New James Bond author Anthony Horowitz admits that his wife edited out what she regarded as examples of Bond’s sexism from the first draft of his new novel Trigger Mortis.
Speaking at the Radio Times Festival today, the author, who also writes the ITV war series Foyle’s War, said he faced many dilemmas when writing his new Bond book which was published earlier this month. He added that keeping him palatable to a modern audience given the spy’s attitude to women was one of the trickiest.
“My wife Jill Green, who is the producer of Foyle’s War, read the first draft and was quite angry about some of the language and some of the words I used and the descriptions,” said Horowitz in his session on Sunday.
“And she was right as she always is and I had to cut back and cut back. I had to really bring it back over the line again.
“Bond’s whole attitude to women… although it’s part of his character it doesn’t really play very well these days.”
Horowitz added that he also struggled with Bond’s smoking habit – something that Fleming, himself a lifelong smoker, gave to 007.
Fleming’s spy smokes 30 cigarettes a day and Horowitz – author of the Alex Rider books for teenagers – said that as a writer for young people he “has never had a character smoking in one of my books”
“To give Bond his 30 a day habit was against my instinct,” said the writer, explaining that his solution was to include a scene where Bond reads a warning about the effects of smoking on health.
“Of course he didn’t care but it was important that he read it,” said the writer.
Horowitz added that he was reluctant to give the villain of his new novel a physical deformity such as Scaramanga’s third nipple because that trope had been mocked so successfully in the Austin Powers films.
“There are three things you have got to get right. One of them is the title… the other is the girl and the other is the villain.”
Asked by RadioTimes.com what aspects of Bond’s character could not be changed and whether he thought the recent films such as Casino Royal and Skyfall were too dark, Horowitz said: “I love Daniel Craig as Bond, I think he is great in the part. My first favourite Bond film is Goldfinger and my second is Casino Royale.
“Bond, when he is fallible, when he is missing, shoots and misses, when he questions himself too much, departs for me from the Bond that I love. Not really of Sean Connery but of Ian Fleming.
“So the later films Quantum of Solace and Skyfall I liked not quite as much… I found some of those departures, as a Bond nerd as a Bond anorak, I enjoyed less.
“But that said what I think that the film-makers have done brilliantly is actually to keep the core of what Bond is, to keep the loyalty, to keep the intelligence services, to keep that sense of drive and adventure, exotic locations, beautiful women and all that and to keep it pretty much intact and take it into the 21st Century.”
Horowitz was commissioned by the estate of Bond’s creator Ian Fleming to pen the latest Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, which was published on 8 September 2015.
The writer has also been commissioned by the BBC to write New Blood, a seven-part crime series set in modern London.
The drama will focus on Stefan and Rash, two junior detectives just starting out on their careers in the city, whose investigations see them in conflict with the establishment.
He made eight series of period crime drama Foyle’s War for ITV before it ended, apparently for good, in January.
Foyle’s War creator Anthony Horowitz: BBC producer put a knife in my stomach… and twisted it