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'The Queen' Scribe Peter Morgan Says He's Writing A Heist Flick With The Scale Of 'Heat'

by Oliver Lyttelton
October 12, 2011 7:53 AM
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'360' Pensmith Wrote The Story For Next Bond Film, But Never Got To Do A Script



Exclusive: Screenwriters can be typecast in the same way as actors, and if someone was to stereotype Peter Morgan at this point, it would be as "the biopic guy." He's picked up two Oscar nominations for films based on real people -- namely "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon" -- and along the way has tackled figures as varied as Tony Blair (three times), Bill Clinton, Lord Longford, Idi Amin, Brian Clough and, not once but twice, King Henry VIII. But he's been keen to stretch his wings for some time, with his two most recent films both being original scripts: firstly Clint Eastwood's "Hereafter," and now, Fernando Mereilles' "360," with Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins, which is, as we speak, opening the BFI London Film Festival.

We caught up with Morgan today, and he revealed that his next few steps will take him even further outside what he's been best known for, namely, into the genre movie arena. It was reported over two years ago that the writer was going to be penning the script for the next James Bond film, which Sam Mendes eventually came on board to helm, but his name has been mostly absent from recent reports on the film, with names like Patrick Marber and John Logan being batted around.

In fact, Morgan told us that he was indeed on board the film, and did some preliminary work, which will seem to form the basis of the film's plot, but circumstance prevented him from ever starting on a script proper. "I wrote a treatment for it," the writer said. "And I believe, I haven't read the final script, but I believe the core idea of the final script is that. But what then happened was the whole MGM bankruptcy thing happened. And by [the time it was sorted], I was completely snowed under with other stuff, and Sam had a good relationship with John Logan, and I said 'Look, I can't do anything with it.' It's sad, but what can you do?"

But it sounds like he's going to be able to scratch his action itch, as Morgan's now writing something on spec that he's very excited about. "I'm writing a big commercial heist movie. Completely on spec. A couple of people want to do that. I'm really enjoying that. [Lots of] guns... My agent read it and said 'It feels like a 25-year-old man wrote that.' The sort of scale of "Heat."" As Morgan says, the film isn't set up anywhere yet, but there certainly seems like there's plenty of interest, so we're sure we'll hear an announcement of its acquisition before too long.

As for Bond, would Morgan return for a second crack at the whip? "It depends if there's the right set of circumstances. Things come up for a reason at a moment." We'll have more from our conversation with Morgan soon, including details on his next film to go before cameras, Ron Howard's Formula 1 period flick "Rush."

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