The Bonds of James Bond: How One Production House Controls 007
It’s one of the longest-running movie franchises in the world and also one of the most uniform, with just one family’s production company managing all things James Bond since 1961.
In fact, Eon Productions has marked the upcoming release of the 24th Bond film by giving all its employees mobile phone numbers that end in 007. It’s one of many acts that have built up Eon’s reputation for sparing no expense on detail.
The production company – which almost exclusively produces Bond films – was started by producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman in the 60s after Broccoli realised they both shared a vision for bringing Ian Fleming’s fictional character James Bond onto the big screen.
Broccoli’s children now run the company: his daughter Barbara Broccoli and stepson Michael G Wilson have worked on every Bond film since 1977 in some capacity. As well as co-producing the franchise, Wilson has written five James Bond films and had cameos in 15 of them.
There’s probably no one that knows Bond quite like these siblings – and no one that cares as much about making sure everything about Bond is “shaken, not stirred”.
Everything from James Bond’s favourite drink (martini) to his car (the now iconic Aston Martin DB5) and the watch he wears (Omega Seamaster) has to pass muster with the heads of Eon. They are responsible for the various incarnations of his vehicles, weapons, clothing, sunglasses and gadgets – and charge a hefty price for the honour of being a part of Bond’s world.
The Sony hack of 2014 revealed that phone companies were willing to spend upwards of US$5 million to be chosen as Bond’s handset for the upcoming instalment of the franchise, Spectre. According to the emails, Samsung offered up to $50 million, while Sony hoped to sidestep creative issues with current Bond man Daniel Craig by convincing Sony “just to pay Barbara directly [$4 million] for a placement fee”.
But it’s not just phones and fees that come into the history of strict Bond branding – Pierce Brosnan’s Bond contract said that he couldn’t wear a tuxedo in any other film, and one-time Bond actor George Lazenby partly turned down a seven-film deal with the franchise because of a 14-inch contract that detailed everything from what he should wear to the kind of car he should drive and how he could style his hair.
While these details may seem limiting and restrictive to the actors and other creative people involved, it just goes to show how much thought is put into every aspect of the James Bond brand – right down to Eon’s phone numbers.
Images: Google Image search results for “James Bond” and “007”, source: supplied.