this is a rather sad story , so if you're looking for a rose tainted
, gold paved road story please pass your way ok ?
started as way back as 2002 just after the French tranmission of my
special James Bond reports shot at Stoke Park for T.P.S , a Satellite
channel ( part of the TF1 media group ) which had sent us there to
cover 007 40th Anniversary in style .
the famous Bond people I managed to meet and interview while there ,
I thought to myself « it's ridiculous , we've got more than
3 hrs of footage and only 5 mms of it has been used . I've got to
find a way to produce something worth of that exclusive material … ».
Bond fever of the day passed , and I keep calling various people in
the Biz' to see if I could find a Production company interested into
a James Bond documentary which will cover not only the film
incarnation of the character but also pay hommage to his creator ,
delve a little bit into Danjaq's real business , and offer some
original P.o.vs from various people connected to the James Bond universe
sent – litterally – a hundred of emails ( note to my 007 friends
around the World : deep apologies for having pestered you for
such a long time with that project of mine ) .
got , well, 99% of negative answers in return . Usual reasons ?
« Too expensive » , « No new Bond film this
year » , « Impossible to get clips from MGM »,etc.
… April 2012 . I then got a positive return from an Executive
producer of a French Production company , who insisted to see me «
to discuss the idea » . Whoohooo !
first meeting went rather well . We talked on general matters , and I
already insisted on the necessity of shooting in Great Britain (
mainly at the Beaulieu Car museum , the Barbican and various places
of interests ) .
Lady executive was charming , and even a tad too enthusiastic about
the Documentary project : « we simply HAVE to get at
least one James Bond in our movie » she kept on telling me
that , out of the six official incarnations of 007 , three at
least would be impossible to get ( mainly Ms Connery, Brosnan and
Craig ) , I tried to temper her , arguing that we could have plenty
of other guests amongst actors , technicians , writers and such .
the Lady was adamant : « we-need-a-James-Bond to sell
our program to a network ».
, it happened that the Cameraman who was assigned to work with me on
the project had some way to get an ITW ( or so … He said . Turned
out it wasn't true at all in the end ! ) with Sir Roger Moore
while the man would be in Paris for promoting his upcoming Bond book
in early october .
seems to be quite fine then , and I embarked onto Cannes – where my
Cameraman was supposed to join me later - , willing to get there the
Bond girls Eon was to send there for an exclusive ' Bond 50'
Croisette hommage .
you , at this time , no Money matter had been discussed at all . This
was some sort of ' pre-production ' work and I naively thought that
the subject would be decently approached when the official start date
of the British shooting would have been finalized . Stupid of me …
was a disaster . Not only did the Cameraman simply refused to take
any images of the Bond stuff ( for a good reason : he was there
to work for France Television – of which he was an employee, and
didn't want to work for free without any contract . And hadn't been
clearly briefed by the Paris Production team about my needs on the
Croisette ) , but the highlight of the Eon Cannes event – mainly an
outdoor beach screening of some Bond movies introduced by some past
and future Bond girls themselves turned out to be a mish mash ,
poorly organized thing . Add to this that the very day when Martine
Beswick, Carole Bouquet and Bérénice Marlowe were to introduce the
nightly screening , rain started to pour on the Croisette , instantly
transforming the Outdoor Screening Beach into some kind of swamp .
Hastily , the Cannes execs tried to re-schedule the night event into
the Palais des Festivals , putting stickers here and there
to alert the Press and the medias alike ( « Stickers ! »
. They had our own mobile phone numbers , and no one thought of
simply TEXTING us journalists about the change of plan ???? ) .
I simply … Missed the indoor event .
about it the very next day to the head of Cannes Ciné-Classic
section and then learnt that Eon has been very ' difficult
' to deal with when arranging this Bond retrospective event in Cannes
indeed . Won't elaborate ,but it seems the marriage between Cannes
and Eon wasn't a happy one I can tell you that .
, back to Paris I then started to ask my Production about the
proposed dates of shooting in England .
my absence , work had been done indeed . But not necesseraly in the
good direction . For instance , some naive Production assistant asked
the Barbican if our future crew could possibly REMOVE some items from their
plexiglass cubicles , to be able to casually handle them while
filming took place. They even suggested the Shooting crew to come to the
Museum the day after the official ending of the exhibition so that we
could indeed attend the packing of the objects ( due to be sent to
the States then ) - and then perhaps … Grab some stuff for
close-ups shots and such .
horrified when I learnt that – and that's exactly the moment an
alarm ring started to drill furiously in my head .
oh , these people are supposed to be TV professionnals and they are
not aware of the value of the items exhibited in the Barbican ?
, we were then by the end of June . Everyone going on holidays –
including the main Lady Producer who purposefully avoided to answer
any of my email dealing with salary request . Strange , eh ?
mid August I was feeling completely disgusted . Numerous assistants
had tried to cajole me to email various people ( on the ground that
their own English wasn't good enough ! ) , ranging from the
Burbank based MGM section dealing with movie clips buyings , to Mrs
Lucy Fleming from the Ian Fleming Publication cie ( a contact I had stupidly given them ) ...
aware that I had indeed put a foot into a nest of ( utterly stupid )
bees , I flatly refused - each time sending back only four words (
« Where-IS-My-Contract ? » ) and slowly tried to
cautiously disengage myself from the whole operation .
, forgot to mention that , before departing for her much earned
holidays in the Sun , the Lady Producer had finally decided that the
UK shooting would take place by the … Beginning of September .
was therefore lost for a French airing date , and she casually told
me : « oh , we will try to sell it to coincide with the DvD release
of Skyfall then. Don't
worry .. » .
that 2012 was indeed the 50th Anniversary date of the
James Bond film series seems completely oblivious to her .
fortunately embarked onto other ventures , I didn't even protest ,
knowing full well by now that only one issue would finally come out
of all this : cancellation of the whole project , sooner or
exactly what happened – only 3 days before we were actually to
transport ourselves to England . Got a charming phone-call of the
Lady Producer telling me in a sugar-coated voice that « we have
to abort the whole UK shooting schedule – AND ' put on Ice ' the
whole Documentary project as well . But have no fear , we still want
to do a filmed ITW of Roger Moore in Paris ( for which precise
purpose , that I'm still wondering ! ) AND we will try to
sell the project to Canal + early next year . So please stay with us
, Kevin .. » .
answer was as cool as an icecube dropped into a Vodka Martini :
« Don't count on my participation anymore . I will personnaly
warn all the people you contacted on my ground that the production is
truly dead – in case you tried to tell them something else »
I've never heard from those people again …
, september the 3rd of 2012 .
N.B : promo clip was devised by a friend of mine - and in no way the official product of the Production company involved , nor any French Television networks . In short : made just for Fun .
N.N.B : my most profound apologies to all the people and organizations contacted in the line of duty for that still born Documentary venture . But , as someone once said , ' Never Say Never Again ' ...