Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bond's Backwards Adventures?

It's somewhat of a rarity to have a film turned into a book--it's usually the other way around. But there are occasions where television shows or video games, in particular, have been novelized--"World of Warcraft,""Star Trek," and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to name a few.

So, when I saw an article in USA Today about Jeffery Deaver writing a James Bond novel, I was all "Whoa! Jump back! Really?"

But it seems that, due to what I will call my youthful ignorance , I hadn't ever known that the Bond films were originally books by author Ian Fleming that were then adapted to film and now being turned back into books--talk about backwards!

USA Today's feature on Deaver and Bond is a bit long but no one can say they weren't thorough:

Jeffery Deaver looks more like a brainy villain in a James Bond movie than a "00" agent in Her Majesty's secret service.

Best known for his thrillers starring quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme, Deaver has a new mission: Bring Bond into the 21st century in a new 007 novel.

The yet-to-be-named book is cryptically referred to as "Project X" by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., which owns the rights to Fleming's work.

How did Deaver, who grew up outside Chicago, land this top-secret mission?

The family-owned Fleming business took notice when Deaver won the U.K.'s Crime Writers' Association's coveted Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Garden of Beasts (2004), a thriller about an American assassin sent to Berlin during the run-up to Hitler's rise to power.

In his acceptance speech, Deaver talked about Fleming's influence on his work.

Most of the details surrounding Project X, to be published in May, are being kept under wraps, but under intense interrogation (more like gentle coaxing) Deaver begins to spill his guts.

"The novel," he says, "is set in the present day, in 2011. Bond is a young agent for the British secret service. He's 29 or 30 years old, and he's an Afghan war vet."

That in itself is big news. After all, if Bond were aging in real time — he first appeared in Fleming's Casino Royale in 1953 — the now doddering (although assuredly still handsome) 007 would be nearly 90.


Sipping coffee while seated on a leather chair in a sitting room decorated with portraits of his dogs and show ribbons, the mild-mannered author who writes about murderers and serial killers talks about his career and the solid fan base that has allowed him to pursue writing full time since 1990.

"I may not sell as many books as John Grisham (although he has sold a cool 20 million), but I have a very loyal fan base," says Deaver, 60, who wrote some of his novels while working as a Wall Street lawyer.

Deaver's initiation into the Bond family — more than 100 million 007 novels have sold worldwide — could significantly raise his profile.

Other novelists have written Bond novels since Fleming's death in 1964 — including Kingsley Amis, John Gardner and, most recently, Sebastian Faulks (his 2008 book Devil May Care reached No. 38 on USA TODAY's best-seller list) — but they all took place in the original era. Deaver is taking a new approach.

"There's no more Cold War to fight," says Deaver, so his new Bond, of the Fleming estate, will fight "post-9/11 evil."

"I want to stay true to the original James Bond, who many people don't know much about," he says, referring to the secret agent Fleming portrayed in 14 novels, and not the movie Bond. "People know Daniel Craig, they know Pierce Brosnan, they know Roger Moore and Sean Connery, all of whom brought a great deal to the stories of 007. But the original Bond was a very dark, edgy character."

Otto Penzler, proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York, says Deaver's writing style can only enhance the Bond franchise.

"The main thing he can bring is a greater sense of suspense to the books," Penzler says. "A lot of the books and movies are becoming basically chase plots, and Jeff really has the ability to create suspense better than almost any writer working today."

Explaining why Deaver was tapped for the latest Bond adventure, Fleming's niece Kate Grimond says: "He has a great understanding and appreciation of Fleming's original creation. We feel sure that he will produce an exciting page-turning 21st-century Bond mission — and a Bond for the present day."


Deaver, who is single, shares some of Bond's predilections: driving fast cars — he has owned a Jaguar and a Maserati— shooting guns, scuba diving and downhill skiing.

Later this week, Deaver will do what he loves best: hit the road to meet fans. He'll be off on a week-long whirlwind of interviews and appearances in Japan — but not before he's pressured for just a few more details about Project X.

The 21st-century Bond, he acknowledges, does not smoke.

Does he drink? "Martinis will make an appearance in the book."

Does he wear a tux? "I'm not able to talk about that."

Does he have movie-star looks? "He's handsome in a craggy way. A striking-looking man."

Does he remind Deaver of any particular Hollywood heartthrob?

"Not really," Deaver says. "Fleming said that in his mind, the musician Hoagy Carmichael was who Bond resembled. That's kind of who I think of, too."

Hoagy Carmichael?

Read the entire article HERE

I will admit that I've actually never seen a James Bond film (don't worry, "Dr. No" is on my Netflix queue)--and also already admitted that I didn't realize it had originally been a book before the film--but I will say that I always have a hard time imagining action movies as books. They are so visual and visceral, and that cinematic quality fits the screen best for a reason. I would be interested to know, however, what some of you, my dear readers, think about backwards adaptations (film to book).

I'm so curious that I'm tempted to ask the resident media-tie-in editor at my office to share his studied opinion...

1 comment:

  1. Movie novelizations aren't as rare as you think, or at least they weren't back when we were kids. I remember owning movie novelizations for Total Recall, Willow, and the original Buffy movie.

    Though I don't think you can really call this new Bond venture a film-to-book event so much as a continuation/reboot of the Bond book series that has been published since the original author was alive and writing.