cameras started rolling for other reasons. Despite them not appearing in Fleming's novel on which the film is based, the absence of mainstays Q and Moneypenny ruffled a few feathers. Many assumed that for Bond 22, when Bond is a fully fledged double-0 agent at MI6, they would be a shoe-in. But is this the case? "Some people think they should be there, and some people know that they shouldn't be there," Wade explained. "With the way Casino Royale ends, you know there's still unfinished business for Bond. He may say, ‘The name's Bond, James Bond,' but there's still a lot of stuff churning up inside him. So, if you're going to explore that, and we've got this great actor to do that with, what you don't want to do is suddenly clamp it down with all these familiar elements that keep your focus off him. He's the great asset." Purvis went on to say that out of the two characters, it would be most likely for Moneypenny to 'return' in Bond 22, "Q presents more problems. People have all got gadgets now. Other films have lots of gadgets as well... The idea of Q coming back, for the moment, it's just not a high priority."


MI6 previously reported that John Cleese still had an option remaining of the next film to feature Q, following his previous two appearances ("The World Is Not Enough", "Die Another Day").

This was widely expected to be "Casino Royale" until news broke that the film would not feature Q, something that Cleese only found out second-hand. Further to Dame Judi Dench playing M, Cleese reprising his role as Q for a fresh-faced 007 at the beginning of his career would throw up yet more continuity issues for the fan base to discuss.

Purvis & Wade were, understandably, a little more cagey when quizzed about the upcoming Bond 22 script. The pair refused to comment on whether the plot featured Vesper's Algerian boyfriend being a central character in Bond's quest to topple the organisation that Le Chiffre worked for. Wade simply said, "I can't comment", which will no doubt cause fans to assume the plot is alive and kicking.

Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini (pictured opposite) this week confirmed that he will be reprising his role as Rene Mathis in Bond 22, and that the uncertainty of his character's motives would be cleared up as one of the "good guys". He also mentioned that the 'double agent' status of Mathis with Mr White's organisation would ultimately be a lynch pin to Bond's success.

One rumour did get shot down though - the perpetual title guessing game dreamt up by fan sites and media sources alike. Wade firmly dismissed the possibility of Bond 22 being titled "Risico", after one of Fleming's short stories.

The timetable for Bond 22 also received some reinforcement. MI6 previously reported that January 2008 was the target date for principal photography.

Wade backed this up by saying "The idea is for the movie to start shooting at the beginning of next year. It would be nice to have the draft next week. [Laughs]. The sooner the better. It's not an easy thing to do, because the bar was raised with the last picture, so we have to raise our game again."


From the comments made by Purvis & Wade, and also what they refused to confirm or deny, earlier reports that Bond 22 would be a direct continuation of "Casino Royale" seem to stack up. For the first time in the Bond series, it would appear that Bond 22 could be seen as a direct sequel to the previous film in the franchise, despite there being many opportunities for this inter-film continuity in the past.