Mar 29, 2010

Tradecraft: Another Ian Fleming Movie In The Works

We've heard about two potential Ian Fleming biopics in the offing: Fleming, being developed by Leonardo DiCaprio at Warner Bros. and Ian Fleming, from Palmstar Entertainment and Animus Films, based on Andrew Lycett's excellent book Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond.  James McAvoy was briefly linked to the latter project, but quickly debunked those rumors. Now, there's a third Fleming project in the pipeline!  According to The Hollywood Reporter, Age of Heroes "is based on the true story of the formation of Ian Fleming's 30 Commando unit , a precursor for the elite forces in the U.K."  Of course they mean the 30 Assault Unit, which Fleming dreamed up while working for Naval Intelligence.  The elite squad is the subject of Craig Caibell's new book The History of the 30 Assault Unit: Ian Fleming's Red Indians.  The trade goes on to say that "Sean Bean, Danny Dyer and Rosie Fellner are gearing up to star in [the] action drama ... directed by Adrian Vitoria and set to shoot early next month."  The big question, of course, is who will play Fleming, and how large a role will the part be?  Fleming himself didn't actually participate in any of 30 AU's raids (much to his chagrin) as he was deemed to know far too many secrets to risk capture behind enemy lines.  (The 1990 TV movie Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming, starring Jason Connery, took creative license and depicted Fleming taking part in one of the raids.)  But if the film really does focus on the formation of the unit, then Fleming should play a pretty big role.  Age of Heroes is said to be the first film in a potential trilogy; presumably the future James Bond author would take on more of an M-like role in the subsequent films.  Personally, I can't quite picture Goldeneye's Sean Bean playing Fleming; he seems more likely to be one of the soldiers.  It will be interesting to see how this turns out.  Personally, I think focusing on this particular period of Fleming's life (clearly the most exciting!) might be a better approach than attempting an all-encompassing biopic.

For a background on the unit and perhaps some idea of what we can expect from the film, here's Amazon's description of Cabell's book:
The Second World War spawned a plethora of crack special forces units (Long Range Desert Group, SAS, SBS, Phantom and Commandos) but 30 Assault Unit remains, even today, far more secretive and exclusive than the others. Formed by Ian Fleming, who was working for Naval Intelligence, 30 AU's mission was to penetrate and operate behind enemy lines, capture by whatever means necessary vital intelligence and feed it back to London where it could be assimilated and acted upon. This crack team of commandos included mavericks such as Patrick Dalzel-Job (generally regarded as the model for Fleming's fictional secret agent 007), and less well known (despite their conspicuous bravery) figures such as Captains Huntingdon-Whiteley, Captain Martin-Smith, Lieutenant Commander Curtis and Lieutenant McFee. The author has trawled archives and interviewed veterans in order to piece together the history and record of this elusive special forces unit who fought with great distinction and achieved results disproportionate to their size.

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