Mexican government allegedly paid Sony millions to change the script of the next 007 movie

Daniel Craig and Monica Bellucci on set of 'Spectre'
(Image credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

In an effort to secure as much as $20 million worth of tax incentives from the Mexican government, executives at Sony allegedly asked that the script for Spectre, the next movie in the 007 franchise, be altered to include more pro-Mexico elements.

The alleged changes requested by the Mexican government were relatively sweeping: a new setting (a Day of the Dead celebration, replacing a non-geographically specific cage match); a change in the ethnicity of an assassination target (an international leader, replacing a Mexican leader), as well as the assassin himself, who could not be Mexican; a series of shots designed to highlight Mexico City's modern skyline; and an insistence on casting a Mexican woman as one of Spectre's Bond girls. (Stephanie Sigman, the first Mexico-born Bond girl, was cast earlier this week.)

In emails reportedly obtained during the Sony hack last year, former Sony president Amy Pascal wrote to MGM president Jonathan Glickman urging the filmmakers to "add whatever travelogue footage we need in Mexico to get the extra money."

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"We are currently facing a budget that is far beyond what we anticipated and are under immense pressure to reduce the number to $250M net of rebates and incentives," wrote Glickman in reply. "This is not about 'nickel and diming' the production. As of now, our shooting period is $50M higher than Skyfall and the current gross budget sits in the mid $300Ms, making this one of the most expensive films ever made."

The willingness to make such major alterations to the Spectre script for financial incentives may have been influenced by the Mexico City scene's relative isolation from the film's main story; according to Tax Analysts, which published the original report, the scene comprises just four minutes at the beginning of the movie.

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Scott Meslow

Scott Meslow is the entertainment editor for He has written about film and television at publications including The Atlantic, POLITICO Magazine, and Vulture.