Skyfall updates: MGW’s U-turn, no Mendes vanity credit

We were catching up on some Skyfall-related items and two caught our eye.

Michael G. Wilson

First, Michael G. Wilson, on the surface, appears to be taking a different position compared with comments he made in December. According to the London Evening Standard, the co-boss of Eon Productions had this to say about star Daniel Craig:

Michael G Wilson, the James Bond producer, was speaking at a culture industry seminar during the (Summer Olympic) Games and said Eon Productions will have no qualms about replacing the franchise’s latest star should Skyfall, the next film in the series, prove to be the rugged actor’s peak.

Recalling the decision to axe Craig’s predecessor, Wilson said: “Pierce [Brosnan] was well-liked and the grosses were going up. But we knew we had to change things before they started to taper off. Bond is the star. He is bigger than any actor that portrays him.”

Less than nine months ago, Wilson had this to say in an interview with the U.K. People Web site:

Legendary Bond producer Michael G Wilson said: “Daniel’s been a terrific Bond, a superb actor and a ­terrific man. The fans love him and I don’t think there’s a better actor to play the part.”

Chester-born Craig, below, is currently shooting Skyfall, his third Bond film. And in an ­exclusive interview with The People, Wilson told how he would love him to do five more.

He said: “It’s certainly something we’ll be ­discussing with him once we finish shooting Skyfall.

“Filming has gone very well so far and I’d love Daniel to surpass Roger’s record and do eight pictures. Daniel’s been an absolute pleasure to be around because he takes the role so seriously. There’s really no one more passionate about making these films work than him – he’s a film maker’s dream.”

This isn’t the first time Wilson has done an about face. In November, he said Skyfall represented no change in direction from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Then, he said there was a “magical Goldfinger feel” during Skyfall’s filming, suggesting a somewhat more escapist tone.

Fans should probably not overreact either way. Fans who like Craig said it was great the actor would do eight movies (which would mean Craig would be 54 when finishing up as 007, assuming Eon could maintain an every-other-year pace). Fans who want a change may be tempted to rub their hands and start the countdown to a new 007. Given how Wilson changes position, that’s way too premature. Most fans don’t keep track of how the Eon co-boss ducks and weaves. For us, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Wilson’s act and it’s probably not the last.

Second, last week, the early U.K. Skyfall posters were revealed. While many fans debated the images, we tried to check out the credits. They’re pretty small, but they indicate that a question we posed back in January has been answered with a no. Director Sam Mendes doesn’t get a vanity credit (A Sam Mendes Film, A Film by Sam Mendes, etc.) for Skyfall.

Some of our readers correctly predicted the outcome at the time. For example, “M” of the James Bond Dossier Web site had this to say:

“No vanity credit for you.”

I don’t think he will, as the Bond films are Brand Eon.

And reader “Bob” opined:

….and the only vanity credit on the film will be
Albert R Broccoli’s EON Products (sic)

From what we could see, Skyfall continues the tradition begun with 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies of saying, “Albert R. Broccoli’s Eon Productions Presents.”

Will Sam Mendes get a `vanity credit’ for Skyfall?

On Nov. 3, Skyfall director Sam Mendes said, “Every decision is mine,” regarding the creative choices for the 23rd James Bond film. We were skeptical because Eon Productions isn’t known for granting directors complete autonomy. But this week’s news that Mendes was responsible for bringing in Thomas Newman as Skyfall’s composer, bumping David Arnold, is an indicator Mendes does have that kind of clout.

That got us to thinking about another question: will Mendes be the first director to get a “vanity credit” in an Eon-produced 007 film?

A vanity credit is essentially a way for a director to get his or her name in the titles twice: the normal “directed by” credit, plus another indicating it’s his or her film. A NAME HERE Film. A Film by NAME HERE. Sometimes they get more creative such as A Spike Lee Joint. Vanity credits have been around for decades, but since at least the 1960s have grown pretty common. The Writers Guild of America dislikes them strongly because, in the view of the union, vanity credits create “the false impression that the director is solely responsible for the film, this credit denigrates the contribution of writers and all others who contributed to the picture.”

One exception has been Eon’s 007 series, started in 1962. On the first 17 films, there was a vanity credit of either “Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman present” (first billing varying according to market) or “Albert R. Broccoli presents.” You could argue that for two of those films they weren’t vanity credits. Thunderball also had a Broccoli-Saltzman presents credit but they took no producer’s credit, yielding that to Kevin McClory. For GoldenEye, there was there was a Broccoli presents credit but, for health reasons, he had yielded the major producer duties to Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. In any event, on an Eon film, directors had to get by with their “Directed by” credit and that was it.

Never Say Never Again, the 1983 Bond film not part of Eon’s series, had a vanity credit for director Irvin Kershner. Meanwhile, Eon series veterans Terence Young, Guy Hamilton and John Glen all got at least one vanity credit each on post-007 films.

Mendes got “A Sam Mendes Film” credit with his two most feature films, Revolutionary Road and Away We Go. He also came on board Skyfall with an Oscar for best director for 1999’s American Beauty on his resume. Given Mendes’s clout (five-time 007 composer Arnold said on Twitter that Newman was Mendes’s choice), maybe Eon adjusts its credits to say Skyfall is “A Sam Mendes Film.” We’ll find out, probably when the first teaser trailer goes public.