The EPIX exclusive documentary Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, from director Stevan Riley, celebrates 50 years of James Bond, just in time for the highly anticipated release of the latest Bond film, Skyfall, due out on November 9th. The fascinating story focuses on three men – Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, Harry Saltzman and author Ian Fleming – and the inspiring story behind the creation and survival of one of the longest running film franchises in cinema history.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Barbara Broccoli – who has continued her family’s legacy as Bond producer, along with her half-brother Michael Wilson – talked about how this documentary came to be, what it was like to see her father achieve the American dream, how Bond has always been a huge and extraordinary part of her life, and what it’s like to be a part of something that has not only become a film legacy, but is also her family’s legacy as well. She also talked about why Daniel Craig was the right Bond for the 21st century, that the first cut of Skyfall was only about 8 to 10 minutes longer than its current 2 hours and 21 minutes, and how she’s made sure to sign the actor on for more films. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
BARBARA BROCCOLI: We were just approached by John Battsek and Simon Chinn, the producers. They came to us and said, “Would you consider doing a documentary?” Michael [Wilson] and I thought about it and we said, “I don’t think so.” They said, “Wait a minute, let us come in and talk to you.” So, we had a meeting with them. First of all, they have an amazing track record. They’ve made extraordinary documentaries. Talking to them, we thought, “Well, it is the 50th [anniversary]. It’s a complicated story, and it’s a roller coaster of a story, but it’s now or never, really.” We figured it was the right time to open it up and let them in. They brought Stevan Riley, the director, on who’s wonderful. What was important to us was that we tried to be as honest as possible and tell an accurate story that was sometimes a very painful story. I think they’ve done a great job, and I hope that people will enjoy it and get a sense of who my dad (Cubby Broccoli) was and Harry Saltzman and (author) Ian Fleming, and all the original team of extraordinary filmmakers who created this series, and be a part of the celebration of their efforts and everyone’s efforts, up until today.
What was it like to grow up with a father who really did truly believe that you could achieve whatever you wanted and desired, if you worked hard? Do you feel that really encouraged you, in your own life, to work hard for what you wanted?
BROCCOLI: Absolutely! He was the true embodiment of the American dream and he was an inspiration to anyone he met, really. He really believed in young people. He really believed in second chances, too. Bond eluded him, the first time around, and he never gave up. So, when it came around again, he was delighted and he felt really blessed. His success came late in life. He was 50 or 51 when he did the Bond series. He’d been through bankruptcy and was widowed. He’d been through a lot. So, when it all came together again, his attitude was, “I want everybody to come on the ride.” And it was one hell of a ride!
Because people just take it for granted now, that there will always be another Bond movie, do you think people are surprised to learn just how difficult it was to get it up on the big screen, originally?
BROCCOLI: I guess so. Most people don’t really understand what it takes to get a film made, and the struggles. I think anyone who makes a film goes through their own set of struggles. People go to extraordinary lengths to get films made. I hope it’s of interest to people. One would think that it would be very easy, with an iconic character like James Bond, to keep making the films, but it hasn’t been. But, it sure has been entertaining and rewarding.
Was there a point that you realized that Bond had become as important to you, as it was to your father?
BROCCOLI: It’s been such a huge part of my life, it’s hard for me to separate it out. All I can say is that I had an extraordinary childhood. I was around these amazing people and went to exotic locations. The whole movie-making thing is so magical. My father used to describe how he’d love going, early in the morning, out on a location and waiting for the trucks to arrive and the circus to come to town. That’s what it’s like, every day, when you’re making a film. It’s the magic. I still love it, every day. I get up and I love going to work. I love seeing it all happen, and I admire the people that we work with. I just hope that the films will continue to entertain audiences, as they have done for 50 years.
BROCCOLI: No. When you see the documentary, you’ll see that there were parallels. Michael and I both wanted Daniel Craig, and it was the same as it was for Cubby and Harry when they wanted Sean [Connery]. The studio wanted a star and wanted an American, and wanted this and that, but they determined, “No, it’s Sean Connery.” And they stuck to their guns and fought for Sean Connery, and they were right to fight for Sean Connery. If it wasn’t for Sean Connery, we wouldn’t all be here. I was raised to fight for what I believed in, so I wasn’t going to give up. I wanted Daniel Craig, and Michael wanted Daniel Craig, so we just stuck to our guns. Fortunately, we had the right management who really stuck with us. Thanks to that, we got our choice. He’s been an extraordinary Bond, and he is very much the right Bond for the 21st century. The thing about the books is that they really talked a lot about what was going on inside of Bond and the inner dialogue. It’s very hard to project that onto a screen because Bond doesn’t talk a lot about how he feels. But, when you have an actor like Daniel Craig, he’s able to convey the inner turmoil and the conflicts. He’s given Bond his humanity.
How long was the first cut of Skyfall?
BROCCOLI: There’s not much of a difference. What happens is that, because we shoot for a very long period of time, we have the legendary Stuart Baird cutting the movie, and he cuts alongside [the production]. By the time we finish shooting, there’s an assembly. It’s deliberately a little long and a little loose because you want to have the opportunity to fine tune it. So, Stuart had a great assembly, and he and (director) Sam [Mendes] worked on it for a couple of weeks, and then presented it to us. It was probably only about 8 to 10 minutes longer than the cut is now.
BROCCOLI: I think it’s 2 hours and 21 minutes, or something around there.
So, you don’t have too many deleted scenes, then?
BROCCOLI: No, we don’t. Very little was deleted.
Is it true that you’ve already signed Daniel Craig on for two more films?
BROCCOLI: Oh, I’m not going to let him get away without a fight. I’ve got my hands on him now! I’m not going to let him go too easily.
What’s it like to be a part of something that has not only become a film legacy, but is really also your family’s legacy as well?
BROCCOLI: It’s a privilege. It’s a real honor. It’s a challenge. Michael and I always feel we stand on tall shoulders when we make these films. Audiences come to them with a lot of good will because of what’s come before. We just try to make the best film we can, each time, and hope that we satisfy the fans. I’m sure, with Skyfall, that we will. I think it’s a terrific film. I hope the audiences enjoy it, as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.
Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 premieres on EPIX on October 5th. For all our coverage on Skyfall, click here.