Michael G. Wilson, producer of the James Bond films along with Barbara Broccoli, has spoken to the Times Colonist about reinventing the 007 series with Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.
Michael G. Wilson
Wilson, whose association with the series goes back as far as Goldfinger (he began receiving regular production credits from The Spy Who Loved Me onwards), said there are plenty of risky gambles that come along with each new Bond film.
‘There are plenty of exhilarating moments,’ he said. ‘In a creative enterprise, you get to work with a lot of great people, and hopefully it’s something that other people want to see and are pleased by when they see it. So those are the exhilarating parts.’
‘That last Pierce film did better than any of his previous three, but I thought that creatively we were stuck…’ – Michael G. Wilson on Die Another Day
‘But there are plenty of stressful moments, keeping that big engine on track, keeping everything moving, trying to adjust to all the things that come up during the filmmaking process that throw you off track. Trying to keep it on track is tough.’
Where Wilson felt the series had started to derail a bit was with Pierce Brosnan’s fourth film, Die Another Day. ‘I thought it was ailing,’ he said. ‘That last Pierce film did better than any of his previous three, but I thought that creatively we were stuck. Barbara and I and the writers were in a rut.’
A faithul adaptation of Casino Royale for the big screen ended up giving the series a jolt of new energy while simultaneously thrilling fans and critics alike.
Speaking about Daniel Craig’s debut 007 film, Wilson said: ‘I think for me, it was going back to where we started with Dr. No and From Russia With Love. That’s the way I visualized it, but of course it was now contemporary times. And Casino Royale was an “origin” story so we could go back and really tell the beginnings of Bond.’
‘He’s probably the best actor of his generation in Britain, if not the world.’ – Michael G. Wilson on Daniel Craig
Acting as the first direct sequel in the series’ history, Quantum of Solace continues the story of an ’emotionally wounded’ Bond. Played to perfection by Craig, Wilson adds that ‘he’s probably the best actor of his generation in Britain, if not the world’.
If Die Another Day acted as the most recent fantasy highpoint for Bond, then Casino Royale as well as Quantum of Solace definitely bring him back to Earth again.
‘When you think in terms of what happened after Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever were fairly fantastical things. Then we went down to earth more or less with the first Roger ones–they were jokey but not fantastical. Then we got sort of carried away with Moonraker which again was a big success–but where do you go from there? So we brought it down to earth with For Your Eyes Only, and then kind of kept it there for a while, and then with Pierce it started to get more fantastical again. There’s a tendency to sort of drift, I think.’
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