1. Marc Forster: Delving Deep Into The James Bond Character

    By Devin Zydel on 2008-10-16

    Quantum of Solace director Marc Forster has many times already expressed his desire to create a James Bond film that still fits inside the frame of the series but also expresses his unique vision of the character.

    In a new Screen Daily interview that took place one towards the beginning of this month, the Swiss director reaffirmed his desire to create a different take on 007 and also talks about the process required to accomplish the task.

    Director Marc Forster

    Director Marc Forster

    As the Bond films are known worldwide to be a family-oriented affair amongst the crew, Forster was asked how he felt he fit into this mold: ‘One of the things was that I had to bring my own ‘family’ with me. I brought all my collaborators.’

    ‘It was important to me that I could make the movie my own and create a movie that has a specific look and has a connection to my previous work.’

    He continues: ‘The reason I accepted the movie was that I felt Bond as a character is emotionally repressed, which I find interesting and has a link to my other work. I felt it would be an interesting experiment, almost like a film-maker who works in a political regime with extremely strong censorship–within that regime, you can still make a film which very subtly brings in what is essential.’

    As followers of Quantum‘s early stages of production are well aware, the script was seemingly always in a constant state of change, moving from regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade to Paul Haggis (and then followed up with a polish by Joshua Zetumer).

    Forster explains: ‘Paul gave us a draft and a polish of the script, but as he was heavily involved promoting his own movie (In The Valley Of Elah), I realised early on that it would be impossible for him to hand in a completed draft before the beginning of the writers’ strike. For that reason, Daniel [Craig] and I started early on to work on the character’s journey ourselves.’

    Paul Haggis

    Paul Haggis

    ‘It was very intense,’ he said of the situation. ‘It wasn’t so much that the release date was set and that I had very little time in post-production. The main thing was there was no script in place when we started [filming]. That was the key issue.’

    ‘There was not really a story that I felt 100% confident and good about. When there was the writers’ strike, I knew that by April, we would run out of story. In February, I brought in another writer, Josh Zetumer, to do a few polishes, rewrites and ideas between Danny, me and him.’

    The eventual screenwriting credits ended up going to Haggis, Purvis and Wade for the film.

    The next challenge for Forster was no simple task either: how to follow up one of the most financially and critically successful Bond films of all time?

    ‘So many people loved [Casino Royale]. To live up to that in Quantum Of Solace and to be up to par with that is another added pressure.’

    In approaching this challenge, Forster focused on the character of Bond and worked with Craig to develop this in the final performance. ‘The character has this hard shell outside but still ultimately has this vulnerability,’ Forster says. ‘There is this isolation and this pain.’

    ‘But one of the successes of Bond is his mystery,’ the director is quick to add. ‘You don’t want to have Bond explain himself emotionally or analyse [himself] too much. So I created Camille [portrayed by Olga Kurylenko] as one of the Bond girls, who is a mirror image of him. She’s an assassin and has a revenge motive.’

    Daniel Craig as James Bond

    Daniel Craig as James Bond

    Finally, Forster had to come to terms with was the incorporation of product placement in the James Bond films. He states: ‘It was at the beginning a little tricky, but what I said was I was not willing to shoot a shot that was featuring a product just for the purpose of featuring the product unless it happens to be part of the story. I feel this has been overdone in the past and it takes you out of the movie.’

    After a grueling production schedule and endless hours of editing, it appears that he’s met his goal with Quantum of Solace: ‘I feel very positive because I love the movie. I feel the movie really works.’

    Before concluding the interview, however, the topic of Bond 23 came up, despite his earlier statements that he’s not planning on returning. ‘No, it’s something Barbara and Michael asked me about but I’m not really interested … but never say never!’

    Keep your browsers pointed to the main page for most up-to-date and complete coverage of Quantum of Solace on the web.