With the release date of the new Bond spoof “A Pepper For Tomorrow” already a thing of the past yet only a trailer out now at [actually, “Pepper” premiered at Bond Weekend III-Editors]…one begins to wonder…does this pathetic movie even exist? We’ve seen magazines, posters, action figures, DVD and CD covers advertising this no-budget gem (see related story linked below as “Collecting the BackBurner Productions of Bond) but there has been no sign of this fairly awkward movie itself.
Dean Williams, creator, producer, writer, director and head gaffer of this astonishing 007 project assures inquiring minds that there is in fact a movie in the making. Major production problems have altered the whole approach of the film, however. Quoth Dean, “I originally planned on making a full length 007 parody, but unfortunately I lost my two main actors mid-way through production, leaving me no other choice than to reformat and refocus the whole misbegotten project. Also, MGM/Danjaq moved our budget from fifty to fifteen million dollars. The new project is a making-of style documentary on the film that was to be, featuring behind-the-scenes action as well as the luxuriously appointed production designs, sets and finished scenes I was able to complete”.
007Forever fans eagerly await Dean’s new project, which is promising to be just as funny as the original movie idea if not better. I managed to catch up with Dean as he was arrested for trying to sneak into the Golden Globes. I asked him about the fate of his labor of love:
MATT: Last time we spoke you were hard at work on your latest movie project, “A Pepper For Tomorrow”. Update us on your progress?
DEAN: I don’t suppose you have a key to these handcuffs?
MATT: Sorry, old man…Golden Globes. I’m sure you understand.
DEAN: Hmmm. This is probably the first interview you’ve conducted in the back seat of a squad car. If you’re lucky you can take photos [Dean screams out the window in the direction of the gathering crowd. Sounds are heard of Dean beaten with nightsticks. A police officer opens the door.]
POLICEMAN: “Another outburst Mr. Williams, and we will be forced to hog-tie you.” [Police officer shuts the door and proceeds to contain the crowd, which is now chanting ‘Dean-o Dean-o!’]
MATT: [Flustered] What brings you to the Golden Globes tonight?
DEAN: Operation “Eagle Nest”.
MATT: ‘Scuse me?
DEAN: I was all tapped into their video system, ready to broadcast my Bond trailer for the world to see on those awesome big screens. when security caught me. I was going to play it right as Michael J Fox won his award.
MATT: How’d they catch you?
DEAN: I didn’t bring long enough cables so the nearest place to hide was the men’s room. I guess a person sitting on the bathroom floor with a VCR in his lap is suspicious?
MATT: How is your Bond movie coming?
DEAN: Not too well, I have run into some problems.
MATT: Like being arrested at the Golden Globes?
DEAN: No, my two lead actors left mid-way through production.
MATT: That’s terrible! Was it bad catering?
DEAN: What catering? It wasn’t a total surprise that they left actually.
MATT: Why? What happened?
DEAN: When I started the project Jerry had told me that they would be moving away at the end of the summer, [“Jerry Soules” as 007, Bruce Holmes as “Emilio Pepperfinger” and his spouse are from the East coast originally] giving me roughly three to four months to shoot the film, something I thought I could manage. Unfortunately Jerry and Bruce had to leave sooner than they had expected, leaving me only about two spare weeks to shoot the movie we had already started. Try that while working full time!
MATT: Why not get new actors?
DEAN: I had already started shooting some scenes with Bruce and Jerry, they were absolutely amazing, and I didn’t want to re-cast perfect work, besides no one else would do it. I also had another run-in with authorities trying to convince Roger Moore to come back for “just one more.” Can you hand me that pen, please? No, the sharp-pointed one.
MATT: Did the bad news of them moving sooner than expected discourage you?
DEAN: Well of course it did, [Dean begins to unscrew my pen with his bound hands] but they had to move for work related reasons, which I can certainly understand.
MATT: So they weren’t working for you?
DEAN: Well they were, the only difference is that their other jobs paid them.
MATT: So it was a money issue?
DEAN: No, more of a location issue, a person can only handle so much Seattle rain, why do you think I moved down here to California? [Dean begins to pick nervously at his handcuffs with a broken metal piece from my pen.]
MATT: Could it really be, Dean, because you were making an awful low- to no-budget Bond movie on a lame 8mm camcorder, with no crew? Is that why they left?
DEAN: If you want something done right you do it yourself. For example… [The hand cuffs pop open.]
DEAN: And people think “MacGyver” was a pointless show.
MATT: What did you manage to shoot for 007, before Bruce and Jerry left?
DEAN: I did manage to shoot two important scenes with Bruce and Jerry together, the “Casino scene” and the “Confrontation scene,” both of which should turn out pretty good. Bruce and Jerry work very well together, they are very funny. I also managed to get a lot of stuff shot with Jerry as Bond, including an exciting shootout in the snow.
MATT: I heard about that, In fact I think it was Jerry who was complaining about your lack of safety on your set?
DEAN: No we are good friends, he enjoyed the action. Why, did he say something? Well, we had to use live ammo on some of our “shoots,” the gunplay in the “Arctic” snows being one of them. Believe it or not, it was harder to get hold of blanks than live rounds. Jay Snowden, my gun wrangler, and I shot 12-gauge shotguns at the snow for ricochet hits, we also shot live 9mm rounds for the muzzle flash on the Ruger. As crazy as that sounds, with some camera magic I was able to get the “shots” I wanted without anyone being remotely close to the weapons. Do not try this at home!
MATT: What did you do when you lost your two main actors?
DEAN: I crawled into a hole and watched Magnum PI reruns for a week straight. After that I got myself together and began sifting through the footage I had, to see if there was anything I could do with it. I came to the conclusion that a feature length movie was out of the question, I had poured too much of myself into this project to stop, so I decided to make it into a “Bond-u-mentary.” I definitely had enough footage to make an exciting teaser trailer for the movie, that is where I started.
MATT: The documentary sounds interesting. Well, not really. It sounds lame.
DEAN: Yes it does, doesn’t it? I had shot some interview stuff with Bruce and Jerry early in production, thinking I would make a small behind-the-scenes featurette. I decided to take that work and mesh it to the footage I already shot, add some new footage and thus create a small history of this jinxed project. It has a very funny twist to it, although most of it is true, it is done very sarcastically.
MATT: That’s putting it mildly, 007. From the footage I have seen it makes you look like a total idiot.
DEAN: That’s funny, people have been telling me that my whole life.
MATT: Tell us about the trailer we have uploaded online now, at 007Forever’s multimedia section under Videos?
DEAN: Well, I wanted to take some of the footage I managed to shoot and make a fast paced, hard driving trailer that would give a good idea of the concept I had when I started this whole project.
MATT: The trailer looks great, it definitely would have been an amazing movie.
DEAN: The trailer turned out remarkable, just as I imagined it. I was lucky enough to get the help of Jake Segraves who is an amazing editor, and also a friend of mine who I had worked with on my last movie. I like working with Jake because he will try anything no matter how time consuming or mundane my request may be. Also I gained the talents of Hunter Hadaway.
MATT: He did the music score for the trailer.
DEAN: Right, I wanted new and original soundtrack techno-style music for the trailer but with that familiar 007 sound. Hunter was able to compose some amazing stuff in just a matter of days. I hope to get him to compose the soundtrack for the rest of the project. But a big thanks to Jake and Hunter, those are the guys who helped make the footage I shot really come to life!
MATT: Are there any problems with copyrights with the Bond theme?
DEAN: All kinds! I would imagine MGM would skin me alive and use my flesh for employee wallets if I started pursuing this project as a financial gain. People forget that I did this project on my own, spent my own money and did it for no other reason than to make my friends laugh. It’s a fan made movie done on video, that’s it! The magazines, posters, DVD covers, all that is purely for my amusement, to make it look like a big deal. People always ask why I do this and I always give them the same answer…for fun, I love making movies!
MATT: You mentioned that you worked with Jake before?
DEAN: Yeah, I did a movie a few years back called Detonate, he was a huge reason behind me finishing that. In fact, Jake and I are recording a commentary track for the re release of Detonate, although not my finest piece of work it still has some funny parts.
MATT: What can we expect from you in regards to the Bond movie project?
DEAN: As much as I am bummed now, I didn’t have the time or money to finish the Bond project as a feature length film, I do plan on putting together the best “making of” documentary that I can, hopefully people will find a laugh or two at the Bond Collectors’ Weekend 2000.
MATT: I heard there were far more problems with production than just Jerry and Bruce leaving?
DEAN: Too many to mention.
MATT: Like what?
DEAN: I could go on and on about that, most of the disasters are in my latest issue of Tasty Film Previews, I still have a few magazines left if anybody is interested in one, or a copy of the trailer, they can contact me at BackBurner Productions…after I’ve posted bail…I guess.
MATT: Are you still working on the James Bond project?
DEAN: Yeah, I have spent too much of my hard earned time and money not to do anything with it, I figured out that I spent close to $350 on the underground set I built, all that for about 6 minutes of screen time, you better believe I’m gonna make something out of this. Right now, I’m planning out the documentary by sorting through the footage I have and trying to make all the pieces fit together. I also am trying to shoot a key scene involving Bond’s car and some “baddies” by cleverly using old footage of Jerry driving interspersed with close ups of the car, it should work pretty good.
MATT: In fact, you installed your own Bond gadgets on that car, right?
DEAN: Yeah, I made a few gadgets even Q would be proud of, and I think the choice of car should sum up the budget, or lack thereof!
MATT: Bond is driving a Geo Metro, right?
DEAN: Picture that. Tell me that doesn’t make you laugh.
MATT: It doesn’t, but I am sure many 007Forever fans would agree that .30 caliber front bumper machine guns mounted on a Geo is funny!
DEAN: It is, isn’t it.
MATT: As far as you know.
DEAN: [Searches his surroundings furiously.] Could you distract them while I make a run for it?
MATT: [Shouts aloud. Hey, officers, isn’t that Kevin McClory over there…]
–Matt Sherman has been feeling unwell on a regular basis since first writing articles about Dean Williams’ BackBurner Productions and their contributions to the legacy of Bond spoofs. He may be reached at 007Forever Collectors’ Corner.