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Newspapers speculate on Young Bond film series

20-Jul-2009 • Young Bond

MI6 Note: The press report below from The Herald contains several assumptions about the film rights and ownership of James Bond on the silver screen. Readers are advised to exercise scepticism.

James Bond is set to go back to his roots in Scotland following secret discussions on the future direction of the 007 movies - and the new film is likely to include the first-ever Scots Bond girl.

The role of Wilder Lawless would give a young unknown the chance to join the likes of Ursula Andress and Britt Ekland in Bond legend.

She would even get to give Bond his first kiss - because the new film will be a prequel and James Bond will be only 13 years old. Eon Productions successfully relaunched the James Bond franchise three years ago with Daniel Craig and Casino Royale, which had been the first book in Ian Fleming's series in 1953.

Fleming's estate commissioned a new novel by Sebastian Faulks. Devil May Care came out last year and was a hit with public and critics. But Eon, which controls the use of the name James Bond on-screen, said it would not fit into the current film series.

Instead, they have been considering adaptations of the Young Bond books, which also came out under the auspices of Ian Fleming Publications and have been bestsellers.

The first book, SilverFin, is set largely in the Scottish Highlands. Bond is on holiday when he stumbles upon a megalomaniac American laird and sinister genetic experiments with killer eels.

Neither Eon Productions nor Ian Fleming Publications are giving anything away about a possible film, but Charlie Higson, who wrote the books, said he understood they were discussing a new Young Bond film series that would complement the existing Bond series. Higson is probably better known as a comedian but has screenwriting credits for The Fast Show and Randall and Hopkirk (Decesased) and could be in the frame for the SilverFin screenplay.

Variety, the American film industry paper, quoted producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson last year to say they had no plans to make a film of Devil May Care, and the article went suggested they might turn their attention to the Young Bond books, saying they were "ripe for cinematic adaptation".

Higson's status as the author and prospective screenwriter has not been sufficient to get him into talks on the film series. "I am not really involved with that I am not privy to what goes on behind the closed doors of MI6," he joked.

Eon's spokeswoman said: "There's nothing in the works at the moment." However, she did not rule out a series of Young Bond movies.

Ian Fleming Publications refused to comment, but another source confirmed Higson's comments that the two companies were talking about Young Bond films. The fifth and final volume in the Young Bond series is now out in the UK and is published in the US next year.

They have taken Fleming's hero to the generation of readers who made Harry Potter a publishing phenomenon.

James Bond is the most successful film series ever, and the prospect of a film that combines elements of 007 and Harry Potter could be a major money spinner.

SilverFin picks up on biographical details from the original Fleming books, which reveal that Bond's father was Scottish, the family was from Glencoe and Bond was educated at Eton and Fettes College in Edinburgh.

Set in the 1930s, SilverFin follows the 13-year-old Bond from Eton to the West Highlands, where he stays with his uncle Max, who is a former secret agent.

Young Bond teams up with Red Kelly, a cockney boy, and local beauty Wilder Lawless, who could well have been the template for later Bond girls. She roams the countryside on a horse called Martini.

Wilder Lawless would be the first Scottish Bond girl. Glasgow-born Deborah Kerr played a Bond girl in the original jokey version of Casino Royale in 1967, when Kerr was in her mid-40s and pretending to be M's widow Lady Fiona, although she was really an enemy agent.

Locations in SilverFin include Fort William and Glenfinnan, and Hellebore's castle was inspired by Eilean Donan, which appeared as MI6's Scottish headquarters in The World in Not Enough. The roles of Bond, Wilder and Red Kelly are almost certain to go to young unknowns.

Higson suggested Scottish actors Dougray Scott and Iain Glen or Welshman Timothy Dalton, who succeeded Roger Moore as Bond, as possibilities for Max Bond.

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