James Bond Producers on Looking the Next 007

Landing James Bond may be the biggest acting gig in Hollywood, but 007 Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson says he still has potential actors to offer.

When Diversity With Britain’s most famous producers in late August, they are busy preparing for Bond’s 60th anniversary in October. But the search for a new actor to play the world’s most famous detective is quietly lurking in the background. It’s still “early days,” they claim, but whoever plays the role should be in it for the long haul.

For a while the man seemed to be Idris Elba. But the “Luther” star recently said that he didn’t see Bond when he “looks in the mirror” – a comment that some have interpreted as a validation of Elba’s 007.

Broccoli and Wilson recently hadn’t spoken to the Bond candidate in a long time at the time of this interview, but they say they understand. “He’s great,” Wilson says, and Broccoli adds quickly, “we love Idris.”

“The thing is, it’s going to be a few years off,” she noted. “And when we cast Bond, it’s a 10-, 12-year commitment. So he’s probably thinking, ‘Do I really want that thing? Not everyone wants to do that. It was hard to meet. [Daniel Craig to do it].” Wilson interjected: “And he was in his early 30s at the time!”

The producers sit at a roundtable in their spacious office at Eon House, the headquarters of their production banner Eon Productions – a stately, spacious Edwardian home on Piccadilly, London, overlooking Green Park and nearby Buckingham Palace.

Half-Siblings – whose mother Dana Natol is married to Broccoli’s father, Albert R. “Cubi” Broccoli, Bond’s co-founding producer – has served as Bond’s caretaker since “Goldeneye” (1995), which starred Pierce Brosnan. He worked with the “Remington Steele” actor for a further three films – “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997), “The World Is Not Enough” (1999) and “Die Another Day” (2002) – calling Craig “Casino”. Before being hired for Royal”. ”(2006).

The two formed a strong bond with Craig, and developed the character over the course of four more films together, including “Quantum of Solace” (2008), “Skyfall” (2012), “Spectre” (2015) and last year’s Pandemic. – “No Time to Die” delayed before Craig was out as 007. Before the star’s final turn, however, there was speculation about his replacement, and Broccoli and Wilson have already been questioning the franchise’s next chapter for years.

Broccoli and Wilson say that most young actors think they want to bond, but don’t fully understand the commitment to carrying the franchise for several years. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh yeah, that would be fun to do,'” Broccoli laughs out loud. “Well. It won’t work.”

It’s also a matter of resources for Eon Productions, explains Wilson. “It’s also a big investment for us to bring out a new bond.”

Ultimately, the casting process isn’t just about choosing someone for a role in a film, they underscore.

“That’s why, when people go, ‘Oh, who are you going to get?’ It’s not just about casting an actor for a movie. It’s about a new invention, and ‘Where are we going to take this? What do we want to do with the character?'” says Broccoli “And then, once we figure out who is the right person for that particular reinvention?

“with [Craig]When we talked at this table, you know, [whether he was] Going to, she said, ‘Okay, I’m going to do it. I really want to be a part of it, the whole thing.’ And she lived to regret it,” Broccoli says with a laugh. “But it’s a big commitment. It just doesn’t show up for a few months of filming.”

As Brosnan once said, she quotes, “More people have walked on the moon than people who played James Bond.” (In fact, there have been only six Bond actors since the first film, “Dr. No,” in 1962: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Brosnan, and Craig.)

Both Wilson and Broccoli, directors of the UK chapter of the women’s advocacy organization Time’s Up, have made their mark on Bond, particularly for humanizing the once feminized spy and more for the franchise’s female stars. In ensuring a full, non-vegetarian role. These are qualities that will be continued in the next films, says Broccoli.

“It’s an evolution,” she says. “The bond is evolving just as men are evolving. I don’t know which one is developing at a faster rate.”

Craig, she adds, “sliced ​​Bond emotionally open,” bringing the audience into the character’s inner life. “The films of his tenure were the first time that we really added to the emotional arc.”

Another first time for the makers is joining a TV show based on Bond. As Variety revealed earlier this year, Amazon’s Prime Video made its TV debut with “007’s Road to a Million,” a Bond-style spin on adventure reality show based on the iconic British spy, a race around the world. defeated the series.

“People always come to us to do TV shows, [saying,] ‘Oh, you should do the Bond Challenge,’ but we always stayed away from it because we didn’t want to put people in danger and make them do dangerous things, because it’s not for members of the public – it’s for trained professionals ,” Broccoli explains.

But “007’s Road to a Million” was the first time producers – 72 Films of Britain (“The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty”) – approached the pair with an idea that sounded “fun” and also safe. “It wasn’t going to be dangerous for the participants, that’s the important thing,” Wilson says.

Broccoli and Wilson are producing an eight-part series with 72 films and MGM studio. The show is now in production and “it looks really cool,” enthuses Broccoli.

“The audience would benefit a lot from it and that’s why we set out to do it,” she says. are.”

News of the show came just a week after MGM closed an $8.5 billion deal in March, with the Bond franchise deemed a powerful driving force behind the acquisition.

When the proposed deal was first announced in 2021, Broccoli and Wilson were quick to quell any speculation about a streaming drama for Bond, and issued a statement assuring viewers that the movies would remain in theaters. . (Even in this interview, when asked if Amazon might be asking for a narrative Bond TV show, Wilson noted, “We’re trying to keep it dramatic,” and Broccoli increasingly Responds: “Well, we’ll keep it dramatic. We’re not going to ‘try; we have to do it. It’s just a theatrical franchise.'”)

But the biggest setback surrounding the Amazon acquisition, he says, was the sudden departure of MGM film owners Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdi in April.

“It was a real shock when we lost Mike and Pam,” Broccoli says warily. “I mean, he was just — you know, we’ve had a roller coaster ride with MGM and United Artists over the years and all that stuff, for many years. Were happy and so looking forward to smooth sailing. And then a storm came and things changed.”

Broccoli is “eager to find out” who will replace the studio heads at MGM, which has yet to name a successor. Meanwhile, producers are working “very closely” with Alana Mayo of MGM’s division Orion Pictures on “Till” about Emmett Till, an African American boy who was brutally murdered in a Mississippi hate crime in 1955. was done.

“She’s a wonderful, wonderful, talented woman,” says Mayo’s Broccoli. “I’m really enjoying working with him on this film, and UA are a great team.”

If the break from Bond has achieved anything, it has given producers time and space to focus on “Till” and other projects, of which there are many. With “Tils” being an October release, a musical of “Sing Street” in Broccoli is being staged in Boston, and another theater project is in the works with director Erica Schmidt. Meanwhile, Wilson has written a TV show that the two want to set.

As well as serving on the board of Time’s Up UK, Broccoli is a founding member of First Light, a youth-focused filmmaking initiative, the London Screen Academy, and chairman of the National Youth Theatre.

Broccoli says Time’s Up UK’s work is “extremely important” and plans are underway to create an independent standards authority to handle issues of sexual harassment and abuse. “It’s important for people to have somewhere to listen to their grievances, and for some sort of system to help resolve it,” she says.

Broccoli and Wilson are also prominent industry leaders for the British Film Institute, which will soon set its next 10-year policy. Broccoli, a former chair of the BFI UK Film Skills Taskforce, acknowledges that the demand for production in the UK is “great”, but that it “must be maintained by a workforce.”

“We lack skills, and we have a diversity issue,” she says. “To me, I kept saying, ‘Let’s put them together.’ Let’s train people from diverse backgrounds for essential jobs.There are many people who are super talented but they don’t necessarily feel that film industry is for them.

And apart from advising on the future of the British film industry, there is of course the question of Eon’s own next chapter. When asked about the company’s leadership in the years to come, Wilson joked that broccoli is “spring chicken” and at the height of its capabilities.

Broccoli laughs along, but then gets serious.

“I’m gonna die with my shoes on,” she says. “My happiness is my family and my work. I don’t see it as a difficulty. Every day, you face new challenges, and it’s fun and it keeps you young.”

On September 21, Broccoli and Wilson are the recipients of two Hollywood honors. In the morning they will leave their hands and footprints in a ceremony in the courtyard of the TCL Chinese Theatre. Later that day, at the Beverly Hilton, he is the recipient of the Pioneer Award from the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, which honors industry leaders with outstanding philanthropic efforts and provides financial assistance to those in need in the distribution and exhibition sector. .

,[Those who work in distribution and exhibition] Unsung heroes in many ways because it has been a very challenging time,” says Broccoli. “Movie houses are the places people go to dream, and we have to fight to keep them going. These are the people who are fighting the good fight. We have to support them.”

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