Spy novels often have interesting authors, mostly because they often have dabbled in the business themselves. The king, of course, is Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, who was involved in British intelligence during World War II. I once read someone’s dismissal of him as not spy material because basically he was too imaginative–rather than just go into the room and do what he was supposed to do, he would be outside the room thinking, “What if this is in there? How about if someone says that?” I don’t know if this is true, but it is true that he never was a top spy himself. He was, however, involved in many important operations, and if you read enough World War II history, especially about espionage, you’ll see his name pop up in unexpected places.
We now have word from Variety that Duncan Jones will direct a biopic of Fleming, the navy officer who made enough money off his Bond novels to live a life of luxury that would befit a Bond villain. The film will be based on “Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond,” Andrew Lycett’s biography of Fleming, which Amazon describes this way:
Sportsman, womanizer, naval commander, world-traveler, and spy, the creator of the Cold War’s archetypal secret agent was infinitely more complex and interesting than his iconic fictional character, Agent 007. Fleming’s wide-ranging and exciting life inevitably provided the plausible backdrop for his Bond novels. Highly regarded in British naval intelligence for his international contacts, he master-minded numerous top secret operations, including ”Golden Eye,” which is uncovered here for the first time. He was also fundamental in shaping the prototype CIA. Two months before his wedding to Ann O’Neill, the widow of a friend with whom he’d carried on a passionate affair for fifteen years, Fleming sat down to write his first book, Casino Royale, in order to soothe his nerves. Thus began the long line of Bond novels for which he would earn lasting fame.
I actually had the Lycett biography from the library once, but didn’t get around to reading it. I admit that I had just finished another biography by Lycett that didn’t knock me out, so I kind of put the Fleming one on the backburner until I just had to return it. I probably should give it, or another, a more serious try. There are other Fleming bios to check out, though.
So who should play Fleming? Obviously someone British. There was a rumor a few years ago that James McAvoy would have the part, but I don’t know if that still holds true. Moreover, the Fleming film is set to begin production at the end of this year, so that would be a potential clash with the “X-Men: First Class” sequel. So who else? Let’s go crazy here with ideas: Daniel Radcliffe. Why not?