John Logan, the Oscar nominated screenwriter whose credits include working on James Bond pics Skyfall and Spectre, has said that Amazon acquiring MGM, with its back catalogue that features the Bond films, makes him worried for the future of the franchise.
Penning an opinion piece for the New York Times, Logan wrote that upon hearing news of the deal, “a chill went through me”.
“Having worked as a writer on Skyfall and Spectre, I know that Bond isn’t just another franchise, not a Marvel or a DC; it is a family business that has been carefully nurtured and shepherded through the changing times by the Broccoli/Wilson family,” continued Logan.
He suggested that, while Broccoli and Wilson own 50% of the Bond empire and have assurances of ongoing artistic control, he foresaw this being disrupted in the future. “What happens if a bruising corporation like Amazon begins to demand a voice in the process? What happens to the comradeship and quality control if there’s an Amazonian overlord with analytics parsing every decision? What happens when a focus group reports they don’t like Bond drinking martinis? Or killing quite so many people? And that English accent’s a bit alienating, so could we have more Americans in the story for marketability?” He said.
Logan also warned that, if a corporation such as Amazon interfered artistically, it risked diluting the quality of the franchise. “Everything gets watered down to the most anodyne and easily consumable version of itself. The movie becomes an inoffensive shadow of a thing, not the thing itself. There are no more rough edges or flights of cinematic madness,” he said.
He added that Amazon is ultimately “a global technology company” and “not necessarily a champion or guardian of artistic creativity or original entertainment”. In the piece, he points to examples of projects he has worked on, including Sweeney Todd, The Aviator and Gladiator, that he said would have been tarnished by such interference.
At the time of confirming the acquisition, Amazon said it was committed to theatrically releasing MGM titles going forward.
“Please let 007 drink his martinis in peace. Don’t shake him, don’t stir him,” Logan concludes. You can read his full piece over on the New York Times.
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