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Archive for July 13th, 2017

The Female Bond? 

Back in 2001 I was hooked by an interesting piece of marketing.  A small booklet came with my copy of Empire film magazine.  I read it thinking it was a short story.  It was actually the first chapter of a book; Chameleon by Mark Burnell.  I went out and purchased the book and loved it.  I then went back and read the first book in the series The Rhythm Section.   It was announced yesterday that Blake Lively will star in an adaptation of the first book produced by Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson and directed by Reed Morano who directed the first three episodes of the TV show The Handmaid’s Tale.AgeD10-096.dng

This isn’t the first time Burnell’s work has been suggested for a movie adaptation.  Back in November 2009 an article in Variety reported that Broccoli and Wilson had purchased the rights to an upcoming Mark Burnell novel Remote Control.  Neither the book or the film have appeared yet.  In fact, Burnell hasn’t published any books since 2005.

The film will probably differ greatly from the book, this isn’t a problem, like James Bond, Stephanie Patrick is a great character with a lot of millage.  A brief synopsis of the book: Following the death of her family in a plane crash the stories heroine, Stephanie Patrick is on the edge, she has developed a drug and drink problem and is working as a Soho prostitute. Her descent into self destruction is halted by a journalist who has discovered the crash that killed her family was caused by a bomb. What follows is a story of Stephanie’s search for the truth, for retribution and more than anything to find herself. This is a story about identity. She soon realises that she has moved too far from the person she was before the tragedy to ever be that person again.  She could never be the person she would have been if not for these events, she has to invent herself. This isn’t easy when she has so many aliases and plays so many different parts. She starts as Lisa, the “chemical blonde” prostitute but also becomes: Marina Gaudenzi, a Swiss businesswoman, Susan Branch, an American student Elizabeth Shepherd, an English management consultant and the most compelling alias the deadly and brutal Petra Reuter, German anarchist, mercenary and terrorist. As Stephanie gets involved with a mysterious government agency she becomes more embroiled in a terrorist plot that has frightening similarities to the September 11th terrorist attacks (the book was published two years before the attacks).The Rhythm Section

There are four books in the series:  The Rhythm Section 1999, Chameleon 2001, Gemini 2003, The Third Woman 2005.  Burnell also wrote two previous unrelated novels: a supernatural thriller Freak 1994, and a Vampire horror/love story Glittering Savages 1995.  It will be interesting to see further casting and the setting for the film, will it be set in the 90’s or updated to today?  With the inclusion of Californian Blake Lively will the character be English or American? As an international story, the origin of the character is probably not that important.  From one point of view it is good to see a female director getting the gig. From another prospective, it is a shame that it is news.  Reed Morano has a background as cinematographer.  Her debut feature was Meadowland (2015).  As well as The Handmaid’s Tale she has directed episodes of  Billions and Halt and Catch Fire.  She has an upcoming feature; I Think We’re Alone Now (2018) starring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning. Stephanie Patrick Mark Burnell

For those interested in reading the book, to the best of my knowledge the book of the Rhythm Section is out of print but there are usually cheep second hand copies available from Amazon, if the film goes into production it will probably be reprinted. 

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