As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I am at the earliest stage in starting a new novel – brainstorming this and that about it. What I feel for now is it will be set for starters in the 1780s in England, but will NOT be a continuation of my previous three novels. It will be an entirely new tale with brand new characters.

If you know me as an author already, I suspect those major characters will not entirely surprise you. Every author develops a distinctive “style” and “approach.” As with our fingerprints, there is no getting away from it entirely.

Still no (decent) author wants to write more or less the same book again and again. Yet there is a challenge too with any new book in how much to try to do it differently than its predecessors while also still seeking to “grow” as a writer without alienating existing readers. For instance, I have wondered if I could possibly write a woman as the main character overall; but I am unsure how much readers, who have in the last nearly ten years seen six novels and two shorts from me written with men as their main characters, would embrace such a “change.” Simply put, how much “change” is too much change?

[From Instagram, June 30, 2022.]

All of that on my mind, I stumbled on this the other day on Instagram. In 2021’s “James Bond’s” No Time To Die, Ana de Armas is in one (albeit long-ish) scene portraying CIA agent “Paloma.” Although she is credited only 13th out of 15 characters (just above a “mercenary”) in Wikipedia’s full cast section, based on what can be seen on social media she basically stole the film.

Presumably, someone will eventually make her more prominent on the Wikipedia page.

Indeed, notice that, on IMDB, she now gets SECOND-billing just after Craig himself.

[No Time to Die. On IMDB. July 2022.]

In fact based on comments on that igndotcom Instagram post, it seems placing her picture on any Bond-related story is likely to get “clicks”:

That said, in discussing what is clearly being floated as a major “change” to “Bond” in casting terms that may be coming in the next film, the producer – who had chosen Daniel Craig as the previous “Bond” – is quoted as saying:

[From Instagram, June 30, 2022.]

In response to that, one commenter (and he was hardly alone in this) plainly noted:

He is referring there – as you probably guessed – to Armas. Looking at this myself as an author, you have your own ideas on characters and direction and who should be “center stage,” yet you can never truly guess what, and particularly who, will unexpectedly extra-seize your readers’ imaginations. Armas was on screen in the 2 hour 43 minute No Time to Die, as I recall, for maybe 10 minutes or so?

Other commenters had a variety of other opinions on this planned “reinvention,” including:

And there is this – actually reasonable – view:

Clearly the producers think “change” is necessary. Some ”reinventions” prove to be a good idea and some not so much. We cannot know of course if it is a good idea until it is done.

Some of the other comments I saw were, predictably for the net, uh, not very nice. Here are a choice few – that are at least civil:

More seriously:

I do not believe they want to do that. The film business is like all business. In particular no “franchise” production company ever wants to make a “franchise” mistake, for that is likely long-term damaging to a brand and thus far more costly than just one stand alone bad movie. As no writer of a series wants to write a bad book, similarly a bad “Bond” film – or one with decidedly the “wrong” actor playing “Bond” – could wreck the franchise.

One cannot know really what author Ian Fleming would say if he could be here in 2022 and see this public debate going on (again) about who plays his character in a film. Having died in 1964, the only big screen “Bond” Fleming actually saw was Sean Connery, who Fleming was reportedly initially unsure about in casting, but it was not his decision to make (as he had sold the books’ film rights). However, after he watched Connery’s first film – Dr. No – in 1962, he was fine about the up to then relatively “unknown” Connery playing that role that would also make him a superstar.

I have seen it said that Fleming had thought of Cary Grant for “Bond.” By then around 1960, though, Grant was probably too old; “Bond” in Casino Royale the 1954 first book is in his 30s. However, looking back on Grant’s career and especially some of his more “tense” and “action” films, such as Notorious, North By Northwest, and Charade, and he could certainly wear a tux, it is easy to imagine him as “James Bond.”

[Casino Royale (1954), by Ian Fleming. Photo by me, 2021.]

As Fleming had little say in who played “Bond,” neither do most authors when it comes to film casting. But that may be a good thing. Authors are not filmmakers.

[View from Dartmouth Castle. Dartmouth, Devon. Photo by me, June 2022.]

I do not know how I would react to anyone trying to tell me who my characters should be on screen. While I have not given it a great deal of thought, I will however admit for fun that I do by now have some ideas about some who I think could portray at least a few of them. But I will never reveal those names on here.

After all, I am just an author. What do I know? LOL!

Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂