Dozens upon dozens of writers have had a hand in writing James Bond movies since the franchise debuted almost 60 years ago, but producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have maintained a sense of continuity over the last two decades by retaining the services of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
The duo have been involved in every screenplay for a new 007 adventure since Pierce Brosnan’s The World is Not Enough, but they’ve become increasingly open to collaboration during the Daniel Craig era. After they picked up the torch from three-time Bond veteran and Brosnan regular Bruce Feirstein, Purvis and Wave shared the burden with Paul Haggis on Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, with John Logan doing a polish on Sam Mendes’ Skyfall.
Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth were credited on Spectre, while Phoebe Waller-Bridge and director Cary Joji Fukunaga helped hammer No Time to Die into shape. In a new interview with CNN, Broccoli and Wilson shared the two key components they look for in a script before giving a new Bond adventure the green light.
“1. What is the world going to be afraid of in two or three years when the film comes out? And 2. What are the emotional and personal challenges Bond will face? The combination of those two things means that we do something fresh each time”. Broccoli said. “Of course, now it turned out to be four years hence because of COVID”, Wilson added. “You have to get out your crystal ball and take a stab at it. In this particular case, I think we came pretty close to what the world is concerned about”.
One of the recurring criticisms of No Time to Die is the unwieldy, convoluted story and 163-minute length, but that can be forgiven when the quartet of scribes were attempting to tell a standalone tale that also tied up a five-film arc. Nobody goes to a James Bond movie looking for sociopolitical commentary and real-world issues, though, but it’s never a bad idea for the series to have its finger on the pulse.