Toronto: Paul Haggis Says Inactive Academy Members "Should Be Out"

Matthew Belloni and Paul Haggis - Toronto - H 2016
Courtesy of Tatiana Siegel

The two-time Oscar winner and 'Casino Royale' writer also weighed in on the prospect of a black James Bond.

If there’s a controversy over the Academy’s decision to oust older, inactive members in an effort to push for a more diverse base, Paul Haggis is unaware.

In fact, he said that he, too, should be jettisoned if he goes a decade without making a movie.

“They’d probably be right,” the filmmaker said during the Keynote Conversation at Winston Baker's Script to Screen Summit on Friday in Toronto. “They should be out. If someone isn’t working, then they are not your peers. They might be your mentors or someone you look up to.”

Haggis continued, with a laugh: “But I’m not retiring anyway.”

The Hollywood Reporter executive editor Matthew Belloni moderated the conversation, held at the Fairmont Royal York, which touched on a number of topics, including the prospect of a black James Bond.

“I hope so,” said Haggis, whose screenplay for Casino Royale helped relaunch the moribund brand into a multi-billion-dollar franchise. “I don’t have anything to do with it anymore. But [Bond producer] Barbara [Broccoli] is really bright. And so is [Bond producer] Michael [Wilson]. I could see that.”

As for one of his two Oscar-winning screenplays, Haggis shared a previously unknown nugget. Sandra Bullock wanted to play the role of the doomed boxer that brought a best actress Oscar to Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby star Hilary Swank. “She just wanted a different director,” he joked.