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13. October 2014 06:07
by m
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The 'Warhead' scripts

13. October 2014 06:07 by m | 0 Comments

Exaggerated super science, armies of jump-suited goons, a meglomaniac with a near super-human henchman, beautiful Bond Girls (including twins) and Robot Sharks!

It sounds like Austin Powers, but it's actually Warhead, an early draft of Kevin McClory's ThunderballThunderball remake, which would later become Never Say Never AgainNever Say Never Again. The first draft, titled James Bond of the Secret Service, is dated November 11, 1976 and one of the first things you'll notice about it - even just skimming through - is that there is a character named Steinberg and a gigantic tubular structure called Arkos that rises out of the ocean. Sounds a lot like Stromberg and his underwater base, Atlantis in The Spy Who Loved MeThe Spy Who Loved Me, doesn't it? Even Blofeld's henchman, Bomba, is a less inventive version of Jaws (superstrong, invulnerable, and he doesn't speak). McClory lost the battle to stop production of The Spy Who Loved MeThe Spy Who Loved Me (released in the summer of 1977) on the grounds that the new Roger Moore film was too close to this treatment, but he was able to stop EON from using SpectreSpectre as the villains in their film.

James Bond of the Secret Service Screenplay/script by Kevin McClory, Sean Connery, Len Deighton and Jack Whittingham. 1st Draft 1976

Download the James Bond of the Secret Service script by Sean Connery Kevin McClory et al 1976.pdf (7.08 mb)

Strangely though, the revised draft, now titled Warhead, and dated 6 September, 1978, doesn't see these contentious plot points removed. The henchman and the underwater base are renamed Genghis and Aquapolis respectively, and the opening sequence is more ambiguous, but otherwise very little has changed and there is no way the script could have been filmed as written without it looking like a rip off of EON's official release from the year before.

IF they had been able to film it, the climax would have made for one of the wildest endings ever seen in a James Bond film - to have SpectreSpectre use the Statue of Liberty as a base is a neat idea, but watching James Bond stop robot sharks in the New York sewers using 1970s special effects technology might not have been everything the authors had hoped for - It had only been 3 years since Jaws and they had a lot of problems with their mechanical sharks!

It is also worth noting that Domino does not make for a very interesting love interest here, not only is she awful at playing the double agent (she is discovered by both Blofeld and Genghis almost immediately), but she is also off screen almost entirely for the remainder of the script. Leonard Maltin would still find her to be "rather dull" in Never Say Never AgainNever Say Never Again, so perhaps the origins of her poor characterization can be traced to these early scripts.

Another problem with the script is that there is almost nothing for James Bond to do (beyond seducing Justine Lovesit) for the entire first half of the film! Finally, Blofeld's plan just isn't evil enough - he's trying to stop pollution - isn't that a good thing? True he is using blackmail, terror, murder and extortion to achieve his goal, but he is not taking it to the extremes that Stromberg and Drax were willing to go to in order to save humanity from itself.

Warhead James Bond Screenplay/script by Kevin McClory, Sean Connery, Len Deighton and Jack Whittingham. 1st Draft 1978

Download the Warhead script by Sean Connery Kevin McClory et al 1978.pdf (15.5 mb)

 
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