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One of the most memorable lines in Skyfall — a sexually charged taunt from Javier Bardem's evil mastermind Silva to Daniel Craig's James Bond — almost didn't make the cut, according to producer Barbara Broccoli.
In the new documentary Being James Bond, the longtime steward of the 007 franchise recalls sticking up for the tense scene in which Silva, a cyberterrorist and ex-MI6 agent, questions a captive Bond at his island lair. As Silva unbuttons Bond's shirt and runs his hand over his chest, he discusses their mutual experience working for M (Judi Dench), the boss of MI6.
"Are you sure this is about M?" Bond asks as Silva caresses his neck.
"It's about her, and you and me," Silva replies. "You see, we are the last two rats. We can either eat each other, hmm? Or, eat everyone else."
Everett Collection Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem in 'Skyfall'
With a combination of menace and playfulness, Silva continues: "How you're trying to remember your training now. What's the regulation to cover this?" His hands move to Bond's thighs as he teases, "Well, first time for everything, yes?"
Bond, one of pop culture's most notorious womanizers, smirks before calmly replying, "What makes you think this is my first time?"
As Broccoli remembers it, "We were told to cut that line by the studio and we said, 'No, no, no.' We resisted." She adds, "The night of the premiere, that line, just the whole place erupted it then with that line. I remember looking at the studio executive who was in the next thing and going, 'See, told you.'"
(A representative for MGM didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment about Broccoli's remarks.)
In a press conference for the film back in 2012, Craig was asked if Bond's retort was meant as a bluff. "What are you going to do?" he joked, adding, "I don't see the world in sexual divisions… Someone suggested that Silva may be gay. And I'm like, 'I think he'll f--- anything.'"
Meanwhile, Bardem said Silva's sexuality was "part of the game," and that his gambit "was more about putting the other person in a very uncomfortable situation where even James Bond doesn't know how to get out of it."
Skyfall writer John Logan also discussed the scene's genesis in a 2012 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
"Sam [Mendes, the film's director] and I were discussing," he said, "there were so many scenes where Bond goes mano a mano with the villain, whether it's Dr. No or Goldfinger or whatever, and there's been so many ways to do a cat-and-mouse and intimidate Bond, and we thought, what would truly make the audience uncomfortable is sexual intimidation; playing the sort of homoerotic card that is sort of always there subtextually with characters like Scaramanga in Man With the Golden Gun or Dr. No. So we just decided that we should play the card and enjoy it."
Being James Bond is currently streaming free on Apple TV+.