SPECTRE teaser poster
No spoilers in this post
Some of the drama about SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film produced by Eon Productions, has concerned its script.
The computer hacking at Sony Pictures caused more attention than normal as versions of the story were among the materials posted by hackers.
What follows is how the story line — and the accompanying behind-the scenes drama — developed.
October 2012: Deadline Hollywood’s Mike Fleming Jr. PUBLISHES A STORY saying John Logan, who had done the later drafts of Skyfall, had been hired to write Bond 24 and Bond 25.
Fleming writes that “the franchise’s producers have quietly made a deal with John Logan to write not one but two 007 films.” (Emphasis in original.) He continues, “I’ve been told that Logan pitched an original two-movie arc to Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson while they were shooting Skyfall, and that he has already begun writing the scripts.”
November 2012: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announces on an investor call that John Logan indeed had been hired to write Bond 24 and Bond 25. By the time of the call, Skyfall is on its way to becoming the first 007 film to have worldwide box office exceeding $1 billion.
The announcement confirmed the gist of the Deadline story, although later events would call into question how far Logan had really gotten by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, after working on the scripts of five 007 films, later confirm they’re not returning to work on Bond 24.
February 2013: BAZ BAMIGBOYE OF THE DAILY MAIL reports the two-film story arc plan is no more and Skyfall’s Sam Mendes may return as director for Bond 24.
The scribe also reported that “Logan’s thoughts for Bond 24 are in the form of two treatment papers outlining a rough idea of the plot.” According to Bamigboye’s story, the only ones with access to the materials are Eon co-bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Mendes, star Daniel Craig and “a handful” of executives at MGM and Sony.
July 11, 2013: In a PRESS RELEASE, Eon, MGM and Sony announce Mendes will indeed return “to direct the screenplay written by John Logan.”
Broccoli and Wilson are quoted as saying they’re “really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan.” Sony executives Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal are quoted as saying “EON, John Logan and Sam Mendes have come up with an extraordinary follow up to SKYFALL.”
At this point, there isn’t even a draft screenplay, which everyone learns in…..
March 2014: John Logan TELLS EMPIRE MAGAZINE that the first draft of Bond 24 “is almost done.”
The scribe tells the magazine he has been “working very closely” with Sam Mendes. (Emphasis in original.) He also says Daniel Craig “is very involved” in the scripting process. “It behooves no-one to write a character the lead actor doesn’t want to play.” Logan says Bond 24 “continues the themes of Skyfall.”
June 2014: Trouble in paradise. THE DAILY MAIL’S BAMIGBOYE reports writer Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are in the 007 fold once more.
Bamigboye asks “an executive associated with the Bond films” if there’s turmoil with the production “Let’s call it ‘polite turmoil,'” Bamigboye’s source (who isn’t further identified) replies. “People are getting on with their work but we have to wait for the script.” Purvis and Wade were brought in to “punch up” the script, according to the story.
July 2014: Bamigboye produces ANOTHER STORY saying Purvis and Wade have delivered a draft that’s “substantially different” than the Logan script.
“There was an awful lot of work to do,” Bamigboye quotes one of his informants as saying. “It was a big job.” Production is to begin by early December, according to the story.
November 2014: The New Yorker, IN A PROFILE OF PLAYWRIGHT JEZ BUTTERWORTH includes the tidbit that he’s been working on Bond 24’s script and had also contributed to Skyfall’s.
December 2014: A media event is held at Pinewood Studios ahead of the start of production of the film, which is now titled SPECTRE. The natural question is whether this means the film will have a rebooted version of 007 arch foe Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
The PRESS RELEASE says the movie is written by “John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade,” marking the first official confirmation that Purvis and Wade had returned.
Later in the month, stories are written by entertainment and news sites about SPECTRE details in hacked Sony documents. THE GAWKER WEBSITE on Dec. 12 has a post with most details of the plot of a version of the script. (If you click on the link there are many spoilers.)
According to the story, filmmakers and executives at MGM and Sony were still grappling with the last third of the story and that revisions were going on into November.
On Dec. 13, Eon put out A STATEMENT saying “an early version” of SPECTRE’s screenplay had been stolen by the Sony hackers. It says MGM and Danjaq LLC will protect their rights to the script.
Filed under: James Bond Films | Tagged: Amy Pascal, Barbara Broccoli, Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail, Empire, Eon Productions, James Bond Films, Jez Butterworth, John Logan, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Michael G. Wilson, Michael Lynton, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Sony hack, Sony Pictures, SPECTRE | 2 Comments »