10 things you didn’t know about 007!

November 13, 2012 8:00 pm

10 things you didn’t know about 007!

Think British institutions and stereotypes. Royalty, world wars, cricket, mini coopers, fish ‘n’ chips, rain and grey skies. Any more? Some are dated and stuck in the past, some are untrue and some are generally just a little boring.
However, this truly British institution can celebrate its past, embrace its nation’s quirky character and yet remain very much in the modern. Getting closer?
Since its opening weekend, it’s grossed well over £20,000,000 (and counting) at the UK box office and is undoubtedly going to be the UK’s biggest movie of the year. Ready?
With the release of Skyfall hitting fever pitch, here are some things you didn’t know about “Bond……….. James Bond.”

1. It’s all in the name! Or is it?
Author, Ian Fleming, took inspiration for the famous secret agents name from that of the American ornithologist James Bond. Before writing his first novel, Casino Royale in 1953, Fleming decided he wanted his protagonist to have “the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name,” at the same time, creating an opposing action packed fictional world surrounding the life of ‘agent 007!’ After 50 eventful years in the spotlight, it’s fair to say Fleming succeeded!

2. Taste of a gentleman?
Fleming attributed many of his own life experiences and traits in bringing his charming British character to life. James Bond’s acquired taste for scrambled eggs, particular toiletry products, decent golf handicap and a huge passion for gambling are all individual habits that have mirrored Fleming’s behaviour. It remains unknown whether or not Fleming was able to sweep countless women off their feet too!

3. Home is where the heart lies! 
Bond was born in Germany, and is multilingual in German, French and English because of his father’s work as a Vickers armaments representative. After his parents’ unfortunate deaths whilst mountain climbing, a young James was orphaned, brought up by his Aunt, briefly attending Eton College. Ironically, Bond was withdrawn from the famous college after experiencing some ‘girl trouble’ with a maid! From age 12 years onwards, James spent the remainder of his education at Fettes College in Scotland, his father’s school, and therefore, considers himself Scottish! (It’s a good job he can’t vote in next year’s referendum!)

 

4. Shoulda……! Woulda……! Coulda…..!
Over the years, a number of high profile actors have come under consideration from the ‘powers that be’ to perform the popular role. Playing Bond is one of the most prestigious on-going gigs in the movie business that can provide ‘the’ chosen one with endless wealth, stardom and, of course, martinis on tap. However, the demanding role also has the potential to typecast certain actors’ careers or discourage potential candidates because of Bond’s stereotypical image.
In 1970, famous Hollywood stars; Adam West, Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds all declined to play ‘007’ because they all felt that Bond must be British! Jolly good!

5. Sorry Sir, you don’t quite fit the bill!
It seems that aspiring actors definitely have to conform to a number of characteristics. Unfortunately, ethnicity (every Bond thus far has been White), nationality (only Australian George Lazenby, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,’1969, has hailed away from the tried and trusted British Isles) and general appearance (most of the previous Bonds’ all had clean cut images with a dash of panache (How else would they get the girls?))
Unfortunately, British adventurer, Ranulph Fiennes, was declined the role in 1972 for “having hands too big and a face like a farmer!” Ouch!

6. A cocktail of phone numbers!
If fast cars, airplanes, helicopters’ and explosions aren’t catching Mr Bond’s attention, then it could only be one other thing. How to fill up his extensive little black book? Over the years and across the movies, ‘007’s’ seduction, smirks and one liners have led to seven American Bond girls, five English, three French, two Swedish, and one each from Japan, Malaysia, Switzerland, Italy and Poland, all falling prey ‘Hook, line and sinker!’ to his charms. Lucky man!

7. Sometimes, even action heroes have to detox!
Bond has a quintessential taste for alcohol to help tame his adrenaline pumping antics. However, to relax,  Bond enjoys sipping Yin Hao, the highest traditional grade of Jasmine tea, as well as, unwinding down with a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. No Starbucks here!

8. “Mum! When I grow up I want to be…………..”
Ever since the first Bond blockbuster release of Dr No in 1962 up until the recent UK box office hit Skyfall, there have been 23 movies with 6 leading Bond characters. Sean Connery (1962-67, 71), Australian George Lazenby (1969), Roger Moore (1973-85), Timothy Dalton (1987-89) and Irishman Pierce Brosnan (1995-02) have all taken the series into the new millennium. The introduction of current ‘OO7’ Daniel Craig, 44, in 2006’s Casino Royale, ensured Craig became the first ‘Blond-Bond’ and the first lead to be born after the Bond series began.

9. Sing us a song James!
No Bond movie would be complete without a signature tune to help convey the movie’s message across multiple mediums. Duran Duran’s ‘A View To A Kill’, 1980, Guns ‘n’ Roses ‘Live And Let Die’, 1991, and Madonna’s ‘Die Another Day,’2002, are all notable soundtracks. The most critically acclaimed ‘Bond song’ from yesteryear is Shirley Bassey’s ‘Diamonds Are Forever,’1971, however, it seems, Adele’s ‘Skyfall , 2012, could replicate the reputation and success of Bassey. After receiving a personal request from Craig and a copy of the script, Adele has constructed a masterpiece to add to her catalogue of hits.

10. An over enthusiastic secret agent!
One billion viewers around the world watched in amazement (and amusement) when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Daniel Craig, parachuted out of a helicopter into the London Olympic opening ceremony. However, the laughter and also, the legacy, could have all been so different! The Duchess of Cambridge was allegedly meant to be the original Bond girl in Danny Boyle’s plans, but this idea was later changed (despite Kate’s excitement and Prince William’s approval) after the Queen surprisingly showed a late interest in pursuing her famous cameo role!
God Save the Queen!

It’s heavily rumoured that ‘Skyfall’ could be Daniel Craig’s last stint as Bond before he ventures off to pastures new. The rumour mill is turning rapidly with Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Clive Owen, Idris Elbow and Michael Fassbender the leading candidates to become the new ‘007’ gentleman.

In the meantime, one must go and finish his cup of tea. Not shaken but stirred!!!

Lee Hall

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