Tarantino doesn't need James Bond to make a British spy/Cold war movie!

tarantino-weinstein We all know the story. Brash young director Quentin Tarantino, shortly after making the most mature movie of his career with Jackie Brown announced to the world that he wanted to adapt Ian Fleming's James Bond for Sony, making a literal screen adaptation of Fleming's only unfilmed novel Casino Royale with an "out of continuity" Bond that would feature Pierce Brosnan. Tarantino claimed he would make a Bond movie that would be unlike any of the films. There would be no room for the John Barry score, the opening title credits, the familiar one-liners, the cinematic convention of M/Moneypenny interactions with Bond. The movie would have been set firmly in the cold war era, the time Ian Fleming wrote about. It would be more film noir than Bond - it would be highly stylised and would feature a voice over narration, just like in the novel. Samuel L. Jackson would most likely be Felix Leiter. Tarantino was turned down by Sony for seven years, right up until Daniel Craig was cast as the new James Bond - and low and behold, Casino Royale was greenlit as an origin movie for Bond and they went back to the safe choice of Goldeneye helmer Martin Campbell to direct. Tarantino would prove to be too difficult to work with, demand too much control and would only make a Tarantino movie, not a Sony James Bond movie. Quentin is still quite bitter about the situation, as you've no doubt seen when he was doing the rounds with the British press proclaiming that Sony stole his idea to strip away Bond's forty year legacy and reboot the franchise with an adaptation of Casino Royale. And of course, there's some truth to that - I don't think Sony would have flirted with the idea of change being possible until Quentin brought it up with them. Anyway this may just be the longest lead-in I've ever wrote to a story but I'll get to it. According to Tarantino himself who has been speaking to Yahoo - he claims he is musing over an adaptation of the trilogy of British writer Len Deighton's novels, Berlin Game, Mexico Set and London Match...game-set-match Tarantino said...
I love England. It would be a wonderful life experience to have an excuse to work here for six or nine months. One of the things I am musing about doing is the trilogy of Len Deighton books, Berlin Game, Mexico Set and London Match. The story takes place in the Cold War and follows a spy named Bernard Samson. What is attractive is the really great characters and the wonderful opportunities of British and German casting.
Such British and German casting saw Michael Fassbender, Mike Myers, Daniel Bruhl and Christoph Waltz star in Inglourious Basterds, all chew up the scene as if they were Bugs Bunny with a nice stick of carrot. In the interview, Quentin even mentioned which British actors he would be interested in...
I am a huge fan of Simon Pegg, so I would definitely love to work with him. I also think Kate Winslet is one of the best actresses that ever lived, so I would be honoured to work with her. I am also a huge admirer of Anthony Hopkins. I would also love to work with Michael Caine. I can see them appearing in my movies, it just has to be right.
Pegg was originally cast in Michael Fassbender's role in Basterds but had to drop out because of his commitments to Star Trek. So what do we know about this Bernard Samson - and is he truly a James Bond-esque character? Well on screen, he's already been adapted, way back in 1988 when Ian Holm starred in an expensive $8 million Granda Television British mini-series... Here's the wiki profile... Samson is a middle-aged and somewhat jaded intelligence officer working for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) €” usually referred to as "the Department" in the novels. Samson undergoes great personal sacrifice in his duties and is often ignored by his superiors, being passed over for promotion or sent to Berlin on duty during the Christmas holidays, for example. Bernard's description appears in Berlin Game:
My photo stared back at me from its silver frame. Bernard Samson, a serious young man with a baby face, wavy hair and horm-rimmed glasses, looked nothing like the wrinkled old fool I shaved every morning.
Wiki continues with the plot...
In the first novel, Berlin Game, Samson is assigned to help a highly-placed agent, known by the codename "Brahms Four", escape from East Germany. Bernard suspected that a traitor was inside the SIS in London and decided at the last moment to send the agent Brahms Four out in his place. His suspicions proved well-founded when he was captured and subsequently confronted by his wife, who had defected and betrayed the operation. In the second book, Mexico Set, Bernard is still under suspicion from his superiors following his wife's defection. To test his loyalty they send him to Mexico City, where he tries to persuade a KGB agent, Erich Stinnes, to defect. Stinnes is a counterpart to Bernard, with a great deal in common, since he too grew up in postwar Berlin as the son of an intelligence agent.
Which has all the makings of an 4 hour Tarantino epic, no? Now granted Tarantino has a new idea of what he wants to make several times a day but this one sounds fun, I've always been dying to see what he would do with the spy genre after he so confidently told us what he would do with James Bond. England would welcome him, and what a great entry it would be in Pierce Brosnan's post-Bond career if Tarantino still wanted to work with him here.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.