I’m going to shake things up a bit on this one. Instead of highlighting a specific corner of the world of 007, I’ll be bringing you bits of trivia that I find interesting about the franchise as a whole. Snoozefest? I certainly hope not, so let’s have a bit of fun with it. Light, fun, and campy. Like a Roger Moore film. Speaking of “old” Roger…
- Sean Connery was 32 when he nabbed the role of James Bond and 41 when he last played it officially. He was 53 when he did Never Say Never Again.
- George Lazenby was 29 when he film his single outing. Had he actually completed his proposed 7-film contract, he’d have been 43 when he stopped. Way to go there, George!
- Roger Moore was already 45 when he shot Live And Let Die and 57(!) when he finished out with A View To A Kill. Even he admits these days that he should have bowed out earlier.
- Timothy Dalton was 41 at the start and only 43 when he last played Bond. Gone before his time.
- Pierce Brosnan was 41 when he started and 49 when he fulfilled his contract.
- Daniel Craig was 38 when cast and will likely be 48 or 49 when he exits the role, so quit your bitching!
How about a few prizes for our six Bond actors? Who will win what category? Time to find out…
THE BOND AWARDS
- The name’s Whore. Man-Whore: ROGER MOORE. Had Sean done a seventh outing (OHMSS or LALD), he might have won this one. You snooze, you lose, Connery!
- Most Monk-like: DANIEL CRAIG. And don’t give me any of that “he’s only done two films!” bullshit either. So did Dalton and Timothy is still beating Daniel by two conquests. Let’s hope Craig ups his game in Skyfall and the two he’s signed for beyond it.
- Most Kill Crazy: PIERCE BROSNAN. While this one is almost impossible to actually calculate, most statistics point to Pierce being the most murderous of the lot.
- Least Murder-Prone: GEORGE LAZENBY. Winning by default due to only playing the character once, but Dalton honestly isn’t too far behind him.
- The Biggest Boozer: DANIEL CRAIG. Another hard one to truly calculate, especially when most data only includes the signature Bondian cocktail. But given the amount of liquor Craig tossed back in his two so far (and is likely to in his third), I’m going to give Daniel the benefit of the doubt here. He might not “get any” nearly as much as the rest, so no wonder he drowns his sorrows in alcohol.
- Name-Drop-Aholic: ROGER MOORE. No one has used the classic phrase “My name is Bond. James Bond” moore often. No, I will not apologize for that pun. Why? Because it made Roger chuckle.
- Most Fucked-Over: TIMOTHY DALTON. Why not George Lazenby? Because it’s no one’s fault but his own that he only played Bond once. The only reason Dalton didn’t play Bond at least one more time (if not twice) was because of United Artist’s legal problems in the early 90s. Also, for these awards. Honestly, I just feel bad for the guy.
BONDS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN
Many people have been considered for the role or even tested for it since the start of the series. Below are some of the more interesting possibilities over the decades…
Care to watch Brolin’s screen test?
OTHER CASTING “ALMOSTS”
Christopher Lee or Max Von Sydow as “Dr. No.”
Orson Welles as “Auric Goldfinger”
Raquel Welch as “Domino”
Paul Williams as “Mr. Wint”
Jack Palance as “Francisco Scaramanga”
Jack O’Halloran as “Jaws”
James Mason as “Karl Stromberg” and “Hugo Drax”
Sybil Danning as “Octopussy”
David Bowie or Sting as “Maxwell Zorin”
Maria Conchita Alonso as “Lupe Lamora”
Alan Rickman as “Alec Trevelyan”
Anthony Hopkins as “Alec Trevelyan” and “Elliot Carver”
Monica Bellucci as “Paris Carver”
Cecile De France as “Vesper Lynd”
GOOD OLD FASHIONED TRIVIA
- Sean Connery has always had an issue with hair loss and actually wore a hairpiece in ALL of his stints as James Bond.
- Roger Moore was sought after for the role from the get-go. He turned it down both in 1962 and 1969 before finally accepting the part in the early ’70s.
- Stanley Kubrick was a pretty big Bond fan. He hired Ken Adam for Dr. Strangelove solely based on his production design work in Dr. No. Stanley eventually returned the favor by advising Adam on lighting schemes for the massive tanker set in The Spy Who Loved Me.
- Of his entries in the franchise, Connery is proudest of From Russia With Love. Roger Moore’s favorite of his own is The Spy Who Loved Me, and if recent interviews are anything to go by, Brosnan favors Goldeneye.
- Jack Lord was approached to reprise the role of Felix Leiter in Goldfinger. The producers ultimately went a different direction. Why? Because Lord demanded more money, a beefed on role, and co-lead billing! What a maroon!
- Honor Blackman (Goldfinger) was the first Bond Girl with an existing acting career.
- Federico Fellini was a massive fan of Goldfinger.
- Adjusted for inflation, Thunderball is still the highest grossing film in the series to date and is unlikely to ever be usurped.
- Connery believes that Thunderball contains his best performance as Bond. I agree.
- The song “We Have All The Time In The World” for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the last thing that Louis Armstrong ever recorded.
- The villain in Diamonds Are Forever was originally going to be Goldfinger’s twin brother with Gert Frobe reprising the role.
- Christopher Lee was a distant cousin of Ian Fleming.
- The Spy Who Loved Me was the last theatrical movie that Elvis Presley saw before he died.
- Roger Moore conducted almost 400 interviews while promoting Moonraker. Fuck.
- Jaws almost returned again in For Your Eyes Only, but the producers ultimately decided that he didn’t fit the type of Bond film they were making that time out.
- Steven Spielberg lobbied for the chance to direct FYEO, but was ultimately turned away. We were given Raiders of the Lost Ark from him instead. Win win!
- One of the women during the pool side assassination in FYEO is a transgender person. No one on the production knew until much later on.
- Given the more serious tone of FYEO, even Roger Moore objected to the use of the parrot and a Thatcher-like character in the film. He was overruled.
- While never officially confirmed, most fans take it that Robert Brown’s M (who first appears in Octopussy) is merely a promoted version of his character Admiral Hargreaves from The Spy Who Loved Me.
- A View To A Kill…is Dolph Lundgren in it? YES. He has a bit role as a KGB bodyguard.
- Maud Adams has a cameo in the crowd at the wharf in AVTAK, marking her third turn in a Bond film.
- Both John Woo and Renny Harlin were approached about directing Goldeneye. Both turned it down.
- Tcheky Karyo’s character in Goldeneye was originally meant to be General Pushkin from The Living Daylights, with John Rhys-Davies reprising the role. For whatever reason, this was ultimately abandoned.
- Gerard Butler has a bit part right after the title sequence in Tomorrow Never Dies.
- Peter Jackson was considered a possibility to direct The World Is Not Enough, but the producers didn’t like The Frighteners when they screened it and changed their minds.
- Brosnan actually lobbied on behalf of Brett Ratner to direct Die Another Day. They ultimately worked together on After The Sunset. I’d say it was a bad idea, but the film is shit anyway, so it isn’t like Ratner could have made it much worse.
- Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin was originally meant to cameo during the Hong Kong sequence of Die Another Day, but a deal couldn’t be worked out.
- From the third film onward, New Line/WB have been required to get prior approval from EON on any Austin Powers titles!
- Contrary to popular belief, Quentin Tarantino was NEVER attached to any iteration of Casino Royale. His comment about directing a ’60s-inspired adaptation of the novel with Pierce Brosnan in the lead was merely an off-the-cuff remark during press interviews for the Kill Bill films.
- Paul Haggis and Roger Michell were both offer to direct Quantum of Solace and turned it down due to the rushed production schedule.
FROM LITERATURE WITH LOVE
Exactly how many James Bond novels are there at this point? A metric fuckton, that’s how many! Okay, okay. There are 5o to date and another is due to be published next year.
Casino Royale (1953)
Live And Let Die (1954)
Diamonds Are Forever (1956)
From Russia, With Love (1957)
Dr. No (1958)
For Your Eyes Only (1960)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
You Only Live Twice (1964)
The Man With The Golden Gun (1965) (post-houmus)
Octopussy and The Living Daylights (1966) (post-houmus)
Colonel Sun (1968)
License Renewed (1981)
For Special Services (1982)
Role of Honour (1984)
Nobody Lives For Ever (1986)
No Deals, Mr. Bond (1987)
Win, Lose, or Die (1989)
Licence To Kill (1989) (novelization)
The Man From Barbarossa (1991)
Death Is Forever (1992)
Never Send Flowers (1993)
Goldeneye (1995) (novelization)
Zero Minus Ten (1997)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) (novelization)
The Facts of Death (1998)
The World Is Not Enough (1999) (novelization)
High Time To Kill (1999)
Never Dream of Dying (2001)
The Man With The Red Tattoo (2002)
Die Another Day (2002) (novelization)
Charlie Higson’s Young Bond
Blood Fever (2006)
Double or Die (2007)
Hurricane Gold (2007)
By Royal Command (2008)
Samantha Weinberg’s The Moneypenny Diaries
Guardian Angel (2005)
Secret Servant (2006)
Final Fling (2008)
Devil May Care (2008)
Carte Blanche (2011)
And that’s it for this week, my Double-O-Understudies. Like I said, light and (hopefully) fun! I have two more pieces planned leading up to Skyfall‘s release. Next week I will be giving my overall thoughts on the films themselves and my own personal ranking of all 22 current entries. As for the final piece? As long as everything proceeds according to plan, the final installment in this little series will be my own review of Skyfall itself, as well as my thoughts on the future of the franchise. Now that I have revealed my master plan, you will undoubtedly do your best to stop it from playing out. Or will you give in to your darker side and join me in my maniacal crusade? The clock is ticking, my little Double-Os…