1. Inside The Minds of The Producers

    By Athena Stamos on 2004-01-22

    An interview with Bond Producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli that was done during the filming/release of ‘Die Another Day’ surfaced on recently.

    Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli are the producers now in charge of the James Bond franchise. Broccoli, of course, is the daughter of the late Albert R. Broccoli, who originated the series for film. Wilson is Albert’s stepson.

    Was this Bond film an attempt to change directions?

    Michael G. Wilson: We always start out thinking we’re going to make a different picture and some succeed more than others. For instance, in the last film, we had Bond fall in love with a girl, she turned out to be the villain and he had to kill her. We thought that was different. But this one, of course, I think it’s probably the pacing and look that Lee brings to it that gives it a feeling of being different. Of course Pierce being captured and tortured is obviously a departure from what we’ve seen before.

    Barbara Broccoli: It’s a little bit darker than some of the other ones, but the tone is usually set by the story and this story, once we embarked on the story, it came out a little bit darker.

    Why have recent Bond films been about personal vendettas?

    MW: I think it’s always about Bond’s story. We try to find a good story about Bond to start with.

    BB: I think particularly with Pierce, he can play the role and mine that kind of emotional territory very well. He’s very emotionally engaging and I think we’ve tried to make them more personal because we think it’s very effective overall.

    There was talk of Blofeld’s daughter at one point. When was that idea thrown out?

    MW: I thought it was Goldfinger’s daughter.

    BB: We’ve never considered having people’s daughters.

    MW: I would say that 90 percent of the rumors are not leaks. 90 percent are just inventions of people with very active imaginations.

    So, the Connery cameo then?

    MW: We just heard we’d shot something and then cut it out of the movie.

    BB: When we’re meeting and developing these stories, people will come in and go, “I’ve got a great idea. We could have Oddjob’s son.” And people are constantly suggesting those things.

    MW: But do you really think we could have shot with Sean Connery at Pinewood Studios and you guys wouldn’t know about it?

    BB: How stupid would we be to hire him and then cut him out?

    Barbara, did your father know this series would last so long?

    BB: Well, he and Fleming- – Well, first of all, he and Harry [Saltzman], when they went to make a deal at United Artists, made a deal for a film series because there was a series of books. They had intended to make a series of films. I know that when Dad talked to Fleming at one time, Fleming said, “These movies will go on beyond me. You will have to invent things beyond me.” So, I think Fleming knew that. They had great faith in this character. They thought it had great appeal and they were right.

    Are you thinking about Bond actors beyond Mr. Brosnan?

    BB: It’s like asking a bride when she’s going up the aisle who her next husband is going to be. That’s how I feel. He’s James Bond. We like it that way. When he’s not anymore, then we’ll think about it.

    In Q’s workshop, are those the actual props from previous Bond films?

    MW: Yeah, those are them. They’re in our archive and a lot of them are in the museum.

    Will you ever do a serious version of Casino Royale?

    BB: It’s the Bond coming of age story, basically, so it’s a bit hard to do. I wish it had been done faithfully because it was done as a spoof, which is unfortunate. It’s a great novel, but it’s a bit hard for us at this time to go there, having had this cinematic character over the last 40 years. But who knows?

    What about using the non-Fleming books?

    MW: I don’t know. We look at them. I’ve read most of them but I haven’t gotten inspired.

    Is there still room for Bond in the world of XXX?

    MW: That’s for the audience to decide. I think so.

    BB: To be honest, you can’t really worry about it. There’s always going to be movies out there that are going to be competitors. That’s the nature of the business and it’s good for the business.

    Michael, why did you stop writing the films?

    MW: Oh, I think you can only do so much. I don’t think you can keep going.

    Would you consider a Jinx series?

    MW: Possibly, yeah.

    BB: We loved working with Halle. We’d love to do a movie with her. She’s great. She can do anything.

    You can discuss this interview here in the CBn Forums.