What about an EON/IFP Agreement


#1

With the bungled reporting about Benson’s HTTK being the next film, it again got me thinking about the continuation novels.

Gardner, Benson et al , have great material, plot, story, characters, elements as we all know. Fleming is the touchstone of course, but has been picked almost down to the bone.

I’ve wanted to see them brought to the screen, but (legalities aside) they should be done. Everybody would win.


#2

Wasn’t it Never Dream of Dying? Anyway I’d love to see some of continuation novels on screen - at least some of Gardner’s or Benson’s ideas could work well. High Time To Kill for an example could be something really fresh (the mountain expedition).
Since Eon officially used Amis’ Colonel Sun in SPECTRE, maybe we’ll get to see some more in the future. Adaptations of Never Dream of Dying, Icebreaker, No Deals Mr. Bond (one of my favourites), Win, Lose or Die or even The Man With the Red Tatoo could work in my opinion.


#3

I’m all for adapting Scorpius; Win, Lose or Die; and High Time to Kill.

Many of the continuation novels have some good ideas.


#4

I think while they theoretically could use any continuation chances are slim we’ll see more than elements of them used for Eon’s series, like maybe Spectre taken over by a heir of Blofeld or some other player. Eon’s writers have been thinking of something like that at least since TSWLM and SPECTRE at least hinted Blofeld’s outfit evolved out of Quantum.

I’m not sure about the plots themselves, at least not after NLF. But Eon would probably change and rework any book they adapted, simply because their films demand certain concessions. The only element I could imagine which just might attract Eon enough to give it a go is ROH’s idea that Spectre might hire Bond. That would be a quite unexpected turn for Bond.


#5

Of the Gardner books, the first three are magic IMO. License Renewed would be great for Bond 26 and the introduction to Bond #7.

FSS and IB have so many great elements. FSS opening with the attempted hijacking is the stuff pre-title sequences are made of. IB’s duel on the roads “Silver vs. Yellow” and one of the more brutal tortures sequences along with the reveals and double crosses is great when combined with the sense of isolation in the Artic.

Just lots of good stuff to be mined for sure, but why not just go for the whole package?


#6

I may be wrong, but I’ve always had the feeling that IFP don’t like the fact that most people know Bond through the films and not the books. Eon may also feel that it is they who own Bond. No restaurant wants to think the one down the street is serving the same food.


#7

I believe it is no longer a question of IFP’s preferences vs. those of Eon. The copyright in recent continuations (at least since Boyd’s Solo) states that ‘James Bond’ and ‘007’ are now registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC. That would mean Bond belongs now to the cinema property and is leased out for specific use to IFP.

Logically it would follow that Eon are aware of any works IFP wants to publish. If so, then they maybe also rule about the possible use, i.e. whether it’s contemporary or classic timeline. For IFP the classic timeline may actually better suit their own purpose, to promote Fleming’s originals.

In any case the vast majority of consumers will by now be far more familiar with the films than with any books - a trend that’s likely going to keep up in the foreseeable future. It already is a remarkable achievement that Fleming’s œuvre continues to be still in print when many a classic from the genre can only be found used today. That the Bond adventures avoided this fate was in no small way thanks to the cinematic popularity of Bond. And especially during the Benson years it would seem the literary version aimed at just that readership, supposedly with IFP’s (then Glidrose’s) blessing.


#8

Martin Jarvis has mentioned this - Fleming gave EON/Danjaq FULL adaptation rights to the character, so any adaptation with James Bond in film, radio or video games has to be run by EON (Jarvis knew this as he had to ask permission for Toby Stephens to play Bond in the BBC Radio 4 adaptations that Stephens and he do - and they told him he got the GG role because e was EXACTLY who they’d cast for period adaptations)

I kinda hate myself for knowing something SOOOOO middle class.


#9

I had a post a while back about this very subject. I Feel that if the two sides can come together, we could get regular 2-3 movies a year. Without MGM being still in charge of course. I personally would adapt Carte Blanche as a movie. Probably because it feels like Jeffery Deaver wrote it to be a movie.


#10

I’ve heard that said about Deaver’s book. Surely, though, he knew that was no precedent for a continuation novel to be filmed?

(Faulks, with typical arrogance, said he wouldn’t be surprised if his book was made).


#11

Devil May Care had its good points (the Iran setting, the plane set-piece, a good female lead), but nothing to write home about. Of the post-Benson Bond novels, Faulks’s book is the second worst:

  1. Carte Blanche
  2. Trigger Mortis
  3. Devil May Care
  4. Solo

I actually would like to get a Skyfall adaptation either post-Carte Blanche or set in Fleming’s timeline.


#12

To me, the problem with the continuations for Fleming’s centenary and after is simply that they’re not very good books by arguably fairly competent writers. Devil May Care was more a sendup with its foolish ‘writing-as’ premise; Carte Blanche lacked tension and suspense; Solo just wasn’t a thriller. And Trigger Mortis employed a gimmick Horowitz clearly wouldn’t have needed, whereas his own stuff could have done with a trimming down and a once-over.

I think all these writers have written superior books to their Bond work, clearly testament to how difficult it actually is to write a Bond novel, even for professional hommes des lettres.

The benchmark today must not only be Fleming’s originals - a hard enough task already - but also contemporary genre works. And the genre did evolve quite a lot since the days of Fleming. Take just any of the recent continuations and compare them to works by Robert Harris, Alan Furst, Michael Connelly or Kathy Reichs. There is now a very destinct rift between what’s expected from literary Bond and what’s delivered in modern genre fiction. I dare say the continuations make it unnecessarily hard for themselves by sticking to a traditional by-the-numbers approach.

PS: I‘d even argue the reason why Charlie Higson‘s Young Bond series was such a convincing success was because Higson didn’t have to put up with the ingredients of the traditional secret agent recipe and could concentrate on cooking up adventure and suspense instead.


#13

Still, it’s a pity there are no movie adaptations these days. Apart from Gardner’s Licence to Kill and GoldenEye, they always added something interesting to the story seen on big screen, or developed the characters. Wood’s Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me are classics, but even Die Another Day is far better than the movie itself.


#14

About the Radio 4 adaptations…

I was surprised they happened because I knew that Big Finish had been trying to get the rights to do adaptations of the novels on audio but from what I’d heard on the grapevine, EON had scuppered the plan. That was hugely disappointing. I would have been clawing at the door begging for the chance to do Moonraker. I am rather delighted with the Radio 4 adaptations though.


#15

It’s certainly the only title I’d like to see used for a movie! Never will of course as it’d probably run into all sorts of weird problems being translated around the world! :slight_smile:

I can’t really think of any worth adapting, to be honest though. They can come up with new ideas of the same or better quality: Higson was probably the only one to come up with some more twisted, Fleming-like ideas. I liked the island full of baddies who go to retire somewhere, and that wasn’t even his idea! :slight_smile:


#16

That’s a shame, Big Finish do incredible adaptations, their War Doctor stories and The Invisible Man (both with John Hurt) leap to mind.

It is entirely possible that EON (though I think technically Danjaq as that’s the bit that holds rights) said no as, like I said, Fleming sold them full adaptation rights, so it has to go through them if it’s not a book. On the plus side though, Martin Jarvis’ adaptations have been stellar.


#17

I listen to Big Finish’s productions most days. When I’m working it’s Big Finish or talk radio or, if I’m writing, soundtracks. The War Doctor sets were outstanding weren’t they? But I rarely hear a Big Finish production I don’t like. I do think they’d have done great things with Bond. I wish I could remember the name of the actor I heard was in the running for 007. But as you say, Martin Jarvis’ adaptations have been terrific.