James Bond Will Return…Or Not…
Is it just me or does it seem like any time the Bond franchise challenges audiences or makes difficult, but delicious films, MGM and The Broccolis get into the scraps? When word leaked of Daniel Craig being shopped around as the lead in the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo surfaced, I immediately wondered what would become of the newly reinvigorated Bond franchise. Despite all the chow chow and financial blathering from MGM and their bean counters, all of this Bond franchise derailment discussion feels painfully familiar.
The backstage drama of the Bond franchise is filled with enough intrigue, double dealing and reversals of fortune to rival the franchise itself. From the production rights dramedy of Thunderball, which by the way, still has not been resolved, to the slapdashery in the handling of Bonds 3 and 4 – Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton.
There are conflicting stories regarding the casting details of Brosnan and Dalton. In Dalton’s case, both sides have differing recollections regarding his casting, but all seem to agree that Dalton was considered for the role as early as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. There was some back and forth for nearly TWO DECADES, with several other candidates – including Brosnan front runners for the role. When Brosnan was unable to be released from his Remington Steele contract the role was finally placed in the capable hands of Dalton, who has rapidly become my favorite Bond. Unfortunately, despite his stellar performances – the films themselves, The Living Daylights and License to Kill are ambitious but ultimately struggled to get audiences to fully embrace the new shift in the Bond paradigm – the franchise went off the rails again. There was more tomfoolery between EON/Broccoli and MGM and sadly, despite being signed for three films, Dalton “aged” out of the role.
This brought us Brosnan, which WAS FANTASTIC (not to take anything away from Dalton, who was an extremely studied and thoughtful Bond, a product of Dalton’s Shakespearean acting roots.) and his films were indeed solid and placed the Bond films back in the pop culture consciousness. Despite all the legal battles and bitterness, it was well worth wait. Bronsan’s first wife, Cassandra Harris, never lived to see him own the screen in the role she believed he was born to play. As an aside, Brosnan’s current wife, Keely Shayne Smith has taken a lot of heat for having the cheek to appear in public in a Bond girl bikini, while fat! This has nothing to do with the Bond issue, just me hating the haters.
This brings us to Daniel! Daniel saw the writing on the wall and got himself another gig. While being Bond age-appropriate now, three or four years from now, he’ll be aged out. It’s a shame though. He was doing some wonderful things with the role and I would like to have seen him fulfill his contract. Hell, at the rate this legal and financial dramedy is going, even the beloved Clive Owen is going to be far too geezerly to play Bond and Xena help us all, if Robert Pattinson decides he likes his martinis shaken not stirred.