Last year marked six decades of the James Bond franchise, created by British author Ian Fleming, who wrote a series of spy novels featuring the suave character of James Bond, also known as Agent 007.
Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was written during the author’s time in Jamaica and was published in 1953. Over the following years, Fleming wrote 11 more Bond novels and two short-story collections, creating a rich and detailed espionage world that’s loved by fans worldwide.
The spy books became a cultural touchstone and led to a wildly popular cinematic franchise that’s now under the careful stewardship of producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli – who have an unprecedented level of creative control over the films.
But who are the producers behind one of the most successful and lucrative film franchises of all time, and how did they get there? It all started with the first Bond film Dr. No (1962), which was produced by Barbara Broccoli’s father – Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.
Who produced the first Bond film?
EON Productions has produced all of the Bond films since 1962 and was started by film producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman in 1961. Its name is said to be an acronym for “Everything or Nothing”, which was originally the title of a proposed James Bond TV series that was never produced.
In total, EON Productions has produced 25 official James Bond films, making it the longest-running film series in cinematic history, with no signs of stopping anytime soon.
The company’s original founder Albert Broccoli produced a total of 17 Bond films since the release of Dr No. in 1962 and he worked with most of the 007 actors during his reign.
He died at age 87 in 1996, a year after the release of GoldenEye starring Pierce Brosnan.
Despite his passing, EON Productions is still owned by the Broccoli family, specifically Albert’s daughter, Barbara Broccoli, and his stepson, Michael G. Wilson, who are the current producers of the Bond films.
Who is Barbara Broccoli?
Barbara Broccoli (62) is the daughter of Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and is the co-producer and guardian of the James Bond films, along with stepbrother Michael G. Wilson.
Born in Los Angeles in 1960, Barbara began working on the James Bond franchise in the 1980s and has produced several stand-out films in the franchise, from The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill, GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, through to Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre and No time to Die.
Broccoli has been heavily involved in all aspects of the Bond production process, from script development to casting, editing and character development. “For better or worse, we are the custodians of this character,” Broccoli told Variety. “We take that responsibility seriously.”
She has also been instrumental in modernising the 007 franchise, ensuring that it stays relevant and appeals to a new generation of audiences.
Who is Michael G. Wilson?
The other half of the dynamic 007 duo, Michael G. Wilson (80) was born in New York City in 1942 and is the stepson of Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli.
Wilson began his career in the film industry as a production assistant on “The Battle of Britain” (1969), which was produced by his stepfather Albert.
He went on to work as a screenwriter and producer on several other films before becoming a full-time producer on the Bond series in the 1980s.
In addition to producing the Bond films, Wilson has also co-written several of them, including, The Living Daylights (1987), License to Kill (1989), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015), and No Time to Die (2021).
He has a background in finance and investment, and he has used these core skills to help make the James Bond franchise a financial success and he has been instrumental in securing financing for the films.