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Hey boys and girls what an adventure we’ve been on at the New York stop of the junket for the newest James Bond film, Skyfall.  First up is our exclusive chat with the producers of the film and the stewards of the modern 007 franchise, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.

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Barbara Broccoli & Michael G. Wilson


The Lady Miz Diva:  The two prior Bond films, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace each had great qualities, but Skyfall feels like the most complete film of the three.  Is it by coincidence that like Goldfinger before it, Skyfall is the third film in this latest series and the one that really hits its stride and gives a real sense of the franchise?

Barbara Broccoli:  I don’t know.  I think people always talk about the third one on each actor being the lucky one when it all comes together.  Cubby {Albert Broccoli, Barbara’s father and original producer of the James Bond series} always used to say that it takes three movies to get the cocktail right.  But I think we were very lucky with getting the rights to Casino Royale and recalibrating the franchise; making it more relevant for the times, and the biggest lucky break we got was Daniel Craig, because with him we’ve been able to do so much with the character because he’s just such a spectacular actor.  So, I think it really comes down to taking a new direction with him.


LMD:  There are a lot of risks taken with this chapter: Sam Mendes might not be the obvious choice to direct a Bond film, not having ever done action.  Why did you take a chance there?

Michael G. Wilson:  I think in the first place, he’s a good director, so he can do the drama.  He gets the actors and that’s the most critical part of any film is to get that right.  We thought that we have behind the scenes a lot of support -- stunt people, second unit directors, action people, special effects people -- all of them always get involved and contribute to the action scenes.  But what’s important with the action scenes is that they have a narrative that runs through it; that the director controls, and {cinematographer} Roger Deakins, as well, so we weren’t too worried.  But Sam’s turned out to be a very good action director.  We knew he had what we needed for the film.


LMD:  Another very big gamble is the villain, Mr. Silva.  The previous two bad guys were sort of more straightforward and intense, but Mr. Silva is more like the larger-than-life four-way love child of Auric Goldfinger, Rosa Klebb and the two guys from Diamonds are Forever, and he’s rampantly bi-sexual…

MGW:  {Laughs} At least that’s what he appears to be when he toys with Bond.

BB:  It was fun.  I mean, the thing is that villains -- really successful villains -- of course are charismatic and that’s how they manage to suck people in.  Javier is such an extraordinary actor and he found a very compelling, complex character and the combination of he and Daniel together is just fireworks.


LMD:  How do you keep a larger-than-life character like Mr. Silva and throw in the other charismatic crowd-pleasing touches like the gadgets and homages to the earlier films without going too far or making it camp?

MGW:  It’s a hard line.  The thing about it is that this character is he’s somewhat justified in his hatred, in his revenge.  He was, shopped away, as they say in Britain.  M put him in it; let him get taken away and put in jail and tortured, so he comes with a legitimate {anger/cause}.  And I think once you realise that about the character, he takes a difference, and when the audience sees that part of him, they begin to understand it and therefore, they take him seriously.  And of course you have a great actor playing him.

BB:  Yeah, I think that when you have a great actor like Javier Bardem, you have to trust that he and the director will traverse that very tricky water properly.


LMD:  Now we have Ben Whishaw, who’s brilliantly cast as the new “Q,” therefore there must be gadgets, correct?  There seemed to have been an aversion to the gadgets in the prior movies, but do you see gadgets possibly entering future films?

BB:  Well, it’s one of the hallmarks of the Bond films, but the thing is now everybody has gadgets, so you’ve gotta come up with things that aren’t immediately accessible to the public, and that’s tricky.  I think having a young Q; it’s about having someone helping Bond through some very difficult times in terms of aiding him.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be the physical manifestation of gadgets, but just using technology to aid him in a way that will improve the end result.


LMD:  What was the thought behind including some of the old totems, like the Aston-Martin, the guitar theme in the middle and references to exploding pens and ejector seats?  How careful were you about what you put into the film?

MGW:  There’s the machine guns that were from Goldfinger, when he {Bond}’s shooting everybody in front of Skyfall.

BB:  The headlights of the car.

MGW:  It was all part of it, but I think there was just enough of that to give a little nod.  And it was part of the film; he had to get to a place where he had to use old things because the new things were all part of the net and he had to get off the net.


LMD:  Ms. Broccoli, I’ve always been curious about your “apprenticeship” under your father, “Cubby,” and the new 007 documentary, Everything or Nothing shows us a lot of your time learning about filmmaking with him.  I wondered if your father had sacred cows with regard to the series?  Were there things you couldn’t touch?  And the other part of that question is since we are celebrating the first fifty years of James Bond on screen, how will you keep him fresh and the franchise alive into the second century?

BB:  The thing he always used to tell us is that you have to obviously make changes.  You have to be brave.  You’ve gotta take risks.  He wanted us to make sure that we were the one that were making those decisions.  “Don’t make changes that the studios or the outsiders {want}.  Don’t let them force you into making changes.”  He always used to say, “They are temporary people making permanent decisions.”  So you take risks, and sometimes you’re gonna make mistakes; you can’t be right all the time, but be brave enough to take risks, and I think that was one of the important things he taught us to do.  So, that’s how I think we keep it fresh and young; we allow Bond to move with the times.


LMD:  Another big development in this film may be the first time that neither of the Bond Girls are Caucasian.  You cast Naomie, who’s black, and Bérénice who is Cambodian, Chinese and French and identifies her lineage as not white.  

BB:  Well, we’ve had Michelle Yeoh, who’s Asian, and Gloria Hendry…


LMD:  But for both of the main girls in the same film is pretty great.

BB:  Oh, I don’t know, maybe.  We just hired the best people.


~ The Lady Miz Diva

October 15th, 2012


Click here for our exclusive interview with new Bond Girl, Bérénice Marlohe.

Click here for our exclusive interview with Skyfall costar, Naomie Harris.

Click here for our coverage of the Skyfall New York Press conference, with our questions for director Sam Mendes, new Bond villain, Javier Bardem and Bond, James Bond, himself, Daniel Craig.


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Exclusive photos by L.M.D.

Film Stills Courtesy of  Sony Pictures




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