Amid rampant rumors that Daniel Craig was firmly in the crosshairs to play the next 007 in “Casino Royale,” Warner Bros. has made a deal to mount a movie about James Bond creator Ian Fleming.
“Fleming” has been scripted by Damian Stevenson and will be produced by Andrew Lazar through his Mad Chance banner.
On the Bond front, word spread Tuesday that longtime frontrunner Craig had been formally offered the role by producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Sony Pictures Entertainment would not confirm that a choice had been made. The announcement is imminent for a film that will go into production in January with Martin Campbell directing.
“Fleming,” meanwhile, tells the story of how the author’s own experiences with womanizing and spying shaped his signature secret agent creation.
Born into a privileged English family, Fleming began as a comparative underachiever until a stint as a journalist covering the Soviet Union led him to begin spying on that country for the Foreign Office. Fleming was the mastermind of numerous clever spying schemes, some deemed too outlandish to use. He dreamed of becoming a daring secret agent and adapted his own womanizing feats and the stories he heard to craft the Bond novels.
He unveiled 007 in “Casino Royale” in 1953, and that book has been dusted off for the 21st film in the series.
“He was an extraordinary thinker who helped shape what the modern spy was, both in his work at MI6 and in his novels,” Lazar said.
Scripter Stevenson, a British-born Oxford grad who formerly worked as an exec at Kopelson Entertainment, hatched the Fleming project. WB exec Greg Silverman is overseeing the venture.
Lazar also is producing another pic on a classic secret agent for Warners, “Get Smart,” with Steve Carell attached.