CS Interview: Spectre Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson

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Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson

ComingSoon.net has spent the last few days in Mexico City, visiting the set of the latest James Bond adventure, Spectre. You can read our report, including a description of the film’s massive opening sequence right here and, if you missed it, the new teaser trailer can be viewed here.

Now, we have another special treat for Bond fans, as we had the opportunity to participate in a small roundtable discussion with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.

As you can read below, the topics of conversation included everything from Spectre‘s theme song plans to Idris Elba as Bond to the oft-forgotten animated ’90s TV series “James Bond Jr.”!

Q: How did you go about deciding exactly what to tease in the new teaser trailer, especially given that you’re still in the middle of production?

Michael G. Wilson: We had to start it six or seven weeks ago. We wanted to create something that was a teaser and a bit of a puzzle and a mystery. From what I saw online, people are putting it together in a clever way. It’s a little puzzle that people can enjoy.

Q: James Bond is a franchise that has always offered an interesting take on its own continuity. In the teaser, Christoph Waltz’s character seems to have encountered Bond before. How do go about walking that fine line of both continuing and reinventing the franchise at the same time?

Barbara Broccoli: It’s always a challenge. We try to get the right blend of classic bond with a contemporary twist and come up with new storylines. I think we’ve done a really good job on this one. I think Sam is an amazing director and we’ve got a great cast and a great director. So we’ve got to let the public decide.

Q: Does “Spectre” have a lot of direct links to “Skyfall”?

Wilson: I think that we saw that Mr. White showed up and he’s been there since back in “Casino Royale” so something’s going on here. “It’s been a long time.”

Q: Is it tied to “Quantum of Solace” as well? 

Broccoli: You have to see the movie.

Q: Is there more pressure every time you’re doing to a new Bond film to top what has hit the screen before?
 
Wilson: When you come off a successful film, we all felt that we had to keep the momentum going and not rest on our laurels. The pressure is there.
 
Q: Any idea yet who will be providing the theme song for “Spectre”?

Broccoli: We’re still figuring that out. That’s one of the last pieces in the puzzle. But it’s one of the fun things we look forward to… We’ve had a lot of interest from a lot of exciting people. It’s a long list and we’re working our way through it.

Spectre

Q: You’re still shooting for another two months with a November release date. Is there a thrill at all in racing a tight deadline?

Wilson: No. It puts Sam under huge pressure. But the release date hovers there and we all aim for it.
 
Q: Is it very easy to cast a Bond film? It seems like a lot of stars would jump at the opportunity to join such a huge big screen franchise.

Wilson: People have to be talked into it. It takes over your life.

Broccoli: We had to talk Daniel into it. But it paid off.

Wilson: When you have a high-quality cast, they want to know what the script is and what theyr’e going to do.

Broccoli: Sam is a magnet for actors. He’s a great actors director and now he’s proven himself as an action director.

Q: Getting the rights to Spectre back is pretty exciting for Bond fans. How did that finally come about?

Wilson: We had a dispute over Spectre. After years of discussions, we finally got the rights to it. It was the last piece of the whole issues with rights.
 
Q: There were rumors some time ago that “Spectre” could actually have been two separate films.

Wilson: That’s news to me. I suppose people feel that there’s been a lot of films that don’t want to stop, so they double themselves up to make two movies. But this is not the case.

Q: How far in advance are you thinking ahead about the next Bond film post-“Spectre”?

Broccoli: I think so much focus is on what we’re doing at the moment. The next movie seems very far away.

Q: How tricky is it to walk the fine line of acknowledging franchise nostalgia without getting bogged down in it? 

Wilson: I think Bond has such a long history and the novels and it’s fun to play around with those ideas. But we always try to make the pictures surprising. There has to be elements in it that are Bondian, so that people won’t be disappointed in the picture. That’s the fine line.

Q: The notion of cinematic shared universes are increasingly popular in Hollywood these days. Any chance of seeing the Bond franchise go after something like that?

Broccoli: I think Bond lives in his own universe. I don’t think he wants to share it with anyone else.

Wilson: Like Bond and Mission: Impossible? I think that’s the stuff for comic books. More power to them.

Spectre

Q: How does the size of this production compare to previous “Bond” productions?

Wilson: This is a big picture. I said at the trailer premiere that we’ve been doing these things for a while and we did the Carnival down in Rio and that was a big project but this is much bigger. This is really pretty big. Those 1500 extras get duplicated around the square, so it’ll be 10,000 people.

Broccoli: It’ s a lot of fun. That’s the thing. The team – costume designer, make-up and hair – it’s very exciting for them. It makes everybody step up to the plate. Sam had a real vision for his version of Day of the Dead. Tom Newman created special music, so it feels like a big celebration.

Wilson: It’s like a military operation. They arrive at four in the morning and they go through hair and make-up and go through wardrobe.

Broccoli: They’ve been very good natured. It’s part of the cultural heritage of Mexico so they’re really happy to be a part of it. We try to give them good lunch and take care of them. It’s very important. 

Q: It was revealed recently that there were production incentives from the Mexican government for portraying the country in a positive light. Did the Mexican government have any insight to the script itself?

Broccoli: The script had been in existence for a long time. The Mexican part had always looked good. I don’t know why that became an issue, because it wasn’t an issue for us. We’re very happy to be here. In the script it was always the Day of the Dead and we’ve had tremendous cooperation from the departments and more importantly the public.
 
Q: How has the script changed with the different screenwriters?

Wilson: It’s all lost in the process. They go back and forth. They talk together. It’d be impossible. You could go back and do a forensic thing.

Broccoli: It’s layers. These scripts evolve as we find locations and find different things, we try to be contemporary as possible. It’s an evolution. Each of the writers contributes a layer.

Q: You’re filming for two more months. What location are you heading to next? 

Broccoli: Our big ones are pretty much behind us. We have one big location – Morocco. And then we have London. And Pinewood. But Austria, Rome and Mexico are almost finished. We’ve got a few more days here and then we’re back home.

Q: We chatted with the production designer yesterday and he mentioned that Sam Mendes was looking for locations both hot and cold.

Wilson: We’re there. We have hot in Morocco and cold in Austria. And then in Rome, filming a car chase at night, which we thought was going to be very disruptive to the public, but the press really gave us a good review in the end. We managed to clean up a lot of areas the city wasn’t able to clean up. So that will be an exciting chase. A lot of the big things are out of the way. 

Spectre

Q: Now that Naomie Harris has been revealed as Moneypenny, is she going to be stuck behind a desk or will she still be heading out into the field? 

Broccoli: You can’t keep this one behind a desk. This Moneypenny is very active. She is key to the story and key to helping Bond on his mission. She’s not deskbound.

Q: Are there any cats in this movie?

Wilson: That’s a good question. I don’t think we can say. You wouldn’t think of a white one with a little diamond collar? (smiles) 

Q: How important is it to have a significant level of spectacle in the film?

Broccoli: I think that’s where Sam Mendes has really excelled. He’s a great director of drama and actors and suspenseful storytelling, but also he’s a 12-year-old Bond fan. He wants to bring that kind of action and excitement that he enjoyed when he first saw these movies. And he has a young son and he gets the balance right. He does the drama and the action. Like “Skyfall,” I think he’s got it right with this one.
 
Q: We’ve got the entire Bond film series on Blu-ray now, but there’s never been a release of the ’90s cartoon series “James Bond, Jr.”  Is that likely to stay buried? 

Broccoli: (laughs) I don’t know. Never say never.
 
Q: What are your thoughts on Idris Elba as James Bond? Is that something we could still see happening?

Wilson: I think he’d make a great Bond.

Broccoli: I think it’s always like asking a woman who is going up the aisle who her next husband is going to be. Daniel Craig is Bond. So ask me when we’re looking for a new Bond, which will hopefully not be for a long time.
 
Q: What is the status on Daniel Craig’s contract? Does he have a certain number of Bond films left?

Wilson: We want him for as long as he’ll have us.

Broccoli: He’s got an open-ended contract.

Spectre is scheduled to open on November 6.

(Photo Credit: WENN.com)

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