The next entry in the 007 franchise - currently known only as Bond 25 - has had a tumultuous year, gaining and losing director Danny Boyle in the space of a few months. Boyle parted ways due to "creative differences" after working up a new script for the movie with the help of screenwriter John Hodge (who has also departed), but there was already previously a script in place, from veteran Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
With Boyle now gone, it looks like Purvis and Wade's script is back in play, and Eon Productions is in search of a new director to bring it to life. The latest update on that front is that Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies director Jean-Marc Vallée has been approached to direct, though nothing is official yet.
It may be some time before Boyle is able to speak freely and in detail about his version of Bond 25, and we'll ultimately never know if it would have been better than the version that actually gets made. However, while fans wait patiently for star Daniel Craig to return to the big screen for what will likely be his final outing as James Bond, we've gathered together what we do know about the two Bond 25 scripts: Boyle and Hodge's, and Purvis and Wade's.
- This Page: Danny Boyle and John Hodge's Bond 25 Script
- Page 2: Neal Purvis and Robert Wade's Bond 25 Script
Boyle and Hodge's Script: A New Cold War
Danny Boyle and John Hodge are longtime collaborators. Hodge wrote the script for Boyle's first ever feature film, Shallow Grave, and went on to write screenplays for The Beach, A Life Less Ordinary, Trainspotting, Trance, and T2 Trainspotting. Both are highly well-respected figures in British filmmaking, but in 2013 Boyle said that he had no interest in directing a James Bond movie because of the pressures of taking on a franchise. "It's not for me," he explained. "I like working under the radar a bit more, so you can take risks."
Nonetheless, five years later Boyle decided to try his hand at directing a Bond movie, but it seems that his fears of having to sacrifice creative control proved well-founded. According to one report, the impetus for Boyle deciding to quit was Craig vetoing his choice of actor for the movie's villain - and that's where our first clue about the script comes from. Boyle apparently wanted Polish actor Tomasz Kot to play a Russian villain, but Craig (who has final say over casting choices) said no. Moreover, one of the "risks" that Boyle apparently wanted to take was to base the movie around the current fraught political relations with Russia, in what was described as a "modern-day Cold War" story.
Of course, blending real-world politics into thrilling spy tales is a core element of the James Bond franchise, and it sounds like Boyle and Hodge's script would have been a modern-day answer to 1963's From Russia With Love. It's hard to know for sure whether the creative differences were simply a matter of Boyle not being allowed to cast Kot as the villain (the actor has so far only appeared in Polish films, and is essentially unknown to British and American audiences), or whether the studio was nervous about bringing potentially divisive political commentary into the mix. Regardless, we won't be seeing this version of Bond 25. So what about the version that we will be seeing?