More Bond than you can shake a martini at…
Mark Edlitz is a pop-culture archaeologist, a writer who goes past the typical and mines gold from the depths of our obsessions.
Well, Mark’s got a new book out this week – The Lost Adventures of James Bond, which explores the behind-the-scenes stories of a broad array of scotched 007 projects, as well as those that have disappeared into the mists of time.
“I interviewed John Landis about his unused ideas for The Spy Who Loved Me and Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II) about his unused story for Tomorrow Never Dies,” Mark explained, as examples. “I also reveal tidbits about two unmade spin-off movies from the Pierce Brosnan era. The Lost Adventures of James Bond also features many never-before-seen photos and illustrations from comics.”
So to give you a really good taste of what’s in the book, he’s put together a list of 13 LOST JAMES BOND ADVENTURES sure to strike your fancy…
By MARK EDLITZ
The James Bond universe is greater than you might think. Even if you have seen all the movies and devoured Ian Fleming’s books, there is much more to discover about 007. There is a fascinating galaxy of Bond adventures that have been “lost” or unmade, out-of-print, or forgotten by even the most dedicated Bond fan. Here are 13 of my favorite of Bond’s lost missions.
1. Dalton’s Third Bond Movie. Bond fans have long wanted to know what a third Dalton Bond film would have been like. Would it have continued the dark tone of Licence to Kill or would have it returned to the tenor established by Roger Moore? I located two different storylines that have attempted to answer the question. One version would have been a spy thriller in the vein of the early Bonds. The other would have been an action-comedy.
2. Dalton’s Fourth Bond Movie. While I’ve been obsessed with learning more about Dalton’s third unmade Bond movie, I was surprised to learn that a treatment had been written for Dalton’s fourth. It was called Reunion With Death and it was set in Japan. It would have featured the film debut of Leolia Ponsonby, Bond’s secretary.
3. Bond’s Origin Story. Casino Royale was not the producer’s first attempt at a James Bond origin story. Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson wrote a treatment for Dalton’s first Bond movie. The film would have depicted Bond’s first mission, before he was a Double-O agent. In it, Bond would have paired with a senior operative who would have shown the unformed agent the ropes. But Albert Broccoli nixed the story and instead, Maibaum and Wilson crafted a more traditional Bond story for Dalton’s debut.
4. Who Wrote this Bond Book? The first Bond spin-off book was called The Adventures of James Bond Junior: 003 1/2.The author of the 1967 book is credited as R.D. Mascott. However, Mascott is not the author’s real name — which has never been revealed. Roald Dahl, the popular children’s author and You Only Live Twice screenwriter was rumored to have written the book. I was able to track down the author’s true identity and solve this long-standing literary mystery!
5. Lost Stage Play. Novelist Raymond Benson wrote six original Bond novels, three short stories, three film adaptations, and The James Bond Bedside Companion, a seminal look at the Bond films and Ian Fleming’s novels. But Benson also wrote an adaptation of Casino Royale, Fleming’s first Bond book. The play has not been produced (yet) but there was a legendary reading of it in New York back in the ’80s. Hopefully, fans will be able to see it some day.
6. Who Played Bond Most Often? Sean Connery and Roger Moore both played 007 in seven films. However, Toby Stephens played Bond eight times on a series of radio dramas for the BBC. Stephens hasn’t spoken extensively about playing Bond, but I secured an interview with him for the book. The dramas are faithful adaptations of Fleming’s novels.
7. The Death of James Bond. There are four Choose-Your-Own Adventure-type Bond books. They were published in conjunction with A View to a Kill. What’s fascinating about them is that depending on what storyline the readers select, Bond dies. His death is not a ploy to trick the enemy, as in You Only Live Twice. No, 007 actually bites the dust. In different versions, Bond is burned by lava, devoured by sharks, and blown to smithereens.
8. Zig Zag Comics. The Chilean publisher Zig Zag released 59 issues of the James Bond comic. Some of them were adaptations of Fleming’s novels and short stories. But other stories took Bond to some unexpected places. In different issues, Bond battles a Yeti, bathes with “flower children,” and infiltrates a gang of female crooks who wear bee outfits and fly with jetpacks. Sean Connery’s likeness was used in all the adventures. As a result, readers see Connery in adventures that are more closely associated with Roger Moore, such as Moonraker.
9. Lost Bond Movie. The Bond producers created a theme-park attraction called 007: Licence to Thrill. The attraction was preceded by a short film that was written by three-time Bond writer Bruce Feirstein and features Desmond Llewelyn as Q and Judi Dench as M. The attraction itself included an elaborate first-person movie where attendees saw the world through Bond’s eyes. But when the ride closed, these two films were lost. I spoke to the director who provided incredible behind-the-scenes photos.
10. Daniel Craig’s Adventure as Roger Moore’s Bond. Ever wonder what Daniel Craig would have been like in a Roger Moore Bond movie? Well, the Heineken commercial “The Chase” answers the question. In it, Craig’s Bond is thrown into an escapade that recalls scenes from Live and Let Die. Thanks to archival footage and a little trickery, Hervé Villechaize appears in it as Nick Nack, the henchman from The Man with the Golden Gun. Craig channels his inner-Moore and brings a light touch to his performance.
11. Lost Bond Comics. In 1993, Dark Horse Comics announced a four-issue comic titled A Silent Armageddon, written by Simon Jowett with art by John Burns. However, only two of the four issues were published, and Bond fans wondered how the story would have progressed and ended. Jowett allowed me to publish the outline of all four issues. Burns allowed me to present unpublished pages for the series. More incredibly, he also painted a panel of the comic to give readers a taste of what could have been!
12. How many Bonds? Six actors have played Bond in Eon’s movies. But I have identified 34 who have played the spy in other media. That’s a lot of “lost” Bond.
13. Connery’s Lost Bond Performance. Sean Connery was the first cinematic Bond and he played the character in seven Bond films. However, Never Say Never Again wasn’t Connery’s last performance as 007. He also played the spy in the 2005 video game adaptation of From Russia with Love. While Connery’s video game was enjoyed and played by many, another Connery performance was seen by a select group of people. Connery briefly played Bond in a birthday message to Ralph Fiennes on the set of The Avengers.
— 13 Things You Might Not Know About the JAMES BOND Franchise. Click here.
— TV’s Original SPIDER-MAN Breaks His Silence. Click here.