November's edition of British GQ (Gentlemen's Quarterly) features a 42 page dossier on James Bond.
GQ James Bond Special
42 page dossier. As Skyfall hits our screens GQ celebrates all things 007: two bestselling authors pitch the next Bond novel, M opens the file on her most enigmatic charge yet, Britain's sharpest comedian takes on the suavest man to carry the Licence To Kill and we suit up the new Q. Now, pay attention...
by Danny Wallace.
I'm here to see if I can capture just a little bit of Bond. Kot the Bond we see in the films; but the true Bond - the Bond that Fleming intended.
DANNY WALLACE’S MISSION: TO INFILTRATE BOND CREATOR IAN FLEMING’S JAMAICAN HIDEAWAY AND, BY IMMERSING HIMSELF IN THE AUTHOR’S WORLD OF BIRD BOOKS, NAKED SNORKELLING AND RUM COCKTAILS, WRITE A 007 ADVENTURE FIT FOR THE NEW MILLENIUM. THE RESULTS, OF COURSE, ARE For Your Eyes Only...
"I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." THE PHILOSOPHY OF JAMES BOND, AS QUOTED IN HIS TIMES OBITUARY, You Only Live Twice.
I have slept for an undisturbed eight hours and risen at half past seven, just as he liked to do.
I have asked for scrambled eggs, just as he liked, and enjoyed them under the almond trees he planted, staring out at the ocean he loved, towards Cuba, with half a pint of freshly squeezed orange juice, just as he would do every morning.
The eggs came with callaloo; simple Jamaican food, the kind he chose. And I have had a walk through the clear turquoise surf, just as he would do. I have ordered a stiff drink from the cook, and asked for it to be brought, with plenty of ice, to the sunken garden, and I have stretched out and enjoyed the sun, and I have thought about my work a little.
And now I am sitting at his desk behind dark slats in this white, wide villa not far from the former banana port of Oracabessa, and I am still thinking.
Beside me are two books. One is a gilt-edged Easton Press first edition of Birds Of The West Indies in fine condition, for which I paid a man in New York $250.
The other is a dog-eared and grazed copy of Casino Royale that I bought, some time ago, in Foyles on Charing Cross Road -a book 1 started reading in London, but finished in the very room in which it was written; the same room in which 1 will spend the next few days and nights.
The villa is called Goldeneye and once belonged to Commander Ian Lancaster Fleming: Naval Intelligence Officer, Reuters journalist, and inventor of the greatest spy hero of all time. A man whose first visit to Jamaica in 1942, for a covert meeting at Kingston's Myrtle Bank Hotel with an American opposite number about the German U-boat problem, led to something that would establish his name worldwide.
Casino Royale was the first James Bond novel written; and written on the very chair in which I am now sitting. It was a sensation when it was released in 1953, and sold out in less than a month - sparsely worded, brutal, with a chill heart and a lead character content to kill and with no time for silly women and their silly ways. It would be
the first of 12, each one of them completed here, next to two almond trees overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Fleming wrote 1,500 words every morning, 500 words every evening, tap-tap-tapping with six fingers on a gold-plated 1947 Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter with a few powerful drinks and maybe 70 cigarettes.
Fleming would write quickly at this desk, never looking back at what he'd written the day before, never correcting a single word, facing the wall and with the blinds closed so as not to be distracted. He'd draw not only on his imagination, but on his experiences in intelligence, creating replicas of the agents and officers he'd met in his career, and dropping in the things he himself enjoyed
- a certain brand of Scotch here, a certain style of shirt there - the details lending the character a little more depth, a little more plausibility. The smallest details were absolutely vital to his work.
The room seems not to have changed since those days. There is still nothing on the wall. Huge wooden blinds fold back to reveal a room-length glassless gap facing the sea. The sway of the trees as the rain comes -and it comes often in Jamaica - is disturbed only by the sound of the odd falling palm leaf slapping the ground, quickly attended to by a gardener.
At about quarter past 12 each day, Fleming would wander down to the beach to snorkel or wade, returning for a couple of gins and "some ordinary Jamaican food", which the villa's cook prepares for me, too, as I think about what I should write. Because I'm here to see if I can capture just a little bit of Bond. Not the Bond we see in the films; but the true Bond - the Bond that Fleming intended to be "a healthy, violent, non-cerebral man in his middle thirties", who is "detached" and "disengaged", with a "killer's spirit".
These words come from Fleming's last interview, a copy of which I find in the long, cool living room, and it has faded and yellowed since it first appeared in Playboy magazine, just months after his death from heart failure in 1964.
The first question begins, "It is the belief of some psychologists that neurosis is
drive", which startles me slightly, as it's not the kind of phrasing I was really expecting from Playboy. Perhaps people really did read it for the articles back then.
But it is this quote from Fleming I find most interesting: "Whatever it is that enables a good killer to function also seems to defeat him in the end. The killer's spirit begins to fail, he gets the seed of death within himself."
I'm brought ackee, callaloo, jerk chicken and curried goat as I sit outside in a returning sun. I've brought a book out with me. It's the same book that Ian Fleming happened to spot one day, on his shelf here at Goldeneye, as he wrestled with what to call the fledgling hero he was inventing. He wanted a name that would not stand out; that would blend in. Almost bore. That, it seemed, was vital for a man in the spy game. And as his eyes rested on this book, he realised he'd found it. Birds Of The West Indies by James Bond.
"A pretty quiet name," as he said himself in a 1964 interview recorded beside the almond trees with Canadian television. "A name without romantic overtones, [unlike] 'Peregrine Carruthers', or whoever it might be."
The illustrations in the book are by Arthur B Singer. I wonder to myself how close Arthur came to cultural immortality that day, and then I flick through the book for inspiration, to see the same pictures Fleming must have seen so many times. Immediately, I spot a description of a Rufous Nightjar.
Then a Jamaican Crow. Cuban Solitaire. Bahama Woodstar. Golden Swallow. All seem to fit, somehow, with the world Fleming created.
Some don't, of course. A Brown Noddy, for example, would intimidate or excite almost no one, though I imagine there'd be space in a Bond book for the Bastard Cock.
Fleming loved the wildlife here. He woke with the birds, enjoyed the Shamelady plants that covered the estate. But it was the marine life he adored. The novels are littered with sea-life comparisons (a lady in a casino has "the predatory mouth of a barracuda"; another man's hands are "like two watchful pink crabs on the table"). It's clear Goldeneye inspired him; mix with the glamour of girls and guns and spies and lies and you have a powerful cocktail.
Fleming's assistant gardener, Ramsey then just a teenager but now 75, joins me after lunch and tells me with bright eyes of the man he still calls Commander Fleming; how in those days blacks just did not talk with whites; how Fleming would wave, naked and smiling, on his way to the beach while they all giggled; how he'd swim out to the reef to feed a favourite octopus.
"A favourite octopus?" I say, and Ramsey laughs and nods. 1 would finish reading Octopussy that night. In it, Bond meets a retired British military officer who gambles, smokes 70 cigarettes a day, drinks like a fish, lives in a Jamaican villa and wanders down to his beach to swim and feed a beloved octopus. Ramsey hasn't read the books, but he's seen the films.
They did a good job, he thinks.
Fleming would spend January, February and part of March here, and at the end of each visit another manuscript would be more or less complete. He worked at intimidating speed. If I'm to write something here, I need to capture the right mood. I need to start well. Get the details right. Find the right brands, the right look, but for a Bond of the 21st century. And I need a title, something to inform the style.
I think about Fleming's naval history.
I think about military terms that might fit.
Dlackwa tch. Coldstrea m.
Maybe. They sound too modern, somehow. Too explosive. I want something that sounds classically Bond. I don't want to attempt to arrogantly reinvent him; just to harness him for a while.
Time To Kill.
No. But the right lines, maybe. Fleming invented as an enemy the organisation SMERSH - short for Smert' Shpionam, or...
Death To Spies.
Or if we're using quotes from the first novel, how about, "Be faithful, spy well, or you die..."?
Spy Well Or Die?
Perhaps something even more personal and ingrained in Bond history? Something that exposes his determination, his control over rage? Something from his obituary?
I Shall Use My Time.
Or something aquatic, as a nod to Fleming's paradise?
Sounds a bit too Portuguese.
I think about Fleming and his creation. Gamblers. Gourmets. Ladies' men, both.
I think about the "killer's spirit", and what Fleming thought that could do to a man.
I think about how to use what I see around me, the way Fleming clearly used Goldeneye and clearly used Jamaica.
And then I think about who Bond really is, and what Fleming really stood for, why Fleming did what he did, why Bond does what he does, and here, under the almond tree, with a rum and ginger beer, its ice melting almost immediately in the Caribbean heat, I think I've got something...
For Queen & Country
By Danny Wallace.
The easiest way to snap a collarbone, Bond knew, was quickly. Seven pounds of pressure, applied with force and no little surprise disabled immediately the enemy's arm. The trick was to shift one's weight a second or less later and crack the second clavicle the instant the other arm began to rise, which it would, from instinct and shock.
What you did next was up to you. The nose, quick to snap, and pricking bright, sharp constellations of jet-hot pins to the retinal wall, blinding momentarily and startling the neurosenses, scattering reason and thought from your head as a school of fish might panic and dart. The throat, of course, or the sternum to rob them of their lungs. You could extend things, if you wished and had the time to kill, scraping the skin from their shins and moving with strength a knee to the groin, an inch or so left or right of centre, or one might simply persist with the arms, now useless and limp, like those of a puppet, until sockets popped and bone began to fracture and splinter and crackle, pushing up against and through pale, taut skin.
Bond might like to have done any of those things, and had about him not only the wherewithal but the resolve and indeed the licence; but not now, not here, because here was a restaurant in Mayfair, and this man's only real crime was not knowing how to mix a drink to the level of an expert.
Bond picked the olive from his drink, and moved to his table.
The operation in New York had gone off without a hitch. Hitches were rare these days.
Bond thought about what had occurred there, on the 47th floor of the Quartermain building. His predecessors would have needed three shots at 110 degrees: one to weaken the glass, one to shatter, a third, properly aimed, to execute. He'd done it once before, in this very city, years ago, just a short six-block stroll away, to a Japanese cipher breaking codes the Government had preferred remain unbroken. It was a two-man job back then. Technology had moved things on rather when it came to the business of killing. Killing; not murder. Murders are what other people do. Murders are what happen when one lacks the necessary paperwork.
Bond took no pride in his licence. To be a Double 0 meant merely that you were willing to kill in cold blood. To take another man's life for Queen and country - or, at least, for ever more bland
department heads. You were muscle, a blunt instrument, a lump hammer, no more.
The one thing Bond hadn't expected had been the hacker's relative youth. He had been a man barely two years. That had been in the file, of course, but a number is just a number until you study every move, every fidget, every breath, smile and frown, every tiny moment of humanity through the scope of a Croatian RT-20. Still. A three-shot job, cocktails by four, was now a one-shot kill, with time to kill after. Bond had waited an hour so far. He had brought his own radio with him - his one home comfort, his one concession to early middle age - and k jacked the Wi-Fi to the BBC. With the time dif-ference, he could just about catch the end of the golf.
The young Norwegian - Jonas Aagaard
- didn't know what hit him, of course, when it happened, but then what hit him was a single 20mm round travelling at 5,000ft a second.
Bond had experienced that familiar moment of stillness; that perfect breathless nothing after the slight recoil, the bitter tang of the gases from the back-blast heavy in the small hotel suite.
Then, suddenly: the roar of a crowd applauding a perfcct strike.
He wound the radio's volume to zero, then quietly packed up his equipment and moved.
Bond winced as he sipped at his drink. Vodka from potato, not grain. He'd expected better, even here.
The dining room at the Coeur Noir did not appeal. Vulgar, showy, Warsaw Pact taste, the money too obvious, the hookers - actually still one of the few perks an agent on domestic duties could claim for -drawn to fat men with fat fingers round fat wallets and too obvious too.
He had been told to arrive at eight promptly, to sit by the window, to make his order and then await theirs.
He would have what he always had here. Scotch beef, medium rare. Red wine and shallot sauce, glass of Pol Roger. His tastes were simple, masculine, designed not to stand out too far from the crowd. Thankfully, the crowd into which he needed to blend had money. Black cards from Coutts. Their own man in Holstein at Oris. Cigarettes, Moroccan blend, still kept in cases of 50, custom-made by Morland's of Grosvenor Street. Here, Bond was just another face, just another watch, just another well-cut suit. No meal deals here, no sausage of the week.
He'd parked in Mayfair and walked the rest. Agents were encouraged to use their own vehicles these days rather than tie up agency drivers for hours on end. The Bentley - gunmetal, low, muscular - looked at home on South Audley Street, among the cars of the traders and Arabs and elder statesmen, the bright metal halo of the Continental GT framing its dark radiator grille, and the subtle winged B, he felt, a nice nod to his name.
His latest cover did not sit well with him, and that was a shame -the department would now only support bland, believable, forgettable identities, precisely so that they might be believed, and so very bland as to be forgotten. B&B some of the girls at 6 called it. Blend and bore, blend and bore. It did not matter that he was sitting alone. It was better he was not paired with a female. That was too obvious, too by-the-numbers. Better to be two men, in a place of men like this, or to be alone, than to be with a woman.
His phone, the flat, black Nokia Aeon, preferred phone of Arthur B Singer, head of Global Solutions at Rufous/Nightjar, purred in his inner pocket.
He swiped to unlock, the phone silently registering first the prints of his index and middle fingers, then the rest of his mass; a development Q had insisted upon, since it had not become uncommon for a spy to lose first his cover, then his phone, then his fingers. The man they'd known as the Cuban, AKA Solitaire - small, swarthy, with the wiry hair on the back of his hands that were so quick to mat in the heat - had, they discovered moments after his assisted suicide this week in Syria, not merely a briefcase full of phones, but also a pocket full of fingers, embalmed and preserved, as "swipers" first, as trophies once useless.
The message was marked TOP SECRET.
“First," it read, "I must solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is by virtue of its nature in being CONFIDENTIAL My name is Mr Omar Abu El-Dagash, a Manager of the Union Bank of Nigeria PLC, in Lagos."
Bond flicked the words away, flicked them upwards, to find the numbers.
"Fourteen Million United States Dollar,
35 per cent for you, 5 per cent transaction fee, complete in ten banking days from 243-30-498774 and 2340-89-984737."
he Carlyle, unlike most New York hotels on the Upper East Side, had a reputation for discretion, as well as a Favoured Guests rewards service with discounts that appealed to 6 and immediately qualified Bond for a suite upgrade.
The indignity. The forced smile of pretend pleasure flashed at the concierge at the offer of what should by rights always have been his.
He had ordered the Colorado lamb with potato mousseline and dined in his suite while a television - thoughtfully turned on by the turndown service - burbled away in the background. Two women he vaguely recognised from a poster on Times Square - Armenian, maybe? Sisters? Friends? - discussed their plans for the New Year and who should wear what dress and why. Bond had long been a fan of luxury but never that of friendship. For him, the world was compartmentalised into two distinct camps: there were those whom he respected; there were six billion others.
He pushed his plate away and glanced across Manhattan. He missed London. His flat - anonymous, altitudinous, sky high over Dalston
- looking far across the East End and towards the City. His view. He should like to have seen that view now. He should like to have seen it one more time.
Bond emptied the last of the bottle into his glass. It was crisp and Slovakian, from spring water drawn from 200ft-deep aquifers and estate-grown winter wheat, distilled seven times as a vodka of quality should be. And yet what did it matter? Bond drank because he needed a blunt mind.
Resting an arm on the frame of the door, he moved to the bathroom where he smoothed down his holster and brought out his small-frame Thunder 380.
Bond had come to favour the Bersa for its tight grip and sly weight, if not its name.
It had been Felix Letter's once. The CIA enjoyed weaponry that flattered itself. In Bond's experience, a gun did not need to talk itself up. He let the chamber drop, thumbed a bullet, snapped it back in.
And never removing his eyes from those of the grey, dead-eyed man in the mirror, Bond raised the gun to his mouth, inserted it, angled it correctly, and stared at the
stranger before him. He straightened his tie, then began to squeeze the trigger, thinking in that moment only of the sharp kick of the RT-20, the shatter of glass, the boy-man there one second and gone the next, the silent crater suddenly on the wall behind him, the rush of the Tunisians, weapons out, scanning the skies for any sight of the assailant, never once guessing he was three-quarters of a mile away and 30 storeys up, with the calming, dulling smack of a drink the only thing then on his mind.
And he thought of Vesper, and of Felix, and of the look in a man's eye knowing that the last thing on this earth they would ever see - as their life and their hopes and regrets and their mothers, brothers and others flashed through a suddenly childlike, desperate mind - would be Bond.
Would be James Bond.
He stared another moment.
He squeezed a fraction harder.
14. 60. 35. 05.
10. 30. 89.
In 30 seconds, he'd have his answer.
Such steps were necessary. No matter the security locks, no matter the secrecy, the mere fact that a message sent from one place to another existed - or could exist - meant it was merely a matter of time before an interested party attempted an intercept. Twenty-year-old friend of the East, Jonas Aagaard, to pluck an example from the air. More often than not these days it was impossible, but on those rare occasions someone managed, it was the department and the analysts who rightly took the blame.
And so the idea was bom: flood the world with messages. Millions of them, sent across an established, wide-open network to anyone with an e-mail address. Flood the world so that even if the process was uncovered - and it was, quickly - then a new problem was presented. Which one meant something, which one contained the message? It was a masterstroke of simplicity: a fog of words pumped out constantly from a base in west Africa, most generated automatically, 24 hours a day, by an initial team of 419 unknowing Nigerians, until the first few hapless respondents gave up their bank details, profits spiked, and thousands more joined the party, each hopeful missive inadvertently providing another inch of cover for the department's business.
Thousands were conned every year, of course, but this was necessary. They had their greed to blame, but could perhaps take unconscious pride in knowing they'd done so in the name of the State.
These days, in an enemy's eyes, everyone was a suspect, each of us a potential target. A teacher, a plumber, a Member of Parliament. 62 million Britons, 311 million Americans, the Chinese, of course, however many of them there were these days, and all of them the owners of just one of the 3.146 billion e-mail addresses leading somewhere or other in the world.
On a sad note, it led to very many low-level redundancies in interagency code-breaking circles.
Bond scanned the room before looking at the e-mail any further. Bankers, mainly, he guessed. The odd diplomat, the odd face he recognised from the tables at Marina Bay or buying nasty Marque d'Acheteur champagnes for the girls of Le Chabanais Renouvele, now so popular with the hired thugs of the Turks and Israelis.
It was the Israelis you had to look out for these days. They'd gone trad. Back to basics.
Heart attacks, never obvious, unless you knew what you were looking for.
Since the Russians had found favour in quick, cheap shots of polonium -issued no longer in the Royal Suite at the Lanesborough or after tea at Simpson's on the Strand, but in bleak, strip-lit High Street chain restaurants, surrounded by slack-jawed civilians, and surely there was no clearer sign of the times than this - the Israelis had returned to liquid cyanide. An out-of-order lift, a suddenly distracted porter, then one sharp squirt from an unsheathed ; ~ -
needle aimed more or less at the face on a hotel landing brought about heart failure more or less always put down to the mild effort of one or two flights of stairs. By the time the authorities arrived, no trace of the liquid would remain. It was quick, efficient.
Very Israeli. The whole spy world was doing it. There was a certain style to it; an old-school romance. In reality, it was clear that budgets were tight for the first time in memory.
Bond had his answer.
He drained his awful drink and stood, making sure to take his receipt.
The pool of Kingston's Myrtle Bank hotel had seen better days, but then so had the people sitting by it.
An acre of German flesh, guts flooding over tight, bright briefs. A Spaniard, too, judging by the hint of Fortuna the breeze waved from the beach.
Bond had been in Jamaica for five hours. The M6 had been waiting for him as promised, the Walther Flat Carry 9mm in the lining of the passenger seat as promised. The car's twin exhaust leant the winding
drive from Montego Bay a calming buzz, the engine constantly on edge, its growl that of a guard dog waiting to see who's behind the rattle at the gate.
He'd received his COI file through Lagos again. This time he'd been pleased to see he'd been the beneficiary of a handsome will left by a Ugandan prince. All he'd had to do was enter his bank account details and date of birth to unlock the confirmation of identity...
KARSTEE, JOACHIM (BND)
Bundesnachrichtendienst - Federal Intelligence Service Formerly MAD/Militarischer Abschirmdienst
KHOWH ALIASES: Luka Beck (1998), Emile Zimmer (2002-2003), Thomas Braun (2009-?).
0RIGUÍ: Lübeck, Germany
AGE: Early 40s.
DESCRIPTIOU: 5'9", weight 12 stone. Complexion pale. Clean shaven. Blond hair (thinning), eyes: blue/green. Gold tooth back molar. Infrequent smoker [Gauloises, American Spirit, Muratti, he has no one allegiance]. Casual dresser.
Thin scar under chin, five inches in length, caused by stonefish pelvic spine, Indian Ocean, saved own life with hyoscine butylbromide and quick thinking, suffers dead nerves, upper neck.
FURTHER: Racially, appears Nordic Alpine. Fluent German, English, Danish, Farsi, some Mandarin. Light north German accent in all. Wears Oris ProDiver Chronograph, engraved, though engraving has been scratched to nothing. Preferred cologne is Jamaican Vintage Kings Men (top notes of bergamot, base notes 1 ambergris/cedar).
HABITS: Inexpensive. Above-average gambler.
COMJftEHTS: Preferred weaponry is Ruger LCP, once known to carry Walther PPK. Carries Gerber Covert Automatic knife, inside pocket left. Proficient though not exceptional in close combat, no particular discipline.
It had been eight years since Bond had last seen Karsten - his opposite number - during an operation in Berlin's Templehof. They'd drunk the night away in a bar on Pappelallee with the girls and drunks of Prenzlauer Berg, but Bond studied the COI in spite of remembering him well. You had to remind yourself of the slightest thing, because the slightest thing is what the memory took from you first. You could not be tricked by its arrogance, nor by its broad, convincing strokes. Lookalikes are made as well as bom, and they can be made by the dozen.
Bond tugged at his linen shirt, knowing the 38°C heat would never sit well with a Celt.
He saw Karsten immediately, sitting by a table under the canopy, with a large orange juice and a large Jamaican. Bond recognised the man as Roberts Johnson - 6'8", neat controlled beard, one green-lensed eye to remind his mistresses of his famous jealousy. He was a local gun runner, local pimp, head of the Jamaican Crows, and also known as Ladyshame Johnson. Learned his trade with the Antillean Siskins outside Cuba. An angry man who'd done a deal with the Chinese in Kingston that hadn't worked out. He'd lost 40 per cent of his business in one year, and the shanty-like houses of shame that had earned him his name.
Bond started towards them.
Six exit points. Eight-foot drop at edge of veranda. Twenty-five or so visible balconies.
"James, join us," said Karsten, his arm up to welcome Bond and to summon a waiter, but betraying the dark-blue pools under his arm.
Nine open windows.
Bond smiled, sat.
Two guards. Steak knife, table left.
"This is Roberts Johnson," said Karsten, and neither Bond nor Johnson said a word. "But of course you have met."
They had met, yes. They had met when Bond and 005 had been called in to assist the JDF with Johnson's extradition. By then, the Jamaica Defence Force had already been outclassed by Johnson's men - Somalian mercenaries and Trinidadian thugs, high and fearless on local cocaethylene - who'd shown remarkable imagination in stretching their dwindling resources, jerry-rigging barricades to high-voltage pylons, secreting home-made gasoline bombs in driverless cars rolled down hills and over cliffs, overwhelming the armoured vehicles of the men sent to bring in their leader.
So yes, they had met. But Bond remembered thinking, as he watched 005 - now just a helpless, gasping Perry Carruthers - lose both hands then receive Johnson's final sneering shot to the head, that theirs was not a relationship destined for friendship.
"Sir?" said a waiter, suddenly there.
Bond noted the coconut water already on the table.
"Three measures of Gordon's," he said, not looking up. "One of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice cold, then add a large, thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
The waiter nodded and quickly padded away.
"That's quite a drink," said Johnson.
"I've come quite a way." N *.
Out over the bay, Bond could see a storm approaching.
The wind picked up for a moment. The sway of the bushes made way for the crack of fallen palms, swiftly attended to by a gardener.
"No stirred Martini?" smiled Karsten.
"Shaken. Not stirred."
"I know, James - I'm f***ing with you. Literally everyone knows that about you by now, whether they've seen your COI or not. He is such a details man," he said, suddenly sly, conspiratorial, to Johnson. Bond was uncomfortable in the Jamaican's presence. Why was he here? Bond was not early, and Karsten would not be careless enough to allow one meeting to spill into another.
"Biochemists at the University of Western Ontario have shown that gin Martinis, shaken, not stirred, were able to break down hydrogen peroxide and leave less than .072 per cent of the peroxide behind," said Bond, not taking his eyes off Karsten, not gracing Johnson for even a moment with his gaze, "while gin Martinis stirred not shaken left .157 per cent, affecting minutely but directly its taste. So yes, I am a details man."
"The devil is in the detail," said Johnson, with a grin.
"The devil is everywhere, Mr Johnson," said Bond.
"How was New York?" asked Karsten, and Bond smiled. Better a smile than a flinch. New York had been Priority 8. Black file, red star.
"I took the liberty," said Karsten. "Ackee. Saltfish. Callaloo. The rest."
Slight discolouration to saltfish. Dish placed off-centre. Guards have changed position. Private contractors. Bahama Woodstar.
"Delicious," said Bond.
"How have you been feeling since the operation?" asked Karsten. "I heard you had some... issues, at your hotel? A crisis of confidence?"
Audio? Video? Bond shook his head.
"Maybe I just heard something somewhere. There's no shame. We are getting older, James. Tired. We see so many things, do we not? We suffer the things we see..."
Bond stared directly at Johnson for the first time that day. What did he have to do with this? Johnson's one green eye seemed far brighter in this light; it was, he thought, almost emerald.
"Things are so much harder when you're older," said Karsten, now smiling, snapping Bond back into the moment. "Ach, well who knows where I heard it. Maybe just something on the radio..."
Bond could feel a bead of sweat forming at the nape of his neck. The radio. His weak point. His home comfort. Agents were not allowed unsanctioned equipment for just this reason.
Oh, Q would love this. What had Karsten seen?
The lean on the bathroom door? The Thunder in his hand? How had they placed a pinhole in the Revo?
"What is it that you wanted to tell us?" said Bond, coldly, professionally, and Karsten obliged.
"Mr Johnson tells me that someone new is in town," he said. "Someone flanked by an unusual group."
"Eastern Europeans," said Johnson. "They arrived by boat at Runaway Bay. My men tracked them until Trench Town, where they were... asked not to." Bond knew what "asked" meant.
Hired hands. Happy to kill.
Could be anyone.
Karsten slid a photo across the table.
"This is from two days ago," he said. "I took it myself."
Bond narrowed his eyes. He knew the area. Spanish Town.
The subject showed signs of recent facial surgery. He was flanked by four men, with three more in a two-year-old X5 behind them. Each was armed, cautious, ready.
The man was being hurried into a pockmarked flat-roofed building, by a sign marked "Welcome to Folly", and was all but unrecognisable.
But Bond recognised him straight away.
"I thought we might work together once more," said Karsten. "Because I know, James. I know you now. I have seen."
He could sense Johnson smile, sense him smiling at his guards.
"I have seen that you are a man with nothing to lose any more. Because I have seen you have already lost your killer's spirit."
Bond stared at the picture again, and at the man within it.
Living daylights: Inspired by his sunny surroundings, Fleming’s work often referred to Jamaica and its wildlife.
Judi Dench's Dossier on Daniel Craig
M The grand dame of MI6 opens the file on her enigmatic charge, the stunts the jokes about Bond's next assignment.
I didn't know Daniel before he was cast.
I just knew of him; I knew about him. He came with the reputation of being a wonderful actor who's done lots of diverse things.
There was a possibility we were going to do a television show together at one point, the name of which I won't say because it wouldn't be good for the person who did it. But it didn't work out and I never actually met him. I'd seen him in Our Friends In The North, and that was wonderful.
When I heard the news I thought, "How terrific." I also thought it's a very, very onerous mantle to take on because he's James Bond, you know? He's universal.
It's a big thing. I mean, what do you do?
However, if he was uncertain he didn't give me the impression of being so. Daniel can be rather enigmatic. Like James Bond, really. Although I'm certain underneath it all he was a bit... nervous about it - as was Pierce Brosnan.
Daniel is a James Bond for today. He's just a really good actor, which means that he's managed it with incredible aplomb. He's got a great sense of humour and that, to me, is absolutely essential in that part. Well, in any part I think it's essential to have a sense of humour, and I wouldn't want to work with anyone who doesn't.
I also think he feels like a Bond who could kill a man. That was a conscious decision, really, in the same way that you don't talk about Bond girls any more, you talk about Bond women. It's moving with the times.
There's a flintiness to Daniel. You'd be afraid of him, wouldn't you? Though, of course, I stare back. Two can play at that game! That's the fun thing about playing M, you can say whatever you like to him.
A scene is only as good as the two of you make it, whether it's Daniel Craig or Daniel Day-Lewis or Pierce or Javier Bardem.
When I read a scene with Daniel, it's always so nice to see. Those will be good days, you think. Daniel and I have done three films together now, and I did four with Pierce. It's a rare thing, an actor as good as Daniel who's also so good at the action. He's a great leading man
And, in Skyfall, we had more dealings together, so I got to know him better. I keep coming back to it, but he really does have a great sense of humour. Perhaps somebody who doesn't know him might think he was very serious, and he was tense when I first met him, but, gradually, you find he has this sense of humour, which is irresistible. Even if you do meet Daniel, you wouldn't know that, certainly not at a first glance, or maybe even a first meeting.
He's very focused on set, very focused indeed. And he's quite intense. But, as I say, quite funny too, so the tension is never so much that it affects another person
- not that I've found, anyway.
He's the type of actor who would say if a line isn't working. Not often - but I've known him to do that. He would instinctively know if something should be part of a scene or not.
I think he's loved working with Skyfall's director Sam Mendes. I actually worked with Sam when he was a little boy in the theatre, so I know him very well. You feel very sure in Sam's hands and I think that's something that matters to Daniel. Well, every actor likes it if you feel somebody's on the bridge.
Of course, Daniel is fantastic at doing action. When I see so many of the stunts he does, I say, "You can't have done that!" And he'll say, "Yes, I did." He's very impressive. I don't know what makes him want to do his own stunts, he just likes doing them! He loves to have a go. But he's so brave. There is a particular stunt that comes to mind that's in the new film... but, of course, I can't tell you about that. Otherwise someone will take me out the back and have me shot. But it's a rare thing - an actor as good as Daniel who's also so good at the action. A great leading man.
I think that's the truly wonderful thing about Daniel - he's an actor but he's also a leading man. I don't think there's much he can't do. Well, I don't know how he'd do in a pseudo farce - maybe he should do that!
And, of course, he wears some good suits.
I admired a jacket he had in Quantum of Solace, and there was a spare, so on the last day I was given it as a present. Roll on the winter.
I think he's aware of the responsibility he's now got because he's recognised absolutely everywhere he goes as Bond. Very much like Pierce was, too. And then he just wanted to go off and do other things. Not to shake off the Bond image, but to say, "Look, I don't just have to be this person with the gun and the girls, but I can do this." You can't go out in the world and not be recognised as James Bond. He knew it would change his life. I think when you're asked to play something like that it takes a while to actually realise what your taking on.
If James Bond were a woman...
Victoria Coren relieves 007 of his most precious gadget.
1) She'd get Q to make her the coolest range of exploding jewellery.
2) Everyone would call her a slag.
3) She would refuse to meet the crime lord Hai Fat in The Man With The Golden Gun, as his very name would send her screaming for the health farm.
4) The sticking on of a fake nipple in order to pose as Scaramanga would be a lot more complicated. (It’s possible the nipple alone would not be enough to fool Hai Fat.)
5) The seduction of Pussy Galore would be a lot quicker.
6) Then again, Bond would probably run off and join Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus, which looks a lot more fun than MI6.
7) Meanwhile, she’d meet a lot of men called things like Dick Plenty, Phil McCrack or P Niss-Foyou - and she wouldn’t actually find this more erotic than if they were called Steve Cooper or Dave Evans, because she’s not a total moron.
8) She would be suing Mr Moneypenny for sexual harassment in the workplace.
9) When Auric Goldfinger aimed a laser between her legs, she’d say: “Ooh good, my bikini line needed doing.”
10) Then again, when Bond
asked, “Do you expect me to talk?” Goldfinger would reply: “Oh, God yes. Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit."
11) There'd be a lot fewer fight scenes and a lot more sarcastic little put-downs.
12) She’d be massively jealous of Rosa Klebb’s poison-dagger shoes. Fabulous for parties.
13) When she’d safely detonated the bomb that was disguised as a cake in Diamonds Are Forever, she’d say: “Thank God! I was absolutely terrified - I thought those were real carbs.”
14) She’d be easily defeated by Spectre. One look at Blofeld’s cat and she’d be going: “Oh, look. Oh, isn’t he gorgeous? Come here, come on, come to Mummy. Who wants a lovely bowl of tuna, who wants it, who wants it? Yes, you know ou do...” as Blofeld shot her in the back.
15) The films’ opening titles would show lots of naked men in silhouette, their erections bouncing in slow motion on the screen. Nobody would want to see this and the franchise would have started and finished with Dr. No.
16) But the scenes in which Jaws tries to bite Bond would be a lot sexier.
17) She wouldn’t give a s*** about whether or not you’re supposed to have red wine with fish. In fact, she’d be a lot less pernickety and effeminate in general.
18) She’d tell everyone how delighted she was when a woman took over as M, but she’d actually be really annoyed.
19) She -would never put a wet suit over an evening dress. She might, however, mix Iligh Street with vintage for a thrown-together look that she read about in Grazia.
20) She wouldn’t play baccarat, she’d play roulette. And she wouldn’t play poker unless she was good at it. In the remake of Casino Royale, when all the quads and full houses got turned over, she’d know full well that either nobody on the production had ever played the game or everyone in the story was cheating.
21) She’d swap her Rolex Submariner for a holiday in Turks and Caicos.
22) If she skied over a cliff, as in The Spy Who Loved Me, she wouldn’t use a parachute with a giant Union Jack on it, because she’d have some basic grasp of the concepts of secrecy and espionage.
23) Daniel Craig would have to play a villain instead. And if he wore those trunks, she’d let him win.
BY DAVID NICHOLLS
THE BESTSELLING ONE DAY AUTHOR PITCHES HIS BOND NOVEL: A GLAMOROUS, COLD WAR-ERA MAD MEN WITH A GOLDEN GUN (PLUS SHARKS)
I come to Ian Fleming's novels a little late. Of course, I had always been a devotee of the films - this was the law for every adolescent boy in the Seventies. They say your first Bond is the one you remember, and for a long time I thought that The Spy Who Loved Me was the supreme achievement of Western cinematic art. I loved Ray Harryhausen, Hammer, Monty Python and the Bond movies, and presumed I always would.
But by the mid-Eighties, the passion began to fade. I can even pin down the precise moment where things started to go wrong; it's when the pigeon does the double-take at the gondola/hovercraft in Moonraker. It took a return to the novels to reignite my enthusiasm. The problem with the films, I was told, was that they had drifted too far from the books, so I read Fleming's Casino Royale. It is a strange and marvellous book, and not just because Bond orders an avocado pear for dessert. The novel is perverse, brutal and cool, the prose elegant, terse and precise. No Moneypenny, no Q, no gadgets, very little of the movies' now tiresome travelogue element that had Bond skipping from continent to continent like a lethal Alan Whicker. The action is tightly focused, there is a lot of card-play and a great deal of torture. If you're looking for a sustained account of genital abuse with a tennis racket and a seat-less chair, then I really can't recommend it enough. And, after years of growing frustration with the invisible cars, the goofy henchmen, the endless punning in underground lairs, the producers finally listened, went back to the source and made a movie that actually resembled the novel, right down to the tortured genitals. The films and the books are bound to feed into each other now and perhaps that's not an entirely bad thing.
So, what would I do if I were writing the next Bond novel?
Firstly it clearly needs some glamour. Some of the novels are startlingly parochial; in Fleming's original Moonraker, the secret rocket base is in rural Kent and the novel climaxes in a car chase on the A20. While that's preferable to Roger Moore battling a lovable metal-toothed giant in outer space, I think it's acceptable to want a little more glamour and spectacle than Maidstone can provide.
There's nothing wrong, then, with the occasional vast underwater lair if used sensibly. Moneypenny and Q are fine too, though computer technology does tend to age and is something I'd avoid; the phone in my pocket can now do more than Pierce Brosnan's entire suitcase. What I wouldn't create is a Bond "for our times". I would favour the Mad Men approach - something that's immaculately of its moment, not just in its setting, but also in its tone and values. Bond and his foes just make more sense in a Cold War world. Whether motivated by a lust for power, totalitarian ideology or simple greed, there's a clarity and plausibility to the villainous schemes; these are characters forged by WWII after all. While not exactly Tinker Tailor, there's still a strong, almost plausible espionage element to From Russia With Love. The reader knows what's at stake. A present-day Bond, meanwhile, whether on the page or screen, is obliged to tiptoe politely past any mention of world politics. I suspect this is the right decision - a Bond on the streets of Tehran would be distinctly uncomfortable - but put Bond back in the world of Khrushchev and Kennedy, into Moscow and Hong Kong, Istanbul and Monte Carlo, and he feels just right.
A period setting gives him style, too.
The brand names and references that Fleming scatters throughout the books sound precise and perfect. In the modem day they just seem like product-placement, always a little off, wrong somehow. Does he still live off the King's Road, or has he moved to Shoreditch? When Bond is on his way to Savile Row now, does he walk past that Pret A Manger? Does he ever pop in? Bond is a chauvinistic, bigoted old-world reactionary. When he becomes a modem, sensitive, liberal-minded guy, he ceases to be Bond.
I don't want him to tackle green issues or tweet. I want him to smoke indoors. Of course there can be cracks in the armour, occasional moments of vulnerability, and one of the distinctions of Fleming's Bond is how badly and frequently he suffers, physically and emotionally (It's also worth noting that, despite some moments of startling misogyny, the Bond of the novels is also a great deal less promiscuous.) But a Bond who likes to hang out with platonic female mates in Polpo is barely a Bond at all.
Some other things I'd do. I'd have a villain who is sexually ambiguous, ostentatiously sadistic and vaguely foreign. Let's call him... something sibilant and sinister... Sartorius. Sartorius doesn't need to take over the whole world necessarily - that's just silly, Austin Powers-stuff - but he does want to shape the world to suit his desires, and he does want to be rich; despite Communist Party membership, Sartorius collects Old Masters and owns an expensive cat. Of course, he'll need a physical quirk, a white, unseeing eye, a pale scar on his throat from a failed assassination attempt, or a horribly burnt arm from Stalingrad, or all three.
There'll be very specific references to expensive-sounding wines, lots of scrambled eggs and avocado pears for pudding, followed by bone-crunching ultra-violence. The action will be frequent, relentless, but plausible too; no robotic suits, no lasers, no cars that turn into invisible helicopters, just good old-fashioned guns, knuckle dusters, cheese wires, retractable knives. Locations will be modest, I think; let's say Vienna, Leningrad and Havana, and travel will be by propeller plane, smoking and drinking all the way.
But I do still want sharks. I want sharks that eat sidekicks. Because, let's face it, there isn't a novel out there that wouldn't be improved by the presence of at least one man-eating shark.
In Conversation - Sir Roger Moore - David Walliams
In a match of wit, innuendo and stylish sophistication, GQ brings together Britain's favourite comedian and the best-loved Bond.
'The difference between Sean Connery and I is that I'm a lover and he's a killer'
No one can agree on who the best Bond is. However, ask people which actor is their favourite, and most say Sir Roger Moore.
Not content with just being handsome, Roger was brilliantly funny too - a rare combination not seen on screen since Cary Grant. Sir Sean Connery was the first Bond, and as a result his interpretation will always seem definitive. Yet Roger found a way of making the role his own. Roger’s huge popularity made him the longest-serving actor as Bond. His tenure spanned seven films, the most for any Bond in the official Eon Productions series.
I was dispatched to Monte Carlo to interview Roger for GQ, and we met at the quintessential^ Bondian Le Bar Américain at the Hotel de Paris. The great man arrived exactly on time in an immaculate white suit, looking much younger than his 84 years. Roger ordered a whisky on the rocks; I had a ginger beer. We found what we hoped would be a quiet corner of the bar, even though someone came up to ask for his autograph every two minutes. Each request was met with a smile, as if it was the first time he had been asked. A true star.
Every time he made a joke his eyes sparkled. As my wife [supermodel Lara Stone] said of him when we all had lunch at the La Colombe d’Or Hotel at Saint-Paul de Vence in the South of France a few years ago, “He’s very sexy for 80.”
Roger Moore became Bond 40 years ago, has been interviewed innumerable times and must have been asked a million questions about 007. So I set myself a challenge, to ask him a question he had never been asked before...
DW: Sir Roger, I think I may just have an original question for you...
RM: I am waiting.
Did Christopher Lee, who played Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, used to be a hangman for the army?
I have never been asked that! But I can tell you that Christopher told me he was the official assistant of Pierrepoint [one of the last British hangmen].
So we are off to a good start. If you had to pick one moment that defined your interpretation of James Bond, what would it be?
I don't know what a defining moment is.
For me it’s the moment in The Spy Who Loved Me, when you drive out of the sea in the white Lotus Esprit and you drop the fish out of the car window.
Yes, we did have a little discussion about that. "How the hell," Cubby [Broccoli, the legendary Bond producer] said, "can you be dropping a fish when the car is waterproof?"
I said, "Cubby, it's a movie."
For me it’s a defining moment for you because it combines action and humour.
I remember sitting in the cinema aged six, and the audience were so thrilled by what they had seen: the car drives off the end of the pier and turns into a submarine, and you top it off with the most fantastic joke, delivering it with perfect timing.
It's not perfect timing, there's no other way. As soon as the window's open, you drop the fish. If you wait too long, then you're gone. You couldn’t imagine Sir Sean Connery doing that.
Because humour didn’t come as naturally to him.
I think the difference between us is that Sean is a killer and I'm a lover.
But there’s a really powerful moment in For Your Eyes Only where you kick the assassin’s car off the ledge.
Yes, there was a big discussion about that, about it being too violent. But the director John Glen said, "Kick it!"
Your second film in the series, 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun, wasn’t huge at the box office, grossing a lot less than Live And Let Die, which came out the previous year. Was that difficult to take? Did you think your Bond might be coming to an end?
No, no. I'm a perpetual optimist.
Yet there’s a big change in style from The Man With The Golden Gun to The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
Yes, in fact, The Spy Who Loved Me was due to be followed by For Your Eyes Only. But because of Star Wars, the producers said, "Hold it, we are going to do a space picture." I thought, "That's ridiculous." I hated the bloody hack sitting there writing it!
But Moonraker was right for 1979.
The idea, yes. But all that floating around, when you're hanging there, and you feel the blood rushing, your nose getting bigger, and it hurts. It's painful. When [scientist and Bond girl] Dr Holly Goodhead says, "Take me around the world one more time," I'm like, "Oh God I can't do this any more."
But there’s a joke in that film that, when I saw it for the first time aged eight,
I didn’t understand. Which is when M asks, “What’s Bond doing?” and Q says, “He’s attempting re-entry, sir.” It has to be the rudest joke in any Bond film.
What made you most nervous about taking over the role?
Saying, "My name is Bond, James Bond." Didn’t one of your children ask you at the time whether if you and James Bond had a fight, who would win?
Yes, that was Geoffrey, he was about eight or nine years old. He was at the age when kids think that their dad is bigger and stronger than anybody else. And we were in a restaurant having lunch, and he said, "Daddy, could you beat up anybody who came in here?" And I looked around and they all looked fairly old so I said, "Sure,
I could." He said, "What if James Bond comes in?" I said, "Well, I'm James Bond," and he said, "I mean the real James Bond, Sean Connery."
What’s the very first scene you shot as Bond?
I believe it was at the beginning of Live And Let Die where Bond is in his apartment.
I have an espresso machine and M says,
"Is that all it does?" He was lovely, Bemie [Bernard Lee]. And of course, Maddie Smith. She’s so beautiful as the French spy.
I met Madeline recently at the Bond Style exhibition. She came up and introduced herself. At 63, she is stili so sexy.
She was very...
No, very well developed!
Mmm. That must have been a very enjoyable scene to play...
No, because you've got all the oiks in the crew on the rail above going, "Go on Rodge! Give her one! Get her flesh out, come on!"
In 1983, your Bond film Octopussy went up against Sean’s reprise in Never Say Never Again [made by an independent production company, rather than Eon Productions]. You write about the situation in your book Bond On Bond, that you and Sean met up for dinner, which is surprising.
No, not at all. I don't think there was any competition between Sean and I. We'd meet occasionally and discuss how they had tried to kill us. We'd always believed that the producers tried to kill you, to get the insurance, and they'd get somebody that looked like you to finish off the scene.
Did you see Never Say Never Again at the time?
Is it easier not to, because you don’t want to be influenced by another actor’s portrayal?
No, I don't think I had the occasion to see it. Is it a regret that you and Sean never made a movie together?
It would have been great fun to do a walk-on in each other's movies.
I was talking to Barbara Broccoli [current Bond producer and the daughter of Cubby] recently, about an idea I had for a script for two spies of advanced years. You and Sean have to extract information from a very beautiful Russian spy, but you argue over who has to sleep with her, because neither of you want to, you’d both rather have an early night.
Because we can't get it up! Yes,
"Do you have any Viagra?"
How much of a hand did you have in Bond’s style? Did the tailor Douglas Hayward make all your suits for the films?
Not for Live And Let Die. I was still using Cyril Castle on Conduit Street in London. And Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra wanted to know where I got my clothes for the first Bond. They liked the cut of the overcoat.
That you wear in the New York scenes? It’s so elegant. So when did Douglas Hayward start making your suits?
In the mid-Seventies. Dougie had become a charm because of the whole group of Terry O'Neill, and Michael Caine and Parky. Did you ever have clothes made by Dougie? Not by Dougie himself because at the time when he was alive, I would not have been able to afford one. However, the shop is still there on Mount Street in Mayfair and it has been taken over by some very
talented people and I have had a couple of great suits made there. Your Bond lived through the Seventies and Eighties, and you have some iconic looks, the safari suit, the double-breasted blazer and slacks...
I always wore a safari suit when I was filming [1974 thriller] Gold and [1976 adventure] Shout At The Devil in South Africa. They are absolutely perfect for the heat. And it looked very good coming out of the water when Richard Kiel as Jaws lifted me out.
Yes, with me in a sopping wet safari-suit. Christopher Wood, who wrote The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, also wrote the Confessions... films.
For me, the writer who added the most comedy, the wittiest asides, was Tom Mankiewicz.
He wrote Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun.
My favourite line is in The Man With The Golden Gun. I point the rifle at the gun-maker's crotch and say, "Speak now or forever hold your piece." I was watching it on American television recently and the line was cut out!
It was too rude for an American audience?
Yes, well they aren't very sophisticated!
Christopher Lee is magnificent in that film. Did any of the actors who played opposite you unsettle you as an actor?
Not unsettle, but I think it's wonderful if you've got a good actor or actress to work with, because like playing tennis, you play against a hard wall, the ball will bounce back. But if you play against a sponge wall then, you don't get any feedback.
Your films have an illustrious list of villains from Yaphet Kotto to Christopher Walken. If you had to pick an actor who you played tennis with the best, who would it be?
Curd Jiirgens [who played villain Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me],
Because he loaned me his house in Gstaad! But looking back at all the films, Donald Pleasence was a great Blofeld.
Telly Savalas’ Blofeld was incredibly powerful too.
All the villains are great. Michael Lonsdale [Drax, in Moonraker] is a brilliant actor. Sometimes you think that they're too good for the movie.
I am delighted that SkyfalPs villain is played by Javier Bardem.
What an actor.
My wife and I went to the set of Skyfall.
I warned Lara, having met Daniel Craig a few times, that he can be a little bit grumpy. Anyway, he couldn’t have been more charming. Was it because an international supermodel was with me? Were they both in your vision the whole time?
Yes! There’s a story, in Bond On Bond, where you met Daniel for the first time backstage at the
We shared a dressing room.
Were you naked when Daniel came in?
No, I've never shown my body naked, not even to my wife.
In Bond On Bond you write that Daniel came in and gave you a great big hug. Greeting you like an old friend.
I thought it was an old friend actually. I'd been in contact all the time with Barbara Broccoli, furious about the way that Daniel was being attacked before Casino Royale had even started shooting. The press were awful. But because expectations were low, the film turned out to be first-rate, and Daniel was superb. So you’ve seen Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace?
And what did you think of Daniel’s Bond?
I thought he was terrific. My God, he did more action in the first half, in the first second, of the film, than I did in all the Bonds put together. He's brilliant. I had known him as an actor, which is the reason I was furious. He was marvellous in Munich and Infamous. Daniel is great in everything. I was in the National Youth Theatre at the same time as him. In 1989, I saw Daniel on stage in Marat/Sade, and he was playing Marat, and he was in the bath topless, and all the girls screamed over him then. When he came out of the sea in Casino Royale in those trunks, did you think, “That should have been me?”
Thank God it wasn't me, can you imagine?
I would have had to hold my belly in. No,
I was offered a TV series of Tarzan, and I thought, "I can hold my stomach in to sustain a scene for about five minutes."
But having to go through two years in the jungle, holding your belly in? No thank you! Who was the best Bond girl to work with? Who was the one you had the most laughs with?
Maud Adams, and she's Swedish! You don't expect to get laughs from a Swedish woman. There is a story about Hervé Villechaize who plays the henchman Nick Nack in The Man With The Golden Gun approaching Maud Adams.
Hervé comes up to Maud, his eyes at the level of her mini skirt, and they are walking across the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong and he says to her, "Maud let me f*** you." And she looks down and says, "If I found out that you have, I'll be very angry."
That’s the most brilliant put-down.
Hervé eventually killed himself because he had a miserable childhood. His parents were doctors, and at eight they had him on a stretch machine.
So he was basically being tortured from a young age?
Yes, and he was absolutely besotted with sex. Hervé would go to clubs in Hong Kong and Bangkok with a flashlight, line up girls and say, "You, you, not you, you, you, not you." And I said, "How many women have you had since we've been in the Far East?" He said, "54." I said, "It really doesn't count because you've paid for all of them." And he said, "Oh yes it does, because even when I pay sometimes they refuse."
Are there any Bond films that you’re not in, that you would have liked to have been in?
I thought Diamonds Are Forever was a lovely script.
It would have been perfect for you because it’s the campest Bond film. Blofeld is in drag, there’s even gay hit men, Mr Wint and Mr Kidd. That could have been your first Bond film if the producers hadn’t managed to tempt Sean back in 1971.
When were you first approached for Bond? Could you have been 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)?
I was approached before then. Cubby wanted to shoot a Bond movie in Cambodia, and we'd more or less agreed that I would do it. So this was after You Only Live Twice?
Yes. It was very sad, the intensity of dislike between, not between but of, Sean for [producers] Cubby and Harry. Sean believed in his own way that they were cheating him; that he was worth far more than he was given. And Cubby was very hurt.
Did Sean’s feelings ever change? It would be wonderful if at the Skyfall premiere, there was Sean, yourself, George, Pierce, Timothy and Daniel.
Sean would never come.
Was Bond a difficult role to let go of?
The money was a little heartbreaking.
When you shot A View To A Kill, did you know it was your final outing as Bond?
I thought it was going to be my final one beforehand.
So Skyfall marks 50 years of Bond on film. Will it be around for another 50 years?
I see no reason why not. Due to the fact that Barbara has inherited the same thing from Cubby that Cubby and Harry had, that they didn't cheat the audience. Spend the money, put it all on the screen.
You’ve dedicated your post-Bond years to helping people living in poverty around the world with UNICEF.
It’s very inspirational to see that, because you could just be on a golf course.
You haven't seen how bad I am at golf.
When I think of UNICEF, I think of you and Audrey Hepburn. Two huge movie stars who wanted to use their celebrity to help others.
I think it's great that celebrity is worth something.
And yet you are so self-deprecating; just another reason why you are so many people’s favourite Bond. When I was swimming down the Thames for Sport Relief, I knew I would be live on BBC’s The One Show that night. The thing that made me smile the most in those eight days, apart from seeing Lara, was knowing I would be speaking to you live on TV as you were the guest. I thought,
“I have to speed up as I’m going to be talking to Sir Roger Moore later.” I was in Marlow and you were in London and down the satellite link you said, “Do you remember me? I’m an actor.” I replied,
“I wouldn’t go that far!” And you laughed uproariously.
Quite right too!
Bond On Bond by Sir Roger Moore (Michael O'Mara Books, £25) is out on 4 October.
Camp David by David Walliams (HB, Michael Joseph, £20) is out on 11 October.
As James Bond's right hand gadget guy in Skyfall, Ben Whishaw is the smartest mind in the secret service. GQ gives the new 'Q' a razor-sharp wardrobe to match.
When you think of Janies Bond's Q, what comes to mind? Most likely, an elderly gent, with a pocket square, probably stitched head to foot in tweed and perhaps proffering a micro-gadget, from which Bond will - hilariously - fire a tranquilliser dart by mistake, resulting in an unseen adversary wordlessly dropping to the floor.
What you probably don't picture is Ben Whishaw, the slight, floppy-maned, somewhat effete boy-whippet, known for roles as pained waifs (Perfume), sensitive waifs (Bright Star), or pained waifs who happen to be particularly sensitive (Brideshead Revisited). And you probably don't expect him to be playing the MI6 quartermaster as Julian Assange crossed with Mark Zuckerberg.
"It's a reinvention," says the 31-year-old. "He's a genius computer hacker, because that's where the war is being fought. The baddie in Skyfall [Javier Bardem] is also a computer genius. Sam [Mendes] wanted it to have a footing in reality, so when he talked about the character, he talked about Zuckerberg and Assange - he wanted it to be as contemporary as possible."
So no explosive toothpaste then?
"[Laughs] Yes, I can safely say that."
Beyond Bond, Whishaw has a packed schedule. Early next year, he'll be starring in Cloud Atlas, in what is surely one of the most ambitious/insane film adaptations of all time, bringing David Mitchell's notoriously convoluted novel to the screen.
"Well, I didn't know the book," he says, "if I had, I would have thought it was impossible, and that they were crazy."
Containing six separate stories, ranging from the 19th century to the distant future, each written in a different genre, it also sees each tale echo throughout all the others, and each of the cast members (including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant) playing minor roles in each of the other tales. Still with us? Oh, and everyone also switches race and gender too (in Whishaw's case, playing a woman in Jim Broadbent's tale of a literary agent, and a Korean businessman in Halle Berry's detective noir strand).
All of which should make his returning role in the second series of The Hour - the slick, Fifties-set drama based behind the scenes of a current affairs show - seem like a walk in the park: "I really loved that, actually returning to a character, as I've never done it before."
Still, first up, Skyfall. Was he relieved -considering he had previously cornered the market in introspective, shy types - that his first taste of a major action film was with Sam Mendes, known as an actors' director?
He laughs at the question. "If it were anyone other than Sam, no one would have considered me!" Stuart McGurk©
Skyfall is out on 26 October. The Hour starts next month on BBC Two. Cloud Atlas is out on 22 February 2013.
Timothy Dalton: Best Bond Ever (sorry, Sean)
AFTER ROGER MOORE’S KITSCH CARRY-ON, 007 NO.4 WAS A RADA-TRAINED PURIST WHO PLAYED IAN FLEMING’S COLD WAR KILLER BY THE BOOK
There's a beautiful moment at the end of Licence To Kill, the second and final of the short-lived Timothy Dalton Bond movies. After fleeing an exploding New Age meditation temple in a devastating four-rig truck chase, tumbling to the ground and setting fire to a petrol-soaked drug lord (Robert Davi), Dalton's 007 finally allows himself a breather. Smoke-blackened and scarred, he surveys the wreckage around him with a melancholic sigh. And then suddenly, and briefly, he shifts forwards and does a strangulated dry-retch. And that's when you get it. That's when, after umpteen glamorous, far-flung and babe-filled assignments, it finally hits home.
James Bond's job makes him want to puke.
It was inevitable, of course, that the Dalton Bond would end right here, dry-retching in the desert in the summer of 1989. The movie was an outright flop at the American box office (taking only $32m), and didn't fare much better around the globe (the worldwide haul was a modest $156m). Fingers were pointed, naturally, at the film's strangely prurient depiction of torture (lots of mutilations), and at the subsequently dark avenger in Bond (he tosses pilots out of planes like so many high-altitude cigarette butts). The film was slapped with a moody 15 certificate in the UK, and though Dalton was contracted to make a third Bond movie, a timely ongoing "legal dispute" between film companies EON and UA/MGM resulted in a five-year delay between projects and the impatient actor eventually departed the franchise (of the split, the actor has simply said, "After that, I didn't want to do it any more").
And yet, surely this is only half the story. For Dalton was an Ian Fleming purist who was frequently surrounded by Bond novels on set, and who deliberately reconnected the franchise with its tough and often unflattering source material. Despite the spin that has emerged in recent years from Team Bond, especially Daniel Craig's Bond, about going back to Fleming for inspiration ("It's all about reading the books," said Craig, possibly tongue in cheek) no one can touch Dalton for genuine authenticity. Craig's Bond, for better or worse, is merely the incarnation of an interview that Fleming gave to the New Yorker in 1962, in which he nervously referred to Bond as "a blunt instrument" (Judi Dench's M uses the line in Casino Royale). The new, rebooted franchise has thus taken this trope at its most literal and transformed its Bond into a beefy no-neck killing machine with a capacity for moments of tenderness and reflection, but who's happier punching, thwacking, and running straight through plasterboard walls. Similarly, Pierce Brosnan's Bond was deeply indebted to the camp theatrics of Sir Roger Moore's Bond, which was a reaction, in turn, to Sir Sean Connery's grittier Bond which, when you think about it, wasn't that gritty at all (Little Nellie, the rocket-firing autogyro from You Only Live Twice; the Aston Martin with the ejector seat in Goldfinger; Connery quipping, "She had her kicks!" in The Spy Who Loved Me, as Rosa Klebb is shot after she attempts to kill him with a blade attached to her shoe, etc).
Dalton's Bond, on the other hand, was an anomaly and a revelation when he first appeared in the summer of 1987 in The Living Daylights. The film allows him a single moment of kitsch in the opening scene (some business with a parachute and a bikini babe), but then it's straight into Fleming territory and to the depiction of a super-agent who owes nothing to movies, but has emerged directly from the author's canon and specifically from the short story of the same name. In the latter, Bond is a dyspeptic, tranquillizer-popping (he takes Tuinal) and hugely lonely hit man who's hoping, someday soon, to get fired. "With any luck it'll cost me my double-0 number," he says, when he hears that he's being reported to his seniors.
Dalton's Bond is dyspeptic too, and truculent ("Stuff my orders!"), and reluctantly caught in a tangled love triangle that involves him, his cellist lover Kara (Maryam d'Abo) and her Russian army boyfriend Georgi (Jeroen Krabbé), who is also a former Bond ally. The plot that unfolds, written by veteran Bond screenwriter Richard Maibaum and series producer Michael G Wilson, is ingenious, and moves from spy swaps in the Eastern bloc to arms dealing in Tangier to opium smuggling in Afghanistan with watertight assuredness. Plus, there is a modicum of gadget action, including a jet-propelled Aston Martin and an exploding key ring. Yet the film never once forgets character, and returns again and again to the melancholic Fleming Bond, whose sensitive relationship with d'Abo's Kara is the cornerstone of the film (and will later have echoes in Craig and Eva Green's relationship in Casino Royale).
It helps, too, that Dalton is a powerhouse performer. The RADA-trained actor can do drugged with dignity ("I... Er. I... Chloral hydrate!"), while he's positively buoyant in some of his lighter scenes: "Are you calling me a horse's arse?" he chuckles at Kara. Equally, because of this sensitivity, the moments when he suddenly has to "become" the killer, are all the more shocking.
"Get down on your knees. Put your hands behind your back," he says coldly to John Rhys-Davies' Russian general Pushkin, in an execution scene that might have been perfunctory for every other Bond, but here seems brutal and bleakly life defining.
And maybe that's the key to Dalton's Bond, and the reason why he drove it into the ground after just two instalments. Because the best moments of the modem movie Bonds show a professional agent trying to find his humanity in the midst of violence. Yet Dalton's portrait, just like Fleming's, was that of a man who is not finding his humanity, but losing it.
Nobody did it better
Beyond the gates of 00-heaven. The Bond Fauxbituary. By John Naughton.
Commander James Bond ; CMG, RNVR, who recently ; passed away after a short illness aged 91, will be remembered not only for his outstanding contribution to the defence of the realm, but for turning his back on a career of discretion and reinventing himself in later life as a raconteur of repute. Out of step with popular thinking from his earliest days (he famously likened the mistake of consuming Dom Pérignon '53 above 38°F to "listening to the Beatles without earmuffs"), Commander Bond found himself going against the grain on topics as diverse as tailoring, women's liberation and the British Empire. It did not, however, seem to dent his near-universal popularity.
Orphaned at the age of eleven following the death of his parents in a mountaineering accident in the French Alps, he was raised by his Aunt Charmian prior to attending Eton. Here he enjoyed what many British schoolboys have come to regard as a classic education: brief, undistinguished and culminating with his expulsion following a liaison with one of the school maids. His defining career move to MI6 occurred at the relatively late age of 30, and it was a further eight years before he earned his "00" status, giving him his Licence To Kill. It may safely be said, however, that thereafter he rapidly made up for lost time. While it would be a mistake to reduce his national service to a list of statistics, he killed 586 people over the course of his career, slept with 52 women, regularly smoked 70 cigarettes a day and consumed 317 alcoholic drinks (everything from champagne to vodka Martinis, with but one solitary beer).
For many years, particularly in the middle of his career, Bond appeared to consider murder as merely a precursor to an appalling joke. Witness his reaction to the death of Caribbean rival Dr Kananga after he swallowed an air capsule and blew up: "He always did have an inflated opinion of himself." Similarly, sex seemed simply an excuse for him to keep the British end up, rise to the challenge, be a cunning linguist, attempt re-entry, handle his weapon well and generally boast of his healthy erectile function. Perhaps stung by the comic criticism of Mr Michael Myers among others, in recent years he appeared to take both topics far more seriously and, as a result, enjoyed a revival in his status across the world.
After leaving MI6, Bond initially found it difficult to adjust to civilian life and struggled to replicate the adrenaline rush of his former job once his Licence To Kill had been revoked. However, inspired by the success of the white-collar boxing boom aimed at would-be middle-class fighters, Bond launched "bow-tie boxing", which was marketed mainly at the aristocracy. It thrived on the celebrity that Bond brought to it and received a huge boost in popularity when Princes William and Harry were reported to have fought each other over three rounds under its auspices. "The first rule of this fight club," quipped Bond at the time, "is to tweet, blog and talk about fight club at every possible opportunity."
The collapse of the bow-tie boxing boom prompted by the tragic death of the Marquess of Lome saw Bond lose much of his personal fortune in the ensuing legal actions and witnessed his (always generous) alcohol consumption slide out of control.
The viral video of a clearly inebriated Bond advertising shots of a popular whisky
- which featured him repeatedly slurring, "I've had more than my share of shots!"
- prompted his third wife, Nigella Lawson, to force him into rehab.
That marriage did not survive Bond's extended period of detox, but it was his new partner, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who encouraged him to write his memoirs, a move that helped restore his finances and eased him into what he described as "the wilderness of sobriety". Although the first volume was roundly slated by reviewers, it proved highly lucrative and a reliable source of celebrity gossip. Titled The Name's Bond... James Bond, it saw the author lift the lid on the sexual preferences of many of his high-profile partners and the unlikely infatuation of Rosa Klebb, which ended with an injunction. Further volumes, which dealt with his alcoholism (Shaking Not Stirred) and his post-rehab recovery (Dry Another Day), also topped the Kindle charts.
Commander Bond was married very briefly to Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, who was killed on their wedding day in a drive-by shooting. There remains speculation that he later married Harriett Homer, an agent for the IRS, although many dispute this account and in any case Miss Homer also died within days of her wedding. After the collapse of his third marriage, to Ms Lawson, he never wed again, although he continued to have a series of girlfriends, increasingly younger than him, with his final partner, Jezebel Jagger (granddaughter of Jade), some 60 years his junior. As far as is known, he left no living relatives and the Bond family line (motto: "The World Is Not Enough") ends with him.
Source: British GQ November 2012