Interviews · Movies

Why We Haven’t Gotten a James Bond Film from Steven Spielberg

Learn the story of how Spielberg asked to direct a 007 installment and why he was denied. Twice.
Skyfall Shadow James Bond
Eon Productions/MGM/Sony
By  · Published on October 16th, 2012

For a long time, Steven Spielberg has expressed interest in making a James Bond movie. From the start of his career and even after he hit it big-time, the filmmaker behind such blockbusters as Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Jurassic Park has wanted to bring his Spielbergyness to Bond. Unfortunately for both Spielberg and 007 fans, that dream hasn’t come to fruition. The idea of the mega director and Bond coming together sounds like a perfect match, both artistically and financially. With an idea this good, it’s a little baffling Spielberg hasn’t gotten a crack at the franchise yet. Now, we have an answer as to why.

While speaking with producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli at the press day for Skyfall ‐- which completely lives up to the hype, by the way ‐- we had the chance to ask if there have ever been serious discussions of bringing Steven Spielberg on for a James Bond movie. In response, Broccoli shared a story regarding conversations between Spielberg and her father, Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli (the legendary co-founder of Eon Productions and the ongoing official 007 franchise), over the matter. Here’s what she told us:

“Well, early on it was very sweet because when he was a young filmmaker he approached my father. My dad said, ‘Yeah, kid, ya gotta get some more [films] under your belt. Years later, when he did ‘Schindler’s List,’ my father wrote to him about how much he loved it. Spielberg then sent a really sweet note saying, ‘Now will you let me direct a Bond movie?’ [Laughing] My father said, ‘Now I can’t afford you!’ That’s the way of the world.”

That seems like a pretty good reason. The James Bond films have cost a boatload to make lately and bringing in Spielberg definitely would raise costs. Not only that but with a director of that caliber they wouldn’t exactly be hiring a filmmaker who would bow to certain creative requests. That’s not to say that Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes is some kind of work-for-hire slouch ‐- and certainly, no one can say that after seeing Skyfall  —  but neither he nor any previous Bond directors have half the clout that Spielberg’s had for years.

Check out a list of seven James Bond movies that also never happened — but almost did.

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Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.