James Bond: Why Steven Spielberg Wasn’t Allowed to Direct a 007 Film

The James Bond franchise has given us some of the most famous adventure films of all time. Steven Spielberg has also given the world classic adventure films. Spielberg feels like a natural director for a 007 film.

He even wanted to direct a Bond film at multiple points. However, it was not to be. Spielberg has opened up about why 007 producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli wouldn’t allow him to get into the director’s chair.

Stephen Spielberg | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Turner

Why Steven Spielberg wasn’t allowed to direct a 007 movie

Spielberg’s first two major hits were Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Having a major hit can give a director a lot of clout in Hollywood. However, neither film was enough to convince Broccoli that Spielberg should direct a Bond film.

Spielberg told The Independent “I called Cubby Broccoli twice, and after Jaws which was such a huge success, I thought ‘Hey people are giving me final cut now.’ So I called up Cubby and offered my services but he didn’t think I was right for the part. Then even after Close Encounters [of the Third Kind] came out and was a big hit – once again – I tried to get on a Bond film and now they can’t afford me.”

Albert Broccoli | PA Images via Getty Images

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Spielberg explained Broccoli turned down his first offer because of Spielberg’s lack of experience. According to AllMovie, it’s true Spielberg had not directed many films at that point. However, it’s surprising that Broccoli wasn’t impressed enough with a film like Jaws to want Spielberg to direct a Bond film. At the same time, the 007 series has never been known for hiring superstar directors like Spielberg, though Academy Award winner Sam Mendes directed two Bond films years after Spielberg tried to put his own stamp on the franchise.

The James Bond film with a Steven Spielberg reference

Moonraker is one of the most divisive Bond films ever. It features 007 going into outer space. Some find this premise fun but others see it as horribly silly. Regardless, Moonraker is often seen as the 007 franchise’s response to the success of Star Wars.

A trailer for Moonraker

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Oddly enough, Moonraker includes a reference to Spielberg’s early hit Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Spielberg told The Hollywood Reporter he was willing to allow Broccoli to use music from his film, but that didn’t get Broccoli to bend his way. “Cubby asked me permission to use the famous five musical notes in Close Encounters for Moonraker. I said sure and by the way, do you have a slot for me for Bond and he said no!”

Regardless, Spielberg would go on to direct famous action films like the Indiana Jones series. He would even get to work with famous Bond actor Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Even though he never made a 007 film, he still made films with the spirit of the 007 franchise.

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