While Roger Moore’s James Bond had some goofy adventures, none of them were as controversial as John Landis’ draft of The Spy Who Loved Me.
Although James Bond has embarked on some wild adventures, none of them are as ridiculous – or potentially controversial – as director John Landis’ rejected pitch for The Spy Who Loved Me. Each James Bond actor brings a new and unique tone to their 007 films. Pierce Brosnan’s Bond adventures were so campy and over the top that Britney Spears auditioned for a 007 film shortly after the actor left, while his replacement Daniel Craig’s films were so austere and serious that this cameo would have been unthinkable. by 2006.
However, it was Roger Moore’s cartoonish version of Bond that took the character’s goofy side to places that tipped into outright self-parody. Moore’s James Bond remains the goofiest and funniest version of 007, a flashy, walking meta-joke that has more in common with Austin Powers than Craig’s taciturn take on the super-spy. Even that absurd James Bond, however, couldn’t get away with anything too outrageous. Director John Landis’ rejected treatment of The Spy Who Loved Me, which allegedly saw 007 save the Pope from kidnappers, proves that the franchise’s era of goofy, wacky plot and outrageous imagery had a limit.
John Landis’ version of The Spy Who Loved Me
Although Roger Moore’s James Bond changed the tone of the franchise after Connery’s more reserved films, it didn’t happen overnight. Moore’s movies started out a little silly and gradually got more and more conceptual until Moonraker infamously took James Bond into space in an attempt to cash in on Star Wars. During this period of great upheaval behind the scenes of the franchise, Bond producers brought in plenty of high-profile talent and sought out pitches and salaries from directors who were emerging as Hollywood hitmakers. In the mid-1970s, one such director was comedy film legend John Landis.
According to the director’s recollections in Ajay Chowdhury and Matthew Field’s book Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of The James Bond Films, Landis presented producers with a controversial take on Bond. Like the shocking original ending of No Time To Die, Landis’ The Spy Who Loved Me would never see the light of day. The storyline centered on Moore’s 007 saving the Pope from an assassination attempt, but that wasn’t the only time his story satirized the Catholic Church. According to Landis’ recollection, there was a scene where assassins followed Bond into a Catholic church and the spy hid behind a crucifix mimicking the dying pose of Christ.
Why This 007 Script Was Never Filmed
As if that provocative imagery wasn’t enough, Landis went on to recall that what really upset producer Albert R Broccoli was another sequence offered by the director. He reportedly saw armed men dragging Catholics out of confessionals and pointing guns at them in the face. The plot was too much for Broccoli, even in the heyday of Moore’s dumber and more comedic Bond, and Landis’ screenplay was never given a green light. While some of James Bond’s unrealized adventures could have been great, this divisive nature of Landis’ religious satire means it’s probably a good thing this version of The Spy Who Loved Me never happened. .