Ian Fleming’s lost Moonraker screenplay

Fleming’s only script written for the big screen lay forgotten for years.

It’s long been known that Ian Fleming wrote a screenplay for a James Bond film for Rank, but only recently that the screenplay resurfaced.

Fleming wrote the film treatment in 1956, based on his book published the previous year, Moonraker. However it wasn’t until 2015 that it came to light that the script had even survived when it came to auction and was bought by a private seller.

The Guardian has a piece about the screenplay with input from both Bond book expert Jon Gilbert of Adrian Harrington Rare Books and Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett. About the screenplay, the article notes:

Gilbert said that his screenplay was fascinating, but “far too descriptive”. A true scriptwriter would have concentrated on the dialogue, with minimal directions: “That’s why it’s 150 pages. Screenplays for Bond films … are usually 100 pages. But it reads very well.”

Mentioning that Fleming saw the cinematic appeal of Bond early on, Lycett says:

In 1954, he corresponded with producer Alexander Korda, who had read a proof of his second novel, Live and Let Die, and had praised it. Fleming wrote to him about his third novel – still to be written – which would be Moonraker. He said it was ‘an expansion of a film story I’ve had in my mind since the war’. This was ‘a straight thriller with particularly English but also general appeal, allowing for some wonderful film settings’.

You can read the article about Ian Fleming’s Moonraker script in its entirety at the link below:

Source: The Guardian

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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