Michael France, the man who came up with the original story of GOLDENEYE and wrote the first draft of the film, has passed away last Friday, April 12th at 51, after battling a severe illness originated by diabetes, impairing his left arm and right leg. His body was found in their house in Tampa Bay, Florida, by his surprised wife Suzanne.
Born in 1962 in St. Petersburg, Florida, and becoming a big James Bond fan who ran the "Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" fanzine in his teens, France shared the screenwriting credit for CLIFFHANGER in 1993, starring Sylvester Stallone.
His golden opportunity would come in 1993 when he was hired by EON Productions to write the 17th James Bond film, GOLDENEYE, when Timothy Dalton was still in everybody's mind to play his third James Bond adventure.
|007 vs 006, a batlle who began|
in France's mind.
France's first draft from 1994 featured an original post Cold War plot that featured key elements of the final film starring Pierce Brosnan, like the rivality between Bond and agent 006, Augustus Trevelyan (later Alec Trevelyan), described as an aristochratic figure in his 60s, and a female KGB agent called Xenia, as well as the inclusion of characters that were only featured in Ian Fleming's novels like Bond's secretary Loelia Ponsonby and Secret Service neurologist Sir James Monoly. His original idea would later be readapted to fit the mid nineties, with the inclusion of the internet and more humoristic touches, by scribes Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein.
One of the many discarded element from his GOLDENEYE first draft that saw Bond and Marina Varoskaya (later Natalya Simonova) chased by helicopters with a buzz saw in a jungle, would be later recycled for the 1999 film THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH.
|A page from the GOLDENEYE first draft, |
written by Michael France in 1994
He would later write many adaptations from Marvel Comics like THE PUNISHER and THE FANTASTIC FOUR in 2004 and 2005, respectively. He also owned the Beath Theatre on St. Pete's Beach, in Florida.
From The GoldenEye Dossier we extend our deepest condolences to the France family, mourning a fellow Bond fan who was, indeed, the man behind a wonderful story that resurrected James Bond in the 1990s.
Thanks to Bond Blog and UPI for the alert. Images from Goldeneye Magazine by The Ian Fleming Foundation.