Throughout the history of the Bond franchise, “Mr. Bond, James Bond” has visited the States on a number of occasions. While this can certainly be debated, Goldfinger was the best Bond film and he spent quite a bit of time in Kentucky and other locations in the south including Miami Beach as he thwarted the plans of Auric Goldfinger to irradiate the United States’ gold supply at Fort Knox. And let’s not forget Honor Blackman as the best named “Bond Girl” … Pussy Galore.
Fast forward from the third installment to the eighth, one of the weakest before the ill-fated Timothy Dalton days, Live and Let Die. The fact that Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” remains one of the best songs since Shirley Bassey’s in the franchise, this was overshadowed by the transfer of Bond duties to Roger Moore. And what made it worse, James Bond in a “pimpmobile” rather than an Aston Martin, as he drove through Harlem. The film was truly awful both in New York and New Orleans. The point is, James Bond is no stranger to the States.
The owner of Europe’s largest film studio, Pinewood, said on Monday it would develop 288 acres of land south of Atlanta, Georgia, for a studio facility in a joint venture with River’s Rock LLC. Pinewood is of course responsible for the James Bond franchise, and River’s Rock LLC is an independently run trust owned by the Cathy family. The Cathy family owns the Atlanta-based fried chicken chain Chick-fil-A known for that extra bit of flavor that comes from rampant homophobia and a crispness that can only come from the sanctity of a one woman-one man marriage defense.
The studio itself will facilitate work in film, television and music and is just part of Pinewood’s international expansion begun in 2009.
“Georgia has excellent fiscal incentives and a great crew base,” Pinewood CEO Ivan Dunleavy said in a statement. “With River’s Rock we have a well-resourced partner that is committed to building a first-class studio facility.”
Georgia was home to 333 (film/tv) shootings in the last year and estimates suggest it brought $3 billion to Georgia. I need to be specific because that’s an average month in Atlanta. Recent films including “Flight”, “X-Men: First Class”, and “Fast Five” have been shot in Georgia in recent years not to mention the wildly popular AMC program “The Walking Dead.”
Under the deal, the land and studio construction costs will be funded by equity from River’s Rock and a debt facility from Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE:SNV), with building to begin immediately. Pinewood will receive 40 percent ownership for its marketing and sales work.