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I don't think I was aware before that John Cork had ever written a draft screenplay for a James Bond film. That's certainly news to me!
He didn't. He wrote a story treatment.
As explained by Cork in Some Kind of Hero (by Field & Chowdhury):
I was hired to write a treatment for a "future" Bond film... When I went in for my first meeting, they told me they hired me because they liked my vision for Bond, but that my story idea was too close to the idea that they were developing with [Michael] France, which also had to do with satellites. Thus began the long journey into pitching Bond stories. I must have pitched twenty to thirty. Each one required oodles of research and mapping out characters. None of them went anywhere!
Both Cork and Richard Smith were hired in 1993 to come up with stories for sequels to Bond 17/GOLDENEYE (since Michael France was already working on that). The Smith treatment -- which seems to have gotten farther than Cork's and was later used to supply minor elements of the Brosnan films -- was examined in an issue of MI6 Confidential and discussed in another thread here.
One of my interrogations about this story is how M would have been killed by SPECTRE. Would that have been off-screen, and exposed with dialogues, or shot with a body double in the role, posing for M. I guess no full summary of this draft has ever leaked and thus this question couldn't be answer, but I would really love to know more.
Beyond the problem posed by the death of Lee which would therefore have required the presence of a body double, I can't imagine the Bond movies of that period killing on screen such character. Also, since opening the story with a funeral was something that Eon was toying with at that time (an early draft of FYEO opened with 006's funeral for example), it could have happened.
That's the first time I hear something so specific about this draft. It would still be something rather strange since, from what the Taschen book tells us, SPECTRE would have been in a war against Octopussy and her group, unless Smythe is not Octopussy's father in this version, or a former member of SPECTRE. Unless all this is a confusion born from the 2015 movie.
Edit: found it.
Indeed, my mistake! Given the lack of reference between these characters in this summary, I suppose Smythe wouldn't have been Octopussy's father. But, if it was the case, it would have created an interesting dynamic.
I'm sure he would have been convincing and good in general, but I don't think he would have liked to play such part. On paper it could indeed be the perfect conclusion for Moore with a final showdown with Blofeld, but I don't think Eon would have been able to convince him to come back for such a script.
By now, I suppose a number of you know this, but it is something that I recently discovered when I finally read Field and Chowdhury's Some Kind of Hero that details this early script. Among the elements relating to the series in general, Moneypenny would have been reintroduced and M was set to die in some of these drafts. Among these two elements, I find the first one quite fascinating and I have no trouble imagining Moneypenny's role becoming that of Tanner through the rewrites.
Regarding the story in itself, Bond would have infiltrated the organization and would have taken the place of a hitman who would have murdered Mr. White at the start of the film; his target would have been a woman smuggling antiquities in Iraq and Libya. The main antagonist would have been named Dante. Because Fleming’s title came lately in the creative process and when Haggins was working on the script, the film was titled Sleep of the Dead, I wonder if the organization was already called Quantum or if this name came later.
This is interesting. How do you know this?
I recall reading in that book a while ago that:
An interesting note about SF from the book:
Then there is a ton of stuff about SP:
Thanks for those! Really interesting. That Spectre script. Yikes.