According to reports in the British media today (June 27), the former Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who wrote five 007 screenplays and then stepped aside after Skyfall, have just been re-hired to carry out some extra work on the script for Bond 24.
The reports are based on a story by showbiz columnist Baz Bamigboye who, in his weekly gossip page for the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, claimed today that there has been some ‘polite turmoil’ behind the scenes of the latest 007 movie, which has resulted in a reshuffle of the screenwriters and (he alleged) ‘a delay to the start of filming’.
The new 007 movie, still known as Bond 24, was being written solely by the Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan, who had previously been brought in to work on the Bond 23 treatment written by Purvis and Wade (which became Skyfall). It would now appear that there has been something of a role reversal, with Purvis and Wade now on board to work on Logan’s Bond 24 script.
Bamigboye claimed in his report that Purvis and Wade have been hired to re-write Logan’s script and give it some ‘punch’. An (inevitably un-named) executive associated with the Bond series apparently observed to Bamigboye: ‘Neal and Robert are only doing what was done to them. There’s no blood; no scars’.
Asked whether there was ‘turmoil’, the mystery executive responded: ‘Let’s call it polite turmoil. People are getting on with their work, but we have to wait for the script, so filming won’t begin till December, a few months later than they wanted’.
Bamigboye also alleged in his story that Purvis and Wade have been asked to ‘punch up’ the script, sprinkle in more gags, emphasise the witty repartee between 007 and Moneypenny, and do some work on the interplay between Bond and his boss ‘M’ (now played by Ralph Fiennes, who inherited the role from Dame Judi Dench in Skyfall).
Bamigboye’s track record on Bond news is fairly reliable, but one also has to be cautious about his allegations of ‘turmoil’ (journalists tend to love this kind of dramatic language to embellish their stories). In fact, bringing in writers to add some extra work on a movie script is perfectly normal in the film world (as, indeed, his report also appears to concede). Moreover, given their wealth of Bond screenwriting experience, the above news should come as no surprise.
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Starting with The World Is Not Enough in 1999, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade worked on the scripts for five James Bond movies. Since announcing that they were stepping down from Bond script-writing duties after the release of Skyfall, the talented screenwriting duo have been involved in a number of new projects, including big-screen adaptations of the 1960s sci-fi movie Barbarella and the 1970s TV police series Kojak.
The busy pair have also worked on a gangster movie entitled Corsica ’72, which is based on the true story of two Corsican childhood friends who end up as bitter but ambivalent rivals. And, as the JBIFC revealed earlier this year, Purvis and Wade have also carried out some work on a possible movie adaptation of the Len Deighton novel SS-GB, a wartime detective story which is set in an ‘alternative’ version of the past, in which Britain has been occupied by the Nazis.
Purvis and Wade remain very much part of the ‘Bond family’ network, however, and were recently guests at the special opening of the relocated Bond in Motion exhibition in London, which was attended by the Eon producers and various other familiar figures and celebrities from the Bond world.