James Bond fears Amazon’s ‘bruising’ MGM buyout may mean the tech giant wants to meddle


A thrice Oscar-nominated screenwriter who penned two James Bond movies has pleaded with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos not to meddle with the successful franchise’s creative processes. 

John Logan, 59, who received also Academy Award nominations for Gladiator, The Aviator and Hugo, said he felt a ‘chill’ when he learned Amazon had purchased MGM Studios for $8.45 billion last week.

Writing a guest essay for the New York Times, Logan said the Bond films were a ‘family business’ that had been carefully nurtured by producers Barbara Broccoli, whose late father Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli is credited as the mastermind behind the success of the long-running franchise, and her half-brother Michael Wilson.

Broccoli and Wilson inherited the the production rights from Albert in 1995 and have nurtured the franchise through a change of Bond actors in 2005 from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig and to ongoing commercial and critical acclaim.  

Logan said Bond’s enduring appeal was that it had protected the Bond character ‘through the thickets of moviemaking and changing public tastes’. 

Logan acknowledged the Amazon-MGM deal included ‘ironclad assurances of continued artistic control’, but questioned what guarantees there were that these would remain in place.

‘What happens if a bruising corporation like Amazon begins to demand a voice in the process? What happens to the comradeship and quality control if there’s an Amazonian overlord with analytics parsing every decision? What happens when a focus group reports they don’t like Bond drinking martinis? Or killing quite so many people?’

And he pleaded with the studio’s new tech overlords: ‘Please let 007 drink his martinis in peace. Don’t shake him, don’t stir him.’  

John Logan, 59, who wrote the screenplay for Skyfall and Spectre, starring Daniel Craig, above, has warned against Amazon trying to impose artistic control over the James Bond franchise

John Logan, 59, who wrote the screenplay for Skyfall and Spectre, starring Daniel Craig, above, has warned against Amazon trying to impose artistic control over the James Bond franchise

Writing a guest essay in the New York Times, Logan put the 007 film franchise's longevity and success down to the creative license afforded by the family-run operation

Writing a guest essay in the New York Times, Logan put the 007 film franchise’s longevity and success down to the creative license afforded by the family-run operation

Logan pleaded with Amazon: 'Please let 007 drink his martinis in peace. Don’t shake him, don’t stir him'

Logan pleaded with Amazon: ‘Please let 007 drink his martinis in peace. Don’t shake him, don’t stir him’

Logan has been nominated for an Oscar three times for screenplays for The Gladiator, Hugo and The Aviator

Logan has been nominated for an Oscar three times for screenplays for The Gladiator, Hugo and The Aviator

The rights to the Bond movies were shared by MGM and Eon Productions, owned by the siblings. MGM’s share now passes to Amazon but Broccoli and Wilson will keep a firm grip on the creative side, from plot to director and who gets to play the suave MI6 agent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Barbara Broccoli was on the set nearly every day during shooting of the most recent installment, No Time to Die, and handpicked Daniel Craig as Pierce Brosnan’s successor.

‘We are committed to continuing to make James Bond films for the worldwide theatrical audience,’ the siblings said in a statement this week.

The siblings are so senior at MGM that they were informed of the sale days before it was finalized, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Amazon exec Mike Hopkins, who handled negotiations, personally contacted the pair to reassure them their property was in good hands.

Jen Salke, Amazon’s head of original content, already has a relationship with Broccoli which is thought will ease the transition.

The pair have reportedly resisted previous overtures from studio executives who wanted to make a TV spin-off.

So Amazon won’t be able to absorb the franchise into their own corporate entity as has been the case with other characters like Harry Potter, Iron Man or Luke Skywalker.

Logan, who has also won a Tony Award for best play for Red in 2010, wrote the screenplay for 2012’s Skyfall, which grossed $1.1 billion at the Box Office, and the 2015 follow-up Spectre, which made $880m.

The 24 Bond films since 1963 have amassed nearly $7 billion at the global box office. 

Writing in the New York Times, Logan said the creative process of working with the Broccoli and Wilson was unlike other movies he had worked on.

‘Work sessions on “Skyfall” and “Spectre” were like hearty discussions around the dinner table, with Barbara Broccoli and her half brother Michael Wilson letting all the unruly children talk. 

‘Every crazy aunt or eccentric uncle was given a voice. We discussed and debated and came to a resolution, as families must, with no outside voices in the room.’

Logan said when he and director Sam Mendes pitched an idea to Broccoli and Wilson to make a ‘homoerotic’ scene between Bond and the villain Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem, in Skyfall, they went with it straight away.

‘They didn’t need to vet this radical idea with any studio or corporation — they loved it instantly. They knew it was fresh and new, provocative in a way that keeps the franchise contemporary. They weren’t afraid of controversy.’ 

Bond had seen off some fearsome foes in the past, both real and fictional, including ‘the Cold War, Goldfinger, Jaws, disco and Ernst Stavro Blofeld, several times’, Logan wrote. 

He hoped the ‘powers that be at Amazon’ appreciated Bond’s ‘uniqueness’ and allowed the family business to continue ‘unobstructed’.

‘Bond’s not “content,” and he’s not a mere commodity,’ wrote Logan.    

Daniel Craig poses with Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson as he is unveiled as the new James Bond in 2005

Daniel Craig poses with Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson as he is unveiled as the new James Bond in 2005

Barbara Broccoli attending the world premiere of new Bond movie 'Casino Royale', Odeon Leicester Square

Jeff Bezos attends the Amazon Prime Video's Golden Globe Awards After Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel

Barbara Broccoli attending the world premiere of new Bond movie ‘Casino Royale’, Odeon Leicester Square (left) and Jeff Bezos attends the Amazon Prime Video’s Golden Globe Awards After Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel

Logan has been nominated for three Academy Awards for screenwriting, including best original screenplay for The Gladiator

Logan has been nominated for three Academy Awards for screenwriting, including best original screenplay for The Gladiator

In a statement released last week, Broccoli and Wilson said: ‘We are committed to continuing to make James Bond films for the worldwide theatrical audience.’

The siblings are so senior at MGM that they were informed of the sale days before it was finalized, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Amazon exec Mike Hopkins, who handled negotiations, personally contacted the pair to reassure them their property was in good hands.

Jen Salke, Amazon’s head of original content, already has a relationship with Broccoli which is thought will ease the transition.

The pair have reportedly resisted previous overtures from studio executives who wanted to make a TV spin-off.

So Amazon won’t be able to absorb the franchise into their own corporate entity as has been the case with other characters like Harry Potter, Iron Man or Luke Skywalker.

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in 2012's Skyfall

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in 2012’s Skyfall



Source link

Spread the love

Written by bourbiza

Casper launches adjustable bed base

Authorities investigating after at least 1 person shot in active shooting at California fire station