The What if thread...What if EON started to remake the classic Fleming based films (1962-1987)?

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  • pachazopachazo Make Your Choice
    Posts: 6,651
    It is interesting that he and Moore had faced the same situation with their second films. Both were considered serious under-performers for the film series. Bond would be rejuvenated with TSWLM and seal Moore's place in the Bond legacy. Maybe it could have worked for Dalton, it's hard to say.


    ToTheRight wrote: »
    I always felt the 3rd Dalton film would have established him firmly in the role and he would have continued un-interrupted through the '90's. The Ruggiero treatment was certainly more fantastical, but not too over the top, IMO.

    I have to say that I've thought long and hard about this throughout the years and there's still no easy answer. Yes, it could've been a turning point for Dalton and perhaps, maybe, without getting too presumptuous, it may have even been a big hit, but I think probably not. It would've had to have captured the zeitgeist like TSWLM. Imagine what Moore's legacy would've been like if he had only done the first two. A strong cult following but not someone who cemented himself into the public consciousness. Certainly not Bond royalty. Sound familiar?

    It's too bad that Dalton never had the chance. I consider myself lucky to truly enjoy all six actors, unlike some members of the community (which is not a cut) who feel quite differently, and in a perfect world both Dalton and Brosnan would've received their dues. In short, I'd be very curious to see what a '91 Dalton release would've looked like. He had at least one more film he should've appeared in and ultimately rejected, but I'm not sure American audiences at the time would've responded en masse.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    Would it have been a Summer 91 release? After Summer 89 didn’t turn out well for both Trek and Bond, they both began doing November/December releases. Trek wouldn’t get another summer release for another 20 years, and Bond is only just breaking out of the November/December pattern it’s been on since GE.
  • w2bondw2bond is indeed a very rare breed
    Posts: 2,001
    The treatment of Bond 17 is certainly intriguing and it's one of the biggest missed opportunities of the series. I don't think Dalton had the star power to draw crowds but by the early 90's there would have been a change in behind the scenes crew (due to deaths etc) so it would been a fresh take on Bond
  • edited October 10 Posts: 1,699
    I predict it wouldn't have done well at the box office. I love Dalton has Bond but outside of hardcore fans, the audience hated Dalton as Bond. They wanted Brosnan.
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 142
    Its really hard to say how a 1991 Dalton led Bond film would have faired at the Box Office. My gut feeling is that it would not have done as well as GE in 1995.

    One factor to keep in mind is that the cinema environment between TMWTGG (1974) – TSWLM (1977) and LTK (1989) -???? (1991) were very different. The mid and late 1980s brought forth major “action franchises” like Terminator, Lethal Weapon, Batman, Indiana Jones and even Beverly Hills Cop. And, like it or not, they did compete with Bond. The Roger Moore breakthrough of TSWLM didn’t really face that situation (IMO). In short, some of the box office space that had been Bond’s alone, by the mid-1980s, was now crowded.

    And while I personally like Dalton’s 007 (even more than Craig’s, perhaps), at the time, many members of the public didn’t really accept him. Although, perhaps, it would be more accurate to say, that for many 1980’s movie goers, there were simply other stars that they found more exciting.

    Ironically, by the mid 1990’s, that second wave of action films was itself undergoing changes, and that – along with the smart move to open the films in November instead of the summer, and a general rise in 1960s nostalgia – opened things back up for Bond.

    That’s my two cents for what its worth.
  • Posts: 10,853
    Great points. It was a tough time to be making Bond movies. The outline story for B17 in 91 sounded decent to me though. Would have loved it if they'd got Ridley Scott to direct
  • Posts: 2,913
    While the prospect of Bond 17 with Dalton is an interesting notion, I think the real lost opportunity was with LTK. Let’s consider for a moment that the original plot for LTK was centered around China after an invitation by its government. To think the idea fell through partly because the 1987 film The Last Emperor had removed some of the novelty from filming in China is quite frankly absurd due to neither movie attracting the same kind of audience. By this stage the writers had already talked about a chase sequence along the Great Wall, as well as a fight scene amongst the Terracotta Army. Wilson also wrote two plot outlines about a drugs lord in the Golden Triangle before the plans fell through. Had the production gone ahead then Eon would’ve got an early foothold in the Chinese market, and audiences would’ve been wowed by a bike chase along the Great Wall instead of the alternative lacklusterMiami/Mexican landscape. After all, if you’re going to jettison China then you’d better make its alternative location as tantalizing as the original concept. Alas, it was not.

    As for B17, we don’t honestly know if the early draft would’ve gone through more changes before it reached the big screen and ended up quite different to how some of us envision it. One thing for sure, UA were determined to replace Dalton after just 2 movies, and I feel they might have hampered the movie, had it been made, with another poor advertising campaign due to them not being heavily invested in the movie the way they should’ve been. Personally, I think a third Dalton Bond would’ve gone some way to cementing his DNA into the role and giving him the necessary springboard to go on.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Ghost office
    Posts: 34,378
    fjdinardo wrote: »
    I predict it wouldn't have done well at the box office.

    Bold prediction. Only time will tell. or not.
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 1,906
    Great chat and points guys and gals! Sorry I have been laid up with some surgery issues. I like the comparison to Moore in TMWTGG. Hadn't thought that the questions being asked in 1974 were eerily similar to those in 1989. I think it's a shame we didn't get one more Dalton Bond. The script treatment that I read here on Mi6 was definitely different from the tone of the other Dalton's but maybe it would have gotten a good performance from Tim.

    I would add a couple of if's to the scenario...if it was a successful I can't see it stopping Dalton's run and I could see him doing at least a couple more. Then would Brosnan ever be cast? Or would that become a great what if of all time. As he would have been the missing actor and we'd go from Dalton to Craig? Then does this impact the decision to reboot in 2006? Funny how one change could impact the whole timeline and history of the series.
  • edited October 15 Posts: 1,510
    But back to Casino Royale...I assume a toned down torture sequence would have remained...Would they have actually stuck to Vesper's suicide in 1962, or try to concoct a more up beat ending, using the other Bond novel endings as inspiration?

    When Ben Hecht scripted his adaptation of Casino Royale in 1962/63 (in between FRWL and GF), he kept the torture sequence (but added another character to the scene, which I won't spoil), and kept Vesper's suicide but added a happy ending. For further spoilers I recommend reading Jeremy Duns' monograph on the Hecht script, Rogue Royale.
    EON always seems to try to make sure audiences walk out of the film on a high note. I doubt they would have ended it with "the bitch is dead"...The 2006 film doesn't stop with "the bitch is dead", but I do think Bond finding Mr. White and introducing himself was actually a pretty good adaptation of what Fleming wrote in the last pages of the novel where Bond vows to "attack the arm that held the whip and the gun".

    I suppose, though it's a sugarcoated version of Fleming's ending, which deprives the audience of any consolation. Bond might make his vow, but his last words, and those of the novel, are a cry of rage and defeat. You're right that very few filmmakers would have the guts to end the film on such a bitter, violent way.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    thedove wrote: »
    I would add a couple of if's to the scenario...if it was a successful I can't see it stopping Dalton's run and I could see him doing at least a couple more. Then would Brosnan ever be cast? Or would that become a great what if of all time. As he would have been the missing actor and we'd go from Dalton to Craig? Then does this impact the decision to reboot in 2006? Funny how one change could impact the whole timeline and history of the series.

    All Bond actors since Roger Moore have been given a three film contract with an optional fourth. Assuming there was a successful Bond 17 in 1991, that would leave one more for a possible Bond 18 in 1993. With the contract complete, I think Dalton would have graciously bowed out. Outside of snagging the Bond role, he never really set out to become a big movie star, turning down a lot Hollywood gigs that would have made him prolific beyond Bond. He chose to do Bond because he was a fan of the Fleming books and wanted to bring the literary version of the character onto the big screen. That he turned down the chance to return for GOLDENEYE because he only wanted to do one more film and not be contracted to a couple more says a lot.

    Had he stepped down after a fourth in 1993, that leaves the door open for Brosnan to get that second chance. That makes me curious of how a Brosnan debut after Dalton finishing a four film run would have turned out. There being no hiatus wouldn't make Brosnan's debut the big comeback for Bond as it turned out in reality. I can't imagine the filmmakers playing up the post-Cold War dynamics the way GE did. Robert Brown had retired by 1991, so a new M would have already been inevitably introduced either in Dalton's third or fourth film.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    Revelator wrote: »
    But back to Casino Royale...I assume a toned down torture sequence would have remained...Would they have actually stuck to Vesper's suicide in 1962, or try to concoct a more up beat ending, using the other Bond novel endings as inspiration?

    When Ben Hecht scripted his adaptation of Casino Royale in 1962/63 (in between FRWL and GF), he kept the torture sequence (but added another character to the scene, which I won't spoil), and kept Vesper's suicide but added a happy ending. For further spoilers I recommend reading Jeremy Duns' monograph on the Hecht script, Rogue Royale.
    Thanks for sharing that!
    EON always seems to try to make sure audiences walk out of the film on a high note. I doubt they would have ended it with "the bitch is dead"...The 2006 film doesn't stop with "the bitch is dead", but I do think Bond finding Mr. White and introducing himself was actually a pretty good adaptation of what Fleming wrote in the last pages of the novel where Bond vows to "attack the arm that held the whip and the gun".

    I suppose, though it's a sugarcoated version of Fleming's ending, which deprives the audience of any consolation. Bond might make his vow, but his last words, and those of the novel, are a cry of rage and defeat. You're right that very few filmmakers would have the guts to end the film on such a bitter, violent way.

    Yeah, unless it was a one-off film, I don't see Hollywood doing something as harsh as that. Looking back, it's admirable that they even stuck with the structure of the novel by having Le Chiffre killed before the third act, which isn't something a lot of big movies typically do, let alone having the final act center around the suicide of the leading lady. I always felt the sinking house stuff was superfluous, but being part of the franchise raises expectations for a big climax, so just having Bond find her corpse and reading the letter might have been too much out of EON's wheelhouse, but I wish I could have seen that cinematically realized. I always imagined as Bond would read the letter we'd hear Eva Green's voice, flashing back to her writing the letter, cutting to seeing her in moments working for the enemy, and as she says "I have to be strong" we get an image of her in bed after having taken the pills, a close up of her hand gripping the bed sheet then slowly see the grip lessen as her life is draining away.

    Maybe had CR just been a standalone book instead of one of a major franchise that film could have been made, but oh well.
  • edited October 15 Posts: 7,250
    Revelator wrote: »
    But back to Casino Royale...I assume a toned down torture sequence would have remained...Would they have actually stuck to Vesper's suicide in 1962, or try to concoct a more up beat ending, using the other Bond novel endings as inspiration?

    When Ben Hecht scripted his adaptation of Casino Royale in 1962/63 (in between FRWL and GF), he kept the torture sequence (but added another character to the scene, which I won't spoil), and kept Vesper's suicide but added a happy ending. For further spoilers I recommend reading Jeremy Duns' monograph on the Hecht script, Rogue Royale.
    EON always seems to try to make sure audiences walk out of the film on a high note. I doubt they would have ended it with "the bitch is dead"...The 2006 film doesn't stop with "the bitch is dead", but I do think Bond finding Mr. White and introducing himself was actually a pretty good adaptation of what Fleming wrote in the last pages of the novel where Bond vows to "attack the arm that held the whip and the gun".

    I suppose, though it's a sugarcoated version of Fleming's ending, which deprives the audience of any consolation. Bond might make his vow, but his last words, and those of the novel, are a cry of rage and defeat. You're right that very few filmmakers would have the guts to end the film on such a bitter, violent way.

    How Am I just hearing about 1964's Casino Royale now !!!!


    I am tempted to pick up the book is it a good read or is it dry?


    And as a counter point how come no one has done a book on Bond 17... Actually I just thought of a novel idea for a book ….QUICK to I have a Brother Publishing @peter
  • Posts: 1,510
    I always felt the sinking house stuff was superfluous, but being part of the franchise raises expectations for a big climax, so just having Bond find her corpse and reading the letter might have been too much out of EON's wheelhouse, but I wish I could have seen that cinematically realized.

    I might be mis-remembering, but I think Purvis and Wade's original draft had Vesper leaving a video for Bond instead of a letter, whereas the sinking house was added by Haggis. If anyone can confirm this, that would be much appreciated.
    Risico007 wrote: »
    How Am I just hearing about 1964's Casino Royale now !!!!
    I am tempted to pick up the book is it a good read or is it dry?

    It's a good read. Jeremy Duns is also spy novelist, so he knows how to craft a good narrative.

  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    Revelator wrote: »
    I always felt the sinking house stuff was superfluous, but being part of the franchise raises expectations for a big climax, so just having Bond find her corpse and reading the letter might have been too much out of EON's wheelhouse, but I wish I could have seen that cinematically realized.

    I might be mis-remembering, but I think Purvis and Wade's original draft had Vesper leaving a video for Bond instead of a letter, whereas the sinking house was added by Haggis. If anyone can confirm this, that would be much appreciated.

    Hmm, not keen on the idea of a video. If you have to update from a handwritten letter, perhaps a voice recording would have been best. It makes it more haunting hearing her off a speaker as her corpse is lying in bed.
  • Posts: 5,049
    From what I remember @Revelator, when I went to see Haggis in a talk a few years back, P&W had an ending far closer to the novel (whether she left a video or a note, I don't remember); he found it to be rather a dull ending and worked in the Venice sinking house battle.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    Wasn't the sinking house a P&W conception? My recollection is that Bond finds Vesper in a hotel room, finds the suicide note that also leaves a clue for Bond to chase the bad guys that leads into the sinking house climax. Haggis comes in and feels Vesper's suicide should be integrated with the sinking house rather than be a preceding scene.
  • Posts: 5,049
    The way he described it the night I saw him was he basically re-wrote that entire act. That the ending had no action. Vesper died similarly to the way she does in the book. He made it sound the original ending was bland and he came up with the sinking house.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    I looked up to see his comments regarding the climax and found this interview with Haggis

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2007/dec/04/guardianinterviewsatbfisouthbank1

    PH: Yeah, and the draft that was there was very faithful to the book. And there was a confession. So in the original draft the character confessed and killed herself. And then she sent Bond to chase after the villains. And Bond chased the villains into the house. And I don't know why but I thought that Vesper had to be in the sinking house and Bond has to want to kill her and then try and save her and she has to kill herself.
  • Posts: 5,049
    ah, interesting-- he didn't it make it seem like that at all. He made it sound like he exorcised the P&W act all together, and wrote the action set-piece himself.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    Though I'm not a fan of the inclusion of the sinking house, I think he made the right impulse in having Vesper's suicide take place during that. Had it gone the way P&W's did, the sinking house would feel even more like a diversion from the tragedy of her death, almost as bad as a tonal shift from Bond discovering a dead Paris Carver then grinning like a schoolboy in the garage sequence.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 15,857
    Though I'm not a fan of the inclusion of the sinking house, I think he made the right impulse in having Vesper's suicide take place during that. Had it gone the way P&W's did, the sinking house would feel even more like a diversion from the tragedy of her death, almost as bad as a tonal shift from Bond discovering a dead Paris Carver then grinning like a schoolboy in the garage sequence.

    Kinda like when Bond was visiting Tracy's grave and then grinning like a schoolboy before dumping Blofeld down the chimney.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    Murdock wrote: »
    Though I'm not a fan of the inclusion of the sinking house, I think he made the right impulse in having Vesper's suicide take place during that. Had it gone the way P&W's did, the sinking house would feel even more like a diversion from the tragedy of her death, almost as bad as a tonal shift from Bond discovering a dead Paris Carver then grinning like a schoolboy in the garage sequence.

    Kinda like when Bond was visiting Tracy's grave and then grinning like a schoolboy before dumping Blofeld down the chimney.

    Yup. My least favorite sequence in FYEO.
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 1,906
    We are slightly off topic here but there is lots of good stuff floating around. Thanks guys and gals for some great info and insight. As always I am learning new things.

    Our what if topic is Dalton returning for Bond 17 in 1991 and what impact that would have had on the series and on the publics view of Dalton as Bond. If anyone has thoughts to share on that what if please feel free to get us back on track.

    OR we can continue to offer some thoughts on what if CR had been developed into a movie in 1964-65. I believe @Revelator has educated us all on this subject and even mentioned a book about it. For sure an interesting thought so please offer up thoughts on this too if the mood strikes.

    If we don't get any posts on either of the two above I shall move us on to another scenario for discussion. Cheers!
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 1,906
    Though-out the series there has been some casting that has remained consistent. M, Moneypenny, Q etc. This has helped to ground the series in some continuity so even when the actor playing Bond has changed his supporting cast has remained the same.

    However one recurring character has been played by multiple actors through-out the series. Felix Leiter! Bond's American ally, first introduced in DN played by the cool Jack Lord. Many view his portrayal as one of the best. The producers tried to bring him back for GF but Lord demanded co-billing with Connery and had some rather high salary expectations. But what if Lord had come back with less demands and played Leiter in GF? Could we envision Lord continuing to portray the character in TB, DAF and LALD? How would this change how the character was used in those films?

    What say you Mi6? What if Jack Lord had portrayed Leiter from DN to LALD?
  • edited October 19 Posts: 9,507
    The credits would probably have to read:

    "HARRY SALTZMAN AND ALBERT R BROCCOLI PRESENT.............


    JACK LORD


    IN

    IAN FLEMING'S


    GOLDFINGER


    starring

    HONOR BLACKMAN

    GERT FROBE


    HAROLD SAKATA

    and seen konnery..... ...oops .....uh........make that sean connery"
  • Posts: 2,913
    I think you’ve answered your own question @thedove. Jack Lord wanted equal billing to Connery’s and a big salary to continue in the role. Of course I’d have preferred had he not made those demands as he was firmly established from the get-go as the character and was very good in the role. It didn’t seem to harm his career as he went on to star in Hawaii Five-O, the longest-running police drama in American television history at the time. Certainly, his role in GF would’ve been more memorable had he been cast, same goes for TB and DAF.

    The other lost opportunity was Rik Van Nutter who agreed to keep playing the part after TB, but Leiter didn't appear in You Only Live Twice (1967) or On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). By the time Leiter re-appeared in Diamonds are Forever (1971), Rik had moved on to other things, so the story goes.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    I do think keeping the same actor would have changed how audiences perceived the character and perhaps he would have appeared in more scenes and films than the character ended up doing in the long run. He’d no longer just be that forgettable CIA agent that pops up occasionally. He would have had to at least appear in YOLT because American affairs were involved in that film, so his sudden absence would have been odd. Same with TSWLM, MR, OP, and AVTAK. Had he been more memorable his appearance in TLD would have been more than played off as a footnote and by LTK audiences would have at least had some familiarity with the character to understand Bond’s rage. He might have come back for the Brosnan era with a prosthetic leg and arm with a hook.

    Assuming Lord still had HAWAII FIVE-O, he probably would have had to be replaced in LALD. He would do one more for DAF, because that was filmed during the show’s break between seasons. David Hedison still gets the gig in LALD because he was pals with Moore and had chemistry, and given how Felix had a more notable presence with Lord returning that would give the writers incentive to bring back Hedison for the appropriate films. Come TLD (with either John Terry or anyone else), there would have been more thought put into Felix’s presence in the film and wouldn’t be such a cameo, then LTK would have been perceived as more shocking seeing a familiar name get treated so harshly.
  • Posts: 691
    It would've been nice to have the character not be seen as kind of a buffoon, a sort of goofy American counterpart to the ultra-cool Bond. I think of Cec Linder in his Ted Knight Caddyshack hat and suit poolside in GF and lines like "Where's your butler friend" would be gone.

    Van Nutter was similar with the suit on the beach in TB and although he was okay, the character was still written as kind of just an aide for Bond. Burton was more in charge and trying to put Bond in his place on his turf. Even when Hedison took over I couldn't understand why it wasn't him instead of Quarrel Jr. in the thick of the action setting the explosives to destroy the poppy fields instead of staying behind on the boat. With Dr. No at least you know Quarrel staying with Bond on Crab Key was true to he book.

    In reading the novels, you picture Bond and Felix as being roughly the same age and of close to equal skill sets. They complement each other. I get that Bond has to be the focus in the movies, but it still feels like a missed opportunity and the character could've been presented better instead of an afterthought and I think they would've had Lord continued.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    Posts: 1,004
    Maybe a controversial opinion, but I thought Leiter was pretty useless in DR. NO. I didn’t grow up with HAWAII FIVE-O, so I don’t have all that much of an affinity for Jack Lord like older generations do. He honestly just feels tacked on in the film in order to give Bond a white peer to talk to. It’s a shame because he’s the best cast Leiter, but he ultimately comes off as a nonentity to just provide an exposition dump for Bond.

    Overall, Leiter on film has been pretty underserved since day one. Just one scene between the two on R&R would have justified his presence beyond exposition dump.
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