Parent company MGM was hurtling towards bankruptcy at the time, and Daniel Craig’s much-anticipated third performance as Ian Flemming’s “James Bond” was put on an indefinite pause by producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.
The would-be film had been in-development for well over a year following mixed critical response to the 2008 James Bond, “Quantum of Solace”. It appeared that Bond’s “pause” from the public would be lengthy, and the media industry became concerned that it would be similar to the six-year hiatus between 1989’s “License to Kill” and “GoldenEye” which was released in 1995, concerning box office prognosticators.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
“When all this was announced, the cover story at Entertainment Weekly at the time read: ‘Is James Bond Dead?’” recalls director Sam Mendes, who told The Hollywood Reporter on the eve of Skyfall’s 10th anniversary how challenging it seemed then for the movie to ever reach such a milestone. Mendes and his collaborators used the downtime as an opportunity to creatively resuscitate the film’s storyline. In doing so, they found themselves dealing with the same themes of resurrection in real life that Bond would struggle with as the movie rocketed toward its Nov. 9 release date in the U.S. — just in time for the franchise’s 50th anniversary.
This year, James Bond “Skyfall” turns 10. Director of the film, Mendes shares now how he and his collaborators pulled off perhaps one of the biggest James Bond movies of all time — the first, and only, 007 adventure to gross $1 billion at the global box office.
“People forget these things very quickly, but MGM went bankrupt and the thought among the town at that time was: ‘Oh, it’s all over. They can’t afford it, that’s the end of Bond”. For 10 months, production of Skyfall was shut down. Technically, no one was allowed to work on the film’s script during the time of the shutdown due to legal reasons. Even though, Mendes persisted with his staff writers — Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, with a rewrite from John Logan — from imagining how to address script concerns once the movie was back on its feet.
Fans still celebrate the film’s narrative and financial success a decade later, as no Bond movie as yet to top it — not even Mendes’ follow-up, 2015’s Spectre, which is a movie the filmmaker seems to believe fell short of its predecessor.