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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 08:50 GMT
Film writers who 'rebuilt' Bond
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade
Purvis (L) and Wade are already working on the next Bond movie
Robert Wade and Neal Purvis wrote their first film, Let Him Have It, 15 years ago. But they're best known for their three Bond scripts including the current Casino Royale.

BBC World Service arts correspondent Vincent Dowd met Wade and Purvis at the London headquarters of Eon, the production company which for more than 40 years has put Bond on screen.


Whenever Bond is re-cast the producers and writers say they plan to go back to something closer to the Bond which Ian Fleming wrote in the 50s and 60s. Is that possible?

Wade - Personally I really like the books: I came to them from the movies. The films have this wonderful swoop to them but the books have more texture. That's to do with Bond being this hard-living, dark creature in the middle of all that's going on.

Purvis - But it's true that over the years the film character has developed into something quite different to Fleming's character. Though there's often been talk of going back to basics with Bond and making him more 'Flemingian' this was the best opportunity ever because we're starting again with the first novel.

It was published in 1953 and it's Bond at the beginning of his career. We still had to satisfy people's expectations and have a certain amount of humour -that's one of the biggest differences between the films and the books. But we tried to be as faithful to the novel as possible and keep it fairly dark.

Wade - Sadistic!

Surely one of the problems with Bond has always been he remains essentially the same throughout the movie? That can get dull.

Purvis - But Casino Royale gives you the opportunity for a proper arc to his character. He changes from the beginning to the end. He's very young, raw, out of control almost.

Wade - What you have with the Bond movies is this character gliding over everything. The fact nothing touches him is why we all want to be him. But it also makes him a sort of superman who in the end you don't really relate to.

This time you'll see someone who gets completely broken down and has to rebuild himself. He forges the steel of his character through the emotional turmoil he goes through. So we end up with a character who has a kind of moral compass - and I think from here on you'll feel Bond is denying his own emotions.

So are you trying to lose the 1960s campiness - that slight overlay of The Avengers?

Wade - When you have an actor you play to his strengths - and in Daniel Craig you've got a fantastic actor. Pierce Brosnan had wonderful comic timing - a kind of suavity which you have to celebrate when you've got it. With Daniel we don't want him wearing safari suits. He's got this great toughness to him but not an unthinking toughness. I think that's where the films will need to go.

If you read the novels one of the obvious things is that Bond is posh. He's been to public school at Eton and to Fettes in Scotland so he comes from a wealthy background. Is that something you have to ditch entirely now?

Wade - Nevertheless he's an outsider. He was an orphan who got put through Eton despite himself and then got kicked out. I don't think he's a classic public schoolboy. He doesn't really fit in anywhere and he has his own way of swooping through the world. Sean Connery wasn't especially posh on screen but he had authority.

Purvis - He managed to exude class in other ways. They talk about him being a rough diamond - certainly Daniel Craig is more in that mould.

You've both just come out of a script meeting for Bond 22, the next film. How do you plan to keep developing Bond? Or have you now alighted on a character and you say, okay as long as Daniel's in the role that's how Bond is.

Wade - In the next film the emphasis has to be on the unfinished emotional business at the end of Casino Royale. It has to be dealt with in such a way that his character continues to have an arc.

It can't just be he's tough and he's tempered steel and totally impervious. There are things he still has to resolve. So that's the legacy of Casino Royale and it's important to have it so the actor has something to play.


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