James Bond has faced countless enemies in his time, but now he might be up against his most dangerous one yet – current affairs.
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have co-written every single James Bond film since Pierce Brosnan’s 1999 effort “The World is Not Enough”. In most cases the pair did the ground work while other scribes like John Logan and Paul Haggis joined them for subsequent drafts and polishing. The pair effectively retired from the regular gig after “Skyfall,” but were brought back in to do some late work on “Spectre”.
In a new interview with The Telegraph, Purvis admits that to write a James Bond film today in the rapidly shifting political environment, is a near impossible task. From Brexit to Putin to Trump, real life has effectively “out-Bonded them”. Purvis says:
“The thing is, I’m just not sure how you would go about writing a James Bond film now. Each time, you’ve got to say something about Bond’s place in the world, which is Britain’s place in the world. But things are moving so quickly now, that becomes tricky. With people like Trump, the Bond villain has become a reality. So when they do another one, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the fact that the world has become a fantasy.”
The pair leave the franchise on an odd note. “Spectre” opened in late 2015 and things on the Bond front have been dead quiet since. “Spectre” itself proved a troubled production, one like “Suicide Squad” in that it was the victim of considerable studio interference – especially in the last act. Purvis talked briefly about the problems, saying:
“People were already in pre-production on the film, and they wanted to see things all the time. And sometimes they couldn’t decide what they wanted until they’d seen it written. So you write scene upon scene upon scene. You write so much. But how it finally got shaped was probably down to [Sam Mendes,] the director.”
Purvis and Wade also revealed that construction had already begun at Pinewood Studios on a demolishable full-scale replica of Westminster Bridge which means that whatever re-writes they could do, they had to end it with a scene in which a helicopter crashes into said bridge. It was used then as a choice – Bond could go back to M and the cold life of spying, or leave it behind and join Madeleine Swann in the sun. They had him choose the spy life, but they were overruled.
Despite the issues, will they ever return to the franchise? Wade says: “Never say never, but for sure, Spectre felt like it closed off a certain way of doing Bond. And I think whatever happens next will be quite different.”