While the forthcoming James Bond film “No Time to Die” may feel like a lost film–originally delayed from April to November 2020, then again from November to April 2021–it’s still visible out on the horizon.
The same can’t be said for many other Bond films and related projects, however, which is why we’re welcoming author and “007” expert Mark Edlitz into the fold to give fans of the world’s famous spy an incredible inside look at the jaw-droppingly expansive world of Bond … James Bond.
Edlitz’s most recent book, “The Lost Adventures of James Bond,” explores a range of Bond franchise intrigue, from Timothy Dalton’s abandoned third and fourth Bond movies, to the secret history of the James Bond Jr. animated series, and the revelatory story behind Sean Connery’s lost Bond performance.
Without further ado, here’s some choice questions for Edlitz and those interested in reading the entire “Lost Adventures of James Bond” saga may purchase the book via Amazon HERE.
What started you on this seemingly obsessive journey tracking down the lost, forgotten, and unmade stories of the world’s most famous spy?
It’s been a very obsessive journey. The James Bond universe is greater than many fans might think. Even if they have seen all the movies and devoured Ian Fleming’s books, there is much more to discover about 007. There is a fascinating galaxy of Bond adventures that have been “lost” or unmade, out-of-print or forgotten by even the most dedicated Bond fan. My goal was track them all down and share them with the fans.
What’s a pivotal discovery you made while researching the book that every James Bond fan would want to know (while saving perhaps the most important discovery for those who buy the book)?
There are a few pivotal discoveries in THE LOST ADVENTURES OF JAMES BOND. For years Bond fans have been speculating on a third Timothy Dalton film. They want to know what would have happened in it and what would the tone have been like. Would it have been hard-boiled and gritty like Licence to Kill or would it have been closer to the action-comedies of the Roger Moore-era. I was able to answer that question.
I was also able to find out what a fourth Dalton film would have been like. Finding out about it wasn’t easy. I found a 1993 article in Variety, that announced that the script would be written by Richard Smith. Variety indicated that in addition to being a writer, Smith was also a producer, a make-up artist, and an actor. I couldn’t find Smith, the writer, so I started tracking down Richard Smith’s who were actors, make-up artists, and producers. Turns out, that Variety got their facts wrong and he wasn’t any of those other professions. But I eventually tracked down his script.
I also solved a long-standing Bond mystery. There is a spin-off book called The Adventures about James Bond Junior: 003 ½, which was published in the Sixties. The book cover says it was written by R.D. Mascott. But R.D. Mascott is a pseudonym. He doesn’t exist. But for decades the author’s name was unknown. I was able to find out the author’s true identity.
Speaking of James Bond’s nephew, I also did a deep-dive into James Bond Jr., the cartoon. The show is still unavailable on DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming services. It’s not a show that fans love but the producers put a lot of effort into creating and marketing it, so I wanted to explore it.
I also found out about a lost Bond play. It was written by Bond continuation author Raymond Benson. I also interviewed John Landis (Animal House, American Werewolf in London) about his ideas for The Spy Who Loved Me and Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II) about his unused ideas for Tomorrow Never Dies. And I uncovered info a spin-off movie during the Pierce Brosnan era. This was a different movie than Halle Berry’s unmade Jinx film, but another film about a Bond villain.
What went wrong for Timothy Dalton?
Timothy Dalton was ahead of his time. He was a great Bond and Bond fans love his work. He was a student of Ian Fleming’s work and Fleming’s novels helped shape his interpretation of the role. But general audiences weren’t necessarily ready for Dalton’s more grounded approach. Dalton’s second Bond film was also hurt by an anemic advertising campaign and a competitive summer schedule. His Bond film was competing against Timothy Burton’s Batman and the third Indiana Jones film. Despite all that, the producers were planning on making a third Bond film with Dalton. But lawsuits prevented Dalton’s third Bond from going forward. I’ve always been obsessed with finding out about that third Bond film and this book is my attempt to figure out what form it would have taken.
In light of Sean Connery’s recent passing, can you give a teaser regarding his so-called “lost 007 performance”?
Sean Connery played Bond in seven films. But he also played 007 in the video game adaption of From Russia With Love. Connery also played Bond as a birthday present to a future Bond star. My first book THE MANY LIVES OF JAMES BOND tells the story about the video game and THE LOST ADVENTURES OF JAMES BOND reveals the events behind the unseen second performance.
Let’s play a little Casino Battle Royale: Rank each James Bond actor from your personal favorite to least favorite.
I’m terrible at this because I honestly love each actor. They all brought something unique to the part. Sean Connery established the character. George Lazenby made him vulnerable. Roger Moore amped up the charm and humor. Dalton, as noted, based his Bond on Fleming’s novels. Pierce Brosnan revitalized the franchise. Daniel Crag made him more multidimensional. But there are more than just six actors to play Bond. Toby Stephens, who I interview for the book, also played Bond eight times on the radio. I identity about 34 actors in total who have played Bond in films, radio, television, and video games. That’s a lot of “lost” Bonds.