An Oscar-nominated screenwriter who penned two movies has pleaded with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos not to meddle with his newly-acquired spy 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.
Logan says he fears Amazon could try and interfere with the series’ trademark violent plots, or even push for spin-off series that could dilute the Bond brand.
Writing a guest essay for the , 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.
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.
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
‘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.’
Broccoli and Wilson inherited the the production rights from Albert in 1995. they have been credited with nurturing the franchise through movies starring Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Crag.
007 films continue to be so popular that movie theater bosses hoping the latest installment, No Time To Die, will revitalize the COVID-ravaged movie theater industry when it is released in November after multiple pandemic delays.
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 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 half-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.
Craig is set to leave the franchise after No Time To Die is released, with Broccoli also set to choose his successor.
‘We are committed to continuing to make James Bond films for the worldwide theatrical audience,’ the half-siblings said in a statement this week.
Wilson and Broccoli are so senior at MGM that they were informed of the sale days before it was finalized, according to the .
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.
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 released since Sean Connery starred in Dr No in 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.
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‘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
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
Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in 2012’s Skyfall
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