Eon says Mexican incentives didn’t change SPECTRE script

Michael G. Wilson

Michael G. Wilson

Michael G. Wilson, co-boss of Eon Productions, denied that Mexican incentives resulted in script changes for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, according to a story by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Wilson spoke at a press conference in Mexico City where SPECTRE is gearing up to film. The official 007 Twitter feed earlier today said the Mexican sequence, which includes the Day of the Dead festival, will be the film’s opening sequence.

“There is nothing in the script that we hadn’t had before,” Wilson said, according to AP.

Tax Analysts, a website for tax professionals, reported IN A MARCH 3 STORY that script changes and casting choices were made to secure as much as $20 million in Mexican incenties. The website cited memos that became public after hacking at Sony Pictures. According to Tax Analysts, memos indicated SPECTRE had to cast a “known Mexican actress” for Estrella.

Wilson said at the press conference that “we always had a Mexican actress playing this part.” Mexcian actress Stephanie Sigman was cast in the part. Sigman was also with Wilson at the press conference.

Wilson also said the movie’s writers believed using the Day of the Dead festival “would be an excellent background in the opening sequence.”

The hacked Sony documents also indicated that SPECTRE’s budget was at a pace to exceed $300 million, making it one of the most expensive movies of all time. Tax Analysts said Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony, which is releasing SPECTRE, wanted to maximize the Mexican incentives to hold down studio costs.

To real the full AP story (Via the US News and World Report website): CLICK HERE.

UPDATE: Here’s a video from NotimexTV in Mexico uploaded to YouTube. It’s in Spanish, but you can hear Wilson speaking under a translator:

UPDATE II (March 19): The MI6 James Bond website has A STORY with additional Wilson comments from the Mexico City press conference. The story quotes Wilson as saying SPECTRE got financial support from Mexican companies, including hotels and other tourist-related businesses. The story also has some additional details about the Mexico shooting schedule.

Website describes how tax incentives influenced SPECTRE

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Spoilers in this post. The spoiler adverse should stop reading.

A website for tax professionals IN A MARCH 3 STORY described how as much as $20 million in Mexican tax incentives caused changes in the script for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film.

The Tax Analysts website studied memos concerning SPECTRE that were part of the hacking at Sony Pictures. Some of the memos had been reported on before but the Tax Analysts story went into more detail specifically about the Mexican tax incentives.

SPECTRE has a budget of $300 million or more (another detail from the hacking), making it one of the most expensive movies ever made. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which co-owns the Bond franchise, wanted to maximize the Mexican incentives to hold down its costs, according to the story.

Some of the Mexican incentives, meanwhile, “governed the content — rather than the production — of the film,” according to Tax Analysts.

Spoilers start here.

Among the details from the Tax Analysts story:

–“To fill the role of Estrella, a woman whose hotel room Bond uses to begin his hunt for an assassin named Sciarra, the producers needed to cast a ‘known Mexican actress,'” according to the story.

This week, the official 007 Twitter feed and Facebook page announced Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman had been cast in the part.

–MGM requested highlighting the Mexico City skyline and “other ‘modern’ features” of the location, as part of maximizing the tax incentives.

–According to the website, some of the emails said much of this was “met through changes to the script.” Tax Analysts said that including using the Mexican “Day of the Dead” celebration instead of “a cage match with no apparent geographical setting.” Another script change, Tax Analysts said, was having Bond steal a helicopter as a way to show the Mexico City skyline.

SPECTRE filming is Mexico City is scheduled for later this month and pre-production work is underway, ACCORDING TO THIS STORY ON THE MI6 JAMES BOND WEBSITE.

To read the Tax Analysts story, which has additional details, CLICK HERE. There are additional spoilers.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has posted A STORY based on the Tax Analysts article. More spoilers than there are in this post. So has The Guardian with a story headlined LICENSE TO SHILL.