The Playlist says Burns may go uncredited on NTTD

Scott Z. Burns

The Playlist, which originally reported that Scott Z. Burns was recruited to do a rewrite on No Time to Die, says in a Dec. 4 story that the scribe may, indeed, go uncredited.

Here’s an excerpt:

“True Detective” and “Beasts of No Nation” director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, is set to direct the film along with sharing co-writing duties with longtime Bond film screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, and recent Emmy winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Scott Z. Burns did a rewrite too, but with five writers originally credited, someones gotta go) (emphasis added)

The Writers Guild of America will have the ultimate say. However, there are a number of writers contending for a credit for a limited number of writing credit slots for the 25th James Bond film. The others include Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, director Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

The Playlist reported in February that Burns, a noted “script doctor” had been hired to work on No Time to Die.

We’ll see what the final writing credit is after an arbitration by the union.

With WGA settlement, no excuse for Bond 25

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

James Bond fans are breathing easier because it appears there won’t be another Writers Guild strike, like the 2007-2008 walkout that affected Quantum of Solace.

That strike is the default explanation for Quantum’s script issues. “If only there hadn’t been the strike the movie would have been a lot better,” goes this way of thinking.

That’s despite evidence the situation was a lot more complicated. Quantum had script issues before the stike, Still, when the legend becomes fact, print the legend and all that.

This time around, the Writers Guild of America reached a last-minute contract agreement. Members will participate in a ratification a vote.

Meanwhile, not a lot is really known about the Bond 25 scripting process. Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail has reported that longtime 007 screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been hired for another go.

There has been no official confirmation (as usual) but given Bamigboye’s record in sniffing out scoops about Skyfall and SPECTRE, it’s practically a given among 007 fans.

In any case, if Purvis and Wade are back in Bondage, a WGA strike won’t be an excuse. And, to be fair, they’re not the only ones who should be held held responsible.

Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli oversees her screenwriters. Bond 25 has no director at this point. Directors are known to throw their weight around with screenwriters. That’s a wild card no one can foresee right now.

Bond 25 has no distributor. When one is selected by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, its executives (especially if that studio helps finance the movie) will want a say on the script. Another wild card whose impact won’t be known for some time.

Some fans imagine a Bond 25 script is almost ready. Right now, that’s a matter of faith, not fact.

To sum up: The quality of Bond 25’s story remains to be seen. We just know a WGA strike will have nothing to do with it.

WGA reaches tentative deal

Writers Guild West logo

The Writers Guild of America reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, the union said in a statement issued early today.

“Your Negotiating Committee is pleased to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP that we can recommend for ratification,” the union said.

AMPTP is the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates for the studios.

One of the issues involved writer pay for short seasons for original series on streaming services, which often no more than 13 episodes (and often fewer) compared with 22 a season on broadcast networks.

“We also made unprecedented gains on the issue of short seasons in television, winning a definition (which has never before existed in our MBA) of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee,” according to the statement. “Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers.”

The settlement, now subject to a ratification vote, prevents a strike that could have disrupted production of TV shows and movies. Bond 25, now in early stages of pre-production, won’t be affected by a WGA walkout the way 2008’s Quantum of Solace was.

Writers Guild authorizes strike; will it affect Bond 25?

Writers Guild of America West logo

More than 96 percent of Writers Guild of America members participating voted to authorize union leaders to call a strike during current contract negotiations, according to The Hollywood Reporter and other entertainment news outlets.

The idea of a possible WGA strike makes James Bond fans uneasy. Quantum of Solace was affected by a WGA strike and 007 fans fret it could have an impact on Bond 25 as well.

First, a strike-authorization vote doesn’t guarantee a strike. A union has to conduct such a vote before a strike can happen. Some times, there is an authorization vote but a settlement occurs without a walkout.

On the other hand, if a WGA goes on strike, it could occur as early as May 2.

Quantum’s WGA strike history: The 22nd James Bond film originally had a release date of May 2, 2008. (CLICK HERE to see the text of the July 20, 2006 press release announcing the date. It came out before Casino Royale was released.)

Later, the release date was pushed back to fall 2008. However, the WGA went on strike from Nov. 5, 2007 to Feb. 12, 2008. Screenwriter Paul Haggis dropped off a draft just before the strike began. The strike is blamed for story shortcomings in Quantum, even if it doesn’t explain everything.

Bond 25’s writing history (such as it is): Nothing is official, but the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye reported last month that veteran 007 scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were hired to write Bond 25.

Naturally, Bond fans wonder if a new WGA strike might disrupt things.

Still there’s one key difference.

The 2007-08 strike began shortly before the beginning of Quantum filming. Bond 25 doesn’t have a director. It doesn’t have a studio to distribute it. It hasn’t cast any actors. It has no production start date.

A strike may delay Bond 25 scripting but that process isn’t anywhere near as advanced as Quantum was just before that WGA strike.

Just to be clear, this post is from the narrow perspective of Bond 25. The WGA negotiations cover serious, broader issues.

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.