The Property Of A Lady: Barbara Broccoli’s Bond legacy

Barbara Broccoli grew up with one foot in James Bond’s world. Indeed, as a small girl, it was a few years before she even realised he wasn’t real. She told Liz Hoggard of The Evening Standard that her first memory was watching the filming of the Japanese tea making ceremony with Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice. As a young woman, she learned the ropes under father Cubby’s tutelage, along with step-brother Michael G. Wilson. Her first credited job in the film industry was as assistant director on Octopussy. She later became associate producer on The Living Daylights, and finally full producer with Wilson on Goldeneye, the first James Bond film steered without Cubby’s overseeing eye. Here then, is a unique insight to the world of Bond: the character himself, and the assembling of the EON family and crew that make each “mission”, from the woman who should know: Broccoli, Barbara Broccoli.

“The opening titles set the mood of the movie. But what Maurice Binder and Robert Brownjohn did when they designed the titles for the early Bond films was very experimental. Binder for instance never quite knew how it was going to turn out in the end. He loved to come up with new effects. He’d always start by saying: “I’d like to work with this substance or texture,” and he’d go from there and experiment with bullets going through water, he’d do things with fire, ice, metal, diamonds. He would be inspired by an element in the film and then he’d play around with it secretly for a long period of time. Then, you’d finally get him to share the process with you.”

“The humour in the films is vital because Bond constantly faces life-and-death situations and one way to cope with fear is through humour. Bond is not a superhero. He is just expert. His humour is the way to deal with his own mortality.”

” John Barry is part of the DNA of the Bond world. Bond is a solitary character and you have to find ways to give him an identity through different things, and music is one of them.”

“When you’re making a movie, every person in every job reads the script. If you’re the production designer, you try to imagine how you’re going to tell the story and how you’re going to introduce the characters. A prop guy wants to make sure that the cigarette lighter reflects Bond’s character, the costume designer wants to make sure that all the things that Bond is wearing will reflect his personality. It’s a very collaborative effort. Because we’re a series, we set certain parameters. We feel that the audience has expectations that we need to fulfil and we need someone who will come along and have his own distinctive stamp of creativity on the film. We try to find directors who are good storytellers because the plots are so complex. We need someone with a vision…someone who can manage many units shooting at the same time, someone who is good with actors and humour.”

“We’re so intimately involved with the creation of the screenplay, the assembling of the crew and the selection of the cast that once you actually start shooting, it becomes the director’s movie. We’re around and we’re on the set every day but it is a director’s medium. We have certain parameters that are dictated by the history of the films, but once the blueprint is done, it’s only right that the director should just go ahead and do it. We usually have a five-, six- month pre-production so by the time we start shooting, we’re all on the same page. And the excitement is to see how the director visualizes it.”

“The Bond films tend to reflect the times that they’re in. And I think the world today is a lot more serious. There are real threats in the world and we all feel that human beings, rather than machines, are critical to the success of our intelligence efforts. This is one of the reasons why, with Casino Royale, we decided to go back to what we define to be classic Bond. We went back to all the basics that made him so popular.”

“Because Fleming was so finicky about things being the best and good quality, because Bond is always living on the edge, there are certain things that he needs in order to keep himself alive. He needs a car that’s not going to let him down, he needs a good watch and so on. Everything he uses on the job has to be the best quality. Fleming describes in great detail all the things Bond uses, whether it comes down to a glass of wine, a meal he is eating, a car he is driving, or what suit he is wearing. That’s how Bond became synonymous with quality goods. That notion really started with the books. If you think you may not be alive tomorrow, you might as well have the best of everything. Cubby was the man who created product placement in films. he realised the connection between having products shown in the film and using them to promote the film’s release.”

 “Once the new Bond comes out, we’re usually already on to the next one. After all, we end each film with the line “James Bond Will Return”.” 

 

(All quotes from The Art Of Bond, by Laurent Bouzereau)

Originally posted 2012-10-11 21:34:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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