A BBC Radio 4 interview with producer Barbara Broccoli has appeared online. Focusing on the production of Casino Royale, she discusses the choice of Daniel Craig as the new James Bond, making ‘M’ a woman in GoldenEye, her history with the 007 franchise, and more…
Interviewer: If you were there in 1962, when James Bond first appeared on screen in Dr. No, and I was, although I shouldn’t have been as it was an A and I was only 12, you’d have noticed the names of the producers, as they were so unusual, Saltzman and Broccoli and if you go to see the much publicised new Bond, Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig as 007, you’ll see the Broccoli name is still up there, Cubby died in 1996, but his daugher Barbara, together with her step-brother, Michael G. Wilson, is keeping the family franchise alive and well…
You were only 2 when the first Bond came out, what do you remember of those early years of it and your fathers attitude to it?
Barbara Broccoli: Well, I grew up in a household where James Bond was constantly mentioned, so I think I thought he was a real person, up until about seven or eight. He was much talked about like, you know, sometimes you’d have a family member who was, sort of, you know a bit of an enigma, and your always waiting for him to appear. I think it was about, when I was about seven or eight, when we were on location in Japan when my father was making You Only Live Twice and I just remember what an exciting experience that was, to go to this wonderful country and to see these extraordinary ceremonies, we were at a tea ceremony there with Sean Connery and the reaction to Connery was so extraordinary, and I think that’s when I kind of figured out oh, this is, you know, all kind of playing, as opposed to real life.
Interviewer: And how much did your father want to make Casino Royale? Because it’s rumoured that you really made it for him.
Broccoli: Well it, what happened was, when my father and his partner, Harry Saltzman, acquired the rights from Ian Fleming, in 1961, Casino Royale, which was the first book that Fleming wrote, the rights to that had already gone and it had been made in America as a television play, and so, they were very upset because it’s the most important book in the series because it defines the character in many ways, and it’s the holy grail of the Bond legacy, so when Michael and I managed to get the rights in 1999, we kept trying to decide when to make it and we just decided that the time felt right now.
Interviewer: Now we had a big debate on this program a couple of years ago, when it was decided that Pierce Brosnan would not continue, our listeners voted to keep Brosnan, number one, and their second choice was Clive Owen, Daniel Craig didn’t even figure, what was about him that appealed?
Broccoli: Well, I have to say, it was a very painful time when we decided to make Casino Royale, because it meant that we couldn’t hire an actor who had already played the role and that was very painful for Pierce, and it was also very difficult for us, because we had such a great relationship with him and he’d made the most successful of the films in the series, but once we made the decision we were going to make Casino Royale, , obviously the biggest thing was who to cast, and I have to say, in my mind it was always Daniel, I’d seen him, you know I live in England and I’d been following his career for many years, and he just has this, apart from being the most extraordinary actor, he also has this screen presence and this charisma that’s sort of unparalleled.
Interviewer: The women are beautiful of course, as they always are in a Bond film, but it is actually Craig who emerges from the sea in the Ursula Andress / Halle Berry pose, where he is, as has been pointed out everywhere, in a pair of quite tight bathing trunks. How consciously are you playing with that idea of the sex object?
Broccoli: Well, the funny thing was, that was a scene that was in the script and it’s basically a scene that has Bond just surveying a property and looking for a villain called Dimitrios and so, in the script it just said ‘Bond comes out of the sea and onto the beach and meets Dimitrios’ wife, Solange.’
On the day that we were shooting, Daniel came out with a bathrobe on and went into the sea and we started filming, and of cause, he came out of the sea and all the women on the set just gasped. We couldn’t believe our eyes, you know, it wasn’t intended that way, but it certainly made an impact, and his physique was extraordinary, but he had been training for about 3 months, not just for anathestic reason. I mean, when he decided to take the role on, he said ‘I need to be absolutely in the best shape I can be in, because that’s the shape Bond would be in,’ so he did weapons training and underwater training and he’s in all the fight scenes, I mean, that’s really him. So he needed to be agile and fit, we also had a six-month shooting schedule, so he needed to be in tip-top condition, and boy did he prove he was.
Interviewer: Have you never got bored with Bond?
Broccoli: No, really, honestly, I never have, I think Fleming wrote a very complex character and it’s been portrayed by many actors in a different way, and it’s been very exciting, I mean he’s been a very exciting part of my life.
Stay tuned to CBn for all the latest Casino Royale coverage.