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Why Mendes Brought Back Purvis & Wade for 'Bond 24' Polish

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood June 28, 2014 at 4:04PM

Turnabout is fair play, as veteran James Bond scribes Neil Purvis & Robert Wade have been reinstated to add a bit of witty repartee to the upcoming "Bond 24," according to the reliable Baz Bamigboye of DailyMail. Purvis & Wade, franchise staples since Pierce Brosnan's "The World is Not Enough" (1999), turned over the screenwriting reigns to John Logan for "Bond 24" after he was brought in to polish their work on "Skyfall," which, of course, become the first billion Bond in franchise history.
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"Skyfall"
"Skyfall"

Turnabout is fair play, as veteran James Bond scribes Neil Purvis & Robert Wade have been reinstated to add a bit of witty repartee to the upcoming "Bond 24," according to the reliable Baz Bamigboye of UK's DailyMail. Purvis & Wade, franchise staples since Pierce Brosnan's "The World is Not Enough" (1999), turned over the screenwriting reins to John Logan for "Bond 24" after he was brought in to polish their work on "Skyfall," which, of course, become the first billion Bond in franchise history.

While tag-teaming the scripting of Bond is not unusual, the return of Purvis & Wade has caused "polite turmoil," according to an exec, and will push production back on "Bond 24" from October to December, but still on course for its 2015 release (October 23 in the UK and November 6 domestically). 

This obviously means that director Sam Mendes, Bond star Daniel Craig, and producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli are not adverse to more verbal banter between 007 and the new Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw). Yet now that the franchise has acquired sole ownership of arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his SPECTRE terrorist organization, there's anticipation of even a greater link to the Sean Connery era.

But while "Skyfall" brought back a sense of Connery-like droll humor (particularly during the meet cute scene with Q in the National Gallery), there have been some members of the Bond family that want to see 007 have more fun. Director Michael Apted ("TWINE") flatly declared that the tougher "Skyfall" "isn't a Bond film," even though he enjoyed it immensely.

And John Cleese (who played the fumbling gadget master in "Die Another Day" after being introduced as Q's assistant in "TWINE") bemoaned that Bond is now "gritty and humorless," with action that goes on way too long.

So back come Purvis & Wade to add their expertise and perhaps ensure that Bond doesn't get too dour (a la "License to Kill" and "Quantum of Solace"), despite the best intentions to add new layers of meaning and embrace his darker side.

This article is related to: Skyfall, John Logan, Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes, Immersed In Movies


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.