MI6 reports from The Orange Word talk with Bond writers Neal Purvis & Robert Wade at the British Library, London...

Purvis & Wade Talk Bond & Jinx
9th March 2004

MI6 and members of the "Keeping The British End Up" discussion forums were in attendance at The Orange Word talk with Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade on Monday 8th March 2004 at The British Library.

Purvis and Wade were interviewed by Tanya Seghatchian in between clips of their films, and the discussion explored their career bringing to life one of the most famous characters in the world, James Bond 007, as well as their work on their other films such as "Let Him Have It", "Return To Sender", "Johnny English" and the canned "Jinx" project. After the talk the floor was opened up to questions from the audience.

The pair who met at the University of Kent, where they shared a room with a bunk bed, have written a total of 31 films together. Having penned the last two Bond outings, "The World is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day", Purvis & Wade are in charge of writing the next adventure due out on November 18th 2005.


Above: The British Library, London

On Bond

Wade revealed that his favourite Bond films include "Goldfinger" and "From Russia With Love" as they are "pure cinema", explaining that "it's artificial but it's better than life:"


"If you blow it you won't get that chance again"

When asked by a member of the audience if they want to make Bond more Flemingesque, Robert Wade’s initial response was that this should really be “Flemingian - to get the Ian in!”.

Both admitted that it was impossible to make a traditional spy thriller for today's box-office demands, but Wade referenced the first part of "Die Another Day" as quite classically Fleming.

Left: Purvis & Wade in Cadiz, Spain, during the shooting of "Die Another Day".

The pair revealed that they have been working on the Bond 21 screenplay for a couple of weeks. "Obviously all the cliches are already in place", said Purvis.

"Internal conspiracy is dead, it's so dull"

The writers had the idea of a person using a motor boat engine to attack someone in Bond 21, but they thought it had already been done so it is unlikely to make the screenplay. They quipped that "finding new ways of blowing stuff up is hard". "The twentieth film was harder than the nineteenth. But character is the thing, it's finding new ways to explore the character."


Bonding For Brosnan

The hot question from the floor was about Brosnan and the `will he, won't he` rumours surrounding the actor. Their response, after much pressure, was that “as far as we are aware Pierce is still James Bond”.

Neal Purvis expanded a little more about their work with Brosnan, "[He is] a great Bond and he gives you a lot to work with as a writer. Seriously, he is very good at suggesting an undercurrent. He shows that there is a shadow on this man.”


They also talked candidly about the cancelled ‘Jinx’ project saying that they were “disappointed” and that it was shelved at the last minute by MGM because similar style films ("Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle", "Lara Croft 2") had under performed at the box-office and the risk of an $80m-90m budget could not be justified. “Halle Berry wanted to do it, we wanted to do it and the producers wanted to do it,” they explained.

The biggest surprise though was discovering that Stephen Frears ("Dangerous Liaisons", "High Fidelity") had been lined up as the director and they had been working on the project for two months.

One of other highlights of the evening was discussion of earlier drafts of their films. Purvis & Wade revealed that for "The World Is Not Enough", after landing on The Millennium Dome, Bond was originally to have quipped “Well, at least its useful for something”.

Their next film, "Return To Sender", has just finished shooting and will be released later in 2005. The story, which was first written by the duo 14 years ago, is about a man who writes to death row inmates and sells their final letters.

Thanks to Neal Purvis & Robert Wade, The Orange Word, The British Library, and forum members phillipwhitfield and overkill.

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