Producer reinvents James Bond with success

It’s a law of nature that when the children take over the business their father built up, there’s a good chance they’ll mess it up.

Fortunately, no one told Barbara Broccoli. Along with her stepbrother Michael G. Wilson, she inherited the James Bond franchise from her legendary father Cubby after he passed away in 1996, and has taken it to even greater heights.

The remarkable success of “Casino Royale” last year means Broccoli has reinvented Bond not just once, with the commercially blockbusting Pierce Brosnan incarnations, but twice.

The second achievement is the more impressive of the two. Brosnan was still Cubby’s choice, somehow the perfect summation of his vision for the role — dark and suave, Celtic and wisecracking. But Daniel Craig was the inspiration of the younger generation, controversially blond, rugged, rough around the edges and the purest actor ever picked for the job. Gone were the jokes, the gimmicks and gadgets. In came something grittier, darker, more emotional, more dramatic — and more real.

It was audacious, and it worked. Broccoli proved herself far more than just the lucky daughter of a brilliant father: She was a great producer in her own right, worthy of the family name. Yet she remains diffident about her achievements, shunning the spotlight that she feels should rightfully shine on the talent.

Perhaps that’s where her family background shows. Having been born into the Bond franchise, she never had to promote herself in order to get the movies made, which has enabled her to remain an unusually private person in an industry of showmen and hucksters.

Vocation: “Whatever it takes to keep the Bond franchise healthy.”

Recent breakthrough: “Casino Royale” — not just for its box office, but for being the most critically acclaimed of the 21 Bond movies, earning nine BAFTA noms.

Career mantra: “We have a responsibility to change and move with the times.” (Ugo.com)

Role model: Cubby Broccoli. “My father had a very simple philosophy, which was: Don’t shortchange the public. Give them what they want, and put the money on the screen.” (Crave Online)

What’s next: Bond 22, directed by Marc Forster, due May 2, 2008.

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