Pabulum Of Solace?

The development of any motion picture is always an exciting time when possible story ideas are generated, discussed and then used or discarded. Sometimes, the most fascinating ideas are the ones that are discarded, either because the producers don’t want to take that big a storytelling risk or it would change the tenor of the film they are trying to make. Other times, those ideas are wisely rejected on the simple basis that they are bad.

Marc Foster, director of Quantum Of Solace, told New York Magazine that during the development of the new James Bond adventure, an idea was mooted by screenwriter Paul Haggis, that would have sent the spy franchise down a road the producers did not want to particularly travel.

Haggis had an idea they weren’t fond of, and I didn’t know if it would work or not. The idea was that Vesper in the last movie, maybe she had a kid, and there would be an orphan out there. It wasn’t anything to insult the franchise. But they felt it wasn’t particularly Bond — him looking for the kid. I think Paul thought he just leaves the kid, he doesn’t deal with it. But [the producers] thought that would be really nasty, too, because Bond was an orphan himself. If he would find a kid, would he just leave it? They were so vehemently against it. That was the only time I saw, really, “No, we can’t do that.” They said, “Once he finds the kid, Bond can’t just leave the kid. It’s not right.”

On the immediate face of it, this sounds like a bad idea. It doesn’t make much sense from a story point of view. By the end of Casino Royale, we have learned that Vesper was being coerced into working as a double agent for an unnamed terrorist organization. Why would they have kidnapped her boyfriend to force her to turn traitor when they could have easily and more powerfully used her baby? Also, it sounds a little too soap opera-ish for the series.

However, I don’t think that the idea is entirely without merit. Bond discovering the previously unknown offspring of a dead lover would definitely allow for some interesting character exploration on the part of Bond, perhaps looking at how the early deaths of his own parents scarred him emotionally. It is an area of Bond’s character that the films have yet to touch upon, and one I would be interested in seeing examined. However, the way it is presented here would have spun the series off into a direction that might not have been of interest to the ticket-buying public.

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About Rich Drees 7034 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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November 6, 2008 9:30 am

Interesting. But ultimately I’m with the studio on this, unless they want to fundamentally change what a Bond movie is. If I borrow Orson Scott Card’s categorization of stories to analyze Bond, Bond stories are really either “Idea” stories, in which the main purpose of the story is the gathering of unknown information to solve a problem or correct a problem. Haggis’ concept would take the script closer to being a “Character” story, in which the progression of the character is tantamount. For Bond, who has always been a fairly static character (“ultra-slick spy with classical English reserve”), the change… Read more »