Quentin Tarantino has told reporters at the Cannes Film Festival (where he is president of this year’s film festival jury) that he will formally approach Eon Productions with his concept of making “Bond 21” a Fleming-faithful adaptation of Casino Royale once he finishes worldwide promotion for Kill Bill – Volume 2.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Tarantino. “I bumped into Pierce Brosnan and we talked about it. He liked the idea. I would like to do the original book Casino Royale and do it more or less the way the Ian Fleming book is. I don’t know if they’re going to go for it or not, but I’m letting them know I’m interested.”
This is hardly the first time the director has expressed interest in making Ian Fleming’s first novel into a film. Tarantino first floated the idea in 1996, saying that he’d like to make the movie in B&W, and even use voice over narration so he could incorporate some of Fleming’s original text.
But Eon Productions, producers of the James Bond films, have thus far expressed little interest in a Tarantino directed James Bond film, preferring instead to work with lesser-known, non-American directors. Bringing in an auteur such as Tarantino would certainly bring a dash of revisionist “art” to the Bond franchise, but would also require the old-school producers to surrender more creative control than they are accustomed. This, at the end of the day, might be what keeps Tarantino from realizing his Bond ambitions.
Tarantino’s pitch may also be coming a bit late. Eon has already dispatched screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day) to write the screenplay for the yet untitled “Bond 21”, and MGM Vice Chairman Chris McGurk has stated that the film is on track for a 2005 release and that decisions as to who will direct and who will play Bond will be made “in the next few months.”
The wild card in all this could be the possible sale of MGM studios. According to reports, MGM is in negotiations with Sony Pictures Entertainment, who along with financing partners, have put up a $5 billion bid for the studio. Should the sale go through, Sony executives might have a say in the development of “Bond 21,” making a sudden change of course a distinct possibility.
Back at Cannes, the never press shy Tarantino seems newly embolden by the idea of directing a James Bond film. Likening the big-budget franchise to one of cinema’s hardest to conquer peaks, the director says, “Now is the time to climb Mount Everest.”