week in review digest


Producers: 'Bond' U.K. shoots too costly

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, producers of the James Bond films, caused a furor this past week by indicating that the iconic British spy franchise might never shoot on U.K. shores again because of changes in the tax system here (HR 11/15). Wilson observed that it is becoming "too costly" to shoot the Bond franchise in the U.K. and that the producers are eyeing other possibilities. The U.K. government said this year that the tax breaks available to filmmakers would switch to a tax credit system, meaning any cost savings must be pumped back into production here. Mohammed Yusef, chairman and CEO in investment house Invicta, which holds worldwide rights to "Casino," told the BBC Radio 4 news program "Today" that he thought "it was a very real possibility" that the U.K. will miss out on movie production because of the tax changes. "Uncertainty is a problem," he said.

EU member seeks video game warnings

BRUSSELS — The European Commission has called for parental warnings and age restrictions on the sale of "obscene and perverse" video and computer games (HR 11/16). European Union justice commissioner Franco Frattini has written to EU justice and home affairs ministers urging "common sense" regarding games he blames for violent or bullying behavior among children. When the ministers meet next month in Brussels, Frattini will call for measures to deal with the games that, according to him, "glorify violence, sometimes extreme violence." In his letter, Frattini cited "The Rule of Rose," a game for the PlayStation 2 console that involves psychological and physical violence inflicted on a girl.

Huston has 'Kiss' helm for Focus

Anjelica Huston is headed back to the director's chair for "Give Us a Kiss," an adaptation of a Daniel Woodrell novel for Focus Features (HR 11/17). "Junebug" writer Angus MacLachlan is writing the script, which will be produced by Paul L. Sandberg via his company, Ostensible Prods. The story follows a struggling crime writer named Doyle who travels to his Ozarks hometown to track down his older brother Smoke, who is on the run from the law. There, he falls for Smoke's beautiful stepdaughter before helping Smoke in a criminal enterprise.

Canadian actors call for strike mandate

TORONTO — Canada's actors union on Wednesday began mailing ballots for a national strike mandate to support their talks with North American producers on a new labor deal. Stephen Waddell, chief negotiator for ACTRA, which represents 21,000 domestic performers, said the mandate is designed to give producers a wake-up call. ACTRA, American producers, the CFTPA and Quebec producers affiliated with the Association de producteurs de films et de television du Quebec were girding themselves for crunch talks in mid-December to avert a strike or lockout once the Independent Production Agreement expires Dec. 31.