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Did Canadian Filmmakers Create a Canadian Version of James Bond?

The James Bond franchise is the most iconic spy series of all time. Since its inception, Ian Flemming has played the role of the dashing and debonair James Bond as a British gentleman. But can you imagine Bond as a Canadian?

Canadian filmmakers Lee Demarbe and Ian Driscoll planned to redo the “For Your Eyes Only” movie of the James Bond franchise in 2015. They wanted Ryan Reynolds to play James Bond.

For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only was the twelfth installation of the James Bond franchise. It was released in 1981 with Roger Moore reprising the Bond character. The story begins with a British spy ship carrying the powerful A.T.A.C. system sinking. The system can provide absolute control over the Polaris nuclear submarines to whichever nation that may possess them. (Source: Movie House Memories)

The Canadian Remake

In 2015, low-budget filmmaking duo Lee Demarbe and Ian Driscoll, credited for their work with Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, The Dead Sleep Easy, and Smash Cut, interviewed in the C.B.C. radio show Q. They revealed their plans to remake Roger Moore’s 1981 movie. (Source: Indie Wire)

Demarbe and Driscoll said in an interview that the remake would be the first of four movies they are planning out. They also stated they are thinking of introducing a Black James Bond in the series. Demarbe and Driscoll were particularly interested in For Your Eyes Only because it was the only one in the series where the franchise creator, Ian Flemming, wrote that Bond was to visit Canada in one of his missions. (Source: The Guardian)

The directors made clear that they were planning to remake the 1964 short story and not the 1981 movie. Demarbe and Driscoll further stated that they had no intention of competing with the style Spectre was done but instead wanted to produce a film with an arthouse appeal.

The pair also mentioned they were looking at Ryan Reynolds as the Canadian 007, with Donald Sutherland, Michael Ironside, and Mad Men star Jessica Paré. The directors also named Montreal rappers Dead Obies as possible theme song artists.

The Berne Convention Loophole

Demarbe and Driscoll took advantage of Canada’s loophole concerning the Berne Convention. The convention was created to protect the works and rights of authors concerning their published or public material. (Source: WIPO)

The convention also states that once the author or artist has been deceased for seventy years, their work enters the public domain. This means that anyone can reproduce and sell the original creator’s work, write new stories, or readapt what has already been published. (Source: Indie Wire)

The loophole in Canada is that it does not reinforce the Berne convention that extended authors’ copyright to seventy years after their death. The Canadian film market only supports fifty years. Flemming died in 1964, allowing Demarbe and Driscoll to come up with a remake in 2015, 51 years after.

The movie, however, did not gain the support it needed to be created. The directors admitted they were having challenges getting producers to help them with the film because the Canadian Bond movie would not be able to screen in the United States.

The pair, however, hopes that it gains momentum in different regions where they would be able to get financing and producers, looking into China and the rest of Asia. (Source: The Guardian)

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