Jan 17, 2013

Tradecraft: Dominic Cooper to Play Ian Fleming in New Miniseries

James Bond's creator remains a fertile source for biopics. After the recent spat of miniseries and movies featuring Ian Fleming as a supporting character (Any Human Heart, Age of Heroes) and before either of the two rival theatrical features get underway, UK cable channel Sky Atlantic has booked its own miniseries about the life of Ian Fleming. Variety reports that Dominic Cooper (whose weird Die Another Day connections include starring in The Devil's Double for that film's director Lee Tamahori, and opposite Bond Girl Rosamund Pike in An Education) will play Fleming in a four-part miniseries tentatively titled.... Fleming. (That's also the title of note for at least one of the feature biopics in development—the one being directed by Duncan Jones.) This take on Fleming's life is written by John Brownlow (who previously chronicled the life of another famous 20th century author in Sylvia, which co-starred Daniel Craig) and Don Macpherson (who penned the 1998 feature film version of The Avengers, but shouldn't be blamed for the end result, as his original script was, in my opinion, quite a good tribute to that classic spy series), directed by Mat Whitecross (who helmed the odd Spooks/MI-5 spinoff Spooks: Code 9) and produced by UK company Ecosse Films. The take sounds a bit similar to the two 1990s TV movies about the author, Goldeneye (starring a perfectly cast Charles Dance) and Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming (starring Jason Connery), in that it plays up Fleming's wartime intelligence exploits and will likely give them a more Bondian twist than they actually had. ("Ian Fleming's story is as dramatic and entertaining as any of the Bond films," executive producer Douglas Rae told the trade.) But Cooper is an inspired choice to play Fleming, and ably demonstrated in An Education and Captain America that he's a great actor who looks good in period suits! So I'm excited. Here's Variety's description of the project:
[Fleming] is set during WWII when the maverick and hedonistic Fleming was hired by British Naval intelligence as part of its undercover campaign against the Nazis, after his careers as a banker and stockbroker failed.

It was these wartime experiences that provided the inspiration for British spy 007, who first appeared in print in Casino Royale, published in 1953. Like his character, Fleming was well known in English society for his womanizing and taste for alcohol.

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