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Male Bonding
007 screenwriters speak

09 March 2004  |  Written by   

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History is littered with great partnerships – Bonnie & Clyde, Butch & Sundance, Robert Wade & Neal Purvis. OK, so you may not be familiar with that last pair, but they’re the talents behind The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, as well as the upcoming Bond 21. We caught up with them at the Orange Screenwriters Seminar at the British Library in London last night to ask how you write for Bond.

“We started writing the new one two weeks ago – so obviously all the cliches are already in place,” says Neal. “As far as we understand it, Pierce Brosnan is Bond. He’s a great Bond and he gives you a lot to work with as a writer because he’s very good looking. Seriously, he is very good at suggesting an undercurrent of – you don’t know what. He shows that there is a shadow on this man.”

“I don’t think there’s a more difficult task,” says Rob, of writing Bond. “It’s all been done. The twentieth film was harder than the nineteenth. It’s very difficult to think of new ways to blow things up! But character is the thing; it’s finding new ways to explore the character.”

So how about the once-rumoured Jinx movie? “We spent two months with Stephen Frears on it and it’s all down to the studio. Halle Berry was very happy, Stephen and the producers were happy and we were happy – but the studio didn’t want to make it. It was going to cost $80-90 million and Charlie’s Angels and Tomb Raider hadn’t done well, so they didn’t want to risk it,” says Neal.

They also showed the audience a clip from their film which has just finished shooting, called Return To Sender. It tells the story of a man who writes to prisoners on death row, befriends them and then sells their last letters to the press. “The name will probably be changed. We wrote it fourteen years ago when we were researching Let Him Have It and it finished shooting on Saturday. The whole budget was less than the pre-title sequence on Tomorrow Never Dies.”

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