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|Aug 2nd, 2010, 12:59 AM||#1|
Knighted 00 Agent
Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz Passes
Tom Mankiewicz (born June 1, 1942 died July 31, 2010) is a screenwriter/director/producer of motion pictures and television, perhaps best known for his work on the James Bond films and his contributions to Superman: The Movie and the television series, Hart to Hart.
LONGTIME OWNER TOM MANKIEWICZ DIES AFTER CANCER BATTLE
Screenwriter and longtime horse owner Tom Mankiewicz, son of legendary film producer Joseph Mankiewicz, died Saturday after losing a battle with cancer. He was 68.
Trainer John Sadler was Mankiewicz' trainer for several years and said this morning, "I was devastated to hear the news this morning. It's a big loss. He was a terrific person, and he loved racing and coming to the races. He was not only a great owner but he was a great fan, too. He was more of a regular at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park because he lived in that area."
Sadler said he had last spoke with Mankiewicz, who was an early partner in racing with actor Robert Wagner and Jerry Moss, during the final week of the Hollywood Park season. "He told me we'd try to claim some 2-year-olds this season," Sadler said.
Among the many horses Sadler trained for him, the standout was Dearest Trickski, who won the 2007 Grade I La Brea Handicap at Santa Anita and Del Mar's Grade III Rancho Bernardo Handicap in 2008.
Sadler sent out Lady Alex, owned by Mankiewicz, in Saturday's fourth race. She finished fourth.
He was born Thomas Francis Mankiewicz in Los Angeles on June 1, 1942. His father was the celebrated screenwriter/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz who, in 1950, after winning four Oscars in two years for the screenplays and direction of A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve, decided to move his family back to New York City where he had been raised, the son of a German immigrant language professor.
Mankiewicz is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy (1955–59) and Yale University (1959–63). He majored in drama at Yale, completing the first two years of the Yale Drama School while still an undergraduate.
During vacations he worked at the Williamstown Summer Theater in Massachusetts both in production and as an actor. In 1960, he was hired as a third Assistant Director on The Comancheros, a film starring John Wayne and Lee Marvin, which was shot in the Monument Valley of Utah, the last film directed by the legendary Michael Curtiz.
In 1963, two young producers, Stuart Millar and Lawrence Turman, took Mankiewicz on as their assistant while making The Best Man, a film of Gore Vidal’s Broadway play starring Henry Fonda. He was involved in virtually every aspect of the film, receiving his first on-screen credit as “Production Associate.”
He began to write, finishing an original screenplay, Please, about the last ninety minutes in the life of a suicidal young actress. It was optioned at times by three different studios, never made, but served as an example of his talent and was responsible for his first writing assignment, a Bob Hope Chrysler Theater directed by Stuart Rosenberg. He received a credit as “Thomas F. Mankiewicz,” but thought it looked so pretentious on the screen he became “Tom” Mankiewicz for the rest of his career.
In 1967, Mankiewicz joined forces with a friend, Jack Haley Jr. to come up with a musical television special tailored for the then hugely popular Nancy Sinatra: Movin' with Nancy, co-starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Lee Hazelwood. Mankiewicz was the sole writer and Haley won the Emmy for directing. This was followed by The Beat of the Brass, starring Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass in 1968.
Simultaneously, 20th Century Fox had optioned his original screenplay and after reading it, producer Joe Pasternak hired him to write The Sweet Ride about the California surfing community, starring Anthony Franciosa, Bob Denver, and introducing Jacqueline Bisset.
The combination of that screenplay and the TV specials led Broadway producer Fred Coe to ask Mankiewicz to write the book for the musical version of the film Georgy Girl. It opened at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1970, was nominated for three Tony Awards, but closed after four performances.
Attending one of the four performances of Georgy was United Artists production head David Picker who admired Mankiewicz’s book for the musical. Picker and James Bond producer Albert Broccoli were looking for a writer to do a major reworking of Diamonds Are Forever in hopes of luring Sean Connery back to play Bond. Picker suggested that Broccoli add Mankiewicz to his list of possibles. He was hired on a two-week guarantee, stayed on the film for six months and received shared screenplay credit with the original writer, Richard Maibaum.
This began a long relationship with the Bond films. Mankiewicz received sole writing credit on the next, Live and Let Die, shared credit with Maibaum on The Man with the Golden Gun, did an uncredited rewrite on The Spy Who Loved Me, and helped Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert get Moonraker off the ground.
In 1975, Mankiewicz wrote the screenplay for Mother, Jugs and Speed, a dark comedy about ambulance drivers starring Bill Cosby, Raquel Welch and Harvey Keitel. He co-produced the film with director Peter Yates who later asked Mankiewicz to come to the British Virgin Islands to do a major rewrite on Yates’ next film, The Deep, with Robert Shaw and Jacqueline Bisset. The film was a huge box office success and cemented Mankiewicz’s reputation as a “script doctor.”
He next performed a similar function on The Cassandra Crossing, starring Richard Harris, Sophia Loren, Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner, receiving shared screenplay credit. This was followed by his screenplay for The Eagle Has Landed, a World War II thriller with Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland and Robert Duvall.
During this time actor Peter Falk asked Universal Studios to hire Mankiewicz to read the scripts for his hit television series, Columbo, and make plot suggestions. He was paid a consulting fee on each episode for an entire season while performing no actual writing services.
In 1977, director Richard Donner was hired to direct Superman: The Movie and Superman II. At the time the script drafts combined were more than four hundred pages long (an impossible length to shoot) and Donner felt they were much too campy as well. He brought Mankiewicz aboard to do a complete overhaul in terms of length, dialogue and tone. Mankiewicz stayed on the production for more than a year, assisting Donner in other departments as well. Donner gave Mankiewicz a separate credit in the main title: “Creative Consultant.” The Writer’s Guild strenuously objected on two grounds; first, that the traditional script arbitration process was being bypassed and second, that Mankiewicz’s credit came after the original screenwriters and not before them, implying that his contribution was more important. The dispute went to a legal hearing. Mankiewicz won. His credit remained where it was on Superman: The Movie, but he agreed to have it come just before the listed screenwriters on Superman II. In the 2006 documentary "Look, Up in the Sky: the Amazing Story of Superman", Mankiewicz accurately describes "Superman: the Movie" as a three-act play exploring Superman's three separate worlds, describing the film's depictions of Krypton as "Shakespearean", Smallville as comparable to the works of Andrew Wyeth and Metropolis as a place where sarcasm flies.
During this time, television producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg had five successful series on the ABC Network simultaneously. They also had a potential “pilot” script by Sidney Sheldon called Double Twist which they were unable to sell. Goldberg knew Mankiewicz wanted to direct and told him if he rewrote the two-hour script successfully he could direct it. Mankiewicz agreed and turned it into Hart to Hart. It sold. He co-wrote and directed the pilot, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. The hit series ran for five years and later was the subject of eight two-hour network and cable movies. Mankiewicz received his “Creative Consultant” credit on each episode, while directing seven of them. He also directed the final cable movie, Till Death Do Us Hart, in Munich, Germany, coming full circle on the show.
Following Superman: The Movie, Warner Bros. signed Mankiewicz to an exclusive deal and kept him busy “fixing” films. He wrote scenes for Steven Spielberg’s Gremlins, Spielberg and Richard Donner’s The Goonies and John Badham’s WarGames. He next wrote the first draft of Batman, the opening film for that successful series. Then Richard Donner brought him onto Ladyhawke, the medieval romantic fantasy starring Matthew Broderick, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Rutger Hauer. He received shared screenplay credit and a separate credit as “Creative Consultant.”
Mankiewicz next co-executive produced the film Hot Pursuit with John Cusack and Ben Stiller. He left Warner Bros., moving to Universal Studios where he co-wrote (with Dan Aykroyd and Alan Zweibel) and directed the film Dragnet, starring Aykroyd and Tom Hanks. It was one of the top grossers of 1987, and marked his feature debut as director.
Mankiewicz next did an uncredited rewrite on Legal Eagles, a romantic comedy with Robert Redford and Debra Winger. He then directed the film Delirious, starring John Candy and Mariel Hemingway. Next he directed the season’s opening episode of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt. This was followed by his directing the Showtime movie, Taking the Heat, with Alan Arkin, Peter Boyle, George Segal and Tony Goldwyn.
|Aug 4th, 2010, 10:25 PM||#3|
Knighted 00 Agent
Always found his commentary on the DVD's and his past interviews interesting and his explaining the story about Saltzman's dumb elephant shoes and stamped idea for TMWTGG still cracks me up......Really would have liked to see more of his stuff thru the Moore years anyway.
Roger Moore pays tribute to Tom Mankiewicz
Bond legend Roger Moore has paid tribute to Hollywood screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, calling him a wonderful man and a great friend.
Mankiewicz, the screenwriter for several Bond flicks, died aged 68 at his home in Los Angeles on 30 July 2010 after a brief illness. Moore said that the tragedy came as a huge shock for him.
He wrote the screenplay for many of Moore's Bond films including 1974's The Man with the Golden Gun and his debut as the superspy in Live and Let Die, which led to close friendship between the two, reports The Daily Star.
"Tom was a wonderful man, a brilliant writer and a great friend. His written lines were brilliant. My favourite is from The Man with the Golden Gun when Jimmy (Bond) points a gun at a gun-maker's crotch - 'Speak now or forever hold your piece' he says. Sheer bloody brilliance. The news of his death was a huge shock to me. At 68 it was a tragedy." Moore said.
"He was without doubt one of the most innovative, clever and inspirational writers of the Bond films. He and director Guy Hamilton would lock themselves away working out 'snake pit' scenarios for 007, and then plan inventive escapes whilst leading the audience up one or two wrong turns.
"Like in Live and Let Die when Jimmy Bond is stranded on an island in a lake full of alligators. Jimmy sees a boat nearby and switches on his magnetic watch to attract the metal oar rests — aha, say the audience, that's how he does it. But then we see the boat is tethered. Aha, says Tom! Think again, dear audience."
Last edited by JAMESHOT : Aug 4th, 2010 at 11:57 PM. Reason: add new story
|May 12th, 2012, 01:04 PM||#6|
Knighted 00 Agent
An Interview With James Bond
Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz
from the NEW YORK VOICE
August 22, 1987
"The Living Daylights" introduces a new James Bond, in the person of dashing, intense Timothy Dalton. He's as much a success with his serious sty[e, as his immediate predecessor, Roger Moore, was with his flip one. What did the man who wrote Moore's first Bond epic, "Live and Let Die," think of his leading man? In the following interview, Mankiewicz provides some answers to that and other questions. Mankiewicz co-wrote ''Diamonds Are Forever" and "The Man with the Golden Gun, " and wrote "Live and Let Die." His non-Bond efforts include "Superman II" and "Superman III, " and the Bill Cosby film "Mother, Jugs and Speed. " He created and supervised the TV series "Hart to Hart."
New Bond on the beat: Roger Moore (seated) with (left to right) producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman on location for "Live and Let Die."
Q: You worked on three Bond pictures as screenwriter with two different Bonds. Can you compare your relationships with Sean Connery and Roger Moore?
A: I had a terrific relationship with both. With Sean, I was really surprised because when I first met him in Las Vegas on the day he arrived, he had read the script and made notes on it. I was surprised by how much homework he had done. He had gone through it very carefully and the thing that was surprising to me was that most of the notes he had were for other parts. For instance, he would say, "Couldn't she say something better than this to that guy?" Most of the time it had nothing to do with him.
I never really had a meeting with Roger like that. Roger's contributions are more in the dialogue area. He's very quick and his contributions tend to happen on the spur of the moment. For instance, Roger had an ad-lib in "Live and Let Die" where the girl says, "I guess as an agent I'm a total bust." And he said, "I'm sure we'll find some way to lick you into shape." Which I loved. Roger is terrific to work with.
Q: How was it writing for the two actors? Their styles are very different.
A: I think you write to their strengths. Roger's is comedy. For instance, Roger Moore walking into the Filet of Soul, a Black bar in Harlem in his very British Chesterfield coat. You get great comedy out of it because he looks like a twit. On the other side, Sean walking into the Filetof Soul – Sean carries violence with him. He looks like a bastard; he's got a glint in his eye. So I think the audience's impression as Sean walks in is, "Uh-oh, look out. Something's going to happen here." And one does think that if Roger starts to do exactly the same sort of things that Sean did, the audience is going to resent that.' So it's part and parcel of trying to write to their strengths.
Q: Connery reportedly enjoyed working on "'Diamonds Are Forever." Did they try and get him back for the next one, "Live and Let Die"?
Sean Connery and Lana Wood in "Diamonds Are Forever."
A: At the last minute they made another attempt to get Sean back. I remember having dinner with him just before "Live and Let Die" began shooting and he said, "How's the script?" And I said, "It's just terrific, Sean. It really would be a lot of fun." And we didn't have a Bond then and I said, "Would you like to read it?" And he refused. I think that's because he didn't want to get tempted again like he was with "Diamonds." He said to me, "Boyo, all they can offer me is money." And that's what he didn't need. And I brought up the quesiton of his "obligation" to his public to play Bond. He said to me, "Six pictures over ten years; How much of an obligation have I got? When does it run out? Should we put a limit on it, say I5 pictures over 30 years? One more this year and then is my obligation over?" He said the only two things he ever wanted in his life were to own a golf course and a bank. And he had both.
Q: I understand there were some casting problems in "Live and Let Die"?
A: When we started writing "Live and Let Die," one of the things that I wanted very much, and the director, Guy Hamilton, wanted very much, was for, the heroine, Solitaire, to be played be a Black woman. United Artists, the distributor, was'very scared of it. I thought having, a Black heroine would ease the basic problem of the film, a white man beating up Blacks. But when it carne time to do it, U.A, was quite frightened of it for legitimate reasons from their point of view. The picture was going to be very expensive and they wondered, outside of cities like New York and London. How well that would go over with a new Bond. They'd had the experience of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," which had done poorly. But we didn't know they were going th renege on this idea. And the first person who was brought up in casting sessions for the Solitaire part was Catherine Deneuve. And I said, "Well, she's not terribly Black." Sort of the antithesis of it.
Q: What about the casting of Moore?
A: Cubby and Guy went over to the Goldwyn lot to meet an actor named Burt Reynolds, who was doing a series called "Dan August."And Guy thought he was charming as hell. And as a matter of fact, the choice wlls between Burt Reynolds and Roger Moore. Roger Moore. He had just done "Deliverance" and I think the biggest problem with him would have been getting him to sign for three pictures. And Cubby was the one who said, "I don't care what happens. Bond must be British." So Reynolds was out.
Q: What was it like working with the producers Albert R. (Cubby) Broccoli and Harry Saltzman?
A: Harry is so mercurial. He gets these brainstorms. He had an obsession that Bond would wake up in bed in "Live and Let Die" and there would be a crocodile next to him. And I said, "Harry, first of all, they've got such little legs. How does he get up there? Harry said, "Somebody put him there." I said: "Who?" He said. "I don't know – but I know that Bond gets up and there's a crocodile right next to him." "Why doesn't the crocodile eat Bond?' "He's noi hungry." He really wanted it and we didn't get it in.
Now Cubby is more the conscience.of the audience. He wants to make sure everyone understands everything. I used to use the example-that never happened – that you could say to the two of them, "Bond falls off the boat and as he's sinking underwater, he meets an octopus. But it has nine arms.'' Harry would say, "And he's bright red and he's on roller skates and he blows up." And Cubby would say, "I still don't understand what's funny about the nine arms." You'd say, "But, Cubby, octopusses usually have eight arms." And he'd say, "1 know that. But do you think everyone in the audience is going to get that?'"
Q: Do you know why they split up?
Christopher Lee and Maude Adams in "The Man with the Golden Gun."
A: There were all kinds of reasons. Basically, they had totally different lifestyles. Cubby's life is those films. He loves working on them, Harry is just a natural wheeler-dealer. He has such an active and unfocused mind that he loves to be into 12 things at a time. There are people like that who just need that kind of action. There's a story about Harry. He wanted to have a sequence in a salt mine in "You Only Live Twice" and he said, "We've got to have one in a salt mine." He took an art director and a bus and he went all over Japan before finding out two weeks later that there are no salt mines in Japan. But that wouldn't stop Harry. He would say, "Nonsense. The just haven't found any yet."
|May 16th, 2012, 03:46 PM||#7|
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Interesting interview, particularly his take on Connery/Moore and Saltzman/Broccoli
I think Bond himself is the key ingredient of the films: the combination of the larger-than-life and his stereotypically British response. When faced with larger-than-life gadgets, villains and situations, he must take all of this in his stride, keep calm and carry on, and, no matter how difficult the situation is, he must not only pull through but ultimately come out on top
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