007 producer Michael G. Wilson recently sat down with the Yorkshire Post to discuss working on the James Bond series, including his personal favourites among other things.
‘Being producer of James Bond is as good as it seems,’ Wilson said in the video interview. ‘In fact it’s better.’
Michael G. Wilson
‘There are a lot of other characters like Tarzan, Superman and Batman who have been reinvented over the years, but in terms of a single production entity then yes I guess James Bond is unique. But you know, there has never been a moment when we’ve sat back and thought that’s it, this will run and run. I don’t even believe that now.’
The rather hostile reception to Daniel Craig being announced as the sixth James Bond in October 2005 only cemented the fact that both Bond fans and the general public take a great deal of interest in who will be portraying the British secret agent.
Wilson said: ‘Every time we recast Bond the character ends up being reinvented. It comes with the territory. They are all leading men who are appropriate to a specific time and place and their interpretation inevitably takes the film in a different direction.’
‘He silenced the critics with his performance and now many think he’s one of the best, if not the best Bond ever.’ – Michael G. Wilson on Daniel Craig as 007
‘Roger Moore was certainly a change from Sean Connery,’ he continued, ‘and Timothy Dalton was a departure from Roger. There was a sense when we cast Pierce Brosnan that we were going back to the original vision and not everyone was happy about that.’
‘He may be a fictious character, but 007 has become a matter of public property and the public doesn’t like people messing with their vision of what Bond should be. I sympathise with them. They are our public and we don’t want to let them down.’
Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson announcing Daniel Craig as the new James Bond in October 2005
‘With Daniel he was pretty much an unknown in the role and I think people couldn’t visualise how he was going to play it. He silenced the critics with his performance and now many think he’s one of the best, if not the best Bond ever.’
Besides the casting issues, Wilson also brought up the point that a strong script is essential in moving forward to making a successful Bond film. After sharing the screenplay credit on five Bond films from 1981’s For Your Eyes Only through 1989’s Licence to Kill, Wilson then concentrated primarily on his producer duties for the following films, starting with 1995’s GoldenEye.
‘At the moment the third Daniel Craig movie is not even a glimmer in its mother’s eye…’ – On Bond 23
‘You can only write for so long and I knew my time would probably be better spent on other things,’ he said. ‘It’s just about impossible to find someone who can take on a whole script individually so instead we have a team of writers which Barbara [Broccoli] and I supervise.’
While he admitted he doesn’t have a favourite amongst the actors who’ve taken on the Bond role over the years, Wilson did admit that he did have his preferences when choosing between their various films.
‘In From Russia With Love and Goldfinger, Sean really established the whole spy genre. George Lazenby may have only done one film, but On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was one of the best Fleming stories. The Spy Who Loved Me with Roger was the first one I really worked full-time on and I think it showed him at his best. Then there’s The Living Daylights for Timothy and GoldenEye was Pierce’s best. Daniel has yet to complete his time as Bond, but at the moment Casino Royale is my favourite of his so far.’
As for what lies ahead for the series, Wilson reaffirmed his previous statements that it may be a while until Bond 23 hits theatres.
‘At the moment the third Daniel Craig movie is not even a glimmer in its mother’s eye,’ he said. ‘Filming Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace back to back took a lot out of time and energy so at the moment we are all just recharging our batteries.’
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