While Quantum of Solace marked a change in many of the crew members associated with James Bond franchise, two key people that were back again for 007’s 22nd adventure were screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
Quantum of Solace (co-written by Paul Haggis) marks the fourth go at a Bond film for the screenwriting duo. They previously wrote Casino Royale (which Haggis later polished up), Die Another Day and The World is not Enough.
‘To write a 007 film is a dream come true,’ says Purvis in an interview with the Times.
Purvis said that early on the pair decided to pursue their aspirations for screenwriting. ‘You couldn’t even get hold of a script when we started out–and there were no screenwriting guides,’ he said. Their very first screenplay was completed at a London café and while it never ended up on the silver screen, Purvis said it did manage to land them an agent–‘a vital stepping stone if you want to make it as a screenwriter in the film industry’.
Their next couple of scripts helped to make ends meet in what can be a notoriously difficult profession to succeed in.
‘We were paid to adapt a Tony Parsons novel, Limelight Blues, and earned money coming up with storylines for pop videos,’ said Purvis. ‘We got £100 if our story was used. Nothing if it wasn’t.’ While the scripts were ultimately not filmed, the teamwork process ‘helped us withstand the knocks … It was useful being in a partnership because you could bounce ideas off each other and discuss every scene. If someone’s a friend, then there’s no problem in speaking your mind.’
After finding success with the 1991 arthouse hit Let Him Have It, the duo then wrote Plunkett & Macleane, a successful blend of action, adventure and humour that caught the attention of Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. This resulted in their hiring for the 19th Bond film, The World is not Enough.
‘We half-expected someone to tell us there had been a mistake and send us packing,’ Purvis joked.
Following on from The World is not Enough, they’ve contributed to every Bond film since from generating story ideas to writing alternate scenes and bringing them together to create a cohesive script. ‘Working on a big-budget picture is a collaborative process,’ Purvis said.
‘We’re in a good place,’ he adds. ‘We’ve paid our dues, but now it’s a case of trying to stay where we are–the most important thing is getting involved in good projects.’
‘There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a competitive business, but if our success proves anything it is this: that anyone, provided they have a passion for the movies, some literary ability and imagination, can come up with ideas and are prepared to work at it, can make it in the business. Provided they are bloody-minded enough.’
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