Roger Moore (seven films as 007) was the debonair Bond, Pierce Brosnan (four) the savvy, Daniel Craig (three) the tough, Timothy Dalton (two) the emotional, while Sean Connery (six) was the essential Bond. And what of George Lazenby, the enigma? The Australian is the only actor not from the U.K. or Ireland to play the part, and, aged 30 when ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ premiered, the youngest. He was earmarked for more than one Bond film, but making his first wasn’t a happy experience, so he quit. “I probably would have had three or four Hollywood wives and become a drug addict,” he later joked.
Bond actors perform many stunts themselves, although Roger Moore had a double for his running scenes, because he felt he looked clumsy. For part of the pre-credits sequence of ‘Moonraker,’ in which a midair Bond wrestles a pilot for the latter’s parachute and then shakes off villain Jaws, stuntmen were filmed in 88 jumps over five weeks. There’s a Bond high-dive you can sample for yourself: a bungee jump from the 721-foot-high Verzasca Dam in Switzerland, as undertaken by Pierce Brosnan’s 007 in GoldenEye.
Ken Adam is the secret genius of the Bond movies. He designed many of the series’ remarkable sets, including villains’ lairs and Fort Knox in Goldfinger. A rocket launch pad inside a dormant volcano -- built at Pinewood Studios for ‘You Only Live Twice’ -- had a working monorail and moving helipad, cost as much as the entire budget of ‘Dr. No,’ and required 700 tons of steel girders. During filming for ‘The Spy Who Loved Me,’ Adam needed help lighting a double submarine dock inside a supertanker, so he sneaked the director Stanley Kubrick on set for four hours one Sunday, and the two old friends figured it out.
From Ursula Andress to Olga Kurylenko, from Halle Berry to Jane Seymour, James Bond’s thirst for the ladies has been quenched by a string of beautiful actresses. Only two women playing Bond Girls have been older than the man playing Bond opposite them: Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore in ‘Goldfinger’ and Diana Rigg as Teresa di Vincenzo in ‘OHMSS.’ Women also dominate the films’ opening credits.
Only ‘Dr. No’ and ‘Casino Royale’ (2006) kick off lady-free.
Sean Connery preferred his vodka martinis “shaken, not stirred.” Roger Moore never ordered 007’s signature drink using these words. When asked by a barkeeper how he wanted his cocktail in ‘Casino Royale,’ Daniel Craig snapped back, “Do I look like I give
a damn?” In ‘Quantum of Solace,’ Craig is seen slightly the worse for wear after drinking six special martinis on a plane. And yet: Mr. Bond’s most frequent onscreen tipple is not a martini, but Champagne. In the 22 official Bond films before ‘Skyfall,’ he sips champers 38 times.
Jan Werich was cast in the role of Blofeld in ‘You Only Live Twice,’ but the film’s director, Lewis Gilbert, had him replaced after five days by Donald Pleasence, because Werich looked like a “benevolent Father Christmas.” Desmond Llewelyn enjoyed the longest 007 career, playing Q, the man responsible for Bond’s gadgets: the cars, the exploding pens, the watch lasers. The Welshman appeared in 17 Bond films over 36 years -- the most instances of a recurring role in film history -- but he had only 30 minutes of screen time in total.
Check out the November 2012 issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands October 16) for more articles. To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app.