MGM Studios allegedly fought with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli to scale back the budget of the latest 007 film, “Spectre,” which started shooting this week. The disclosure was revealed in the latest leak of hacked Sony emails.
According to emails seen by CNN, “Spectre’s” budget was set at more than $300 million, but internal memos sent in early November by the president of MGM Studios, Jonathan Glickman, show he was applying pressure on Broccoli to cut costs substantially. Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal is cc’d on these emails as Sony is co-financing and will distribute the pic.
Glickman revealed that the budget “sits in the mid $300Ms,” but MGM was very keen to drag it back to $250 million. The shooting costs are $50 million more than the last film in franchise, “Skyfall,” the emails stated.
Glickman suggested ways to cut costs: For example, a night-time scene set at a villa in Rome could be shot in London instead; a fight scene on a train could use three carriages instead of four; and a “dramatic finale in the rain” could be dropped to “lower the cost of visual/special effects.”
Glickman also suggested that the producers could get an extra $6 million by showing “the more modern aspects” of Mexico to maximize “the Mexican incentive.”
“We recognize that this movie needs to build on the past few films — and there are expectations we must meet for the audience. Still, we must find further cuts,” Glickman said in an email, according to CNN. “This is not about ‘nickel and diming’ the production.”
Broccoli was not willing to compromise. She stated in her response that they “cannot find the cemetery or villa in the U.K.,” and refused to cut down the number of carriages in the train scene.
Pascal then sent a message direct to Glickman, stating: “It’s insane and you know with no script this movie is gonna go overbudget.”
On a positive note, Glickman pointed out that a product placement deal struck with Heineken is helping reduce the budget.
The hacked emails also reveal that when director Sam Mendes cast Andrew Scott (who plays Moriarty in “Sherlock”) as Bond’s intelligence agency boss “C,” they allegedly paid him $1 million less than they were going to pay “12 Years a Slave” star Chiwetel Ejiofor.
The emails also reveal the film features a “lesbian bad lady,” and confirm that Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the boss of secret organization Spectre, will make an appearance.