I have been reading through some of the articles surrounding the release of Goldeneye from 1995. It begins with single sentences about Pierce Brosnan being announced as the next James Bond, in Time, Newsweek and Entertainment weekly. No need to reproduce them here. But then things get a little more interesting. I do remember the controversy over the choice of auto maker, but I don't remember this one:
Connery as Bond's Dad?
One rumor that I missed at the time was that original 007 Sean Connery might have made a cameo as James Bond's Dad. This comes from the May 5th 1995 issue of Entertainment Weekly (issue 273, page 13) in the "News and Notes" section:
POP ART: Just call him . . . Dad? Sean Connery says he's mulled over an offer to play Bond pere to Pierce Brosnan in the 007 movie, Golden Eye, out this Christmas. "It has been mentioned, but so far I haven't talked seriously about it," says Connery, who adds that he'd take the role "if it was well written." One father figure he would play again, however, is Indiana Jones' old man. "I would do it in a minute," he says. "That was good fun. Maybe I should pay Harrison [Ford] a little fatherly visit."
Meanwhile, there was a lot of buzz about the decision to put James Bond in a BMW:
NEW BOND GETS SPORTY NEW BEAMER
The man who loves to live dangerously will shed his traditional British sports car in the upcoming MGM film Goldeneye in favor of a top-secret American-built roadster from BMW.
BMW is the anchor promotional partner for the film, which is drawing a roster of tie-ins said to rival those assembled for 20th Century Fox's Pagemaster, on which film insiders said Fox and such partners as Pizza Hut, Tropicaria, Nabisco and Dow Brands spent $100 million on marketing. The two-seater convertible, the name of which BMW is keeping under wraps, launches at Thanksgiving, coinciding with the release of the film.
"The James Bond series is such a well-known franchise around the world," said BMW corporate communications manager Thomas McGurn. "We think it's a great way to present a new car."
BMW plans to use its product placement in the film to market the car internationally, possibly showing 007 zipping around in his specially-equipped model. The campaign rolls out in the fall, likely heavied-up on big-draw Thanksgiving TV programming. McGurn said the car company wants to emphasize the roadster as a symbol of the "new Europe." Having a new star, Pierce Brosnan, reinforces that message. BMW agency is Mullen, Wenham, Mass.
No word yet on pricing of the South Carolina-built car.
The Bond series has used a number of actors from Sean Connery to Timothy Dalton and cars ranging from an Aston Martin to a Lotus. Product placement agency Norm Marshall and Associates helped put together the BMW deal.
By T.L. Stanley [Brandweek, 1/30/95, Vol. 36 Issue 5, p9, 1/4p]
007: Spy...or lawyer?
Bad enough that irishman pierce brosnan playsBrit James Bond until further notice. Worse: the celluloid spy sheds his usual U.K.-made toys for trendier trappings in his new film. "Goldeneye," out in November, has Brosnan in a Swiss watch and Italian suits, driving a German BMW and treating women with -- gasp -- respect. "This is a disaster," writes a U.K. columnist. "The attraction of Bond is that he is a bit of a rogue . . . our rogue." Bond will cruise briefly in an Aston Martin, but purists are inconsolable. They're shaken, not stirred.
Newsweek, 2/6/1995, Vol. 125 Issue 6, p8
Oh heresy, oh Connery.
When James Bond's Aston Martin can be replaced by a BMW, can anything be sacred?
IT'S NOT HARD TO RANK HERESIES. BLASPHEMING A RELIGION would be toward the top of the list. But this one is as disturbing as any I've seen in some time. Hollywood is replacing James Bond's Aston Martin with a BMW.
To those who've just read those sentences and thought "So?" I forgive you. Obviously, you are either too young or were too distracted in the early 1960s to appreciate the gravity. Would you replace Michelangelo's Sistine frescoes with finger paint? The Eiffel Tower with a Dairy Freeze? Give Disney's lead mouse a new girlfriend?
Bond driving a BMW is just as unsettling. When I say Bond, by the way, I do not mean Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton or any other pretenders. For aficionados, there will always be only one Bond--Scan Connery. I wish the newest, Pierce Brosnan, only the best. But the moment he appears on screen in a Beemer, he will be unable to avoid the status of heretic. That moment will be as debasing as the colorizing of "Casablanca," as much a degradation as the designated hitter is to the game of baseball.
In the likely event the new movie's producers have forgotten, Bond works not for Berlin but for Her Majesty's Secret Service. To those who think I'm showing anti-Teutonic prejudice, ever since my VW Rabbit started each morning during the winter of 1978, I've had only respect for German engineering. But it's inconceivable that Q would have stood for importing a driving machine from across the channel.
Q--his code name--was the humorless equipment officer whose job was to ann Bond with the highest high-tech devices inventable. In "From Russia With Love," there was the briefcase that sprayed tear gas at any foe who opened it improperly, as did S.P.E.C.T.R.E. assassin Red Grant trying to finish off Bond on the Orient Express. The unfriendly Mr. Grant did have a hidden strangulation wire on his watch, and his boss, the less-than-pleas-ant Rosa Klebb, had a poisoned blade in the toe of her shoe, but neither device was adequate. That was one of the satisfying subplots of Bond films: a multinational gadget race always won by British ingenuity.
Which brings up Q's finest moment, in "Goldfinger," when he introduced Connery to some noteworthy changes in his Aston Martin DB5: rear oil-slick sprayers, front machine guns and a hidden bulletproof shield that elevated through a trunk slot. It went Ben Hur's chariot one better--tire shredders that emerged from the hub caps. And of course, there was the contrivance that will forever belong to cinema gadgetry's Hall of Fame: the ejector seat.
"You're joking," said Connery when Q finished explaining how a button on the stick would drive back the sun roof, then expel any unwelcome adversary occupying the passenger seat.
Reports say the "Goldeneye" producers have put an ejector seat in the new two-passenger BMW Roadster. Sorry, it won't work. Bond purists will see that for what it is: Marie Antoinette offering cake to the peasants. A cheap ploy to curry our favor. We won't buy it. It's a shame Scan Connery did not keep his wits--and hair--and remain Bond. In my heart, I know he'd never have stood for this. Thank goodness Bernard Lee has gone to his reward. Lee was the majesterial British actor who played M, Bond's boss and head of the Secret Service. He was a stickler for all things English. Watching his confidence in his man, his department and his queen, you would believe, as I did in 1965, that Britannia still ruled. What child will believe this in 1995 when they see Bond's own country can't even build him a car?
Childhood is enriched by fantasy, and I can't recall fantasizing about anything as much as James Bond. I had every intention of growing up to be 007, winning at baccarat for supplemental income, then dispatching agents of evil without rumpling my tuxedo. I rigged a toy gun belt into a bulging shoulder bolster and walked around with a Roy Rogers revolver ready to draw. Not exactly a Beretta or Walther PPK, but you work with what you have.
Then there was the ultimate fantasy. While sitting in my father's Oldsmobile, I would imagine it an Aston Martin, being tailed by Goldfinger's goons, whom I would foil with oil slicks--or failing that, eject. Several times, I raised the rear bullet shield with seconds to spare, saving both my parents from gunfire. The fantasy worked because an Aston Martin was like Bond himself: understated. It did not need to be showy, to brag that it was a status symbol. It was happy to be appreciated only by the few who understood what it was--the one true secret agent's automobile.
But now we have a Beemer, a brand name some associated with showiness. I like BMWs, sometimes covet them, but a secret agent's car? It's more positioned as a Yuppie's car, the machine you drive when you want everyone to think you have status. This is not Bond-like.
Confession: some of us weaned on Scan Connery still now, in our 40s, have brief fantasies that our Cherokees, Taurus station wagons and Minivans are really Aston Martins. Driving back from school pickup, I've been known to eject S.P.E.C.T.R.E. thugs with the flick of my thumb. I recently ejected Odd Job, Goldfinger's substantial Korean bodyguard, after shopping at Wal-Mart, and Ernst Blofeld himself while waiting in a McDonald's drive-thru. I'm afraid the BMW means those reveries may end. I want to know who I see about it.
Of course, maybe the switch is meant by the producers as a subtle geoeconomic message--a symbol of the decline of the British empire. Dubious. It's more likely just what the articles say it's about: a deal BMW's advertising people cut with MGM/United Artists to hype their product.
Read and weep: Pierce Brosnan, the current Bond, is even going to be featured in Beemer commercials timed for release with the movie. Oh sacrilege. Oh heresy. Oh Connery--where have you gone?
By MARK PATANKIN (Newsweek 11/20/1995, Vol. 126 Issue 21, p20)
Finally, here is what Entertainment Weekly's had to say about Goldeneye in their 1995 Fall movie Preview (8/25/95 - 9/1/95, Issue 288/290, p54):
STARRING PIERCE BROSNAN, SEAN BEAN, IZABELLA SCORUPCO, ROBBIE COLTRANE, JUDI DENCH, JOE DON BAKER, TCHEKY KARYO, FAMKE JANSSEN, SAMANTHA BOND. DIRECTED BY MARTIN CAMPBELL.
The KGB IS kaput. SMERSH has been smashed. And even Spectre is a shadow of its former sell What's a licensed-to-kill supersleuth to do?
"Oh, there are still plenty of bad guys to keep James Bond busy," insists Brosnan, who's already been signed to star in three more Bond flicks. After the lukewarm reception accorded Timothy Dalton in the last two Bond films, the producers have decided to go back to basics. Golden-eye (named after author Ian Fleming's Jamaican estate) promises plenty of nifty plot twists (007 battles a double agent who has stolen the key to a super-powerful Russian military satellite), a bevy of Bond bombshells ("He still has a weakness for the ladies--he's still a sexist," says Brosnan), and oodles of Q's way-cool gadgetry (including a vintage 1962 Aston Martin DB-5, just like the one with an ejector seat in Goldfinger). And look for some classic Bondesque locations, including Monte Carlo, the Caribbean, and St. Petersburg--although most of the movie was actually filmed at an abandoned Rolls-Royce factory-turned-studio outside of London.
"People have been sending us letters for years, saying they want the real Bond back," says producer Barbara Broccoli, daughter of longtime Bond producer Albert Broccoli. "So we spent a lot of time reflecting on what it is that appeals to people about him. We've tried to distill all that. We've tried to go back to what originally made Bond the most successful movie hero of all time and put that on the screen again."
Of course, there will be some concessions to the 1990s. For starters, Bond's boss, M (for years played by the scowling Bernard Lee, who died in 1981), is now a woman (Dame Judi Dench, no less). Also, the look of the film has been updated for the MTV generation. "It's unlike any Bond movie you've ever seen," says United Artists vice president of production Jeff Kleeman, the exec in charge of the project. "It's got colors you've never seen in a Bond movie before. Characters' faces zoom up to the screen diagonally. It's more like a graphic novel. It really wakes up the formula."
"But you don't want to change the formula too much," cautions director Campbell. "I mean, even the bad Bond movies have been successful. Still, I've been rather disappointed with the last few films. I think it's time we brought back a sense of style and sophistication and let Bond be Bond." (Nov. 17)
• BUZZ: The rockin' trailer is a good sign, but it's been six years since the last 007 flick, which disappointed at the box office, so Brosnan will have to prove he can polish up the brand name and deliver the goods.