FUN! FUN! FUN! If the Bond franchise became my baby, that would be the buzz word for production. Of course, I still want the edge-of-your-seat action set pieces and slobber-knocker fight scenes.
But one thing that has been noticeably missing from the recent rebooted Bond films has been the element of fun that seems to elude so many big brooding blockbusters these days. With the advent of a stone-faced Bourne and a menopausal Dark Knight, the trend turned to more sour faced antics for our heroes. But now with the arrival of more life-loving characters such as Tony Stark, the movie-going public demand a light-hearted-but-no-less-intense bang for their buck.
One of the reasons for an origin story, which the new Bond films are loosely meant to be, is so we can see how these famous characters that we know and love first came together or became the people we know them to be. So, it would be fascinating to see the arrival of a slightly younger Q to the ranks. I would choose a British actor with comedy sensibilities. Ricky Gervais? Ugh. Simon Pegg? Been there (“MI:3”) done that (“Star Trek”). How about David Tennant? I could see that. His banter with Bond could be the perfect source for the aforementioned comedy. But there is the sticking point. Comedy. From Bond. Played by Daniel Craig. Can Craig do humour? His early interviews and press meetings after getting the 007-gig highlights his stiffness and inability to not take himself too seriously. Harsh? Maybe. But if Craig can reveal a side to him rarely seen by the public, then great, but if not, I fear his tenure as Britain’s greatest spy will be remembered as two-dimensional. One hint of a comedic bone in his body can be found here, but in it, he plays second fiddle and foil to the great Catherine Tate, so it’s not much of an indicator.
Moneypenny is another character that could be introduced. Again, this opens up opportunities of fizzing sexual chemistry between them with a splash of comedy thrown in. However, in our more liberated age, I don’t think she should be portrayed as being so helplessly in love with him. We could see scenes when she confounds him rather than the other way round. But these two characters are cameos in most Bond films so they don’t exactly chew up much screen time. Kate Winslet could easily be Bond and Craig’s equal. However, with recently separated husband calling the shots, I doubt we’ll see that coming to fruition anytime soon. Another option is Keira Knightley — if they wanted to go for a younger Moneypenny fawning over Bond. However, you may get the Roger Moore-effect. Even though he is my favourite Bond, in his later films in the series the by-then older, leathery and slightly “saggy” actor looked a bit weird seducing these 20-something models in every other scene. Perfect Moneypenny candidate then? Kate Beckinsale.
The man I want to see fleshed out properly is good old Felix Leiter. I love David Hedison’s version of the ever-changing CIA man and with his interpretation of Bond’s U.S. counterpart, you really felt like he and 007 were friends. Not swap-knitted-jumpers friends but as if they met up once in a while to play poker when in the same city sort of friends. I want to see his character come out of his shell a little, actually allow Jeffrey Wright to put some personality into the role.
What about the plot for Bond 23? I would like a conclusion to the Quantum/Le Chiffre/ Vesper story played out in the previous two films. I’m all for multi-film story arcs, its gives us more to invest in, but it helps keep things fresh when we have a new plot or new story strands to get involved in every once in a while. One thing I want more than anything else? Secret bad guy bases! With shark-infested pools. I hope you’re listening, EON.
And with the recent news that the series has been indefinitely suspended, you have the time to get it just right.
. . .
Follow Ben Fowler on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Localboy99