James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson straddles the past and the future as he celebrates 007’s 60Th Start thinking about the anniversary and life after Daniel Craig.
Sitting together The Hollywood Reporter Before dinner at the Beverly Hilton where he was presented with the 2022 Pioneer Award from the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, Broccoli and Wilson talked about casting considerations for the next Bond, what they’d like to see under MGM leadership after Amazon’s takeover, and if Bond ever becomes a secret agent on the small screen. Says Broccoli: “We resisted it.”
This conversation comes in the midst of a jet-setting trip worthy of a secret agent. The two attended a hand and footprint ceremony Wednesday at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Next up is the World Bond Day celebration on October 4, which will include a concert at the Royal Albert Hall ahead of Amazon’s doc release on October 5. 007 voice, About the music of the Bond films.
In conversation with THR, Despite rampant speculation about who will play the next Bond, the half-brothers reveal that they are currently most interested in finding out who their villain will be.
When you took on the mantle of James Bond, what were some of the concerns and anxieties you had on that first outing?
Broccoli I grew up around Bond, so I was steeped in all things Bond since I was a little girl. I always say that I want to spend as much time as possible with my dad, because he is such an amazing person. So, I was going around a lot and working with him and Michael, learning at the feet of the master. When Cubby (Albert Romolo Broccoli) asked us to take over Golden Eye He had a lot of confidence in us, which made a big difference. He instilled in us the kind of passion he felt for filmmaking and serials in particular. I think it’s the anxiety of living up to everything that came before.
Wilson You don’t want to be the guy who makes the last James Bond movie.
Has that anxiety lessened over the years?
Broccoli We really appreciate the fans, the people who come to see the movies and so we don’t want to let them down. So you try your best to make the best movie. You try and hire the best people, create the best environment for people to do their best work, and then you think you’ll get it right. But with that, Cubby always told us, you can’t be afraid of change, you have to take risks and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. But you have to keep it fresh. So, you have to keep evolving and that’s what we’ve tried to do.
The The voice of 007 Coming soon. There are so many elements that justify a doc in the Bond films, why start with the music?
Broccoli I think sound is an integral part of movies. It started with John Barry – a theme by Monty Norman and the voice of John Barry by the hands of John Barry. John created a new genre of film music with the Bond films and later scored many unusual scores for films as diverse as Out of Africa. I think part of the success is the combination of soundtracks, scores and songs. Usually when we make a movie everyone wants to know who will play Bond, who will be the villain, who will be the woman and who will sing the song. It’s part of the whole Bond mystique.
The doc was originally on Apple but is now being released on Amazon Prime. How did that happen?
Broccoli Amazon, when they bought MGM, they were very passionate about synergy, so I think they really wanted to have that in their orbit, which is very complimentary to us. Apple was very kind to make that happen.
Do you have any insights into how MGM fits into Amazon and how Bond fits into Amazon?
Broccoli Not really. Long early days. We made a movie called untilIt’s about Emmett Till releasing UAR, so Amazon has been incredibly supportive until Because it is under their protection now. So we had a great experience, a very positive experience [with Till]. He is really behind the film. So, we are off to a good start.
Mike De Luca and Pam Abdi have left MGM following Amazon’s purchase. Have you been given an insight into his potential replacement?
Broccoli We are not there yet. I hope they haven’t. They certainly didn’t tell us. I mean, those are big shoes to fill. We have a good relationship with them and we look forward to seeing who takes over.
What would you like to see in terms of leadership at MGM?
Broccoli Theater business is very important to us. Bonds are cinematic films and it’s very important for us to have them on the big screen. Therefore, we want someone who has the same passion for theatrical experiences as we do. As a studio head, we always say that talent is the most important thing in business. So, we hope that studio heads are talented and appreciate talent and will be good partners.
Wilson Amen. (laughs) The thing is that we’ve had great partners in the studio and we’ve had some difficult partners. We’ve experienced it all. Let’s see who comes next.
Bond is a survivor. If they can survive Hollywood, they can survive anything.
Broccoli you said
Bond is a member of “Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. After Rani’s death, I’d like to ask what she means to the franchise?
Broccoli Well, as you say, Bond worked for Queen and Country and now works for King and Country. He was a very loyal servant of the British Government. He is a classical hero who cares about the world and cares about humanity more than his personal desires. It was a very sad time in Britain, obviously, a great time of transition, but she certainly left a very extraordinary legacy.
Wilson He has been a great supporter of Bond films over the years. And everyone in the Royal Family – Charles and William and everyone else. She is a steady hand. You don’t think much of her as a person. This is a shock no matter how much you expect it to happen.
Do you have any personal experience with Rani that you would be willing to share?
Wilson Every time she came to the openings we took her and introduced her to the cast and crew. Prince Philip was also a great Bond fan. He was very responsive. We stay in the box with him and he laughs and claps.
There is already a lot of speculation about who the new Bond will be. Is the extreme level of speculation affecting you creatively?
Broccoli When we get to a point, like we are now, we have to think about the trajectory and storyline of the Bond films and where we want to take them. So, this is really the main focus in the beginning. Once we have a sense of where to go, then we start thinking about casting. We are not selecting anyone for a single film. We’ve been casting someone, at least for a decade. It’s a big decision, and we’re nowhere near making that decision.
What social changes could be reflected in the next bond?
Broccoli Hard to know. We always sit down with our writers and we start by thinking, what is the world afraid of? “Who is the Bond villain?” We begin by thinking that We try to focus it as a kind of uber story and then we want to see Bond’s emotional life and what he goes through personally that he hasn’t had to deal with before. So he has two big issues in the movies – one is geopolitical and the other is personal.
Wilson Everyone thought the Berlin Wall had come down, it was hunky dory and there were no more stories to tell. Well, that was proven wrong. The world is very unpredictable and it’s a rich environment for storytelling.
What other considerations would you present to actors considering the role of Bond?
Broccoli Any actor thinking about this should think about how it would change their lives. Daniel was definitely reluctant when we first approached him and as I say about him, his life changed, but he didn’t. He is always the same amazingly wonderful human being he always was in the beginning. You become an ambassador for the film industry and people identify you as associated with the role. It has many different aspects. But the time commitment is obviously a long-term commitment, and not everyone is willing to do that — multiple films over many years. Daniel completed 16 years.
What are you looking for to judge any projects that dip into or are adjacent to James Bond?
Broccoli We really enjoyed the documentaries. We made one Being James Bond About Daniel Craig, and we enjoyed this music documentary. We stayed away from other projects and what we did with Amazon was an unscripted project (007’s Road to a Million) We have tons of people coming to us with all kinds of ideas about doing that. Our biggest concern about that is that we don’t want to put any members of the public at physical risk. A lot of what they proposed to us were these high-risk adventure types, and we didn’t want to do that. It’s like a scavenger hunt and it’s really fun. That’s why we went with that plan.
Is there a world where Bond ends on television?
Broccoli We opposed it. Many years ago we did animated children’s work, but we resisted doing anything because, you know, we like to put all our efforts into dramatic features.