Even SFX magazine was getting in on the James Bond fever surrounding the release of Skyfall and the 50th anniversary celebrations with its November issue:
James Bond 007 Celebration
The Ed Zone
Why is SFX covering James Bond? In a recent poll a massive 93% of our readers said they wished SFX would cover the famous spy. But beyond that, let me make a case that 007 has always been, at heart, a sci-fi franchise.
Giant lasers in space; jetpacks; secret bases beneath the ocean or inside volcanoes; cars that turn invisible or sprout fins to become a submarine; ninja SWAT teams; virtual reality training simulations and x-ray specs; guns hidden in cigarettes; evil plans to re-colonise the world with genetically pure humans... You get the picture. Big-screen Bond has inhabited an implausible universe of rocket ships and gadgets since the 1960s.
Certainly this was played down with Daniel Craig’s debut in 2006’s Casino Royale, a gritty, post -Bourne take on the character. But then the fantastical nature of the 007 franchise has always been cyclical - From Russia With Love or Licence To Kill are less preposterous than You Only Live Twice or Die Another Day, for instance, while Moonraker’s obvious gift to the Star Wars generation couldn’t be further from Live And Let Die’s blaxpoitation vibe. With the reintroduction of Q to the Bond universe (Ben Whishaw will play the MI6 gadgetmonger in 2013) it seems the pendulum could be swinging back towards techno-trickery soon. The time is right for us to uncover what makes James Bond great. Grab a vodka martini and saunter over to page 48 to begin your mission.
PS. This issue’s Blastermind quiz - over on page 39 - is all about James Bond and his various incarnations. After a quick office test run we pronounced it the easiest for months. But how will you find it?
The SFX Quiz: Blastermind
Pay attention, 007! Earn your licence to quiz with our fiendish challenge to your James Bond nous
1: WHAT NAME DOES U Goldfinger GIVE TO HIS SCHEME TO IRRADIATE FORT KNOX?
2: What does Spectre stand for?
3: What are the names of Bond’s parents?
4: The Infernal Machine, The Inhuman Element and Out Of The Clear Sky were Ian Fleming’s working titles for which Bond adventure?
5: Pierce Brosnan’s commitment to which TV series stopped him from playing Bond in 1986?
6: name these bond GIRLS (CHARACTER AND ACTRESS).
7: who was the distinguished BRITISH AUTHOR WHO WROTE THIS NOVEL BEHIND A PSEUDONYM? (James Bond Colonel Sun by Robert Markham)
8: Bond smokes which exclusive brand of cigarettes?
9: Which film first reveals the face of Ernst Stavro Blofeld?
10: The security-coded keypad in Moonraker plays the theme from which hit ’70s SF movie?
11: Match the Bond film to the posterline: i) “Everything he touches turns to excitement!” ii) “Far up! Far out! Far more!” iii) "James Bond’s all time high!”
12: Name the Bond novel that opens with this line: “James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.”
13: Crack this sequence of numbers: 32-30-45-43-42-38.
14: What predator connects Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me and Licence To Kill?
15: How many times does Roger Moore’s Bond order a vodka martini, shaken not stirred?
16: What links “Risico”, “The Property Of A Lady” and “007 In New York”?
17: Who is Bond’s first conquest in the movies?
18: Which classic Bond car has the registration PPW 306R?
19: Which latterday TV quizmaster played 007 on South African radio in the 1950s?
20: What connects The Man With The Golden Gun, Octopussy and A View To A Kill?
ANSWERS 1 Operation Grand Slam 2 Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence Terrorism Revenge and Extortion 3 Andrew and Monique 4 Moonraker 5 Remington Steele 6 Tatiana Romanova [Daniela Bianchi], May Day / Grace Jones, Xenia Onatopp / Famke Janssen] 7 Kingsley Amis 8 Morland 9 You Only Li\'e Twice 10 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind 11 i) Goldfinger ii) On Her Majesty's Secret Service iii) Octopussy 12 Goldfinger 13 Each Bond actor’s age at time of release of their first 007 film 14 Shark 15 Never 16 They're the remaining unfilmed Ian Fleming Bond titles 17 Sylvia Trench 18 The Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me 19 Bob Holness 20 Maud Adams appears in all of them (she's an extra in AVTOAK).
Bond is back, so it's over to Nick Setchfield to uncover some intel about the secret agent's return...
SOMEHOW A GOLDEN anniversary feels supremely fitting for James Bond.
This five-decade franchise has a J distinct bullion gleam, from vault-plundering bandit Auric Goldfinger to Francisco Scaramanga, the assassin armed with the glittering 24-karat pistol. The gold-plated girl has become one of cinema’s truly deathless icons while Ian Fleming composed his tales of blood, sex and treacherv at a Jamaican bolt-hole named Goldeneye, immortalised as the title of Pierce Brosnan’s debut as 007. Gold is the essential element of the Bond universe.
So this autumn’s Skvfall arrives with some seriously gilt-edged expectations. Not only must it return Daniel Craig to active duty after the mixed reception that met 2008’s Quantum of Solace - dismissed by some as a slight, Bourne-aping entry in the Bond canon - it’s also assigned the mission of honouring a phenomenal 50 years of world-conquering escapism; half a century of impossible plots, govemment-issue gadgetry and nudgingly-named foxiness.
“We were hoping we could make one in the 50th anniversary year,” says producer Michael G Wilson, on the line to SFX along with fellow formidable guardian of the Bond legacy Barbara Broccoli. “That was our goal, and we just made it [development of the 23rd Bond film was put on ice in 2010 when MGM faced financial problems]. We certainly want to make a good film, and it’s a chance to celebrate a whole franchise as well. It’s like a cross-section of the Bond films.”
“It was important to us, for the Bond fans, that we made a film this year, so that they can celebrate the 50 years,” adds Broccoli, daughter of screen legend Albert R “Cubby” Broccoli, the man who built the house of Bond on the big screen. “It feels verv much like a classic Bond film, and we’ve tried to incorporate as many elements as we possibly can.”
You can sense a return to core values in Skyfall. While the plot trades in the kind of byzantine chicanery demanded by modern espionage thrillers - this time Bond’s immersed in a global shadow game that threatens the very heart of MI6, testing his loyalty to M - there’s more than a hint of vintage 007 onscreen. From he sharp, Connery-homaging cut of Craig’s Tom Ford suits to a key role for Goldfinger's iconic Aston Martin DB5, this is a movie that’s clearly out to recapture some trad magic - what Daniel Craig calls “a Bond movie with a capital B”.
Crucially, the man with the Licence To Kill is no longer the half-formed agent we saw in the reboot-minded Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. "Casino Royale was about him becoming Bond, and then in Quantum he was settling the score with the Quantum organisation, savs Broccoli. "I think now it's fair to say that Daniel's fully at the helm of the character, and has to meet the challenges Bond is put through, storvwise and emotionally in the telling of this story.
"I think that after Casino Royale we felt that the character could not, having lost Vesper, just pick up as if she had never existed. \
So the storyline was very much about avenging her death, which was dark, and possibly too dark. We
feel like he's closed that chapter and he's now back as James Bond. Obviously emotionally the memory of Vesper will continue to inform him. It's the thing that stops him being able to have any real commitment, or wife and family. The knowledge is there. Now he will go on to live his life in a more enjoyable wav. He carries a heaw burden, but he has a lot of fun too."
While Skyfall delivers a standalone villain in Javier Bardem's flamboyant, charismatically menacing Silva, Broccoli says that the filmmakers haven't abandoned the shadowy Quantum organisation, gameplayers behind the last two films. "No, I think it's still out there, but we just don't refer to it in this particular film."
Tantalisingly, Wilson reveals that they have the rights to bring back Blofeld and Spectre, cornerstones of big-screen Bond that vanished in legal battles for long decades. "We believe we can use them. They're a little dated at the moment. We went for the Quantum organisation, which was more business oriented, trying to corner the market on scarce resources, rather than a criminal organisation that did blackmail and bank robberies..."
"And since they were parodied in the Austin Powers films T think we need a little time to pass before we go back to extortion and blackmail!" laughs Broccoli. "The Quantum organisation does seem far more realistic"
FROM RSC TO BOND
Skyfall finds Bond chasing a global trail of intrigue from Istanbul's spice bazaars to the rugged peaks of Glencoe, from Shanghai to London. But the most genuinely intriguing element of the movie mav be its helmer,
Sam Mendes, former RSC director and an arthouse-friendly talent acclaimed for such emotionally resonant fare as American Beauty and Revolutionary Road. He may be a surprising choice for the slick thrills of a Bond film but Broccoli maintains he's a perfect fit.
"I think he's a great storyteller, and he attracts the best performers. We have a fantastic cast. By all measures it's the best cast we've ever had in a Bond film. And he has a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. He's been a Bond fan ever since he was a little boy, and so he brought this kind of boyish enthusiasm to the process. He sees making a Bond film as a challenge, and he's really embraced it. He's like a kid with the ultimate toy, like most men reduce themselves to 12-year-old boys when they come and make a Bond film. It's exciting. It's part of the fun.
"His first Bond film was Live And Let Die, which I think is his favourite. He has a nostalgic view of these films, chiefly the early ones, and so he's tried to make this a classic Bond film."
One classic component of Bond that Skyfall returns to the screen is Q, MI6's resident guru of gizmology, now reincarnated in the beanpole form of rising star Ben Whishaw. "There was a place for him in the story that worked," shares Wilson, reflecting on the decision to resurrect the character immortalised by Desmond Llewellyn. "The question was how would the character be different to Desmond. So we've gone younger, and made him more of a technonerd. Ben's an exciting actor and he plays his own version of the character."
The return of Q surely signals the return of Bond's beloved gadgetry, stripped from the franchise by Casino Royale's back-to-basics protocol. "Hopefully," teases Broccoli (though Wilson is quick to add "Don't look at it as a gadget-laden film"). "Just because this film is emotionally grounded doesn't mean it doesn't have all the action and the wit and the gadgets that are also required in a Bond film. It just has a lot of depth to it, which is what I think audiences have responded to with Daniel." While anyone with an ounce of supervillain in their soul might mourn the days of orbiting death-lasers, Wilson insists that a grounded Bond is the best response to the troubled 21st century. "After 9/11 we felt we had to go back to a more gritty Bond, more reality-based, because that's the world we're living in, and Bond lives in his own time."
Might audiences not be craving something more fantastical instead? "Well, I think they get it," counters Wilson. "There are plenty of films around that are fantastical. You know, evervbody makes their own action-adventure film. This is our style for the moment. It could
change in the future.'
So could the franchise fully embrace science fiction as it did in the heady, orbit-scraping days of Moonraker? Could 007 really take aim at the stars again one day?
Anything is possible," says Wilson. "This is the moment of this particular Bond and this particular world. There's a lot of range in the character and in the style of the films and I don't think anything's out of the question."
Skyfall is released by Sony Pictures on 26 October.
LICENCE TO SELL
The film poster has been a key weapon in 007's marketing arsenal, bursting with all the impossible thrills and heart-stopping glamour of the Bond movies themselves. Here are some of the rarer treasures from five decades of big screen spycraft...
Poster: Art for the Japanese reissue in 1970, with a hand-tinted image of Bond.
Poster: ABOVE AND BEYOND... all other adventures... all other Bonds.
Poster: A UK one sheet little used because Bond's white tuxedo wasn't "commanding".
Poster: A US one sheet keeping the new Bond's face a closely guarded secret.
Poster: A UK advance for Dr. No, from October 1962 - note the confident top line. ("The First James Bond Film")
Poster: A French one sheet painted by prolific French poster artist Jean Mascii.
Poster: The tagline translates as: "James Bond back in action!"
James Bond: 50 Years of Movie Posters is out now from Dorling Kindersley.
ON HER MAJESTY'S SEQUENCE SERVICE
Nick Setchfield talks to Danny Kleinman, the man charged with the job of creating the most iconic title sequences in cinema
Goldeneye (1995) saw Danny Kleinman inherit the late Maurice Binder's role as chief visionary and silhouette-wrangler for the James Bond title sequence. As the lifelong 007 fan recalls, it was his Binder-homaging promo video for Gladys Knight's Licence To Kill song that brought him to the attention of the Bond machine. "I got a call to see if I was interested," he tells SFX, as he prepares to return to double-oh duty on Skyfall. "I thought about it for about a second and said 'Yeah, it'd be a fun thing to do...
You're following in the tradition of Maurice Binder, who left behind a great cinematic legacy. What do you think Binder brought to title sequences?
I think nowadays he's almost underrated in the sense that a lot of his imagery looks a bit dated and a bit cliché, and the reason is that he created the cliché. He invented a visual language. He was also working with quite primitive and clunky technology. What would take us five minutes with a swipe of a pen on a tablet would take him days to do. Just the audacity of the technology and the playfulness of how he used it was really quite impressive.
What did you want to bring to it creatively?
Revamp it, bring a more modern sensibility, perhaps make it a bit edgier. I was very aware of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I liked the traditions of Bond. There are certain key elements that you need for it to give you that rush of adrenaline, where you're thinking, "Hey, this is Bond,
not just another thriller."
So what's the process? Do you get the screenplay and try and pick out themes?
The first stage is to read the script, have a think about it, sketch out some ideas, talk to the director, see if they've got any preferences or things that they have in mind. It might throw up a key image in my mind and I can work around that. It's a terribly difficult balance to get. It has to have a bit of narrative but not give the story away. It's got to be in tune with the atmosphere of the movie but it also has to work with the title song. And usually I don't even hear the song until quite a way into the process, so it's a bit like doing a music video without hearing the music. It's really not an easy process. I do feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants quite often. The only reason I do it is because I enjoy it.
I don't think of myself as a title sequence director
- the Bond ones are the only ones that I do, just because I used to collect Thunderball bubblegum cards as a kid.
There's a sensuality to the women in your title sequences but at the same time they're very disturbing. You dehumanise them - you turn them into oil, you turn them into circuitboards. So they're not just decorative, they're slightly scary...
In the original Binder sequences he had quite a lot of naked girls jumping about, and there was no analogy there. That was just "Bond likes to go to bed with girls, and so here's some naked girls." And everybody, including me, at the age of 12, liked to see them - that was the best bit [laughs]! And that,
I think, is no longer viable. You can't just say "Okay, I'm putting a load of naked girls on here..." It's simplistic and prurient. It'd be laughable. But on the other hand the naked girl and the silhouette thing is also part of the iconography, so in a way you can't not have it.
In Casino Royale you didn't have any girls...
I didn't, and there was a reason for that. The film was about his first true love. It was a Bond-the-virgin title sequence! Narratively he only becomes a womaniser after he's been double-crossed by the woman in that film. Women are to a certain extent malevolent to him - he's not particularly nice to women, although I suppose in latter days he's become a bit more reconstructed. It's trying to have a sensuality there but also make it dangerous and perhaps a threat. I think he uses sex to exorcise his own demons. It's not a beautiful thing for him. It's better that it's a bit edgy and a bit dark and we're a bit ambivalent about it, rather than just going, "Ooh, isn't this nice and beautiful and sensual." I'm actually a bit prudish, myself. I'm not all that keen on soft porn or anything like that. The idea of it coming across as a bit Page 3 is a bit of a nightmare.
So what do you want to bring to the Skyfall titles?
I think it's time to slightly reinvent it again. Make it maybe a bit more vital and a bit more psychological - not change everything, but just enough that it feels different and fresh. It can easily become a parody of itself, and that's why it has to keep changing.
Photo: Early concept sketch for Goldeneye's title sequence.
Photo: A Bond girl gets the oil treatment for The World Is Not Enough.
Photo: Defining the visuals for Casino Royale.
Photo: Some storyboards for 1995's Goldeneye.
How to Write the Perfect Bond Movie
Exclusively for SFX, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker screenwriter Christopher Wood shares the 12 secrets of his blockbuster craft
1: If it ain't broke don't fix it. I am an autodidact. I didn't go to film school, I went to the cinema. With money borrowed from my mother's purse when she wasn't looking I sat in the darkness and watched hundreds of movies until I had a pretty good idea of what buttons to push to make the audience laugh, cry or jump out of their seats. Successful movies have a successful formula whether they are James Bond or Laurel & Hardy. Be wary of messing with this formula. When I was brought on board The Spy Who Loved Me, the existing script was decidedly weird and bore little resemblance to the traditional Bond movies I had always enjoyed (maybe because The Man With The Golden Gun had been a disappointment and the producers were panicking and gambling on something different). With director Lewis Gilbert, it was back to basics. Tick the boxes on all the things you have enjoyed in a Bond movie.
Give the public what they want to see with some novel twists. Do the same thing but do it differently.
2: Don't stint on the scenery. Beautiful, exotic locations are a must in a Bond movie. Who wouldn't want to be 007, sipping a dry martini (shaken not stirred, of course) on the sun-bathed, ocean-lapped terrace of the luxurious Orient Magic hotel as a very beautiful and needing woman plucks at the sleeve of his tuxedo? And on no account hold back on any majestic, awe-inspiring geographical feature with scope for derring-do.
3: Start big. It sets the tone of the movie and the audience expects it. When I watched Moonraker with a paying audience for the first time there were initial rumbles of discontent: "Hijacking a lousy Shuttle? We're used to better than that!" Little did they know that within seconds Bond would be thrust out of an aeroplane in flight without a parachute. When I was shown the ski jump sequence in Spy I jumped in the air and punched the ceiling (I did this metaphorically to avoid embarrassing everybody).
That stunt alone was worth the price of admission and would get people talking.
4: Dream up a huge, ambitious plot, steeped in the menace of global carnage, that can be pitched in a single sentence. Auric Goldfinger merely wanted to steal all the gold from Fort Knox. Kiddy thrills. Stromberg was bent on starting a new civilization under the oceans, Drax wanted to do the same thing in space. That's more like it. As a topper I was contemplating melting the polar ice caps in order to drown the undesirable riffraff and create a new, perfect world on higher ground (I should make it clear that this conceit was envisaged by me as writer and not as evil megalomaniac mastermind. Though, when I come to think about it..). Nowadays, budgetary considerations and the "Just how far can we go?" factor have reduced the stakes a bit but the threat to civilisation as we know it must still be immense.
5: Write to your star's strengths.
James Bond is Roger Moore. Not, Roger Moore is James Bond. (This makes sense if you think about it long enough).
In his first two Bond outings, Roger had been asked to play Sean Connery. Bad idea. Roger is a gentler, lighter force. If Sean slaps a woman you don't bat an eyelid - it's like a caress. If Roger slaps a woman it feels uncomfortable (he did it in Live And Let Die and the American audience booed). In The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker Roger played himself. He was relaxed and persuasive - one might use the word charming though I do have a
reservation: at the end of Spy he pumps the bad guy full of bullets. I had argued that Roger was a one-bullet man - maybe two a and a quip - but Cubby Broccoli - that hot Italian blood? - overpowered me.
6: Create a memorable villain. Possibly with a hook for a hand (Dr. No), a hideous facial scar (Ernst Stavro Blofield) or discretely webbed fingers (Karl Stromberg) but, regardless of physical traits, as powerful, crazed and intimidating as they come. He will be meticulously polite to Bond but capable of staking him over an anthill faster than he sheds the band on his Cohiba Esplendido. Whatever his demented plan for world domination there will be a grain of plausibility in it. The poor sap is going to die at the end of the movie but while he is on screen that thought must never cross our minds. We must wallow in his evil.
7: Make Bond sweat. It can't all be easy. Bond is a cool resourceful type, master of anv situation - or almost any situation. It pays if sometimes Bond suffers, if we see him in real danger. He becomes human, he becomes us. When 007 staggers away from the centrifuge in Moonraker we can sense what it feels like to have your brains passed through an immersion blender. In the immortal lines from Goldfinger as the laser beam closes in on Bond's crotch: "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr Bond. I expect vou to die."
8: Wrack your brains for some nifty gadgets. It seems almost churlish to refer to the "modified" Aston Martin DB5, the submersible Lotus Esprit, "Little Nellie" and the Bell Rocket Belt (Thunderball) as mere "gadgets" but along with wrist dart guns, pen guns, magnetic watches and the rest they form part of the vast panoply of gizmos that have aided Bond in his unceasing war against the forces of evil. The audience loves 'em and who does not respond to the scene in which Q presents his latest invention or gives Bond the chance to check out the latest works in progress in his laboratory? (Well, the producers of the current Bond films, obviously.)
When and how will Bond use the latest gadget? Will the writer have forgotten it? (Of course not!) When and where will Q pop up with something mysterious in a packing case and say, "Now listen carefullv, 007. This is very important." I believe the audience enjoys these scenes as much as I do and they would definitely feature in the screenplay of my perfect Bond movie.
9: Sprinkle the piece with beautiful women. Women like men who like women so women like Bond - but not ahvavs immediately. The heroine, for instance, will remain relatively impervious to 007's charms until the final reel when he has saved her life and they are holed up in a conveniently cosy location. This woman will be responsible, highly intelligent and probably the recipient of several diplomas. She will be Bond's equal - well, almost. Other very attractive women that Bond meets in the course of the movie will have less developed defence mechanisms, some - saucy hussies - will even attempt to use congress with our hero as a means to obtain information or subject him to the villain's will. Bond will know this but will still enjoy them before, perhaps, handing them over to the police as in Dr. No.
But Bond is not entirely without feeling where the fair sex is concerned. He can reveal this by occasionally referring stoically to his newly married bride, cruelly slaughtered at the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Sometimes I ask myself what happens to Bond's latest love interest at the end of every movie. Where does she go?
Nobody ever asks.
10: Keep things flexible. A great idea can arrive at any moment (the Spy ski jump was spotted in a newspaper advertisement). Room must be made for it. Likewise, if Ken Adam designs the world's largest tanker, capable of swallowing several submarines, or a space station that needs three Paris studios to contain it, you had better find a way of giving these objects the screen time the outlay demands. As a corollary of the above, writing a Bond screenplay is a team effort. Anybody on the set can come up with a good idea or improve upon an existing one. There are a lot of experienced people around with several Bond movies under their belts. It pays to listen to them and it might be career-threatening not to.
11: Defend vour work. Some directors like to have the writer around on the set for any last-minute tweaks. Many don't. They, the directors - and sometimes the actors or their creatures - may have a line or a piece of business that they have dreamed up and can't wait to slip into the movie. When the unwitting writer sees this he can have a coronary. In Moonraker, a potential bedmate has observed to Bond that her mother gave her a list of things not to do on a first date. The epiphany is approaching and Bond breathes "What about that list of your mother's?" The response has me fumbling for the cyanide pills just thinking about it: "I never learned to read." I did not write this line of cringe-making, vacuous fatuity but it is my name on the script. People can point me out in the street and say, "That's him." It's not a pretty thought.
12: Despite the above - enjoy. Even if you are sacked tomorrow you will have worked on a movie that is going to be made; not only made but certain to make money, probably Brinks vans of the stuff.
That is most unusual. I have a shelf groaning with screenplays bursting with great scenes and witty lines that will never ever be seen or heard. Many of these scripts were nearly green-lighted - but "nearly" is a starving cur that roams the streets of Hollywood in packs. Relish your moment in the sun.
Views to a kill.
**** (4 stars out of a possible 5)
A KEY PLAYER IN THE '60S fashion scene, photographer Terry O'Neill aligned with one of the decade's defining icons when he found himself assigned to cover the making of Goldfinger.
Released to ride the 50th anniversary of the triumphant spy franchise, All About Bond charts O'Neill's frequent missions with 007. This is a glimpse of a world before PR lockdown: what's striking is how candid and playful these shots are, from Roger Moore shamelessly goosing co-star Madeline Smith to Sean Connery crashed out on a deep-pile carpet after a serious night of partying in Vegas.
Essays supplement the pictures: The Sunday Times' Godfrey Smith recalls former colleague Ian Fleming as a man with "a mythological quality" but "couldn't take him quite seriously" - a mission statement for Bond himself, perhaps - while Joanna Lumley remembers stopgap 007 George Lazenby as "a lost soul".
There's no real sense of chronology or context, and precious little from O'Neill himself, but the pictures are the thing: a treasure chest of images from the man with the golden lens. Nick Setchfield
An exhibition of All About Bond photos is currently taking place at Proud Chelsea, King's Road; it finishes on 4 November.
Photo: Looks like Connery's grin could do with a little work...
Photo: 007: good with girls and golf clubs.
[Source: SFX Magazine, November 2012. P.39,48-61,126.]