This man saved my life in the week. Not literally, you understand, but in a purely metaphorical manner, and not the actor I might add but the character that he plays. Have I confused you enough yet? That’s Gareth Mallory, current head of MI6 in Eon Productions ‘James Bond 007’ Universe and he turned up in my head on Tuesday night to pull me out of a writing corner I didn’t think I was going to be able to escape from. Amazingly, not only did he save me, he’s sent my new Bond narrative off on a COMPLETELY different direction. I am not complaining at all about this, because what this allows me to do is use a cast that were criminally underused in Spectre because, like it or not, people go to watch Daniel Craig. That’s never really a problem, right up until the point when you don’t actually give him something to do that’s actually believable. For all the brilliantly engineered Mendes set pieces? I realise I’d rather have a story at this point about teamwork, so I’m gonna write one myself.
I still don’t forgive the writers of Spectre for keeping Moneypenny behind a desk: it began in Skyfall and pretty much destroyed that movie too, which is a shame, because apart from this that piece of cinema is damn near perfect. So I feel the need to redress the balance, without escaping from the inevitable desire to create something that I think could still be legitimate as a Bond ‘story.’ In my mind there has never truly been an ensemble piece: Spectre does actually try, setting up the relationships between Bond and his ‘team’ in the first act, but it never really gets used to its best advantage, because what these movies demand is the main man in set pieces where shit blows up and women are saved. So, I’m gonna fuck with the trope a bit. No, who am I kidding, that’s going out the window. Don’t get me wrong, Bond still very much matters, but not at the expense of other players in the frame.
Here is where I think the franchise could evolve moving forward. Drop the tropes, stop making the ‘tech’ people the defacto geeks, and allow the true evolution of espionage and technology take centre stage. Use everybody with fairness, not just focus on the obvious. Mostly, I’d like to think there’s a viable alternative to the same old predictable paths that seem to be taken time and again.
I’m currently 30k words in. I’d bet that when I’m done it’ll be closer to 100k, because there’s a lot to pack in and as yet none of it is unnecessary. Needless to say, I am acutely aware off what is at stake in my own mind if I screw this up. So I won’t. This will finally put my wish fulfilment to bed, once and for all. I’m really not concerned at what happens now with the franchise, because I will with this prove in my own mind, once and for all, you can have a woman take centre stage and still maintain the essence of the canon.
Watch this space to see if I pull it off or not.