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LA Times claims script disagreements may also hold up Bond 23

06-Aug-2010 • Skyfall

The LA Times is covering the Bond "in limbo" story as well today, but the article contains a slightly different angle to the rest of the media who have focused on the financial mess of MGM. The paper claims that even if the studio's future is resolved, there may be some creative issues that also need ironing out before cameras roll on the 23rd James Bond film.

The portions of interest in the article are:

Legal agreements apparently prevent the Bond film from being extricated from the studio by Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, the tight-lipped pair who control the franchise through their EON Productions company.

But while MGM's financial woes have been a focus of much of the news coverage — which alternately have had the movie "canceled" and "suspended" — sources say that those difficulties have not been the only hold-up. The secrecy valued by EON scares off most public comment on the film's status, but sources familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity say that creative discussions among the writers and producers have also hampered the process.

Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes worked on the script last spring, the sources said, polishing the contributions of "Frost/Nixon" screenwriter Peter Morgan. Morgan, in turn, had rewritten parts of an earlier screenplay by Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

EON has typically developed a script to a point of their satisfaction before sending it to the studio that will finance and distribute the given film (a pairing of MGM and Sony Pictures for the past two films). That has yet to happen with the new Bond, which is to be financed and distributed by MGM.

The creative issues around the new Bond are notable because it means that even if MGM's financial wrinkles were ironed out — in the form of a potential Time Warner acquisition of MGM, a corporate link-up with Spyglass or Summit Entertainment or, perhaps, the arrival of a white-knight outside financier for Bond — it would mean the movie would still not be ready to go. And by the time it was, it could run into actor scheduling issues, extending an already long layoff.

The exact script issues on the new Bond remain shrouded in mystery, but the difficulties aren't entirely surprising given the abundance of top creators and a franchise with ever-more complex mythology...

Even with MGM's difficulties looming, it wasn't supposed to turn out like this. When Mendes and Morgan came on to the film early in the year, MGM officials were quietly hoping the movie would be in production in the summer, for a release in 2011.

MGM declined comment. A call to EON's office in London was not returned, and the Santa Monica office of EON holding company Danjaq also yielded no comment.

Thanks to `danslittlefinger` for the alert.

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