Apr 15, 2009

Tradecraft: EON Spies Another Way

The Hollywood Reporter reports some very surprising and very exciting spy news today. James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are re-teaming with Sony to produce a non-James Bond spy movie. This is awesome because these are the producers behind the greatest spy series of all time, who (despite occasional hiccups) have provided hours and hours of first rate spy entertainment, and who I am certain have the ability to do it again. I welcome any and all EON produced spy movies. Then again, this is also surprising news because it was EON co-founder (and father of Barbara, step-father of Michael) Albert R. Broccoli's philosophy that producing James Bond was a full-time job. Part of the rift between him and his co-producer Harry Saltzman was over the fact that Saltzman was interested in making other movies outside of the Bond series, and Broccoli didn't want to dilute his focus. Will making another spy movie dilute Broccoli and Wilson's focus and have a negative impact on the current Bond movies? Or will it simply produce another amazing spy franchise, like Saltzman's Harry Palmer pictures? Only time will tell.

The project in question is Remote Control, a spy novel by Mark Burnell. Burnell will adapt his own book while Broccoli, Wilson and Ileen Maisel produce. "Wilson and Broccoli aren't straying far from the Bond milieu," notes the Reporter. "Remote follows a war correspondent-turned-British corporate-intelligence analyst who goes on the run with a former lover when he gets caught up in a conspiracy to destabilize the Chinese economy." Wilson and Broccoli's EON Productions, of course, worked with Sony on the last two Bond movies, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. The next Bond movie is set to go back to MGM. Judging from the producers' decision to work with Sony again on EON's first non-Bond film since Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968 (when Barbara Broccoli was only 8), Broccoli wasn't just saying nice things for the press when she gushed about her experience working with Sony! Is this a sign that the producers are angling behind the scenes for a continued partnership between MGM and Sony on future Bond pictures? I'd say it's a possibility. EON, Sony and MGM are already collaborating together on a new adaptation of Ian Fleming's children's novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which The Hollywood Reporter wrongly attributes Roald Dahl, who adapted the book for the screen the first time around.

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