Frank Cottrell Boyce discusses his winged Fleming sequel at Edinburgh Book Festival
The author talks about his new novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again with Andrew Motion
This article is from 2012.
Liverpudlian writer Frank Cottrell Boyce has a career which can only be described as enviable. When we spoke he was in the midst of working on the Olympic Games opening ceremony, as one of director Danny Boyle’s hand-picked creative advisors. He’s worked with Boyle before, on the 2004 adaptation of Boyce’s own children’s novel Millions, while his past work for the screen involves many films with celebrated director Michael Winterbottom, as well as stints on the writing staff of Brookside and Coronation Street.
This year in Edinburgh, however, he’ll be discussing his latest dream job: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, his authorised sequel to Ian Fleming’s famed novel, which Boyce was approached to write by the author’s estate. ‘It was a brief conversation,’ he says. ‘They asked me, I put the phone down and my kids told me “you’re doing it”. It was lovely to write though. I went to a meeting in Ian Fleming’s old house and they gave me carte blanche to do what I wanted. A big moment for me was when I discovered that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was a real car in the 1920s, a monster racing car build by a colourful character called Count Louis Zborowski. Finding out about that vanished world freed me up, it took me away from the Edwardian-influenced film and let me write something with a bit of muscle.’
Boyce’s new take on the old story recasts the car as a camper van, all the better to play to what he sees as the original’s greatest strength. ‘I like the fact the whole family are along for the ride,’ he says. ‘Normally children’s books start with the parents being killed by a mysterious disease or war breaking out and the kids being evacuated, but I love that in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang mum and dad got to be there.’
10-11 Aug (with Andrew Motion), 10.30am, £4.50.