Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, Amy Pascal and Paul Haggis lift the lid on the 22nd James Bond film...

Bond 22 Pre-Production Diary (10)
7th September 2007

Trade paper Variety today published a report featuring quotes from producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal, and writer Paul Haggis on the topic of the 22nd James Bond film.

Although 'replacing' Pierce Brosnan and casting Daniel Craig as 007 in the stripped down outing "Casino Royale" was initially controversial, the move paid off with critics and the box-office alike, taking in almost $600m worldwide.

"What we found is that you can strip away a lot of the bells and whistles, but it still feels uniquely like a Bond film," notes Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal.

"Throughout the history of the franchise, the actors, tone and style of the films have changed, but the fundamental essence of what makes Bond endures."


Producer Barbara Broccoli also talked about the impact Craig had on the reinvigorated franchise. "He is a key factor in all of this," she said. "We were very excited that the response to Daniel was so strong. 'Casino Royale' has set a new standard, and it's now a question of meeting those expectations for the next one and delivering a film that is emotional and dramatic as well as action-packed."

Above: Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal,
and writer Paul Haggis

When quizzed about the story to Bond 22, Broccoli said they "will continue the path of Bond trying to find out who was behind the Le Chiffre operation. That's as much as we're going to say." Writer Paul Haggis has already expanded on this concept in recent interviews, but added, "I can tell you it starts right where 'Casino' left off. Yes, Bond will be going after the organization that we hinted at. It will be the same Bond you saw in 'Casino,' a very human and flawed assassin, a man who has to navigate a morally complex and often cynical world while attempting to hold onto his deep beliefs of what is right and wrong."

Craig, speaking recently to the Chicago Sun-Times, echoed Haggis: "He also has to deal with revenge because he has lost the girl. Bond is still maybe too headstrong, and he doesn't make all of the right decisions."

Without Me, You'd Have Been Dead Long Ago
With the 'reboot' out of the way, many fans expected to see some moves to return to the regular elements of the series, such as Moneypenny and Q. Broccoli calmed excitement at that prospect by saying, "Certainly, there may come a point where those beloved characters return, but, at the moment, they're not in 22."

On the topic of source Ian Fleming material, which is running a little thin after 21 films, producer Michael G. Wilson explained that the story for Bond 22 will have Fleming elements, but will not be based on anything specific. "You're always looking back at Fleming for inspiration," notes Wilson, "all the writers do. Without getting specific, maybe there will be references to certain episodes. The approach to it is that Fleming is very much in the fabric of it."

Variety notes that the relationship between Eon Productions and Sony has started out on a firm footing."What's great about Sony is that they are truly with you through thick and thin," Broccoli observes. "They really want to be partners and are a valuable part of the whole enterprise. They have the passion for it, but will also spend the time when it's needed and do whatever needs to be done. They are very committed to the partnership. We couldn't ask for anything better."

Directing A Double-O
Although Casino Royale director Martin Campbell flirted with on-again off-again rumours of his potential return for Bond 22, eventually Swiss-born helmer Marc Forster was hired to lead up Daniel Craig's second outing as 007.

With films such as "Monster's Ball," "Finding Neverland" and the upcoming "The Kite Runner" under his belt, Forster was an interesting choice. "I've always been a fan of Bond," Forster said, "so this has been a childhood dream of mine. Daniel Craig is a fantastic actor, and it becomes more character-driven just because of him. That inspired me to be part of this. It's important that the action is good, because I want it to be exciting, but it's important to me to never lose that connection to Bond and the emotional arc he goes on. "

"We have always believed that great filmmakers can always work in multiple genres," Broccoli said. "(Forster) is certainly a great filmmaker and a great storyteller. ... It will not only pack a dramatic punch, but also deliver on the action."

Adds Pascal: "Marc is an incredibly sophisticated filmmaker with great visual style and a lot of energy. The pairing of Marc and Daniel is very exciting, and it was in keeping with the new direction of the franchise to bring in a fresh and original talent like Marc."


Above: Director Marc Forster