007 things you didn’t know about Quentin Tarantino’s rejected James Bond movie

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The wait is finally over, SPECTRE comes out this weekend all over the country, and with it, a legion of James Bond fans eager to see Daniel Craig’s  – and director Sam Mendes’- take on the iconic super spy.

However, as much as critics and fans alike loved the last Craig/Mendes Bond collaboration, aka Skyfall, this particular writer couldn’t help himself but feel a bit cheated when I discovered that Quentin Tarantino was eyeing to reboot the franchise 10 years ago himself with his own version of Casino Royale.

As our friends over at “Rejected Storytellers” pointed out, Tarantino wouldn’t have been just another “director for hire”- like is the case with most Bond directors- but would’ve rebooted the franchise in a manner that only an auteur could:

001.-Tarantino’s “Casino Royale” would have been a period piece

It is no surprise that a filmmaker, as in love with the 60’s and 70’s as Tarantino is, would decide to set his version of Casino Royale in the decade that gave birth to the world’s most famous spy. The Sean Connery era Bond Films have always been favorites of 007 purists –maybe except for the painfully cheesy “Diamonds are forever”.

002.-His story takes place after “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”

Also known as the Ringo of James Bonds, George Lazenby only ever starred in 1 movie as the world’s favorite secret agent; however, that movie just so happens to be one of Tarantino’s favorites of the series; so much so, that he would’ve like his version of Casino Royale to have taken place immediately after the events of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.

As Tarantino once told the New York Daily News:

“(I would) have it take place after the events of “On Her Majesty`s Secret Service” – after Bond`s wife, Tracy, has been killed. I want Bond to be in mourning when he falls in love with Vesper Lynd, the woman in the novel.” –Quentin Tarantino

003.- Pierce Brosnan wanted Tarantino to direct him

After 1995’s Goldeneye became the most critically acclaimed Bond movie in decades, Quentin Tarantino found his martini drinking muse in the shape of incumbent Bond star Pierce Brosnan. The director mentioned in several interviews that Brosnan was not only his favorite Bond, but that he would be the only Bond he would have in his version of “Casino Royale”. A sentiment that was very much echoed by Brosnan himself, who not only admitted to loving Tarantino’s take on the franchise, but also pushed the director’s pitch to the producers of the Bond series themselves:

“I had hooked up with Quentin Tarantino, who wanted to direct the movie…and I took that idea to the producers. They have a way of doing the films, and they are not open to discussion” — they threw my idea out the window. They said they wanted to go in a new direction.” -Pierce Brosnan

004.- Producers of the James Bond series didn’t even own the rights to “Casino Royale”

There was a reason why Tarantino was campaigning so hard to get his hands on Casino Royale and not on any other of the books written by James Bond creator, Ian Fleming. And that reason was because Casino Royale was the only book that the producers of the official James Bond series did NOT have the rights to. The long and complicated reason for that is better explained in the aforementioned video by our friends at Rejected Storytellers above, but the point is that the Pulp Fiction director campaigned hard to wrangle the film rights for himself, but ultimately failed and the rights finally ended up at EON Productions (producers of the official series).

005.- Tarantino’s “Casino Royale” would’ve been the third time the story was adapted for the screen.

As we mentioned before, for almost 50 years, the rights to adapt Casino Royale existed in a legal loophole that allowed two infamous versions of the story to hit both the big and small screen. The most infamous of which is the 1967 Peter Sellers/Woody Allen version. A movie so unwatchable that Sellers himself walked off set and never finished his part in the movie…and if you ever watched 15 minutes of that pile of dump, then you can’t really blame him.

However, the first version of Casino Royale came in the form of a 1954 episode of a CBS anthology series called “Climax!”. An adaptation that squishes as much story as it can in a 54-minute window, and does it’s best to make the characters and setting as digestible for Eisenhower-era-Americans as possible. Which means, they made James Bond an American, took away his British accent and had all the characters refer to him as “Jimmy”.

006.- Producers had given Pierce Brosnan a copy of Casino Royale as a gift

When Bond producer, Barbara Broccoli hired Pierce Brosnan as the James Bond for the 90’s, she gifted him an original first edition copy of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.

According to an interview with Sharp Magazine, Brosnan says the book came with a note from the producer that simply read:

“Here’s to new beginnings” – Barbara Broccoli

Words that sure had to sting ten years later when Brosnan was replaced by Craig to film Casino Royale.

007.-Tarantino is supposedly planning a rival spy franchise

Having to resign himself from the idea of ever making his version of Bond’s first adventure, Tarantino quickly looked for an alternative spy series that would serve as his Bond substitute. And, he found it in the form of a trilogy of spy novels by British writer Len Deighton:

“One of the things I enjoy 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 Sampson. What is attractive is the really great characters and the wonderful casting. I am a huge fan of Simon Pegg. I also think Kate Winslet is 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.”

The only problem with this is that there is an already long list of projects Tarantino has claimed he would like to do over the years, most of which simply fall apart. Just google his pitch for a Pulp Fiction/Reservoir Dogs prequel called The Vega Brothers or the many instances he has hinted at Kill Bill Vol. 3.

And although we might never see Tarantino take the reins of the world’s favorite secret agent, it is good to know that since the years of the bitter Quentin Vs Bond battle, both have independently delivered some of their best films to date.

Source: MI6

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