Over the past year, a narrative has taken hold that it’s Barbara Broccoli who calls the shots for the James Bond franchise. Period. Full stop.
Perhaps the person most responsible for shaping that narrative is Sam Mendes, director of the past two 007 films, Skyfall and SPECTRE.
“It’s not the X Factor, it’s not the EU referendum, it’s not a public vote,” Mendes said in May at an event sponsored by The Telegraph, which ran a story about the director’s remarks. “Barbara Broccoli chooses who’s going to be the next Bond: end of story.”
As a result, there’s the perception that Broccoli, 56, is the driving force of 007 land. Meanwhile, her half-brother, Michael G. Wilson, 74, doesn’t get mentioned much, even though the half-siblings are supposed to be the co-bosses of Eon.
In December 2014, when it was announced SPECTRE would be the title of Bond 24, Broccoli was present with Mendes but Wilson wasn’t. However, when the production shifted to Mexico in early 2015, Wilson was involved in publicity.
This weekend, the tabloid Mirror ran a story saying Guy Ritchie was in talks with Eon to direct Bond 24. One element that caught the blog’s eye was how the Mirror said Ritchie supposedly was meeting with Wilson, rather than Broccoli. (Note: we slapped the Caveat Emptor label on it.)
It’s hard to tell how accurate, or significant, the Mirror story is. It’s simply interesting that Wilson is being depicted as a major decision maker after the way Mendes made it sound as if nobody’s opinion except Broccoli’s matters.
Of late, stories about the 007 franchise discuss Broccoli but don’t get around to Wilson.
Wilson, since the 1990s, have periodically complained about the grind of making James Bond movies. That’s something his step father, Albert R. Broccoli, never said publicly.
Wilson has spent longer than anybody else working on the 007 franchise, even co-founder Cubby Broccoli. If Wilson were to retire tomorrow, nobody could argue that he wasn’t a major figure in 007 movies.
Neither Wilson nor Barbara Broccoli revel in publicizing Bond movies the way Cubby Broccoli did. Eon is a very private outfit, not wanting to open the curtain very much on its operations.
Still, the Mirror story (whether it was accurate or not) was a reminder that Wilson is a big wheel in the 007 franchise. It would be interesting to know whether Mendes is indeed correct about Barbara Broccoli’s 007 status or if reality is more complicated.