Bringing James Bond to the big screen

Former United Artists exec David V. Picker had his hands on some of your movie favorites. Credit: Getty Images
Former United Artists exec David V. Picker had his hands on some of your movie favorites.
Credit: Getty Images

Film exec David V. Picker doesn’t have the flamboyance of a Robert Evans. But his track record is arguably even more staggering. As a producer, including a stint as president of United Artists in the ’60s and ’70s, he helped bring James Bond to the movies, as well as the Beatles and Woody Allen. His new book “Musts, Maybes and Nevers: A Book About the Movies” details his successes and occasional disasters over a lengthy career.

This is a largely positive book, though you do call Robert Altman an unprintable word.
Some of the people I dealt with I had enormous respect for and liked. Some of the people I had respect for and didn’t like. Some of the people I dealt with I neither respected nor liked. It’s the nature of the beast, but in the world of the arts, it’s probably even more — how should I say? — more colorful.

Artists don’t always have a strong business sense.
But many do. Even if they don’t have good business sense, they understand that in order to get support for what they do, they have to deal with the financial reality. Some of them are very good and extremely caring, others — on both sides of the table — couldn’t care less.

The cliche of the ’60s and ’70s was there was a greater creativity than there is now.
I’m not sure that’s true. There was certainly great freedom, but I just saw two movies in the last few days that are fantastic, and they couldn’t be further apart in economic content. You go see “Gravity” and you go see “Nebraska,” and you see two fabulous movies that couldn’t be further apart in the economic risks involved and the potential gain involved. And yet both got made and both are absolutely fabulous films.

You mention not only great, beloved films you were involved with, but also disasters. But some, like “The Fugitive King” and “Electra Glide in Blue,” have come around to some retroactive acclaim. Even “Ishtar” has a cult following now.
Well, that doesn’t make it good. I don’t think “Ishtar” is a very good movie. “The Fugitive Kind” is a terrible picture. It just doesn’t work. That’s my opinion. Other people may think it’s a classic of some kind. They’re entitled to think that. It’s the one thing about the arts is everybody comes away with their own opinions. Some people look at modern art and say it’s just junk. Other people look at it and think it’s fabulous and interesting.

You stress how hard it is to predict success in the movie business. Even James Bond — a British series starring a then-unknown — was risky.
Every movie’s a risk. I think making “Dr. No” for a million dollars wasn’t a giant risk. The difficulty there was getting the rights. Initially Ian Fleming wasn’t going to sell them. Then he sold them to somebody who couldn’t get it made. Then it wound up coming to us. One of the partners had a deal with Columbia, but Columbia didn’t want to do it them. It’s hard to look back today and say, “What do you mean they didn’t want to do the first James Bond movie?” But they passed and I got it. There’s no accounting for how those decisions are made, and at the end of the day, it’s water under the bridge.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…