Though virtually all of Quentin Tarantino’s nine movies have been original stories — only “Jackie Brown” was adapted from the Elmore Leonard novel “Rum Punch” — the director and obsessive cinephile has kicked the tires on some of Hollywood’s biggest franchises over the years. From Marvel projects to an R-rated “Star Trek” movie, Tarantino loves to flirt with opportunities to work with his favorite characters. And sometimes, it seems like the only thing he loves more than making movies is talking about the movies he almost made.
In a new interview with Deadline, he recalled his failed attempt to put his own Tarantino-esque spin on the James Bond novel “Casino Royale” years before the Daniel Craig adaptation came out.
“We reached out to the Ian Fleming people, and they had suggested that they still own the rights to ‘Casino Royale,’” Tarantino said. “And that’s what I wanted to do after ‘Pulp Fiction’ was do my version of ‘Casino Royale,’ and it would’ve taken place in the ’60s and wasn’t about a series of Bond movies. We would have cast an actor and be one and done. So I thought we could do this.”
But Tarantino and his clever legal maneuvering were no match for longtime Bond franchise producers Albert and Barbara Broccoli, who had already made moves to ensure that nobody could adapt Fleming’s works without their involvement.
“But then it turned out that the Broccolis three years earlier figured out somebody was going to try to do what I did,” he said. “And so what they did is they just made a blanket deal with the Fleming estate and said that: ‘We have the movie rights to everything he’s ever written. We’re going to just give you a bunch of money. This is for every single thing he’s ever written. If anybody wants to make a movie out of it, they got to come to us.’”
When asked if he ever had a formal meeting with the Broccolis, Tarantino said that the negotiations never even got that far. The auteur explained that the producers were fans of his style but weren’t interested in dramatically altering the Bond formula.
“No, but I had people who knew them and everything,” he said. “I was always told very flattering versions of like, ‘Look, we love Quentin, but we make a certain kind of movies, and unless we fuck it up, we make a billion dollars every time we make that type of movie, OK? We don’t want him to do it. Doesn’t matter that it will still do good. It could fuck up our billion-dollar thing.’”
While Tarantino certainly won’t be directing a Bond movie any time soon — he claims he’s retiring after his upcoming film “The Movie Critic” — he still has a few ideas about the direction the franchise should go in. He explained that he would like to see the next slate of 007 movies remake the original stories but still adhere to the plots of Ian Fleming’s books more closely.
”I mean, they always start from scratch when it comes to somebody new, because that’s saying somebody couldn’t have been going through the stuff that happened in ‘Thunderball,’ all right? I’ll tell you, I actually have a thought process about this,” he said. “What I think they should do, and I’ve been thinking they should do this for a long time, is so many of the books have these really classic names and really classic adventures. And for the most part, a lot of them, they never did the book. They never did the stories. They took the plot line and maybe the Bond girl or maybe the villain and then just went their own way. Tom Mankiewicz just goes his own way. He did the writing for a lot of them. I think they should not remake the movies but actually just do the books, but do them the way they were written. And those would all be brand new.”