Skyfall and Specter screenwriter worries about James Bond after Amazon-MGM deal

Sky Fall
Eon Productions

“Please let 007 drink his martinis in peace. Don’t shake it, don’t stir it,” John Logan blurted out in a New York Times column.

In a column published in The New York Times, the American screenwriter John logan gave its clear-cut opinion on the buyout of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer through Amazon. Logan has been nominated for an Oscar three times for his screenplays (Gladiator, Aviator and Hugo Cabret). He is also the co-writer of two James bond, Skyfall and Specter. The fact that Amazon now owns 50% of the British Secret Service spy adventures didn’t really please Logan: “When I heard the news, I had a chill.” What bothers the screenwriter is the fact that in his opinion, James Bond has been reduced to a franchise like any other, similar to a Marvel or a DC.

For him, the James Bond cinematographic saga a “family business, carefully maintained and guided through time by Barbara Broccoli and her half-brother Michael Wilson”, the duo that directs EON Productions since 1996. Logan adds: “The Skyfall and Specter working sessions were warm discussions around the dinner table. [Tout le monde] had the right to speak. We discussed, debated and found solutions, as families do […] When you work on Bond films, you are not just an employee. You are part of this family. “

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According to Logan, the reason why James Bond is still so successful more than fifty years after his first adaptation on the big screen is that the family “did an extraordinary job of protecting the character from film production and adapted to changing audiences’ tastes […] James Bond endures because he is protected by the people who love him. ” However, he is forced to admit that Amazon’s takeover of MGM guarantees Broccoli and Wilson (who still own 50% of the Bond empire) continued artistic control. But Logan wonders if that will always be the case, and if a giant like Amazon couldn’t turn everything upside down if he wanted to change something. The screenwriter is particularly worried: “In my experience, this is what happens when one has to deal with such questions – questions that pervade the creative process: […] The film becomes the harmless shadow of a thing, and no longer the thing itself. There is no more cinematic madness. The fire and passion are slowly dying out as business concerns, corporate surveillance and survey data take over. original ideas.

Logan recalls that there is still something to worry about as Amazon is a global tech company “with a market capitalization of over $ 1.6 trillion, who produces as he sees fit and is obsessed with “customer experience”. Their main goal is to attract and retain customers, and when a large company like this starts to have an opinion and a say in movies or characters, it tends to want more, not better. (therefore understand favoring quantity and not quality). Logan gives as an example the rapid expansion of Star wars at Disney, or Superman and Batman at Warner Bros.

Why some classics are not included in the Amazon / MGM deal

Logan continues: “As a screenwriter, I have had the opportunity to work on several films produced by major studios. And those that appear artistically with sense, and uniqueness intact are those that are shielded from corporate influence. […] that’s when the filmmakers work in a protected environment. ” He adds : “In my case, films like Gladiator, The Aviator, Rango … were all made with passion and without me worrying about [retombées marketing]. […] When we made Gladiator, director Ridley Scott had to fend off the many naysayers […] who questioned everything. But since he believed in the story we were telling, he put all the business concerns and loud voices of big business aside. […] NOTe worked with courageous producers who stood up for our choices. They cared more about art than the bottom line.

It is essential to be well supervised and to have champions to direct, like Broccoli and Wilson, whom the filmmaker sees as such. Producers who do not give in to external threats. This is why the James bond are original and special. John Logan concludes: “Please let 007 drink his martinis in peace. Don’t shake it, don’t stir it.”

Amazon buys James Bond studio MGM for $ 8.45 billion

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