Wilson says it was important to strike a balance between having a James Bond theme – including certain Bond props as little “Easter eggs” for fans and filming at real Bond locations – but not muddying the waters by including characters such as James Bond himself, M or Q.
“It would be breaking through the fourth wall to have characters from the movie franchise,” says Wilson. “Our contestants are real people, and if they interacted with people from a fictional world, it would feel strange. So it all takes place in the real world, but there’s this Bond villain puppet master who is dangling prize money in front of these contestants in very outlandish ways. Brian has really elevated it to the next level.”
Those “real people” contestants rubbing shoulders in Jamaica with the glamorous casino clientele include two cockney brothers, emergency care nurses and a couple who’ve rarely been abroad, having had three children soon after getting married.
“A lot of the ideas that have been proposed to us over the years have been people trying to be James Bond,” Wilson says. “When we shoot our films with elaborate action sequences, it’s complicated, and it’s difficult to do that at a reduced budget in order to do it safely. We have a very low appetite for risk, despite our films appearing to be the opposite. So it was refreshing to have a proposal that was more about falling in love with these contestants. You’ll get sucked in because it’s Bond and it’s exciting and there’s great sums of money involved, but the thing you’ll fall in love with are these real-life people.”
Producer Barbara Broccoli adds “For me, the most joy has been watching the emotional roller-coaster of their journeys. I was very moved getting to know the contestants and was in awe of their bravery in confronting some of their deepest fears.”
In 007: Road To A Million Scottish actor Brian Cox will feature as “The Controller”, the mastermind behind the game who will be watching the nine pairs hunt for the ten questions he has hidden around the world.
Speaking to Radio Times, Cox, a self-proclaimed lifelong fan of James Bond said: “I always thought I’d be a very good villain, but nobody’s ever offered. Having played one of the most misunderstood men in television history [Logan Roy in ‘Succession’], it was a no-brainer to be a Bond villain of sorts.”
On his role as “The Controller”, Cox said: “I enjoyed my role as both villain and tormentor, with license to put the hopeful participants through the mangle. Having played one of the most misunderstood men in television history [in Succession], it was a no-brainer to be a Bond villain of sorts.”
‘007: Road To A Million’ will launch exclusively on Prime Video on 10 November 2023.