Barbara Broccoli: Shaking And Stirring James Bond
‘Don’t screw it up.’
It’s a phrase one often heard from producer Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli in reference to making a brand new James Bond film and it carries on today with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson helming the incredibly successful phenomenon that is 007.
Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson
In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Broccoli discusses the importance of following her father’s dedicated approach in making the films and why Bond remains such a popular character almost five decades after 1962’s Dr. No was released in theatres.
‘We do feel very strongly about carrying on his legacy,’ says Broccoli, who was honoured with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award earlier this year along with Wilson for their services to the film industry.
‘When my father and Harry [Saltzman] got the rights to these films they created this genre. There wasn’t this type of movie before Dr. No and From Russia with Love. John Barry created this kind of music. Peter Hunt, who edited those first movies, revolutionized that concept. Terence Young, an amazing director, gave it a look and a style. And Sean Connery simply burst onto the screen.’
‘We stand on tall shoulders here, and we have to keep up what they began,’ she says.
Broccoli began her official association with the 007 series on 1983’s Octopussy, where she was an executive assistant. She continued this role for A View to a Kill. For The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill, she served as an associate producer along with Bond regular Tom Pevsner, before becoming a producer along with Wilson for GoldenEye onwards.
‘I was very close to my father. Absolutely adored and worshipped him. I think if he’d been running a pizzeria I’d be making pizzas. It had a lot to do with who he was. He was great company, entertaining, a really down-to-earth guy and a great teacher because he shared his knowledge.’
She continues: ‘His basic rule was: Put the money on the screen. He believed, as I do, that there’s a lot of goodwill out there for the Bond movies. People constantly come up and say: “Oh, my dad used to take me,” or “We’d go as a family; I really knew I was grown up when they’d let me see a Bond movie.” All the stories we get from people are about the Bond movies being part of their family experience.’
As many Bond fans are well aware, Cubby was incredibly devoted to the series, taking time to produce only two non-Bond films, Call Me Bwana and an adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
James Bond returns in Quantum of Solace
‘He felt, like: “No, I’ve got to pay attention, I’ve got to make these movies really good because there is an expectation.” That was something he conveyed to us. Michael and I feel strongly the same way.’
Like her father before her, Broccoli spends the majority of her time helming the Bond adventures, the latest of which, Quantum of Solace, is currently opening around the world. Her one major non-Bond producing credit was a recent London stage adaptation of Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
‘[My father] said whenever you’re stuck just go back to Fleming. That’s something we’ve always done.’
‘In between movies we read all the books and short stories again, not because there are things there that haven’t been shot but to kind of saturate ourselves in that world again. It’s the character of Bond that has sustained these films.’
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