Simon West: Time is right for an alternative James Bond
Simon West thinks there is a gap in the market for a new British action hero who is "darker" than James Bond and he hopes his movie 'Stratton' will fill the void.
The 56-year-old filmmaker has helmed a number of action movies, including 'The Expendables 2' and 'Con Air', during his career and his latest film 'Stratton' is an adaptation of a series of books by former Special Boat Service (SBS) officer Duncan Falconer and the plot pits SBS commando John Stratton against an international terrorist cell intent on attacking London.
West approached the project with the plan to bring a "more realistic" version of 007 to the big screen and he is confident audiences will be receptive to his vision and titular star Dominic Cooper.
Speaking at the UK premiere of 'Stratton' at VUE Cinemas in London's Leicester Square on Tuesday night (08.29.17), West told BANG Showbiz: "I was looking to do a new British action hero. I've done films about action heroes and done films with British actors like Jason Statham but they are really American films and I have worked with a lot of American action heroes but I feel there is a gap in the market for another British hero. We've got James Bond, we've got Harry Potter but I think we need a third one and when I came across the books of 'Stratton', I thought this was a great resource and met the author, Duncan Falconer - who used to be a Special Boat Service officer - and I picked his brains about what necessarily wasn't in the books."
Although his aim was to create a new Bond, West insists he is a huge fan of those films and the Ian Fleming stories they are based on and he says audiences should view 'Stratton' as an alternative to 007.
He said: "I had to do something alternate to Bond because I'm a huge Bond fan and didn't want to make a copy and I wanted to do something alternate and that's what 'Stratton' is. He is a darker, more realistic version."
When asked whether he would be tempted to helm a James Bond movie in the future, West admitted you'd have to be "crazy" to turn one down.
He said: "Who wouldn't? I grew up on Bond films. They are brilliant. I can't imagine anyone turning down a Bond film. Just for the soundtrack and music alone, it's brilliant. You'd be crazy to turn down a Bond film."
West was joined at the glitzy event by cast members Cooper and Jake Fairbrother and a host of guests including Tito Jackson, TV presenter Naomi Isted and model Olivia Arben.