Right, time to jump back in. I’m not going to respond to post individually but I’ll try to address the topics raised from my initial question.
Re: Bond films being topical
I’m of the opinion that Bond films should take a cue from current events. Indeed, this has been the MO of the series for some time having dealt with events such as the Cold War, drug trade (LALD, LTK), energy crisis (TMWTGG) and Korea (DAD). In fact, I recall an interview with Michael G. Wilson where he said that looking at current events and figuring out Bond’s place in it is the starting point for each Bond script.
Right now this is a little tricky though. With Brexit in the UK and Trump in the US itfeels like what people afraid of right now is their own leaders leading the country to ruin, something that’s difficult for Bond to fight. Rather than providing commentary it could be cathartic to think there’s Machiavellian supervillain behind these things. I’m sure people would prefer to believe there’s villain, who can be fought and stopped by Bond, running the show instead of the string of bad decisions that brought us all here.
Another topical issue I’d like to see explored in a Bond film is drone warfare. I’m thinking a variation on the Moonraker story where the villain would be involved in the design and manufacture of weaponized drones.
I had no idea Ed Harris’s name had been floated around as a Bond villain before. Still, he’s a class act and who wouldn’t want him in their film?
Re: Spang Brothers
As one of the few Fleming villains yet to be brought to the screen it could be interesting to use the Spang brothers. They’re usually considered to be among the less interesting villains from the books so they could take little creative license with them.
If we are going to satirise Trump then perhaps Serrafimo Spang is the Nevada State Senator with one hand in CIA operations and one eye on the presidency. Meanwhile his brother Jack represents the family’s legitimate business interests as well as running a criminal empire under the pseudonym Rufus B Saye. Bond is sent after Saye and begins to uncover the connection to the powerful family.
And as a more general point about villains I’d really like to see Bond game against a cheating villain again. I’m currently reason Zero Minus Ten and Bond’s game of Mahjong has reminded me what a time honoured tradition this is. We’ve had gold with Goldfinger, cads against Drax and dice with Kamal Khan but it seems to have been absent for recent years. CR established Bond as the best card players in the service, let’s see him use those skills again. Plus, it’s always fun to see someone out-cheat a cheater.