Producers Barbara Broccoli & Michael Wilson Interview QUANTUM OF SOLACE

     November 15, 2008

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

Now that a lot of you have seen the new James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, I think it’s the perfect time to post the roundtable interview I did with Producers Barbara Broccoli & Michael Wilson.

One of the main reasons I held off posting this interview was….we talked a lot about the future of the franchise and I thought you’d enjoy the interview a lot more after seeing the movie.

During the interview we talked about when gadgets might return, whether or not they might shoot a Bond movie in IMAX or 3D, when some of the classic characters might return and a lot more.

If you’re a fan of the Bond franchise this is a must read interview as Barbara Broccoli & Michael Wilson are two of the main people behind what kind of Bond movie we’re going to get next.

As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here.

Question: What was it like putting together this script for this project and the story and how much collaboration was it with Daniel?

Barbara Broccoli: Well, there was a lot of collaboration with Daniel and he was very involved with the screenplay. You know he was involved with everything. I mean, he’s someone who gives 100% all the time and he’s really smart. He really knows what he’s talking about, so I think we’re pleased to get the benefit of his brain and passion and excitement.

Michael Wilson: He has the voice of the character down so he’s very good at working on the dialogue and the ideas and how to express them. He and Marc worked on that every scene they spent a lot of time working together.

Was it always planned for you guys…very interesting editing choices…I’ll ask Marc this…between the action – between 2 different things going on at the same time. How early on was that developed and was it in the script? Or was that a Marc choice?

Barbara Broccoli: It was a Marc.

Michael Wilson: Yeah, very much a Marc.

Barbara Broccoli: Definitely that Tosca opera scene was definitely Marc. He conceived it that way. It was very, very well done.

I was going to say please keep bringing in directors who bring in their own view. I thought it was so refreshing. I was just curious, you know, there’s been talk like I think a longer break between this one and the next movie. Is that true or is it…?

Barbara Broccoli: I mean it’s just how we’re feeling at the moment. Let’s get Christmas over and then we’ll….who knows?

Michael Wilson: You know 2 of these back to back is…you know we started writing the last one when we were post on the last one so it’s been very tight….these things are done on a very tight schedule. Very tight post. When we finished…well Marc had like 3 weeks or something….

Barbara Broccoli: No, 5 weeks to cut the movie.

Michael Wilson: Yeah, and then we had the screening and then you have 1 week to re-cut it and then we were scoring it and just been going on like that.

Traditionally do most of the Bond films have a longer editing time than this one?

Michael Wilson: Not much.

Barbara Broccoli: It tends to be tight.

Michael Wilson: This was really tight.

Barbara Broccoli: Well you know you try to keep them very contemporary so you know you try to kind of…we started filming in January and we’re releasing in November, so six month shooting schedule.

Michael Wilson: 23 weeks.

Can you talk a little bit about working in the various locations and the choice of such a diverse group of countries and locations for this one?

Michael Wilson: Well, this has been the most weeks on location of any Bond film. 13 weeks on location out of 23, so over 50% and Panama 9 weeks there. 10 days in Chile, Italy all up and down. We had units in Mexico and all that, so it was a lot to keep organized and going. We have a great production group that are really right on top of things, but still, you can imagine we have to bring everybody with us—300 people down to Panama—and just even keeping them in hotels and getting them fed everyday, you know, let alone making a movie as you know.

Which location presented the biggest challenge?

Michael Wilson: They all had their moments.

Barbara Broccoli: Yeah, they all had their moments. Fortunately Marc is so well planned that he was able to kind of be very specific and visualize everything he needed to be done. So that’s half the battle.

Michael Wilson: Before we started the picture he had every set and every location mapped out with his DP and he had the position of every camera setup on the set—before he started the movie. That’s unheard of.

Barbara Broccoli: So it made it a lot easier.

Michael Wilson: When Barbara says he prepared, he is prepared. But he’s also very creative and he can adjust instantaneously to anything that’s happening and make it work. So he has those 2 things that really produce a fantastic result.

Recently Chris Nolan pushed the boundaries of film with the IMAX of this summer’s “Dark Knight”. Other film makers have talked about using the format or 3D and stuff like that in their upcoming projects to get more people into the theatre. For the Bond franchise with those kind of technological innovations, is there any thought on your guy’s end to adding those to the franchise?

Barbara Broccoli: You know, we’ve talked about it. It’s certainly something we’ll probably pursue. Because we had such a tight schedule on this one it was a bit tough to go that way on this movie but we’re certainly considering it.

Are you sifting through all of the stories? Is the next story going to follow like this one did from the last one?

Michael Wilson: I don’t know. We haven’t thought about it but it doesn’t necessarily have to. I think the last one had to because it was unresolved.

This is a short story. Are you looking through all of Ian Fleming’s other material? Is there anything left?

Michael Wilson: We’ve been through it many times. Over and over again. We know it very well and I think we do go back. We asked the writers to go back. We go back and read the material. It’s not so much for any plot plans or even any story points but you do kind of get immersed in the character because the character is very much Ian Fleming’s character.

Are we ever going to see Spector or is Quantum the modern narration of that?

Michael Wilson: I mean it seems like an appropriate organization for today’s world but we haven’t even started the script.

If I can go back to my question about IMAX and 3D, if you don’t mind, which of those has more interest to you guys? Do you think 3D would ever be in the Bond franchise? Or are you thinking more IMAX?

Michael Wilson: Let me ask you something about 3D.


Michael Wilson: Do you think you can actually watch an entire movie in 3D? Because what they’ve been doing is giving you bits of it, you know, when you see these films you go into it like “Superman”, you went into it for a while and then you came out of it then you went into it for a while…my own as a theatre goer I thought it kind of broke up the narrative, so these are the questions I think all of us will have to face when we talk about using 3D.

I was going to say James Cameron is shooting his $300 million Avatar in 3D.

Michael Wilson: I can’t wait to see it.

And I’m just wondering obviously everyone has talked about…. the people who’ve seen footage have said it’s just revolutionary, so I’m just curious…

Michael Wilson: That’s great. I mean, if that’s technology different it’s great. Right now it doesn’t seem to be but if he can…

Barbara Broccoli: Well, if anyone can do it, he can.

Michael Wilson: That would be fantastic.

Barbara Broccoli: So let’s hope he does it and then everybody will follow.

Okay, and also the movie is about an hour and 40 minutes. I’m going to imagine there’s some deleted stuff. Is there anything…?

Barbara Broccoli: Nope.

Michael Wilson: Just tightly cut.

Barbara Broccoli: There’s nothing deleted.

So the DVD is bare-bones?

Barbara Broccoli: Pretty much. Yeah.

Michael Wilson: They had a lot of material that was shot but like you said the parallel action the way it was cut on the opera and things and other places it brings it down a lot.

Barbara Broccoli: Actually there was one scene that was deleted.

Michael Wilson: We had an end that was cut.

Barbara Broccoli: An alternate ending but we cut it so…but no it’s not like…

Michael Wilson: It was a one-day shoot we cut.

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Can you talk about having Gemma dipped in oil? Your dad produced “Goldfinger” right?

Barbara Broccoli: It was something the screenwriters came up with and I think it was beautifully done. She’s an extraordinary actress and I think the public seemed to have responded very well to it so far in the screenings we’ve had. It’s nice to do a homage.

Are you thinking of bringing Moneypenny and maybe characters that other people know well like Q? Are you thinking of putting them in future films or is that not come up yet?

Michael Wilson: I think when we started out with Casino Royale we said we’re going to do this as if this is the first Bond picture and there never were any others. So with that we thought well that and now so they weren’t in there and they really didn’t have a place for them here. You would have had to horn-shoe those things in, but will they come in? It really depends on the story and whether it’s generic to story, I mean whether it’s an integral part of it and whether it’s appropriate. I don’t think we’re having any preconceived notions about where to take this. I think hopefully we’ll create some new characters that will have their own residence.

I’m curious if you guys have the control of picking a release date or do you have any sort of studio or company saying we really need this for 2013, we really need this for whatever or do you have that freedom to say…

Barbara Broccoli: We work with the studio on a date. It something that we mutually agree.

Is there any sort of added pressure if they say we really need that? I’m just curious how that dynamic works.

Barbara Broccoli: That has happened over the years, you know. But in our collaboration with Sony we just reached everything by sort of mutual agreement. We’ve had the happiest working relationship we’ve had with a studio with Sony.

Michael Wilson: They’re great.

Barbara Broccoli: We always end up coming together on stuff.

You guys were going to be huge regardless…but how happy were you when you heard “Harry Potter” was moving away?

Barbara Broccoli: Well the thing is you know our friends make “Harry Potter”. We’re very close to them. David and everyone, so we all kind of root for each other and I think we all feel that good movies are good for the marketplace and we’re very happy to stand beside “Harry Potter” on a couple of occasions we opened up near them and we do kind of root for each other believe it or not. Because the thing is if people go to the movies and have a good experience, they’re going to go again. Bad movies are the enemy. Bad movies are when people go oh, I wasted $10 bucks and 2 hours and I don’t even want to go back again. Good movies are good for us so I hope they obviously they wanted to move their date for the summer and let’s hope they have a big hit which they will.

Is there a possibility of bringing part of the same creative team back if there’s a 3rd film like in terms of directing and writing?

Michael Wilson: We’ll have to see who’s available, whether they want to do it, you know. Marc feels a bit burned out I think at this point. I don’t think he’s ready to discuss doing another film with us right now, but we’d certainly welcome him back.

Barbara Broccoli: We’d love it, yeah, love it.

Michael Wilson: And he has a great team. All the people. All the DP’s and the visual effects people and the editors. They’re wonderful.

This was a very interesting film because it really is a sequel to “Casino Royale”. I don’t believe, and I could be wrong about this, that any other Bond film had really done something like this where this is 2 of 2.

Michael Wilson: Yeah.

And is this something that everyone seems to have liked this thing…is this something that you guys would consider doing for the future where you’re going to carry a film into the next one or are you thinking more stand-alone for future projects?

Barbara Broccoli: I think the end of “Casino Royale” felt very important to complete the story with another movie. I think at the end of this feels like Bond sort of emotional arc in terms of the Vesper story which is so important has sort of come full-circle. So, I think we’ll just make movies as we make them and it’s possible that they’ll be 2 that come together but it’s not a plan or anything. Just make a movie and see what happens.

What’s the experience for you guys on-set? Obviously a lot of people are taking picture of paparazzi and a lot of stuff leaks on the Internet, is that something that you guys are conscious of while you’re filming or are you just like it’s going to get out there?

Barbara Broccoli: What do you think? What do you think when you have…your actors are being chased and run off the street? Your director’s car is run off the road.

Michael Wilson: They slashed his tires.

Barbara Broccoli: …slashed their tires, you know.

Michael Wilson: Just to get a picture of him.

Barbara Broccoli: It’s a really, really unpleasant terrifying experience. The paparazzi terrify and torment people and endanger people and it’s really unpleasant. So we try to protect our people as much as possible but we’ve had some very unpleasant situations. Not nice at all.

Where did the tire slashing happen?

Barbara Broccoli: In Latin America.

Michael Wilson: Just coming from the airport, I was coming in and I guess they thought Daniel was in my car. One car came up went flying past us then slowed down so we had to slow down. Another one came up right next to us on the side with a TV camera—lights all flashing in the thing and they’re filming it, so that’s the kind of torment that the actors are…and we thought it was…I was there with my wife…we were….

Barbara Broccoli: It was horrific. It was terrifying.

Michael Wilson: But that happens to them constantly. Luckily they’re’ not particularly interested in me.

Barbara Broccoli: God forbid there’s another major incident.

Michael Wilson: But you can see what happened to Di and that even though those types of things make you disoriented and it’s dangerous.

I know this is going back to the first film, but you totally reinvented Bond with Daniel Craig. I just wondered why you chose him and why you decided here’s a blonde Bond.

Barbara Broccoli: Well he was just in here, right? (laughter) So isn’t it a moot point? He’s only like the most gorgeous, sexiest, most brilliant actor in the whole world that you can’t take your eyes off him. If you look at his work, which we did, every time he is on the screen you can’t look at anyone else. I mean he is so charismatic. He’s so mesmerizing. He so immerses himself in a role. He’s so unbelievably powerful. I mean, so how could you not hire him?

Michael Wilson: And the other thing about blonde Bonds—Roger Moore was blonde, too. I don’t know why everybody talks like oh my God! My God 7 films and this is the first time we’ve ever had a blonde.

So you said there may be some gadgets coming up next because I know you kind of stayed away from the gadgetry stuff in “Casino” and this, but whether or not Q comes back or not is it a possibility? Because we’re so tech oriented…

Barbara Broccoli: Well, exactly.

Michael Wilson: What are we going to do? Show an iPhone!

Well the little maps in M’s office where they do all that kind of stuff.

Barbara Broccoli: Well I think that’s sort of a point in one of the themes of the film is that we have all this technology and we like to think we can do all this stuff by remote. And so M’s sitting in this very clinical office with all this technology and the reality is the man on the ground or the woman on the ground, in real life and in this movie, you know, they’re out there in the firing line and they’re out of the comfort zone, you know? It’s a very different world when you’re in the streets trying to save the world. So I think technology gives you a false sense of security. It always comes down to human beings on the ground doing work.

So there won’t be an old car that turns into a boat or anything?

Barbara Broccoli: Who knows, you know? Who knows?

Daniel wants an underground sub.

Barbara Broccoli: Okay, we’ll get him one for Christmas.

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