Exclusive: 25 things we learned about Skyfall and the future of Bond
When we weren’t marvelling at the ‘Skyfall’ seat covers, we chatted to producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, and star Naomie Harris.
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[Related story: Whishaw, Deakins and co. to return for multiple Bond movies]
Warning: spoilers below!
With the film now done and dusted at cinemas (it did okay), we felt safe to discuss why they killed off a main character and introduced some new (actually old) ones. We also got some candid answers on Oscar and BAFTA snubs, as well as tantalising tidbits on the future of the franchise.
Here’s a handy 25-point summary of what we learned…
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The origins of Skyfall and killing M
- The death of M, played by Judi Dench, was the starting point for the writers, and discussed by Sam [Mendes], Barbara [Broccoli], Michael [G. Wilson] and Dan [Craig] right at the beginning. “We’d all agreed to kill Judi Dench and that gives you this amazing hook,” said Robert Wade.
- ‘Skyfall’ was an original story, but the writers mined two novels for inspiration: ‘You Only Live Twice’ and ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’. The films of the same name were only loosely based on the books.
- The seeds of the Silva character [played by Javier Bardem] came from ‘Golden Gun’.
- The theme of M, MI6 and Britain in crisis came from ‘You Only Live Twice’. Wade said: “The Japanese won’t share their intelligence with us and Bond, considered to be burnt out, is sent on a mission to restore British prestige. If he doesn’t succeed he’ll die and Britain is finished. It’s interesting that that’s what appealed to us, it kind of summed us [Purvis and Wade] up too.” The duo have quit the franchise to pursue other projects.
- Daniel Craig was the driving force behind Bond being out of shape and too old. “[He] really embraced the idea of looking done in and being washed up - played out,” said Purvis.
- The writers came up with the idea for Bond’s journey back to the Skyfall lodge in Scotland while Purvis was on a train, chatting to Wade. He was possibly passing through Croydon.
- Judi Dench was very emotional at the end of the film. Harris said: “She’s been with the family a really long time. And it is a family. There’s a kind of love. To say goodbye to that is tough for anybody.”
Reviving the franchise after 'Quantum Of Solace'
- The Bond team took the criticism doled out to ‘Quantum Of Solace’ onboard while planning ‘Skyfall’. Purvis admitted the film felt “one note” and too focused on Bond’s revenge. Translation: it was depressing.
- Producer Michael G. Wilson said they also listened to fans who wanted classic characters back. “People said, ‘we miss these characters’. The thought was to bring them back, but in a more up –to-date way... we do these [films] to please the public, not ourselves.”
- Producers only told Naomie Harris she’d be playing Moneypenny in her third audition. “The first two times I didn’t know at all,” she said, “and then I met Sam and Barbara and they said ‘this is who the character really is’”. Maybe they were scared about spoilers leaking out?