Of late, I’ve found myself taking “genre” forms–such a film noir–and twisting them into…well, something else, as theatre pieces. I don’t know where this has been coming from…maybe I’ve been running out of ideas of my own. Anyway, the last half year, I’ve been laboring on “The Rewrite Man” which takes on the spy genre (kind of a Bond pastiche of a Phil Dick story as written by LeCarre…which bends my mind and I wrote the mother). It’s been fun, but I can’t remember writing a piece in so many fragments; so it’s likely a mess. What the hell…it’s always vaguely satisfying to finish something, even if you know the work’s just started. It was also kind of nice to dedicate the play to my gently dashing father, who worked rewrite for Associated Press in the 1950s…as, coincidentally, does the play’s gently dashing protagonist. I kind of felt like I had him watching over my shoulder, a vaguely bemused smile on his face.
So, being dutifully brought up on Sean Connery’s Bond (along with trout fishing and science fiction, something I shared early with my journalist father), it’s been gratifying to see Daniel Craig bring the cool back to the James Bond films, which it lost when Mr. Connery hung up his dinner jacket and toupee. Craig’s Bond is more Steve McQueen than Connery, but, what the hell, if you like Connery, you’re bound to like McQueen because, well, he was if anything, cooler than Bond. (Some could make the case that Steve McQueen was as cool as one can possibly get, without being John Coltrane, but arguing about such things is rather, uh, less than cool.)
To cut to the chase scene: Quantum of Solace has many of them, and they’re extraordinarily good, and Craig is great, his Bond is the smartest guy in the room, and the quips are spare and droll, a welcome antidote to the jokey Bond films of the 70s. The story’s not quite as rich as Casino Royale, but the film’s still among the best in the series. Which is saying something out of 22 films, six of which were made by actor who owned the role like a king.
In short, it’s a great ride, you completely forget whatever’s bothering you for a few hours, and, afterwards, there’s a little snap in your stride, and your eyes feel ever-so-slightly hooded as you fire up the car.
But don’t peel out. You don’t need to. Consequently, it would be uncool. Wouldn’t it?
Doing a bit of research on a project that will likely not bear fruit (olives, in this case), and learned that Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, died at age 56 after reportedly drinking a fifth of gin and smoking 75 cigarettes a day (triple-band Morley’s, of course).
We can’t all be Keith Richards.