So, we all know that Disney's name has cropped up over the last two years or more in relation to their being an interested party in buying the James Bond franchise from Eon or at least in buying the distribution rights to the next Bond film or series of films. Obviously Disney have done a good job with growing the Star Wars franchise, so presumably they could do the same with the James Bond franchise. It might even result in a much-needed shot in the arm for the Bond films.
Many fans would likely be against the idea but to the John Gardner fan it opens up an interesting situation: if Disney did at some point buy the Bond franchise or the distribution rights would a film version of Gardner's Never Send Flowers (1993) be any closer in coming about?
As many literary Bond fans will know Never Send Flowers features the villain David Dragonpol's castle Schloss Drache which is described as looking like the castle at Disneyland and it of course features a climactic fight scene at Euro Disney in Paris (nowadays it's called Disneyland Resort, Paris of course). There would of course be the inherent problem in the story for a modern audience as the assassination target in the original 1993 novel was Princess Diana and her two sons. Presumably this could be changed to another VIP target easily enough (a politician, rock star etc.) According to Raymond Benson in his 'Gardner’s World' piece in 007 Magazine the original intention was to have a famous rock star as the target of the assassination in the Disney resort.
What do we think? Would Disney be interested in adapting such a Bond novel into a film, given its obvious links to their amusement park properties around the globe and the potential for large-scale "product placement"? To my mind, it would seem an open goal that they would be rather silly to avoid exploiting.
So, dare I ask, what do we think of such an idea? :)
I also hope that John Gardner's are never able to poison the series and Fleming's character. The novels are passable as extended universe entries. But I don't want them anywhere near the actual film series/ franchise personally.
Given the nauseatingly sycophantic drivel Gardner has Bond spouting about Disney in the book why they wouldn't want to put this on screen? There are a couple of appalling pages where Bond says how fantastic Disney is that read like he's fronting the latest 'Come to Disneyland' TV campaign. Who wouldn't want such free advertising from an iconic character that they could legitimately claim is being faithful to the book?
The only thing that would put them off though would be scenes depicting a terrorist running round EuroDisney. I don't think they would consider it good for their image and the 'brand'.
But whatever you say about them they at least would realise that an absolute clunker of a novel like NSF would need ripping up and starting again before it would be fit for purpose as a viable screenplay that they could expect a box office return on.
Terrible, terrible book and even worse idea.
Unless his plan was to destroy Disneyland.
Well...that'd be even worse. What would the reaction of parents be in this sensitive, quick to bruise culture? "Oh my god, we can't go to Disneyland. There's madmen trying to kill people there." It's not something that Disney, a money grubbing monopolizing behemoth, would want linking itself to their big brand.
Disney would never elect to have their leisure locations appear as the center of a destruction plot or anything that has any negative imagery attached to it in any film, including circumstances that depict death or danger inside the gates or where the plot has a villain centering their dastardly scheme around a Disneyland. It's why you see car companies protesting and prohibiting the use of their cars in certain films because it's bad for the brand to have them exploded or smashed to oblivion in front of the audience. That's bad product placement when they'd much rather pay for a big star in the film to brag about or praise one of their products with a quick camera shot to it as he or she mentions it.
When Disney owns something they shove it down your throat and try to make it sound like the coolest thing going and don't even risk depicting anything in any other light as a smart brand would do. Like some of the most puke-inducing moments of Spider-Man: Homecoming where all the Star Wars references are a very clear wink by Disney to the audience that, "Yeah, we own that too now. Star Wars...ain't that cool?! Go see our film later this year for more Star Wars." There movies are very cross promotional and I'm sure there will be cringey references to Star Wars and other major properties of theirs in even more blockbusters they are producing beyond the recent Marvel films. What you won't see if them setting a Bond climax at one of their locations in a serious and dangerous finale.
Yes, I think I "get the photo" by now.
You mean you're finally ready to join the world of common sense and sanity and admit NSF is appalling?
No, I'll agree it's appalling underrated though, old chap. ;)
Given the government have been plugging mental health I think I ought to my citizen's duty and look into getting you sectioned. It's for your own good old chap.
Happily, you can't actually get sectioned in NI, which is just as well. That part of the Mental Health Act 1983 does not apply here. Sorry to disappoint you, old bean. ;)
Amis's Colonel Sun is far more highly regarded than Gardner's Bonds, but it will never be fully adapted for the screen because having a Chinese villain would be box office suicide in today's world.
Definitely. The Chinese market contributed a huge amount to Skyfall's mega-profit. So you won't find any Bond film from now on that isn't pro-China or at least neutral. The same goes for any big-to-upper-middle-budget American films, since they're made with the Chinese market in mind, especially now that Americans realize all the good stuff is on TV.
Personally, I think now is a great time for the Bond films to resurrect SMERSH, what with Putin and the FSB's dirty tricks, but that won't happen either, because the Bond films have been even more hesitant to offend Russia with China--that's why SPECTRE proved so useful in the 60s, being a non-aligned terrorist organization. So we'll probably be seeing more of SPECTRE--unfortunately the film of the same name proved to be a disastrous re-introduction to the organization and its leader.
Another villain option is North Korea, but after The Interview it's not likely.
I've drifted pretty far off topic, so I'll try and answer part of Dragonpol's original question. Let's say Disney bought the Bond films, and then bought the rights to the Gardner novels and decided to film Never Send Flowers. Would they keep the Disneyland setting? I'd venture yes. It's free self-promotion and Bond himself is rather effusive (over effusive to be honest) about the place. It's true that Disney might be hesitant to show Bond killing a terrorist at one of their theme parks, but the public knows a Bond film is inherently stylized and not altogether realistic, and you could flip the question to be "Would Disney be hesitant to show Bond triumphing magnificently over a villain at Disneyland?" Hell, that would even give an excuse for a James Bond ride. Oh God...
Vomit inducingly effusive if we're being accurate.
Has anyone actually got that paragraph they could post for those who haven't read the book? (Draggers I assume you have the text tattooed over your body so could you take a Polaroid of the relevant body part as long as it's not etched along the old chap?)
It really is staggering to see Bond telling the girl how fabulous he thinks Disneyland is. Presume it was contractual to allow them to feature it and allow access but you'd think someone at Glidrose would've have said this section needs axing. I guess no one cared at that point as long as Gardner churned another one out every year and they scraped into profit.
Jesus. But highly likely.
I don't think Disney is interested in the James Bond franchise so I doubt the first poster's suggestion will ever happen. It seems very unlikely any future Bond film will be based on a non-Fleming novel. Eon haven't adapted any non-Fleming work.
Except for part of Colonel Sun.
I'm sure the screenwriters would still be forced to have Bond make a Death Star joke at some point in each film, though, or at least a general Star Wars reference in general as we've seen in the films Disney have produced outside Star Wars.
I can picture Bond in a mexican standoff with another villain as we speak...
Nameless villain: "My trigger finger is getting itchy, Mr. Bond, and there's no ointment in sight."
Bond: "There's something you should know, then..."
[Villain raises eyebrow in questioning]
Bond: "I always shoot first."
[winks at camera as he fires the shot, the gun magically turning into Han Solo's blaster as he pulls the trigger]
I want it!
So, in that case, they could adapt John Gardner's earlier Bond novel Brokenclaw (1990) instead, which features the Chinese agent Chi Chi as Bond's sidekick. Though I suppose that we've kind of had the Chinese agent angle already with Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies.
That would still be fine by me, plus yet another excuse for another torture scene as the Bond films of the last 20 years seem to be rather fond of them.
As @SaintMark said above, it couldn't be any worse than what Eon came up with in the last film especially. At the very least it would be a basis to start from for any new Bond film in development.
Yes, I think that film was the main inspiration for that O-Kee-Pa torture scene in Brokenclaw. Raymond Benson even mentions it in his excelkent 'Gardner's World' review and interview with John Gardner in 007 Magazine in 1995.
I even bought a reprint of an old book on the initiation ceremony as I wanted to write something about it at one point.
So are you saying that Gardner made a mistake with his depiction of the ritual, @RichardTheBruce? This sounds very interesting to me!
I actually read the book back in October to get familiar with the San Francisco locations, so it's pretty fresh in my mind.