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June 12, 2009

Peter Morgan to write Bond 23!


I just got a humdinger of an e-mail.

Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers behind the popular James Bond series, this afternoon announced that Peter Morgan, the extraordinarily talented screenwriter of The Last King of Scotland, Frost/Nixon and The Queen will join scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade in penning the 23rd James Bond adventure.

The full text follows:

LOS ANGELES, CA June 12, 2009 – Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions Ltd and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures have today announced that Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen), Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale) will be the screenwriters of the 23rd James Bond adventure.

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 in the film, which will be a MGM release of an EON production. Bond 23 is the latest installment in the longest-running franchise in motion picture history and will be produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. A date for the start of production is yet to be confirmed.

"Peter, Neal and Robert are extraordinarily talented and we're looking forward to working with the three of them," commented Wilson and Broccoli.

Peter Morgan is the award-winning writer of such films as The Last King of Scotland, The Queen and Frost/Nixon, which was based on his play. He has also scripted the upcoming The Special Relationship for HBO and Hereafter for DreamWorks. He will turn his attention to Bond 23 on completion of these duties. Morgan is represented by UTA (US) and Independent Talent Group (UK).

Since 1991 Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have collaborated on a diverse range of projects including The Italian Job, Johnny English and the past four Bond films. They recently adapted John Le Carre's The Mission Song and are also working on the upcoming sequel The Brazilian Job. Purvis and Wade are represented by Endeavor (US), Casarotto Ramsay & Associates (UK).

This seems to me to be a screenwriting coup. Morgan's credentials are impeccable and erudite, yet infinitely accessible. His contributions should go a long way to ending the three film reboot arc with muscular elegance.


I was right with you up to 'His contributions should go a long way to ending the three film reboot arc with muscular elegance.' Wait, what makes you think the wildly successful Bond reboot will end with Bond 23?

I note you mention the returning scriptwriters, the new scriptwriter (yay!), and a returning Daniel Craig. Is Dame Judi Dench returning?

I've read that Marc Forster would prefer that the next film be 'lighter' with 'more girls and more sex.' That's the last thing I want to see. The whole success of the reboot (to me) seems to be a definitive move away from the jokey gadgety Playboy Bond of days of yore. The rebooted Bond has been more back-to-the-books, with more reliance on himself and less on gadgets and groping gals. (Sorry, alliteration won out over common sense.)

Oh, I don't think the franchise will end at all, but rather the three film arc of Bond's origins story encapsulated by "Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace" and "Bond 23."

I assume Dench will return. As far as I know, she truly enjoys the role.

As for the tone of the third film, I fall somewhere between you and Forster. I too love the grittier, Bourne-influenced Bond and think that they tamper with that to their own peril. That said, the Bond of the last two films is really not the Bond of the past several decades. The "jokey gadgety Playboy Bond of days of yore," while at times played for far too much parody, is still the Bond we all know and love. I think (hope) they will find a happy medium, maintaining the brute force of the new films while injecting a bit more sophisticated joviality.