Bond Producer Dismisses Report Saying 'Spectre' Got $20M to Make Mexico Look Good
The production reportedly is receiving incentives for portraying Mexico positively.
Producer Michael G. Wilson on Wednesday dismissed a report that Mexican officials demanded script changes in exchange for $20 million in filming incentives for the Mexico Spectre shoot.
Wilson, who has produced more than a dozen Bond movies, told reporters at a Mexico City news conference that he was puzzled by a recent report released on the website Taxanalysts.com, which says Spectre is receiving the money in exchange for script rewrites that aim to depict positive aspects of Mexico.
"Everywhere we go we have incentives," Wilson said. "Sometimes they're tax incentives, sometimes they're other kinds of incentives. In this particular case, we have private companies who have come together as a joint venture to support tourism in this country."
Mexico is battling a serious image problem due to an ongoing drug war that has claimed more than 100,000 lives since 2006. Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro recently said at the Guadalajara film fest that drug-related violence and corruption have left the nation in "social decay."
Wilson declined to specify how much money Spectre received from the group, which includes a hotel chain.
The Taxanalysts report cites a hacked Sony memo in which Jonathan Glickman, head of MGM's motion picture group, mentions script changes required to "maximize" a Mexican film "incentive."
The website specializing in tax news and analysis said Mexico demanded that the production cast a Mexican actress as a Bond girl, which was recently announced. Officials also reportedly requested that a festive Day of the Dead scene replace a cage match, and that an international ambassador should be the target of an assassination, rather than a Mexico City mayor.
Wilson insists no scripts changes were made.
Spectre is shooting in Rome, London, Austria and Morocco, but the producer says the most complicated shoot will take place in Mexico City, where a downtown chase scene involves 1,500 extras celebrating Day of the Dead.
Lead actor Daniel Craig and a second unit assistant director suffered injuries on the Austria and London sets. Asked if he was concerned about more injuries occurring on the Mexico shoot, Wilson said, "All I can say is we're delighted we haven't had more things go wrong. When you have a big operation going, things do happen and you have to roll with the punches."