Question: How much is the new Bond girl worth to Mexico? Answer: $14 million in tax incentives.
That's according to emails from the Sony Pictures hack. Leaked documents cited by Mexican media and Tax Analysts reveal Mexico City officials purportedly gave millions in rebates and tax incentives to Sony Pictures and MGM Studios to rewrite the film's storyline to show Mexico in a favorable light.
“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," reads an alleged email attributed to MGM president Jonathan Glickman.
Mexican media also cites a memo titled "Elements needed to preserve Mexican deal," which allegedly detailed how Mexican officials wanted their country portrayed in the film titled "Spectre." Mexican officials reportedly asked Sony and MGM executives that a “known Mexican actress” be cast as the Bond girl, and stipulated that the villain named Lucia Sciarra “cannot be Mexican.”
Complex Magazine today reported that Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman has been tapped to play a Bond girl known as "Estrella." Several media outlets report the villain role went to Italian star Monica Bellucci.
According to the alleged leaked emails, the original storyline included an assassination attempt against the mayor of Mexico City, but Mexican officials requested that the target of the plot instead be “an international leader” and that the Mexican police be replaced with a “special police force.” The alleged memo also contained a request to add a scene showing the modern skyline of Mexico City.
The former head of Sony Pictures, Amy Pascal, allegedly told Glickman in an email exchange to “add whatever travelogue footage we need in Mexico to get the extra money.”
Mexico's film commission (IMCINE) did not respond to Fusion's request for comment by the time of publication.