UPDATE! Sept 1, 2004:
Quentin Tarantino’s publicist, Bumble Ward, tells CBn that Quentin was “tickled” with the results of this CBn poll. Nice work Paul, and congrats to all the CBn forum members who voted!
What a turbulent time of year it is for us Bond fans. In what has to be possibly the most in-flux we have seen the post-Dalton franchise, rumours are getting thrown at us left, right and centre from UK tabloids and respected sources, but mainly from the PR people of the actors who want to get noticed. Yet Bond 21 rolls on (apparently), with a script from Purvis and Wade (oh joy, it’s badly written puns ahoy) and no actor in the leading role.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that Brosnan has one more left in him. Give the man the swansong that his tenure deserves! He’s been playing in a series of films that haven’t yet touched on the character of James Bond whatsoever, but have been far happier to line up explosion after explosion in what can only be described as mere parody. Don’t get me wrong; apart from the dismal The World Is Not Enough, his reign has been pure entertainment, but his Bond has still not lived up to potential. Too many times in the post-Dalton films have we seen thorough character development thrust aside in favour of thrills, spills and glacier surfing.
Way back in October, while promoting Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino -in his inimitable style- raved about how much he wanted to put on to celluloid the true Casino Royale. Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale. He did reveal some curious ideas (setting the film in the 1950s? Interesting, but a bit too convoluted in a so-far chronological series), however the very thought of Tarantino getting his hands on Bond, for me, set my little mind a-flutter. He mentioned focussing on the character, style and the raw emotion of the book that the 1967 Charles K. Feldman epic… err… didn’t.
An online journal, or “blog”, was found last week which apparently outlined Tarantino’s frustration at not being able to helm Bond 21. Though later proved false by CBn, the blog was probably an accurate gauging of the director’s sentiment regarding Eon’s apparent disinterest in using him.
Upon hearing the man’s wish, some people plainly couldn’t grasp that Tarantino might just make a film that was devoid of his trademark creative violence and colourful language, and instantly poo-pooed the idea: “You motherf——ing f——, Le Chiffre, you just f——ed up my s——ing Bentley!” they envisaged an understandably miffed 007 shouting at the battering his 1930 4.5-litre, Amherst-Villiers supercharged model receives in the third quarter.
Such cries were lambasted by CBn forum member “Turn,” who replied by calling the assumptions “a sad misconception based on his past work.” He continues:
If the guy truly has passion for the project, which I think he does, he would work to make the elements true to the character and story and put his own trademarks aside.
Everybody could win because Tarantino could prove he can do a film outside the boundaries of the crime/Hong Kong action genre and Bond fans would get a film that wasn’t the same old. If they are going to take a chance, this is the way to go.
-Turn, CBn forum member.
On the Jay Leno show, again whilst promoting Kill Bill, Tarantino further won the fans over with his ardent enthusiasm. His love for Bond was apparent in the detail of his responses to Leno’s questioning (on occasion correcting mis-quoted facts), his impression of the voiceover artist on a vintage Bond trailer and through his rousing rendition of the James Bond Theme.
More importantly Tarantino stressed that he understands the elements that make a great 007 film, and that gallons of blood and swearing by the f—— load aren’t included in that list. Upon hearing this, many fans who previously doubted his ability promptly made an about-turn, rejoiced and started seriously considering him for the director’s chair.
He also stressed on the show that if the fans want him as director then they should let themselves be heard. So here I am, with the vain hope that someone with some gravity is reading this.
Last week a poll was opened to ask the members of CBn once and for all if they would like Quentin Tarantino to direct Bond 21. Okay, okay, it’s probably too late in the day to pose such a question and Babs and Mickey G. probably have the short list down to the final three, but to you naysayers: there’s nothing wrong with a bit of wishful thinking, is there?
Quentin Tarantino wants Bond
We gave the quick poll a week to gather both results and dust, to which 74% (or just under ¾ if you’re a fraction person) of CBn members voted that they wanted Tarantino to direct Bond 21. To me- already a strong supporter of Tarantino’s determined struggle- that 75% represents a strong desire for the majority of fans for this man to direct.
Conversely, it would be fairly narrow-minded of me to believe that the 26% of fans who weren’t prepared to see a Tarantino directed film wouldn’t want him solely because of his controversial style. CBn forum member “Loomis” assumes that “Tarantino and Eon wouldn’t be a happy combination.” Why wouldn’t they? I imagine you shouting from the rafters.
The Bond series is one of a dying breed of producer-run series. Eon have creative control over the character they’ve nurtured for 40 years, and fair play to them. God only knows what would have happened had any director been given creative control. (A Bond with rubber nipples, most probably if Joel Schumacher had been given free-reign as he was on the Batman franchise. (The style turned after the overly Burton-esque Batman Returns, and so did cinema-going audiences.)
The Tarantino Affair: (or Tarantinogate if you so prefer) isn’t the first time a “big name” director has expressed interest in the series. Back in the 1980s a little-known fella called Steven Spielberg also expressed his love for all things Double-0 coupled with his wish to make a Bond picture. Cubby didn’t hire him, presumably because an A-lister at the helm of a 007 flick would spell major creative differences. The last thing a producer needs is a prima-donna director with all the answers and all the ideas but none of the give-way. CBn forum member “Moomoo” spells out for us the way such a problem could be countered:
I believe ‘compromise’ is the key word here. It’s naïve to think Tarantino or any high-profile director can make a Bond film without Eon’s input. Tarantino has to compromise and accept the fact [that] Bond has to stay relevant, has to compete with the modern action films. That’s why I believe a 1950s-type Bond film is a mistake. Bond has to stay relevant.
-Moomoo, CBn forum member
Perfect. Compromise is the answer. the director gets the film, but surrenders ultimate creative control to the producers (as the mix has so successfully stayed since 1962). He continues:
Likewise, the Bond producers need to alter the films a little. I think the films have become too formulaic, too safe and a little flat, and need to be a bit more risky with more edge. I think this boils down to more suspense and more of Bond being a spy. Rather than a director-for-hire like Tamahori, Eon would be wise to get Tarantino for Bond 21. He’d bring a new level of passion to the film.
Tarantino has to respect Eon’s right to keep the classic Bond ingredients in place, but Eon has to allow Tarantino creative room to make his own Bond film. It’s a very fine line to tread, but I think it’s possible if they are willing to compromise. I believe this is worth pursuing.
-Moomoo, CBn forum member,
So, it appears to be a two-way street. But if the path can be kept to, there should be no reason why we couldn’t see a Tarantino directed Bond 21 (disregarding the fact that a director could already have been chosen of course): The rights to the novel are finally in Eon’s hands after over 40 years and the die is cast (if one is to believe reports that a first-draft script handed in by P&W is based on Fleming’s first-born).
To round-up this (unfortunately) rather long-winded editorial, I offer you a quote by CBn forum member “Genrewriter“. Never was a truer and more balanced observation made of the whole affair:
“If the series can survive a film where the finale [has] Bond chasing a midget around a boat, it can survive Tarantino.”
-Genrewriter, CBn forum member