The recent crop of Bond movies has come in for a lambasting from Anthony Horowitz, the latest author to join the 007 novel-writing franchise. Horowitz described the current onscreen incarnation of James Bond as “weak” and said that Skyfall was his least favourite of the entire film series.
In remarks reported by the Mail to mark the publication of Trigger Mortis, the latest in the string of “continuation” Bond novels commissioned by Ian Fleming’s estate, Horowitz complimented Daniel Craig, calling him “terrific”, and said he admired the 2006 release Casino Royale (“a total return to the gritty seriousness of it”), but then laid into the follow-ups. The massively successful 2012 film Skyfall came in for particular criticism.
Horowitz said: “Quantum of Solace just went wrong. Skyfall is my least favourite. I know it is heresy to say so, but it is the one Bond film I have never liked.” Asked for his reasons, Horowitz said: “Bond is weak in it. He has doubts. That’s not Bond.”
“Secondly, the villain wins. The villain sets out to kill M. The film finishes with the villain killing M. So why have I watched it? And if you have to protect the head of MI6 from a madman, do you take her to a Scottish farmhouse with no weapons? And tell your bad guy where you are, so he will arrive with six people to kill her? … It’s that sort of thing that made me angry.”
Horowitz also professed himself uneasy at the prospects for Spectre, the Bond film currently in production. “‘I’m looking at the trailer and I am seeing a photograph of Bond’s family. The mum and the dad are in there and their faces are missing because the picture has been burned in a fire. This is going to be to do with his family background, and I know the fans are all terribly excited to know more, but I’m saying, ‘Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know about his doubts, his insecurities or weaknesses. I just want to see him act, kill, win.’”
In the same interview, Horowitz also touched on the issue of whether a black actor should be cast as Bond. Horowitz expressed doubts that Luther star Idris Elba would be the right man for the role, saying: “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond.” Horowitz said the actor playing Bond needed to be “suave”, and that Hustle star Adrian Lester would fit better.
Horowitz also revealed that he was inspired to begin writing his series of Alex Rider teen-spy novels after his pitch to write a Bond film script was rejected. “I wanted to write a James Bond film. I met the producers years and years ago and tried to persuade them. That was when Alex Rider came into my head. They were talking about the next movie, not offering it to me. I thought, ‘Sod you. If you won’t let me make a Bond film, I’ll make my own up!’ By then, Roger Moore was about 50 and way too old to be playing 007, so I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if James Bond was a teenager?’”
This article was written by Andrew Pulver, for theguardian.com on Monday 31st August 2015 11.45 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010