SPECTRE video blog features Mexico City filming

The official James Bond site released another video blog today, this one focusing on the 24th James Bond movie’s Mexico City sequence.

The video, not quite two minutes long, has a brief comment from director Sam Mendes and a look at preparing costumes for extras. SPECTRE opens during the Day of the Dead celebration (something the filmmakers disclosed during the Mexico shoot in March, including a clapperboard photo on Twitter).

SPECTRE is expected to complete filming this month and is scheduled to open on Nov. 6. Today’s video blog is below:

SPECTRE’s newest clapperboard is scene 1

The official 007 Twitter feed sent out another clapperboard shot today — and it’s scene No. 1, reflecting how filming of the pre-credits sequence is underway in Mexico City.

Meanwhile, if you want to view all of the clapperboard shots released so far in scene order, CLICK HERE.

Filming of SPECTRE’s pre-titles sequence underway

SPECTRE LOGO

No spoilers in text.

Photos and videos of filming of SPECTRE’s pre-titles sequence have started showing up on the Internet.

On March 18, the official 007 Twitter feed said the Mexico shoot would be for the opening sequence of the 24th James Bond film. Eon Productions co-boss Michael G. Wilson repeated that at a Mexico City press conference. Today, the official 007 website PUT OUT A SHORT STATEMENT had a statement commenting a bit further. Here’s the key part:

“During the past 53 years, the James Bond movies have been renowned for filming in the most beautiful and exotic locations in the world,” says Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. “For the opening of SPECTRE, we are filming an exciting sequence in Mexico City featuring the Day of the Dead festival. Mexico City was chosen for the film because of the authentic needs of the story. This is the fourth time Bond has been to Mexico and indeed LICENCE TO KILL was shot almost entirely in Mexico City.”

Meanwhile (and the spoiler adverse should not click), very short videos such as THIS ONE and THIS ONE showing the staging of the Day of the Dead sequence have started appearing. The same goes for still photographs such as THIS ONE. It remains to be seen how long they remain up.

Also, El Universal Television POSTED A VIDEO of a rehearsal for a different part the pre-credits sequence. It would also be considered a spoiler.

UPDATE: To view another video showing staging of the Day of the Dead sequence, CLICK HERE. You can hear somebody (presumably an assistant director) call for “action.” You can CLICK HERE to see a video shot from a passing bus.

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.

SPECTRE gears up to start filming in Mexico City

The official 007 Twitter feed confirmed the crew of the 24th James Bond film is about to get to work in Mexico City.

Amusingly, the 007 Twitter feed was chided by one fan for giving out a spoiler, namely that the movie’s opening will incorporate the Day of the Dead festival. Then again, when it’s officially announced, it’s not a spoiler anymore. Also, many photos have been seen over social media the past week of SPECTRE’s crew getting ready in Mexico City.

Here’s the Tweet:

Here’s how one fan reacted:

Meanwhile, the James Bond Brasil website tweeted out pictures of Eon Productions co-boss Michael G. Wilson and actress Stephanie Sigman in Mexico City.

 

 

SPECTRE: newest twist on 007 product placement

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

No spoilers.

James Bond movies have never been shy about product placement. SPECTRE may just be a twist on a long-standing tradition.

For decades, the 007 film series produced by Eon Productions has cut deals with companies pitching their wares. Goldfinger did deals with Ford Motor Co. and Gillette. With Thunderball, not only did Ford provide vehicles but then-CEO Henry Ford II appeared as an extra. Moonraker had deals with Marlboro, 7 Up and British Airways.

By the time Pierce Brosnan was 007 (1995-2002), writer Bruce Feirstein, in his FIRST DRAFT for what would become Tomorrow Never Dies, didn’t even specify a car model for 007’s vehicle. It just said “(Insert name).”

What’s different about SPECTRE is it may amount to being product placement for a country — Mexico, to be specific — than a series of companies.

The Tax Analysts website, which is targeted at tax professionals, PUBLISHED A MARCH 3 ARTICLE detailing how SPECTRE’s script was altered to take advantage of as much as $20 million in Mexican incentives. (If you click on the link, there are spoilers.)

The incentives are intended to make Mexico look as good as possible in movies, according to the website. The country has reason to do so, according to AN ARTICLE IN THE WASHINGTON POST. Here’s an excerpt:

The Mexican government’s sensitivities to its violent reputation are no secret. When President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012, he tried to minimize the focus on the drug war while emphasizing economic and political reforms. But ongoing high-profile violence, including battles in Michoacan and the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero, has undercut that message.

None of this is happening in a vacuum. For blockbuster movies, access to the vast Chinese market is a must. The 2013 movie Iron Man 3 was a co-production with China. The 2012 remake of Red Dawn turned the villains into North Koreans instead of Chinese.

With SPECTRE, according to Tax Analysts, it was more of a direct subsidy. SPECTRE’s budget may exceed $300 million, making it one of the most expensive movies ever made.

Meanwhile, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that owns half the Bond franchise, emerged from bankruptcy only a few years ago. It doesn’t even release its own movies, cutting deals with Sony Pictures (including the 007 films) or Warner Bros. (the now-completed Hobbit series). For MGM, $300 million is a huge bet, even for a 007 film and even though the most recent Bond movie (Skyfall) had a worldwide box office of $1.1 billion.

Put another way, $300 million is real money. Some Bond fans may get annoyed with product placement but they don’t have to sign the checks. As a result, it’s understandable why MGM would be willing to change SPECTRE’s story in return for millions of dollars.

Website describes how tax incentives influenced SPECTRE

SPECTRE LOGO

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.