EON Productions pass on adapting the new James Bond continuation novel "Devil May Care" as a franchise movie...

Producers Pass On "Devil May Care"
20th August 2008

James Bond may be 'back' in the new adventure "Devil May Care", but 007's latest literary exploits will not make it to a big screen adaptation. The latest continuation novel, penned by one-time Bond author Sebastian Faulks for the Ian Fleming centenary, has not been taken up by the film franchise. According to Variety, EON Productions passed up the opportunity to adapt the book in to a future film. The decision almost certainly ensures "Devil May Care" will never escape the printed page, as the 007 movie copyrights and trademarks have been controlled since the 1950s by Danjaq, locking out anyone else from producing movies featuring the British spy (with the exception of Warner Bros "Never Say Never Again" in 1983, which was a "Thunderball" remake permitted by a legal settlement between Kevin McClory and Ian Fleming).

According to Variety, even if a production company could acquire the film rights to "Devil May Care", jointly owned by the Ian Fleming Estate and Faulks, they wouldn’t be able to use the James Bond name, his 007 call sign, the James Bond theme or gun-barrel sequence, for example.

"Devil May Care" features all the regular Bond hijinks - including locations around the world, martinis, glamorous women and archvillains- but there’s a key problem. EON producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson claimed that the book’s 1960s setting made it less desirable as a movie property, at least for now. "We love the book, but because it is set in the 1960s, we haven’t considered making it in the near future," Broccoli and Wilson told Daily Variety.

The Cold War-set adventure takes place in 1967 and revolves around the international drug trade that takes Bond to Iran, the Caspian Sea and Russia and features a villain with an oversized monkey’s paw for a hand. The book smashed sales records in the UK, but faired less well in the US. Critics received the book with luke-warm reviews.

Before the book was published, author Sebastian Faulks sounded more hopeful to The Telegraph, "Well, it's a possibility. It's been read by Barbara Broccoli and [fellow producer] Michael Wilson. They were both very positive about the book. But I'm sure that their choice of story for the next movie will be dictated by hundreds of other considerations to do with Hollywood and franchise and marketing. I'd be delighted if it works." Following the statement by producers to Variety this week, Faulks told The Independent, "I would have thought that if you could move Casino Royale from the 1950s you could move Devil May Care from the Sixties. But Eon know what they are doing." Faulks added that if the company changed its mind he would support the idea of a film.

After Fleming’s death in 1964, subsequent James Bond novels were written by Kingsley Amis (under the pseudonym Robert Markham), John Pearson, John Gardner and Raymond Benson. Charlie Higson has also penned a series of "Young James Bond" novels, which follow the character’s progress from his school days at British public school Eton. The Higson books would appear ripe for cinematic adaptation.

For now, at least, neither the Ian Fleming Estate nor Faulks are giving up hope that "Devil May Care" will eventually make it into theaters, though in a joint statement to Daily Variety, they confirmed, "There have been no discussions about the film rights whatsoever."