James Bond Musical ‘Will Go On As Planned’: Legal Loophole Discovered As Musical Will Be ‘Parody’

The James Bond musical is surely the last thing true James Bond fans will want to see.

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Can you imagine a James Bond musical with the man himself sporting a cowboy hat and clutching a hay straw in his mouth instead of a Morland gold-band cigarette?

Why the cowboy hat and hay straw? Jay Henry Weisz, a country and western songwriter, was tipped to write the score for the new James Bond musical.

This all seemed a distinct possibility a few days ago when Merry Saltzman, daughter of Bond producer Harry Saltzman, admitted that a James Bond musical was in the works in an interview with Playbill. The news spread like wildfire, exciting a few Bond fans while disillusioning the vast majority, who considered a Bond musical pretty much a ridiculous idea. That the furrow-browed and glamorized spy agent would be seen singing songs in haystacks and dancing to musical numbers was an outrageous, if not a completely infantile, proposition for most serious Bond fans.

So, it was no wonder when Barbara Broccoli, daughter of Alberto R. Broccoli (the man who brought Dr. No to cinema screens with the elder Saltzman as his partner in 1962), retorted angrily when the news was broken to her, as the New York Post reported. In an email she wrote to Imogen Lloyd Webber of Broadway.com, and later uploaded on Facebook, Broccoli was straightforward with her response, refuting any speculations that a James Bond musical was in the works.

“Danjaq and MGM control all live stage rights in the Bond franchise, and therefore no James Bond stage show may be produced without their permission.”

While this may come as a disappointment to some fans who would be interested in seeing a light-hearted James Bond avatar, it is only natural that Broccoli, who has kept the Bond franchise fresh by casting Daniel Craig, would not risk it all on a musical James Bond musical Broadway show.

It must be mentioned that although Harry Saltzman and Alberto Broccoli co-owned the franchise at one point of time, Saltzman’s obsession with gambling meant he had to sell his fifty percent stake in Danjaq to United Artists. To cut things short, the Saltzman family owns nothing of the multibillion-dollar James Bond franchise today, and any claim of a James Bond musical by Merry Saltzman is likely to be met with suspicion.

In another interview Merry Saltzman has since granted Playbill, she revise her earlier statement, saying a “parody” James Bond musical was well within her rights.

“Placeholder did… purchase rights to a James Bond musical parody written by Dave Clarke with music and lyrics by Jay Henry Weisz. The key word here is ‘parody.’ Parody, the courts have repeatedly upheld, is fully protected under the fair use principle of the US Copyright Act of 1976 and, as such, does not require permission from the owners of the intellectual property being parodied. We are producing a parody, no permissive rights are required from Eon, Danjaq, MGM et al to produce our show; it will not infringe on their intellectual property. James Bond: The Musical will go on as planned.”

Let’s just repeat that last line, in case you missed it.

“James Bond: The Musical will go on as planned.”

If all this talk of a James Bond musical makes you shudder, enjoy this teaser trailer for Bond’s next release, Spectre.

[Photo: Eamonn McCormack / Getty Images]