James Bond ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘GoldenEye’ director gives his thoughts on the future of the franchise under Amazon

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  • Amazon announced last month that he would buy MGM, the film studio that released James Bond movies.
  • Speculation has swirled that Amazon could take a leap TV show, if the film producers allow it.
  • Martin Campbell, who has directed two Bond films, gave his take on the future of the franchise.

When Amazon announced last month that it would acquire the MGM film studio, which distributes the James bond movies, this sparked speculation that the long-running film franchise could expand to television.

But producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who have creative control of the franchise, will have the final say on that decision.

“No one is going to laugh at their success,” Martin Campbell, director of the Bond films “GoldenEye” (1995) and “Casino Royale” (2006), told Insider. “It’s Barbara and Michael’s franchise, it doesn’t matter who provides the money. They’ve been through a lot of changes and regimes and outlived them all.”

Campbell, whose new movie “The Protégé” hits theaters in August, spoke with Insider about Amazon’s purchase of MGM and the future of the franchise.

MGM shares the rights to the Bond films with Broccoli and Wilson’s company Danjaq, which owns Eon Productions. Eon has produced 24 Bond films since 1962’s “Dr. No” and the 25th entry, “No Time to Die”, hits theaters in October after a year and a half late.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has previously said the company intends to “reimagine ‘MGM IP’ for the 21st century.” The Bond franchise, which grossed $ 7 billion over the two dozen films, would obviously be at the forefront of that plan – if Broccoli and Wilson go along with it.

Campbell’s first instinct was to say that the duo would stick to theatrical feature films. There was never any talk of television while working with them, he said.

But he says to “never say never,” adding that the production team have shown their willingness to embrace change over the years. With “Casino Royale,” the first feature film starring Daniel Craig as Bond, the franchise returned to Bond’s origins, detailing how he became the super spy that audiences know today. It was much more edgy than the previous era of the character starring Pierce Brosnan, which Campbell also kicked off with “GoldenEye”.

“They were all for roughing up Bond with ‘Casino Royale’,” Campbell said. “There was no hesitation in making it darker.”

He noted the great action sequences and the many locations in the Bond films (“Casino Royale” was filmed in five different countries, he said). A series should support that kind of reach, he said.

“Every Bond movie is an event,” said Campbell. “Sheer size should be maintained.”

Amazon didn’t hesitate to drop tons of money for its TV ambitions. Notably, he is spending $ 465 million on a single season of his upcoming television series “Lord of the Rings,” including $ 250 million for rights, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A big enough budget, worthy of a movie, could eventually persuade Broccoli and Wilson.

The duo have shot down Bond TV ideas in the past, including a “Smallville” type series that allegedly followed a teenage Bond to Eton, according to Variety. But they also seemed open to expanding the series outside of feature films.

“We make these films for audiences,” Broccoli told Variety in a rare interview last year. “We like to think that they’re going to be seen mostly on the big screen. But that said, we have to look to the future. Our fans are the ones who dictate how they want to consume their entertainment. I don’t think we can rule anything out, because the public will make those decisions. Not us.”

But what would a Bond TV show look like other than having a big budget? Campbell isn’t sure to focus on other characters: “I don’t know who you’d turn to.”

“The movies have stuck with a formula: there’s always a guy who wants to take over the world or something and Bond shoots him down,” Campbell said.

He said Craig’s more recent films have broken with the formula somewhat, with success. All four films – and soon to be Craig’s fifth and final film – were more connected than previous eras, telling an ongoing story rather than being purely stand-alone entrances.

They also portrayed women with more respect than the Bond films before them, in which women were primarily seen as “objects”. Campbell said the women in Craig-era films were “harder and more self-sufficient” (which he credits to Broccoli). Campbell imagines that a Bond TV show would need to exhibit these characteristics to be successful.

“If he nailed the quality, if there was an arc in the character, then yeah, it could be done,” Campbell said.


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