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An Article on the battle between the Dueling Bond franchises

Just an added tidbit I just got, " it was reported this morning on a british breakfast news show that Victoria Adams (Posh Spice) has signed up for the new bond movie. Shes to play the/one of the new bond girl(s). She will begin filming spring/summer next year soon after her first child is born." So... good, bad, end of the world or no, that's the latest boys and girls.

The article was forwarded from the Dutch side of the world, but I don't know if that is where it originated. It could be from the London Times or the L.A. Times or some other Times that I know not of. So, since I can not provide you with a link to the origination of the story, which is usually my preference with this sort of thing, I will merely reprint it here for you. But I do have this comment, Emmerich and Devlin are moving forward on THE PATRIOT according to the current reports, so even if the SONY 'Bond' gets the ok from American courts, well, I imagine that it's all tied up for quite some time to come. Here's the article....

November 29 1998 Sunday Times

It's double-agent 007 as Neeson prepares to play rival Bond

by John Burns and Cameron Docherty

BRITAIN'S best-known spy could soon be played by two Irishmen. James Bond, as depicted by Pierce Brosnan, could face his deadliest box-office rival to date: a 007 played by Liam Neeson. Sony Pictures is working with Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the team behind Independence Day and Godzilla, to make Warhead 2000, planned as the first in a series of alternative Bond films to be released in rivalry to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) films starring Brosnan.

Sony hopes to get permission from an American court to begin filming early next year.

The producers have had discussions with Neeson, who is believed to be very interested. Audiences may soon have to decide if the Northern Ireland-born actor delivers the famous line "The name is Bond, James Bond" better than Brosnan, who was born in the Irish republic.

Sony's Bond could be shaken and stirred when he catches sight of the villain he must prevent from dominating the world. Sean Connery, still the most famous 007, is being tipped as Warhead 2000's principal baddie. The Scottish actor, along with thriller writer Len Deighton, helped to write the Warhead 2000 script in the 1970s.

Neeson's Bond would have a more hip, less uptight image than the Brosnan version, a persona that Sony believes will appeal to younger movie-goers. He will, however, face a very traditional Bond enemy in Ernst Stavros Blofeld, who hijacks ships in the Bermuda Triangle, steals their nuclear weapons and threatens the world.

The fate of Sony's rival 007 series depends on the outcome of a case to be heard in Los Angeles in January. Sony and Kevin McClory, an Irish producer who helped Ian Fleming to create the Bond character, are fighting MGM and Danjag Inc to share one of cinema's most enduring icons.

The Bond franchise has already generated more than £2 billion. MGM, which has made 18 Bond films, insists it owns 007 and will never allow him to be a double agent.

But McClory, 74, won a 1963 case against Fleming, giving him the rights to 10 Bond scripts and film treatments, including Thunderball and "the exclusive right to reproduce any part of the novel in film".

As well as producing the original Thunderball film in 1965, McClory exercised his rights in 1983 when he produced Never Say Never Again with Warner Brothers and helped to persuade Connery back to his most famous role.

McClory also has rights to Spectre (Special Executive for Counter Espionage, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion), a terrorist organisation pitted against Bond in five films.

So far, the American courts have sided with MGM: earlier this year they stopped Sony's plans to develop Warhead 2000. The company hopes, however, that the ruling will be overturned by the District Court. MGM has claimed, in its legal submissions, that McClory is delusional and that his backers are telling lies. "This trial will blow the lid off Sony studios," said Pierce O'Donnell, an MGM lawyer. "This is a case of unfair competition."

MGM is already casting its third Bond film with Brosnan in the dinner jacket. His mission will be to save the Millennium Dome from saboteurs. Due to start filming in February, the movie will be screened in November 1999 to make it as topical as possible.

Last week, in an interview on American television, Brosnan acknowledged that his role could soon be challenged by Neeson, but vowed to get on with his spying missions and to ignore the competition.

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