On the heels of this week’s news that Danny Boyle is at the top of producers’ wishlists to helm Bond 25 comes word that writer John Hodge, a frequent collaborator of Boyle's, has begun work on a brand-new script for the film. The rumor reported by Deadline is this: if Eon and MGM like Hodge’s script, that will be the version they film, with (one assumes) Boyle directing. If they don’t like the script, the Purvis & Wade draft that’s been in play for, oh, a year, will be filmed.
In other words, if the Danny Boyle-directed Bond 25 comes to pass, that means a film that starts filming this November or December will be shooting a script that’s just started being written. And if the Danny Boyle-directed Bond 25 doesn’t pan out, Daniel Craig's final 007 adventure will be using a script that someone in charge thought was worth scrapping.
Assuming this is all true: uh-oh.
Listen, Eon: I get it. You’ve got a chance to make something special happen with Hodge and Boyle, and you don’t want to pass that opportunity up. I appreciate this hustle! Put a little fire in the franchise’s belly and aim for that brass ring! But what if that draft is...almost there? What happens if you start kicking that can down the road a bit in the hopes of knocking it out of the park? Do you move a release date for this experiement? Does moving a release date run the risk of losing Craig? How do you reconcile the location scouting and pre-production work that should be underway…*checks Omega Seamaster 300*...like now, with two competing screenplays that, at the moment, stand an equal chance of happening? Remember when Spectre brought in Purvis & Wade at the last minute to overhaul John Logan’s “Blofeld as African warlord” script and were told “whatever you do, make sure you crash a helicopter on Westminster Bridge, ‘cuz that shit’s already built”? I do.
Hey, this could be great. But with over two years of possible lead time now evaporated, it also smacks of doing your homework on the schoolbus the morning it's due, and I've got the report cards to show what a terrible plan that is.