MI6 got to attend "The Orange Word" Screen
Writers Season 2004, and can bring you the full transcript
from the interview. In this in depth talk Neal Purvis
and Robert Wade discuss Bond, their careers, loves
and pet hates of film...
Interview - Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Part
9th April 2004
MI6 got to attend "The Orange Word" Screen Writers
Season 2004, and can bring you the full transcript from the interview.
In this in depth talk Neal Purvis and Robert Wade discuss Bond,
their careers, loves and pet hates of film...
Peter Florence (Chair): One of the great benefits of
having written this version that wasn't eventually shot was that
it landed on the desk of the people who make the Bond films.
What was it about what you wrote that appealed to them?
Neal Purvis: Well I think it was character based and
it had inventive action and it had drama.
Robert Wade: It was quite funny as well.
Neal Purvis: Mm, it had a big sequence of when the
Thames froze over and a big chase going across the frozen Thames
which I think they could have made if they'd have really wanted
to. I'm not bitter about that at all, so it ticked all the relevant
boxes as far as Bond was concerned and plus Let Him Have It,
it just happened to be that they were looking to inject a little
more drama into Bond after Tomorrow Never Dies, which had drifted
into more total action territory.
'...I particularly liked
Goldfinger, From Russia with Love...'
Above: Robert Wade
Peter Florence: I noticed in that rather wonderful
additional bit you get in the Bond DVD that you talk a
lot about character for Bond. Now forgive me but he, there
are going to be two girls, he's going to have a relationship
with them. What is there from Fleming that you want to
dredge up of his character that you feel you contributed
Neal Purvis: I knew it was going to be difficult.
Robert Wade: It's funny because I always liked
the Ian Fleming books and I always liked the Bond movies
and I knew that they'd sort of
Peter Florence: Which Bond movies did you like?
Robert Wade: Well I particularly liked Goldfinger,
From Russia with Love and those sort of things I guess.
Neal Purvis: I think people have different favourites
depending on how old they are, we found. Some people like
Moonraker, I mean I like Moonraker but Man with the Golden
Gun or something.
Peter Florence: Well I do like the opening of it actually
Neal Purvis: Oh no I mean it's got some good bits.
why did you think God I really
want (apart from the money, which must have been attractive)
to do or we really want to do Bond?
Robert Wade: Well I can't understand you asking that
question. To me it is pure cinema and that's what it's all about.
Peter Florence: By which you mean what?
Robert Wade: It's a thing where you come out of the
cinema feeling like you've really been to the cinema, you know,
you haven't been watching television. You've had music that lifts
you, you've been asked to believe very unbelievable things and
yet you've gone along with it. I think when it comes off it's
terribly entertaining and it's very, very difficult to do.
Neal Purvis: I think imagine that we've shown
that it's very difficult. But I think if you like film,
I think you like Bond films at least, you like the Connery
ones I'd have thought. You know we had, when there was
video in the old days, we had clips of bits and bobs of
Bond movies that would be amongst the
Robert Wade: Yeah I think it's up there with Sweet Smell
of Success. It's artificial but it's better than life.
Peter Florence: How did you decide, or was it you that
decided that you would do Oil Pipeline? You must have got very
lucky, well either you got very lucky there was wonderful sort
of serendipity that it became a news story at the same time as
you writing it.
Robert Wade: Well that's because we're psychic, but
no that was kind of funny because we were on our way over to America
to start working on this thing and we hadn't had any ideas.
Neal Purvis: They'd announced the release date of the
Above: The British Library
'I think what one
tries to do is anticipate what is everyone anxious about'
Peter Florence: And they'd hired you.
Neal Purvis: Yeah, I know and you're thinking
well they must have other writers as well.
Robert Wade: Yeah, hidden away in some facility.
Peter Florence: And the release date of the film is
what like 18 months away?
Neal Purvis: Well I give Rob friendship, which is difficult
Robert Wade: Yes it was heading that way but I'd bought
this magazine and it had a picture of some oil pipelines in the
Caspian Sea and then oddly enough Barbara Broccoli, who's one
of the two producers, had seen a documentary about it and we
thought well that's sort of, that is
I think what one
tries to do is anticipate what is everyone anxious about. I'm
about everyone being worried about oil but it seemed to be
Peter Florence: They're worried out Russia? They're
worried about the collapse of Communism and what's left over?
Robert Wade: Yeah that's right and nuclear proliferation
in that power vacuum so I think that one is, what we've done since
we've become involved with that whole world is we started to read
the newspapers, the big ones you know.
Peter Florence: And what did you think about, given
that you followed what is commonly held as being not one of the
strongest of the latest Bond films, what did you want to do, because
you came as people who'd written a number of quite intimate films,
and albeit it that you also admire the big genre Outlaw Josey
Wales that has something else within it that you might not expect
within a Western, what was it that you wanted to do within the
Bond genre that you think you achieved with The World is Not Enough
because the clip that you want to show is unlike what you would
Robert Wade: I mean it was a wonderful thing and terribly
nerve wracking to get involved in this.
Neal Purvis: Because you knew that if you blew it, I
mean just even seeing the producers in the first place, you're
not going to get that chance again and then if you blow it as
Robert Wade: You could kill a franchise, and the most
famous one of all so it was terribly nerve wracking but
'...our original idea
was that they were so sympathetic that they were actually
but we couldn't really make that work.'
Neal Purvis: Yeah, no one wants to write the last James
Robert Wade: The final James Bond movie - but it sort
of, what we wanted to do was to explore within a Bond movie's
limitations a kind of psychologically complex villain and
Neal Purvis: Yeah someone who was actually sympathetic
as a villain, because you're meant to have some sort of understanding
of why they are how they are.
Robert Wade: In fact our original idea was that the
were so sympathetic that they were actually dead, but we couldn't
really make that work.
Neal Purvis: No as the final punch up would be a bit
Robert Wade: But no we had this idea of someone who's
got a bullet moving through their brain, which you can't really
fit into many other movies, so we had to use it.
Peter Florence: So you needed the Bond vehicle in actual
Robert Wade: Exactly, to explore that idea of a man
who's aware of his mortality and what lengths he will go to. So
this clip is, we just thought well there's lots of fun things
in The World is Not Enough but this is sort of slightly kinky.
[clip of The World is Not Enough shown] Click
to see the trailer
Peter Florence: Now apart from writing a part for the
luckiest ice cube in history, you created a kind of a wonderful
sort of double villainy there didn't you and are you, whilst doing
that, I'm always slightly bewildered by the way that all American
thrillers of similar kind of size, the Clancy adaptations, all
work around somebody in the CIA having nailed everyone, it's all
about internal corruption. Are you, when looking at Bond's subjects,
always trying to find the world out there and relating it to location?
Robert Wade: Do you understand that?
Peter Florence: What different scenes?
Neal Purvis: No, I mean we're trying to do the world
out there and we're trying to go to some locations.
Robert Wade: No I mean definitely a corrupt CIA
guy or whatever, although I think we did slip one into the
last movie, no was he corrupt?
Neal Purvis: I think we changed it.
Robert Wade: Oh that's right.
Neal Purvis: He was alright.
Robert Wade: But you know a conspiracy, an internal
conspiracy is sort of dead. It's so dull and I think that
what is the heritage of the Bond movies and what makes them
different is that there is something very perverse about
these outsiders who Bond ends up killing and punishing for
being sort of outsiders and it's finding ways of doing that
that makes it seem fresh is the challenge.
Neal Purvis: I mean in that film there were no,
I mean although there was Dr Christmas Jones, the nuclear
scientist, there weren't really any Americans in it and
it was as if America didn't exist in that film, which is
quite unusual in a film that can open in America, and we
rebalanced that though in the next one.
Above: The World is Not Enough, Foreign
Peter Florence: There's tremendous pressure isn't there,
because presumably you're working at what a million bucks a page
for this script are you?
Robert Wade: That's right, yeah.
Neal Purvis: Slightly more than that now, yeah. I mean
you are talking about the budget?
Peter Florence: Yeah, yeah. Yeah no rather than your
fee, which I'm sure is in many ways commensurate.
Robert Wade: No you can see the way he's dressed that
Neal Purvis: It's great to finish a page and think oh
there's a million.
Peter Florence: There's a wonderful British-ness that
you do explore. How much of Bond, how much of the suavity do you
want to hang onto?
Above: Die Another Day, Teaser Poster
'It's great to
finish a page and think, oh, there's a million.'
Neal Purvis: Well you know I think Pearce Brosnan
is very good at doing that. He sort of manages to do it
without being too 'corny', is that
Robert Wade: It's very difficult, because if
you lost that it would be aspect that is quite important
to him, that's the thing.
Peter Florence: 19 films in, as this was, you need
the Aston Martin, you need the gadgets, you need the drink, I
mean there's even a sub-title 'shaken not stirred' in the DVD
here where you use all the familiarities as a, I'm surprised
you don't make a joke of them at all it seems to me, of the drink,
Robert Wade: We did a gag about it in the last, in
Die Another Day actually, but it was so clever and subtle that
wasn't funny. There was a bit where he gets handed his drink
and he's on the plane
Neal Purvis: It was meant to be turbulence wasn't it?
Robert Wade: Yeah there's meant to be a bit of turbulence
but I don't think that even at a million a page they could afford
the turbulence and so the girl handed him the drink and he says,
"I'm glad I asked for it shaken" so you can see that
is was a very high class gag.
Peter Florence: We do actually have here two Vodka martinis
and what I would love you to do, each of you, one of these is
shaken and one of these is stirred and I would like you to tell
me, because I know which is in which glass, I would like you tell
me if you can which one is which.
Robert Wade: Now hold on, you've just turned it round.
Peter Florence: No, no, no, no I've been watching it
very carefully and actually they're marked, but terribly subtly.
Robert Wade: Oh okay.
Peter Florence: Which one is which?
Robert Wade: Okay well thank you very much. Well I'm
glad I didn't shake it then.
Neal Purvis: Well of course we were going to put into
the last film why it's better to have it
Peter Florence: Oxygenating.
Neal Purvis: Well I'm not saying.
Robert Wade: Well we might as well all go home after
mm, I mean if that's shaken, you know
Neal Purvis: You're um
Robert Wade: Unstirred by it. Well I prefer that one.
Peter Florence (Chair): Yeah that's very good. He knows
his shaken and his stirred this man, I'm deeply impressed, congratulations.
Robert Wade: Oh good!
Many thanks to Peter Florence, Neal Purvis,
Robert Wade, Ellie Ward, The
Orange Word and The
British Library. Transcript courtesy The Orange Word. Image
courtesy Amazon Associates and The Orange Word
Interview - Neal Purvis
and Robert Wade (Part 1)
Interview - Neal Purvis
and Robert Wade (Part 2)
Interview - Neal Purvis
and Robert Wade (Part 4)
Interview - Neal Purvis
and Robert Wade (Part 5)
MI6 "The World is Not Enough"
MI6 "Die Another Day" Coverage