Was The New James Bond Movie Rewritten At The Request Of The Mexican Government?

About nine months ago we reported that the latest James Bond film, Spectre ordered a rewrite, delaying production. Within the report, the only information that was given was that writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were asked to amp up the screenplay turned in by Oscar-winning John Logan by sprinkling in more gags and witty repartee. Well, it turns out that the official story left out some interesting tidbits about that rewrite. And now, the truth comes out. Apparently, Spectre received a whopping $20 million from the Mexican government in exchange for some script changes.

The budget for the upcoming Bond film had been spiraling out of control, so when Sony and MGM were given the opportunity to receive some much needed money they took it. According to TaxAnalysts.com, an e-mail leak has shown that the producers of the film pushed for significant creative changes in order to receive $20 million rebate. The leaked e-mail, from president of MGM’s motion picture group, John Glickman gave intimate details about the film incentives, and while it is not unusual for these incentives to come with some strings attached, these changes go far beyond the norm.

Mexican officials had a very specific requirements to complete their deal and rather than criteria of the production, the criteria governed the content of the film. Here’s a list of what was required to receive the $20 million.

  1. Highlights of the skyline and other ‘modern’ features of Mexico City.
  2. A known Mexican actress must be cast as Estrella, a woman whose hotel room Bond uses to start his hunt for Sciarra. (And Stephanie Sigman was cast)
  3. The main villain, Sciarra, could not be Mexican. (Italian Monica Bellucci was cast)
  4. The governor of the Federal District whom Sciarra is targeting had to be replaced with an international leader.
  5. The Mexican police had to be replaced by a "special police force".
  6. Bond’s pursuit of Sciarra had to be during the Mexican "Day of the Dead" celebration instead of a cage match.

The last requirement was put forth in order to allow for most of the other requirements be met. These changes created a sequence as short as four minutes which expected to bring about $14 million in, but in continuing to showcase more modern aspects of the city, another $6 million was able to be gained.

In lieu of the Sony hack a few months back, information leaked that Spectre had a budget of $300 million. That’s an insanely high price tag, and Glickman claimed that the extended shooting period needed $50 million more. This is looking to be one of the more expensive films ever made. So really, it is no wonder that the Bond franchise was so desperate for cash, but, the real question is why is the budget that high to begin with? The reported budget for Skyfall was between $150 and $200 million, and though it made a ridiculous amount of money at the box office, there is no guarantee that Spectre can do the same.

While the changes of the film will only affect a very small portion, it still proves to be somewhat of an embarrassment to the production, especially with such a high price point already. We’ll see if such a big budget really was all that necessary when Spectre hits theaters November 6th.