top of page

NEWS

You Were Expecting Someone Else? - Joe Nimziki on the 'GoldenEye' trailer campaign


"It's a new world, with new threats and enemies... but you can still depend on one man." More than a quarter-century of its release, the teaser trailer for GOLDENEYE still evokes the happy days of James Bond's long awaited return in the Christmas season of 1995. In this exclusive interview, Nicolás Suszczyk talks to the man behind the successful trailer campaign for the 17th Bond adventure, the first man to actually direct Pierce Brosnan as James Bond - Joe Nimziki.


In January 1994, Nimziki was named MGM/UA's Executive Vice-president of worldwide advertising after acting as senior vice president of creative advertising in the Cimarron/Bacon/O’Brien agency. At the age of 29, he had the challenging task of creating an ad campaign that would ensure moviegoers that 007 was still relevant in the 1990s and that Brosnan would be the Bond for a new generation.



How did you first get involved with the film?

I was an Executive VP at MGM when the wonderful John Calley decided to attempt to bring the Bond franchise back from the dead (after two forgettable Timothy Dalton chapters). From that point I worked with the lovely Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson to reintroduce Bond - and they couldn’t have been more supportive about whatever crazy ideas (even having Bond drive a BMW to score a lot of additional ad dollars) we came to them with. How was the brainstorming process of the GOLDENEYE trailers? Should have been challenging to reintroduce James Bond after all the feeling in the media that the character was outdated. It’s hard to imagine now with the huge success of the films over the past couple decades, but at the time the franchise seemed very outdated and tired. The reaction around town and in the media when I would talk about reviving Bond was mixed - some happy for the nostalgia of it all, but many wondering why, or flat out thinking we were crazy. It was clearly important to me to introduce a new Bond in a new way. Especially after the casting of Pierce was announced. At the time he was only known from a not overly successful TV series called REMINGTON STEELE and the idea of him playing Bond wasn’t generating much buzz. So I got to work trying to figure out how to bring this character into the 90s. In fact, one of the first things I did was ask my longtime composers Starr Parodi and Jeff Fair to create a new version of the James Bond Theme for me with a cool 90’s vibe, a Manchester dance beat to it (which debuted in that first trailer).



Pierce Brosnan cleverly breaks the fourth wall in the teaser trailer, asking the viewers if they had "expecting someone else". Did it take long to come up with that line?

We actually came up with a bunch of alternate dialogue in the brainstorm phase, but that was always the line I first thought of and never swayed from. I wanted because I thought it worked on a few levels. Including the fact that there had been so much speculation about who the new James Bond would be in the months previous before Pierce was chosen.


The trailer opens referencing "a new world with new threats" and the idea that we can still depend on the same man, which is of course Bond. Did you and the people at MGM/UA ever stood in a crossroad where you felt the promotion was too much inclined for modern audiences and wouldn't satisfy longtime fans, or you felt that the result would attract both Connery and Moore fans as well as bringing younger generations into Bond?

Yes. As the Timothy Dalton films had underperformed, and even the last couple Roger Moore films weren’t considered strong ones, I felt it was pretty imperative to capture some of the nostalgia of the Connery and early Moore years while making Bond relevant to a new generation and a changing world, and I think the Daniel Craig films succesfully continued this trend. It was a fine line, to be sure, but it led to the decisions to use the classic Bond theme, but with a twist… to use the classic gunbarrel to reintroduce Bond, but then go into a more modern, visceral, high octane montage, etc. And of course, in the end, Pierce and Martin (Campbell) and company delivered on whatever promises the campaign made with a great film.



Can you reveal if there was any take or outtake that didn't make it to the final trailers? Something the team decided to scrap out because it didn't fit or an alternative line that wasn't used?

Sorry - I think there may have been one or two but can’t remember!

Was it complicated to use Brosnan for the promotions, given that he was the star of the show and he was probably busy with the shooting of the film? I actually shot and directed the trailer before production started, something I did often. I flew out to London with my VP Kevin Shelby and my producer Bob Israel and we hired a local visual effects house. It was a surprisingly complicated shoot in terms of staging, green screen, effects, etc. But in the end I was the first person to direct Pierce as James Bond so there was no film schedule to work around. As a result, it was very exciting, but also a lot of pressure.


Did the teaser trailer took a lot of rehearsals and outtakes or the result everyone was looking for came at the first tries? Getting VFX markers right took a bit. But the main challenge of the day was Pierce. He was weary and very tentative with his performance. Finally, in the end, I got, barely, what I needed to make it work. Of course in retrospect I realize that Pierce had the weight of the world on his shoulders and was probably still wrapping his head around the idea of playing such an iconic character. All while some 29-year-old kid who flew in from Los Angeles was telling him how to play a part and deliver the lines for a role he had coveted his whole life. In the end, obviously, the trailer was released and created an instant buzz in theaters around the world and the rest is history. About a year later we ended up sitting together on a flight to Hawaii and Pierce apologized for his hesitance during our shoot and thanked me profusely for creating excitement for Bond again, and, even more so, for the idea of him playing Bond. It was very gracious.


How long did it take to make both trailers, getting together the shooting with Pierce and editing the footage available from the film? Looking back at your career, would you say the GOLDENEYE promotion overall was challenging in comparison to other movies you worked for back on the day?

Once we had the game plan for both trailers they each took about a month to create. Looking back, the challenges of GOLDENEYE were definitely up there with a handful of other projects I worked on in that era - big franchises like Lord of the Rings or Austin Powers, movies like GROUNDHOG DAY or BIRDCAGE, or smaller films like A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT or LEAVING LAS VEGAS. But it’s always satisfying, whatever the hurdles, to help a good movie reach its audience. I’m just happy, as a fan myself, that it all worked out and the Bond franchise was ultimatley re-invigorated for what has been over 25 years now and counting…

Up until today, many moviegoers and marketing experts point out that the GOLDENEYE trailers was among the ones that changed the way a movie is promoted, with fast-cuts that actually leave the viewer hungry and curious for the film. In retrospect, would you say it was like that or there were other trailers that served as an inspiration for the GOLDENEYE ones?

There really wasn’t anything at the time we looked to for inspiration. I knew I wanted to do a special shoot to introduce Pierce in a cool a way. And I knew I wanted to up the ante on the typical adrenaline and visceral experience in that first piece. Myself and others had done special shoot teasers for films to help create early awareness and anticipation for years, and obviously two and a half minute theatrical trailers had long been standard practice. But in the case of GOLDENEYE I knew by the time we had the special shoot edited and finished we would also have some dailies from the production at our disposal. So we ended up creating a hybrid teaser/trailer. I remember sitting with my in house editor Russ Harden and barking “great, but faster” a lot. I realize that now folks consider the piece influential which, depending on how you like your trailers, could be a good or bad thing I guess.



Nowadays many fans of franchises, be it James Bond or Star Wars, often complain about being spoiled in the trailers. In the theatrical trailer, thanks to Nick Tate's narration, we know the villain is agent 006 played by Sean Bean. If the film was done today, would you still give away the identity of the villain or you would aim for a more discreet and mysterious approach as it happened with the trailers for the most recent Bond movies?

I have always loved the idea of giving away just as much as you have to create interest and intent. In the last trailer Sean was introduced as the villain - but at that point it didn’t really feel like we were giving away state secrets. Of course now, with interest in the franchise at an all time high, and in light of some of the big stars who who take on those villain roles, the idea of holding back on the specifics a bit more might make some sense.

Changing subjects, have you watched the trailers and the latest James Bond film NO TIME TO DIE? Would you say there are crucial changes in the way movies (particularly Bond movies) are promoted today in comparison with 26 years ago?

Yes. And I saw the film with my twelve year old son who is named William “Bond” Nimziki. It was his introduction to the franchise and felt like a full circle moment. I don't think the trailers and ads are too different than what we were doing all those years ago… the delivery of the content has changed so much though. It used to be a theater was the only place to see a trailer and a television was the only place to watch a commercial - but that has all, obviously, changed with phones, computers, etc. It’s defintely easier now to get the right content to the right audience in the right way. At the same time, I miss the days when you could release a trailer for GOLDENEYE or a new STAR WARS movie and it could be an event unto itself… moviegoers buying tickets to a film just to see the trailer, news outlets covering the release, etc.


Read more interviews from people involved with GOLDENEYE in our Interviews section. *The author has written THE WORLD OF GOLDENEYE and A VIEW TO A THRILL: A CLOSER LOOK TO THE JAMES BOND TRAILERS. Both books are available on the Amazon Store.

919 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Kommentare


bottom of page