Bond: Women want him. Men want to be him. Mexican officials want him to take off in a helicopter, to get some gratuitous aerial shots of Mexico City's clean and modern skyline. And it looks like Spectre will be the film that finally sees Bond giving in to that last request.
Secret agents and movie studios have got to pay for their toys somehow, and according to the website Tax Analysts (via), Bond, MGM and Sony are paying by re-shaping the intro of their latest chapter of the franchise to the desires of the Mexican government. In order to get the most tax incentives, said to be in the realm of $20 million, rewrites and other changes that are being made include:
- Casting a "known Mexican actress" in the role of a woman whose hotel room Bond "uses" to begin his search for an assassin.
- NOT casting a Mexican actor for that assassin, so as to make clear that people in Mexico are certainly not going to kill you if you visit there.
- The target of the assassin? That can't be the Mayor of Mexico City anymore, because no one would ever target such a beloved figure. It must now be switched to some other, international leader.
- Also, we'll now see Bond stealing a helicopter and "taking off into the Mexican skyline." It's stressed that the more prominent that skyline is, the more incentives they can get.
As the article points out, it's not that it's unusual for location-based incentives to mean portraying the place in a flattering--or at least non-disparaging--light. But what's shocking here is how much was asked of, and provided by, the production, like changing characters and allowing outside officials to make casting choices. I mean, can you believe that the studio that tried to cancel a movie for Kim Jong-un would so readily grant decision-making power to a foreign government? And all to make a shill of our favorite character that drives an Aston Martin, wears a special edition Omega watch, and quenches his thirst with a Heineken between martinis. Shocking indeed.