Quentin Tarantino almost made one of the most iconic ‘James Bond’ films

Quentin Tarantino
Photo via Noam Galai / Getty Images

Quentin Tarantino, currently set to sit in the director’s chair for his final film The Movie Critic, has opened up about one of the greatest missed oportunities of his career. While speaking with Deadline, the director spoke about his potential adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, which would have existed independently of any franchise.

“We reached out to the Ian Fleming people, and they had suggested that they still own the rights to Casino Royale,” Tarantino recalled. “And that’s what I wanted to do after Pulp Fiction was do my version of Casino Royale, and it would’ve taken place in the ’60s and wasn’t about a series of Bond movies. We would have cast an actor and be one and done. So I thought we could do this.”

“But then it turned out that the Broccolis [producers of the Bond films] three years earlier figured out somebody was going to try to do what I did,” Tarantino explained. “And so what they did is they just made a blanket deal with the Fleming estate and said that: ‘We have the movie rights to everything he’s ever written. We’re going to just give you a bunch of money. This is for every single thing he’s ever written. If anybody wants to make a movie out of it, they got to come to us.’”

EON Productions is currently the custodian of the James Bond franchise, which has run for over fifty years. Way back in the 1960’s, though, the studio did not have the rights to Casino Royale because they were ‘tied up’. Due to this, an adaptation outside of EON’s purview – 1967’s Casino Royale, starring Peter Sellers as 007 – was made in between Sean Connery’s Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.

Evidently, Tarantino and Miramax hoped to repeat this stunt, and might have succeeded, if not for EON’s foresight. The possibility of Tarantino’s Casino Royale still resonates with fans: the director is known for having an iconic and distinct visual style – and his Bond might have been more brutal than other adaptations. Tarantino has also always been adamant about retiring after directing 11 films, which means that his Casino Royale adaptation might have bumped another one of his films off of his roster.

As for EON, their 2006 adaptation of Casino Royale, which starred Daniel Craig, is widely regarded as having revitalized the franchise after a series of poorly-received, campy sequels. Maybe all’s well that ends well – Tarantino got to make an original property that became iconic in its own right, while EON got to adapt one of the best-received Bond adventures ever.

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