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Movies

Q & A about Q’s absence and return

afp/getty images (left); Neilson Barnard/Getty images (center)

British screenwriting partners Robert Wade and Neal Purvis came onboard the James Bond franchise in 1999 with their script for “The World Is Not Enough,” followed it with “Die Another Day” in 2002, and rebooted the series with scripts for 2006’s “Casino Royale” and its 2008 sequel “Quantum of Solace.” They collaborated on “Skyfall” with Chicago writer John Logan (“Hugo,” “Gladiator”). Wade spoke by phone from his home near Brighton, England, on the decision to bring Q back into the Bond fold.

Q. Why was Q not in “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace?”

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A. When we were doing “Casino Royale,” the producers and Neal and I decided to strip back all the really familiar elements because we wanted to restart the series. We wanted to focus on Bond and M as the central relationship, so we took out Q. Also, on a practical level, because the part of James Bond was being recast, we wouldn’t have kept the old Q. We kept M because you needed some kind of continuity. But it would have been odd to have a new Q and a new Bond.

Q. Why bring him back now?

A. The last two pictures had the story line of Bond dealing with his grief and getting revenge on the treachery of the organization that had twisted the girl, Vesper. It was quite intense and there wasn’t a place for it, really; it would have been distracting. But this time around, we wanted to give the audience the pleasure of some lighter elements coming into it. So it was a gift from us as a creative family — [director] Sam Mendes, me and Neal, and John Logan and the producers — to be able to give that back to the audience. And to have fun with it.

Q. What was the reasoning behind making Q younger than Bond?

A. You don’t necessarily start out with everything clear as to what the themes really are. They become more apparent as you go down the road. We only knew that we wanted to reintroduce Q. But we hadn’t said let’s go really young with him. That was a choice that came along later in the day.

Q. There’s talk that this Q is more of a computer geek than a gadget man.

A. Q does quite a lot of computer stuff in the movie. So what you haven’t seen before in Q is him actively being part of the plot. He’s not in the field with Bond, but he’s at his screen, trying to figure out what the villain is up to, because the villain is a kind of hacker as well. So that gives Q much more of an active role in things.

Interview was edited and condensed. Ed Symkus can be reached at
esymkus@rcn.com
.
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