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The Daughters of James Bond: Barbara Broccoli and Hilary Saltzman on Their Producer Fathers, Their Films and 50 Years of 007

By Danny Bowes | Indiewire October 5, 2012 at 10:34AM

October 5th, 2012 has been declared Global James Bond Day in honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of "Dr. No," the first film adaptation of Ian Fleming's series of novels about the legendary superspy. Directed by Terence Young and starring Sean Connery as the premiere Bond, the film was produced by the team of Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, who would shepherd Bond through global adventures and changes in lead actor.
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"It just doesn't seem right, given 9/11 and the circumstances in the world, having a frivolous, fantastical Bond"

Again, regarding the idea of Bond turning 50, it's a cool bit of irony to see that a lot of the issues that Daniel Craig's Bond has been having to deal with are a younger man's problems -- like his impulsiveness, for instance -- compared to what other Bonds have had to deal with. Again, this is a similar sort of question to the first one about cause and effect, was it something that came up before casting Daniel Craig as Bond, or was it something that came out of having a relatively younger actor playing Bond?

BB: Well, what happened was, 9/11 happened. We were making "Die Another Day," and that Bond was quite fantastical. And it was extremely successful, but following that film, Michael and I said, it just doesn't seem right, given 9/11 and the circumstances in the world, having a frivolous, fantastical Bond. So we thought, well, what are we going to do?

Fortunately, shortly before that time, as result of a settlement of a lawsuit with Columbia and MGM, we got the rights to "Casino Royale," which is the book that Cubby and Harry had always wanted to make, but Fleming had optioned it to someone else. So we said, it really feels like now is the time to tell the origin story, which was: how did James Bond become “James Bond”? And Casino Royale was the Holy Grail, basically, of the whole series.

We made a very tough decision. We had to recast the role, which was difficult because Pierce had been a great Bond. We loved him, and were very close, personally, to him and his family. It was a tough decision, and he took it like a man, on the chin. And we decided to embark upon making "Casino Royale," which was very challenging, because we wanted to do it justice. Casting Daniel, we wanted someone who would be able to convey all the kind of inner conflicts that appear in the character in the books. And he has given Bond that inner life, and given him the humanity that is required for a contemporary hero.

Everything or Nothing

Something that came up in the documentary, is that it seems as though Sean Connery could be a bit difficult to work with.

HS: At the beginning, no. At the beginning he was great. To this day when I see Sean, he's very pleasant to me and to my family, and kind. He was thrown into an extraordinary world that was very difficult to manage. After a few films I think he was done, and it just got acrimonious. The first few films, he was great, everybody enjoyed working together--

BB: They had a lot of fun. And the fact is, if he hadn't done "Dr. No," we wouldn't be here.

HS: Exactly.

BB: So we all celebrate him, he's a huge part of this series.

It's just, there's this palpable sense in the documentary, some of the interviews, ehh, something happened...

BB: I think you can see, the footage there, he speaks for himself. He had enough. And, you know, fair enough. And fame, particularly that kind of fame--

'Dr. No'
United Artists 'Dr. No'

HS: It gets very intense. But, you know, someone asked me at the screening we were at the other night, “What do you think about Sean Connery not being here?” I thought, really? He's not here? I feel he's here. You can't even say “James Bond” without connoting his image and his presence. So if he chooses not to be at an interview or a screening, it certainly doesn't take away anything he did on those first few films.

The Bond franchise has been fairly unique in that it's been a family business, to a large degree. Do you feel as the second generation like this is as much personal as it is business, having been with Bond your whole lives?

BB: It's more personal than it is business. I mean, we're trying to live up to what the original team created. We do it, not for business, we do it because we care about it as much as they did. It meant everything to them.

HS: It's a passion project, I feel. Every time, it's passion.

This article is related to: Television, TV Interviews, James Bond, Everything Or Nothing: The Untold Story Of 007, Barbara Broccoli, Hilary Saltzman, Interviews, Epix, Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman