While script changes and product deals tailored to different countries are common, the apparent sensitivities of the Mexican government are what's interesting here.
The reports suggest the original script included an attempt to kill the Mexico City mayor, but Mexican officials preferred the assassination attempt be against "an international leader." And a "special police force" should take the place of Mexican police.
They wanted a "known Mexican actress" to play one of the beautiful Bond girls, according to a memo cited in the Mexican press, while adding that the villain, named Lucia Sciarra "cannot be Mexican."
(It was announced this week that the Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman would play the Bond girl, Estrella.)
Officials were willing to offer millions more if the film included scenes of the capital city's modern skyline. Other changes apparently included adding action unfolding during Day of the Dead celebrations, an emblematic Mexican holiday. Amy Pascal, the former head of Sony Pictures, allegedly wrote to MGM President Jonathan Glickman that they should "add whatever travelogue footage we need in Mexico to get the extra money."
The Tax Analysts article argued that the negotiations with Mexico went further than normal for a film, "with the studio permitting Mexican authorities to make casting decisions, dictate characters' ethnicities, and even change the occupation of an unnamed character that never appears on-screen or figures into the story outside of the opening scene."
"Such changes may have been a small price to pay for a rebate worth as much as $20 million, as a review of the script indicates that they were limited to the film's opening scene and have no impact on the remainder of the film," the article added.
The Mexican government's sensitivities to its violent reputation are no secret. When President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012, he tried to minimize the focus on the drug war while emphasizing economic and political reforms. But ongoing high-profile violence, including battles in Michoacan and the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero, has undercut that message.