FAN CAST: James Bond Moonraker

Moonraker is the third novel by British author Ian Fleming featuring the fictional British Secret Service agent Commander James Bond, first published by Jonathan Cape on April 7, 1955. Mr. Murdock

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By MrMurdock - 2/21/2011
BACKGROUND


Moonraker is the third novel by British author Ian Fleming featuring the fictional British Secret Service agent Commander James Bond, first published by Jonathan Cape on April 7, 1955. Set completely in England, it follows Bond's mission to stop an industrialist, Hugo Drax, from destroying London with a nuclear weapon.
The novel's name was used in 1979 for the eleventh official film in the EON Productions Bond franchise and the fourth to star Roger Moore as James Bond. However, the story for the film was significantly changed from the novel so as to include excursions into space.


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STORY SUMMARY


M asks James Bond to investigate the multi-millionaire businessman Sir Hugo Drax, who is winning a lot of money playing bridge at M's favorite club, Blades. M suspects Drax of cheating, but although claiming indifference, he is concerned why a multi-millionaire and national hero, such as Sir Hugo, would cheat at a card game. Bond confirms Drax's deception and manages to "cheat the cheater" — aided by a cocktail of powdered Benzedrine mixed with non-vintage champagne and a deck of stacked cards — winning £15,000 and infuriating the out-smarted Drax.

Drax is the product of a mysterious background, unknown even to himself (allegedly). As a supposed British soldier in WWII, he was badly injured, and stricken with amnesia, in the explosion of a bomb planted by a German saboteur at his field headquarters. After extensive rehabilitation in an army hospital, however, he would eventually return home to become a major aerospace industrialist.

Now, Drax and his firm are building the "Moonraker", Britain's first nuclear missile project, intended to defend the United Kingdom against its Cold War enemies (c.f. the real Blue Streak missile). Essentially, the Moonraker rocket is an upgraded V-2 rocket using liquid hydrogen and fluorine as propellants. It can withstand the ultra-high combustion temperatures in its engine thanks to the use of columbite, of which Drax has a monopoly. Therefore, because the rocket's engine can withstand higher heat, the Moonraker can use more powerful fuels, greatly expanding its effective range.

After a Ministry of Supply security officer working at the project is shot dead, M assigns Bond to replace him, and also to investigate what may be going on at the missile-building base, which is located between Dover and Deal on the coast of England. Oddly, all of the rocket scientists working on the project seem to be German.

At his post on the complex (where he is billeted in the Drax mansion), Bond meets Gala Brand, a beautiful Special Branch agent working undercover as Personal Assistant to Drax. He also uncovers some clues concerning his predecessor's death, concluding that the former Security Chief might have been killed for witnessing the clandestine delivery of some secret cargo by submarine off the coast. Drax's henchman Krebs is caught by Bond while he snoops through his room. Later, an attempted assassination nearly kills Bond and Gala under a landslide, as they swim beneath the Dover cliffs. Drax takes Gala to London where she discovers the truth about the "Moonraker" (by comparing her own launch trajectory figures with those in a notebook picked from Drax's pocket) - but she is caught. She soon finds herself captive at a secret radio station (intended to serve as a beacon for the missile's guidance system) in the heart of London. While attempting to rescue her in a car chase, Bond is captured, as well.

It turns out that Drax was never a British soldier and has never suffered from amnesia. In fact, he was a German commander of a Skorzeny commando unit and the saboteur (in British uniform) Graf Hugo von der Drache who set the bomb at the army field headquarters, only to be injured, himself, in the detonation. The amnesia story was simply a cover he used while recovering in hospital, in order to avoid allied retribution - though it would lead to a whole new British identity. Drax, however, remains a dedicated Nazi, bent on revenge against England for the wartime defeat of his Third Reich Fatherland and his prior history of social slights he suffered as a youth growing up in England before the war. He now means to destroy London with the very missile he has constructed for Britain, by means of a Soviet supplied nuclear warhead that has been secretly fitted to the "Moonraker". He also plays the stock market the day before to make a huge profit from the planned disaster.

Brand and Bond are imprisoned under the Moonraker's booster engines so as to leave no trace of them once the Moonraker is launched. But before this first (supposedly un-armed) test firing, Bond and Gala escape. Gala gives Bond the proper coordinates to reprogram the gyros and send the Moonraker into the sea. Having been in collaboration with Soviet Intelligence all along, Drax and his henchman attempt to escape by Russian submarine - only to be killed as the vessel flees through the very waters onto which the "Moonraker" has been re-targeted.

Later, after their de-briefing at headquarters, Bond meets up with Gala, expecting her company - but they part ways after Gala reveals that she is engaged and to be married.




JAMES BOND
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Michael Fassbender: Michael Fassbender is the perfect choice for the next James Bond. He greatly resembles the character illustrated by Ian Fleming and is no stranger to action movies previously starring in 300 and more recently Centurion.

Daniel Craig: Now don't get me wrong, Craig is great as Bond. He is by far the best Bond we've had since Sean Connery. He's played the character in Casino Royale bringing a whole new feel to the role but still. Now I'm not saying we should replace Craig but if did, Fassbender is the man for the job.

James Bond: A British Secret Service agent, coded as 007.

Commander James Bond is a secret agent for the British Secret Service, otherwise known as MI6. Also known by his code number 007, Bond is a spy of the highest order in the MI6 ranks, granted a license to kill and trained in all manner of subterfuge, intelligence gathering, and combat techniques. On more than one occasion, Bond has single-handedly saved the world, typically with a gorgeous woman on his arm and a martini in hand -- shaken, not stirred, of course.

Bond spent much of his childhood living abroad, where he gained an early ability in foreign languages. At the age of 11 he was orphaned when his parents were killed in a mountain-climbing accident, so he moved in with his aunt and studied briefly at the prestigious Eton College. He is believed to have also attended, at one time or another, Fettes College, the University of Geneva, Cambridge University, and Oxford, before joining the Royal Naval and, eventually, the Secret Service.

As secret agent 007, Bond has confronted all manner of domestic and international threats, from the worldwide terrorist agency known as SPECTRE to the former Soviet Union to corporate raiders to vicious drug lords. Almost always, 007 has met these challenges with aplomb, intelligence, and grace, and has formed the prototype for what a secret agent should and can be.




HUGO DRAX
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Michael C. Hall: He plays a bit of an anti-hero on Dexter and plays it brilliantly. He's also shown he can a play a good bad guy in Gamer, although not his best movie Hall certainly showcases he has what it takes to play a Bond Villain. Plus, Drax has red hair and Hall has red hair. Perfect.

Hugo Drax: A German spy, who becomes a patriot extraordinaire in London.

Sir Hugo Drax is a famous English World War II hero, apparently working in Liverpool harbour before the war, who became a post-war millionaire. He has red hair and half of his face is badly scarred from a German attack during the War. The same incident left him with amnesia. Post-war, Drax made a fortune trading metals in Tangier, and was able to start up his company, "Drax Metals Ltd", which specializes and has a monopoly in the production of a metal called columbite. Drax is also the backer of the 'Moonraker' missile project being built to defend the UK against its Cold War enemies. Using the metal, columbite, it gives the missile's engine an extra layer of protection so it can burn hotter fuels which will expand its range of fire.

As it turns out, Sir Hugo Drax is not who he seems; he was born Graf Hugo von der Drache. Because his mother was English he was educated in England until the age of 12. Afterwards he moved to Berlin and later Leipzig, where he continued and finished his education. After graduating, he joined the Nazi Party and entered World War II as a soldier in the Panzer Brigade 150 taking part in Blitzkriegs in Belgium and France, before becoming a Skorzeny Werwolf commando. After the Ardennes offensive he stayed behind Allied lines when their army crossed the Rhine, and started operating in the Low Countries with his group. During a mission, he dressed as a British soldier so that he could sabotage and destroy a farmhouse that was holding a mixed liaison group of American and British servicemen, but he ended up at the same farm because he was attacked by his own German fighter because he was wearing the British uniform which he used to get close to the British Despatch rider. While he was still conscious he managed to destroy his motorbike and documents. Later he was found and brought to that farm so he was caught in the explosion and nearly killed. He was then rescued by the British and nursed back to health under the guise that he was a "missing soldier" by the name of Hugo Drax. He then killed a Jewish businessman in London and escaped to Tangiers with 15.000 pounds he took from him.

Because Drax was a Nazi and had an insurmountable hatred for Britain, he started the 'Moonraker' missile project under the pretense that he would test fire the missile into the North Sea (missiles were the cutting-edge of technology in the 1950s). Instead of doing so, however, he set his target for London and armed the missile with an atomic bomb he received through support by the Soviets. He uses this knowledge of the impending disaster to play the stock market and hopefully make a large profit from the terrorist act.




GALA BRAND
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Emily Blunt: She's a great young actress who would do well as a Bond girl. She has a very similar figure to Gala Brand as described below. She's shown time and time again what a diverse actress she is. She first shot to fame The Devil Wears Prada but you guys probably now her better as almost being cast as Black Widow in Iron Man 2.

Gala Brand: A spy posing as Drax's personal secretary. She is named for the cruiser in which her father is serving at the time of her birth.

Gala Brand is a policewoman assigned to England's Special Branch. Her full first name is Galatea, after the cruiser in which her father was serving when she was born. She is a former Wren, and at the time of Moonraker she is a Special Branch agent. Posing as Sir Hugo Drax's personal secretary, she is assigned to provide security for the construction and launch of his prototype atomic missile, for which the book is named. M explains to Bond that Gala pretends to be engaged and wears a ring to help fend Drax off. This tactic eventually succeeds, but not before he makes several passes at her.

Bond is assigned to oversee security for the project a few days before the Moonraker's test launch; the last minute assignment occurs because of the death of his predecessor, Major Tallon. Tallon was killed by one of the missile technicians, a German in Drax's employ who publicly shot Tallon after loudly telling him "I love Gala Brand. You shall not have her." The episode is curious because Gala has reported that Tallon, much older than she and happily married, had never shown any romantic interest in her during the months they worked together. Because Bond sees Gala's personnel file during his preparatory briefing, we (and he) have the unique opportunity in this case to have a clinical description of a Bond Girl's appearance, including her hair color (auburn), eye color (blue), height (5'7") measurements (38-26-38), weight (9 stone, or 126 pounds), and beauty marks (a mole on the upper curvature of her right breast). When Bond meets her in person at Drax's house, he finds her, in contrast to her file photograph, attractive to the point of outright seductiveness, but cool to the point of frigidity and utterly disdainful of any of his attempts even to talk to her.

After months undercover as Drax's secretary, Gala has become entirely devoted to the project's success, and she sees Bond as an interloper and treats him as such. Along with seeing her official file, we also have the rare treat of overhearing some of Gala's thoughts about Bond. A dedicated policewoman, she sees Bond as a sort of playboy-adventurer of the stereotypical secret-agent sort dreamed up by writers of thrillers and not a real detective, doubting that he can be of any use on the project. Nevertheless, she admittedly finds him very handsome and, like Vesper Lynd before her, she sees a resemblance to Hoagy Carmichael. Despite Bond's attractiveness, however, she takes a dim view of him, and she lets him know this by ignoring him as much as possible. During a walk on the beach below the Moonraker's silo to check security arrangements around the exhaust tunnel, however, Gala begins to open up somewhat to Bond. When he suggests a swim, she rather coyly gives in and strips down to her underwear out of Bond's sight. While she is swimming, Bond leaps out of the water next to her and kisses her before she realizes what is happening. Furious, she nevertheless finds herself excited and her aloofness soon vanishes. Later, the two lie on the beach to dry, still largely undressed, when an explosion buries them in rubble, nearly killing them both. Bond manages to pull the debris from Gala and the two return to Drax's house.

Later, when driving with Drax to London, Gala employs her skills as a pickpocket to sneak a look at the Moonraker's gyroscope settings, discovering to her horror that they will cause the Moonraker to hit London. At that moment she intuits that Drax plans to put an atomic warhead on the rocket, but before she can report what she has learned, Drax and her henchmen discover that she is a policewoman and knock her out. Because she had agreed to meet Bond in London for dinner, Bond grows suspicious when she fails to appear and at Drax's city house spots Drax's henchman stuffing Gala into the back seat of Drax's car. Bond chases Drax but is knocked out and captured when he wrecks during the chase. After Drax interrogates Bond and Gala, Bond uses a blowtorch with his mouth to burn through the wires restraining Gala. The pain is terrible, but as he recovers she kisses him, her eyes shining. Gala reprograms the missile to fall into the North Sea, and the two hide in a close embrace in an exhaust duct as Drax's men search for them. Then, as the missile launches, they embrace again under a running shower adjacent to the silo in an attempt to survive the missile exhaust. The missile explodes in the North Sea, killing Drax and his men. Bond arranges to meet Gala the following day after their debriefings.

Gala is to receive the George Cross (Bond's service discourages the awarding of decorations), and the two are under orders to leave England for a month as part of the cover-up of what really happened with the Moonraker. Bond is in St James's Park delightedly planning his month with Gala when she arrives. She looks very beautiful, but he immediately senses that this beauty is intended for someone else. Nervously, she points out a young man a hundred yards away, identifying him as her fiancé and telling Bond that she is to be married the following afternoon. Bond, tasting the bitterness of failure, is angry with himself for supposing Gala's ring and her story about being engaged to have been a fabrication. He realizes, however, that he needs to relieve her of any awkward feelings about his interest in her. He rather playfully tells her that he is envious and that he had other plans for her the following night, and, laughing in relief, she assures him that there are many other women waiting for him. The two part amicably, and Bond recedes regretfully back into his cold existence. Gala is the most professional of all of Fleming's Bond Girls, being practically the only one to have an independent career.




M
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Judi Dench: I tried and tried and tried but Judi Dench as M is a necessity. I can't recast her!

M: The strict head of MI6 who asks Bond to investigate Drax and involves himself in a card game between Drax and Bond.

M bends the rules for Bond on several occasions. For instance in the short story "For Your Eyes Only", Bond agrees to carry out a private assassination for M, while in The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond attempts to assassinate M himself; this is as a result of extreme Soviet brainwashing and M insists that Bond be rehabilitated rather than punished. In the first post-Fleming book, Colonel Sun, M is kidnapped from Quarterdeck, his home, and Bond goes to great lengths to rescue him. In the later books, written by John Gardner, M protects Bond from the new, less aggressive climate in the Secret Service, saying that "sometime this country will need a blunt instrument."

In On Her Majesty's Secret Service it is revealed that M's pay as head of the Secret Service is £6,500 a year, £1,500 of which coming from retired naval pay (by comparison, Bond makes £1,500). Although his pay is good for the 1950s and 1960s, it is never explained how M received or can afford his membership at Blades, an upscale private club for gentlemen he frequents in London to gamble and dine. Blades has a restricted membership of only 200 gentlemen and all must be able to show £100,000 in cash or gilt-edged securities.

As a personal favor to M, the staff at Blades keeps a supply of cheap red wine from Algeria on hand but does not include it on the wine list. M refers to it as "Infuriator" and - as evidenced in The Man with the Golden Gun - only drinks it in moderate quantities unless he is in a very bad mood.




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'The names Bond, James Bond'
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9 Comments
MrMurdock - 2/21/2011, 3:30 AM
Sorry about the shortness of this cast but these are the only main characters in the book. My upcoming Diamonds Are Forever will be longer (and hopefully better). Cheers!
Vafrous - 2/21/2011, 8:24 AM
Looking forward to more Bond... Btw, what do you think of Tom Hardy as Bond?
DDD - 2/21/2011, 10:39 AM
Fantastic MRMURDOCK@!

But where's JAWS...just kidding!--lol

Michael C....perfect for DRAX!

Fassbender is a brilliant choice for
007!

This may be a SHORT cast because of
the few characters in this but it's
a SWEET one!

Nice Goin' MRMURDOCK@!
LEEE777 - 2/21/2011, 1:49 PM
EXCELLENT @ MM!

I was only just asking you to do a MOONRAKER casting yesterday...

Damn, you was already on it lol!

Epic castings dude, I love your 007 castings!

Moreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! : P

BUG THUMBS!
MrMurdock - 2/21/2011, 9:44 PM
GambitAceOfSpades Cheers man! uhh, that could actually work.. really well!

DDD Thanks man. And if I went with Jaws.. Javier Bardem!

Thanks man. Glad your not annoyed about the short amount of casts.

LEEE777 Aha yeahh. Already had it underway by the time you asked about it!

DW, more to come! :P
ASSASSIN666 - 2/21/2011, 10:32 PM
Short, but sweet indeed! Drax was an awesome casting, can't go wrong with Hall playing him. I'll be looking for Diamonds soon!!!!
MrMurdock - 2/22/2011, 1:12 AM
ASSASSIN666 Cheers man! I'll have Diamonds Are Forever out before you know it!
RexDartEskimoSpy - 2/22/2011, 3:21 AM
Nice. I hope EON reads these. They could use a refresher in adapting the Fleming novels. Looking forward to seeing Javier Bardem in the next Bond, should it actually happen. (And not end up a plotless turd like Quantum Of Solace.)

Anybody else dislike Daniel Craig as Bond? I get the feeling he COULD be a great actor, but all he seems to do is mumble and glare. I don't understand the love for him. 007 should have some charisma to balance the underlying threat of violence.
MrMurdock - 2/22/2011, 3:57 AM
RexDartEskimoSpy Thanks man, and yeah I gotta agree with you about Quantum of Solace. It was a disappointment.

Hmm, The only person I can picture Javier Bardem playing at the moment is Jaws..

Craig is a good Bond for our generation but they're are certainly better picks out there such as Michael Fassbender.

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