One And Done
1st January 1970
Quentin Tarantino on those ill-fated plans to make Casino Royale
By MI6 Staff
It was one of the worst-kept secrets in Hollywood: Quentin Tarantino wanted to make a faithful adaptation of Ian Fleming's 'Casino Royale'. The stories really started to fly in the year or two after Pierce Brosnan was abruptly out as James Bond and in the news vacuum, before his eventual successor Daniel Craig was announced, the idea of the 'Pulp Fiction' director taking on 007's origin story was tantalizing. Even Brosnan himself spoke on the record about how interesting it would be but producers dismissed the idea, and how there has been speculation that if it were not for Tarantino and Brosnan's pushing, the official series may not have taken on 'Casino Royale' as a hard reboot in 2006.
However remote the possibility was, the loophole that Tarantino eyed was the fact that Danjaq did not originally secure the screen rights to back in the early 1960s when they inked their deal with Ian Fleming, because the author had already sold that book.
Tarantino explained to Deadline: “Because Howard Hawks’ partner, [Charles Feldman], owned it. That was why that was not one of the ones that they could do when Sean Connery was doing them. And that’s why they did that ridiculous Casino Royale movie in 1967 with Woody Allen, Peter Sellers and David Niven and everything. And at one point, Howard Hawks was going to direct it with Cary Grant playing James Bond. That would’ve been a thing. But that didn’t happen.”
It was during the period when Tarantino was working with Miramax that the director explored the idea. “We reached out to the Ian Fleming people, and they had suggested that they still own the rights to Casino Royale. And that’s what I wanted to do after 'Pulp Fiction' was do my version of 'Casino Royale', and it would’ve taken place in the ’60s and wasn’t about a series of Bond movies. We would have cast an actor and be one and done. So I thought we could do this."
“But then it turned out that the Broccolis three years earlier figured out somebody was going to try to do what I did. And so what they did is they just made a blanket deal with the Fleming estate and said that: ‘We have the movie rights to everything he’s ever written. We’re going to just give you a bunch of money. This is for every single thing he’s ever written. If anybody wants to make a movie out of it, they got to come to us.' Like every short story, every travel book. If I want to make a movie of Thrilling Cities, I need to go to the Broccolis. That’s for everything he wrote. To stop somebody from being a wise guy and trying to do what I did.”