Category Archives: Movies

A View To A Lazenby

On Tuesday, December 23, the first half of a two-part interview with former Bond George Lazenby will air on the online radio show, “Dave White Presents” over KSAV radio. Wes Britton’s lengthy pre-recorded conversation with George will first be broadcast at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time, 10:30 EST and can be heard at—

WWW.KSAV.org

The day after, Wed. Dec. 24, the show will be archived at:

WWW.AudioEntertainment.org

Which can be downloaded anytime thereafter as a MP3 file. On this broadcast, the spy theme will also include Dave White’s interview with “Spy-Fi” author and collector extraordinaire, Danny Biederman.

Part Two of the Lazenby interview will air on the first show in January—news about that in the New Year! Expect stories, insights, and anecdotes from George about his youth in Australia, becoming Bond, his work on the set of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and his time with Bruce Lee!

Happy Holidays to UJBFB from “Dave White Presents”!

I’m Not Bloody Hearing Things

This is from memory, having seen QOS in the theater again this evening without benefit of a script to consult, but…

1. Greene says at the dock, “I hate when my friends…”
2. In the car, Camille asks, “A friend of yours?”
3. Bond replies in the car, “…I don’t have any friends.”
4. Ticketing agent in Austria asks Bond, “You want to follow your friends to La Paz?”
5. Fields mentions Mathis with her, “My orders don’t include your friend.”
6. Mathis says to Bond, “I want to talk to my friend the Colonel [Carlos, Colonel of Police]”.
7. Greene says, “My friends call me Dominic…”
8. Bond says, “What do you want to bet Greene has friends in the police…”
9. Camille despises Bond’s dumping of Mathis’s body, saying, “Is that how you treat your friends?”
10. In the plane, Bond tells Camille that “[Quantum]… tried to kill a friend of mine.”
11. M tells Bond, “When you can’t tell your friends from your enemies…”
12. Bond to Colonel Carlos before shooting him, “We had a mutual friend!”
13. Bond tells Corinne about Kabira, “He gave one like that to a friend, someone very close to me.”

Thirteen friend(s) references in a 106-minute movie averages a reference about once each 8 minutes!

As mentioned in Friends And Two, this is part of the QOS subtext of “Duality, Friends (and) Enemies”.

That’s My Little Octopussy

Recently, while visiting the tony Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, I cruised the coast and saw nearby this little boat–142 feet long.

The Octopussy, built in The Netherlands by Heesen, was built to be the fastest yacht over 100 feet in the world. OwnerFrank Staluppi of New York, keeps her anchored (you may lease her for a cruise or buy her for a mere $8 Million U.S. or so) in Manalapan. He also owns the Dillinger, Moonraker and The World Is Not Enough yachts. The interior decor most closely matches her sister yacht, For Your Eyes Only!

See her 007 bar and what makes her so yar at this Octopussy page.

Acoustic James Bond

I’ve revamped my Bond music collection, and as a passionate Bond music listener, I’ll share thrilling tidbits over coming days–mostly songs to download legally and free of cost! (UJBFB is, of course, the best James Bond fansite and provides this sort of service.)

Acoustic James Bond — it’s Bond unplugged, it’s piano trills, and sax and violin riffs–some of the more interesting (and beautiful, compelling and astonishing) Bond music available.

Ever hear Bond as stringed instruments only (The Hampton String Quartet’s Live And Let Die)? 4 trombonists only (Slokar Trombone Quartet’s James Bond Medley)? …Would you believe one acoustic and one electric guitar playing intentional disharmonies together (Paul Rock’s TMWTGG theme)?

Here are great tunes to search and download (or purchase) and most of these tracks are at SpiralFrog.com freely and legally for your listening pleasure now!

Full Acoustic Bond Albums:

Paul Rock – Bond Themes
Secret Agents Of Acoustic Guitar – Double Oh Heaven

Select Tracks Online:
Bettina & Eddy Marcos – Bossa Project – 10 Nobody Does It Better
Chris Minh Doky – Cinematique The James Bond Theme and Goldfinger
Edgar Cruz – 01 The James Bond Theme
Frank Kimbrough – Lullabluebye – 05 You Only Live Twice
Graham Turner – The Romantic Collection – 16 Licence To Kill
Kenny Clayton – The Early Years – 03 Goldfinger
Kerri – 05 You Only Live Twice, Nobody Does It Better & All Time High
Marc Hunter – 05 You Only Live Twice
Marck Bracken – Down Memory Lane – Underneath The Mango Tree & Goldfinger
Michael Lington – A Song For You – 10 Nobody Does It Better
Pat Dinizio – 05 You Only Live Twice
Proteus 7 – For Your Ears Only 03 – Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only, You Only Live Twice and Assorted Casino Royale ’67 tracks
Quattromboni – 01 The James Bond Theme, FRWL, GOLD, YOLT and LALD
Richard Clayderman – Cocktail Hour Classics – 03 Goldfinger
Sam Levine – Cinema Sax – 10 Nobody Does It Better
Sax N’ Drawbars – Partymusic For Skyscrapers – 01 The James Bond Theme & FRWL
Simply The Best Sax – 17 GoldenEye
Slokar Trombone Quartet – 01 James Bond Medley
Starr Parodi – Common Places – 01 The James Bond Theme (Piano Version)
Starsound Orchestra – Best Movie Broadway Themes – 10 Nobody Does It Better
The Hampton String Quartet – The Off White Album – 08 Live And Let Die
Winston Benet Project – Passionate Pianos Caress – 10 Nobody Does It Better

Enjoy!

Lazenby, Part Deux

This Tuesday, Jan. 6, online radio show “Dave White Presents” will include Part 2 of Wes Britton’s 45 minute interview with former James Bond—Mr. George Lazenby. In Part 1, George talked about his years in Australia, his coming to England, and his becoming 007. Part 2 will feature more stories about his time on the set of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, his reasons for why he left the Bond universe, and his meeting Bruce Lee in Hong Kong. Expect stories and perspectives he hasn’t shared before, especially in this very lengthy personal conversation!

The show will debut Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time (10:30 EST) over—

WWW.KSAV.org

The following day, the 90 minute show will be available for 24/7 access at

WWW.audioentertainment.org

Where you can also listen to the first part of this talk from our Dec. 23 show.

Happy New Year, 007!

Wesley Britton, WWW.Spywise.net

Richard Kiel Interview

Richard Kiel as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me
A Richard “Jaws” Kiel interview from some years back is charming and insightful.

He discusses his ongoing spokesperson’s role for Swatch watches, which kicked off in 2002 at our Bond Collectors’ Weekend in San Francisco where Swatch officially recognized Kiel, Lois Chiles (Moonraker) and Barbara Bouchet (Casino Royale ’67) with Swatches for their participation. Kiel’s had to be a giant, oversized watch to specially fit his wrist!

Kiel’s Biography is also a great read with lots of juicy Bond tidbits. Mr. Kiel was a renaissance man and one of the most highly intelligent people I knew.

Alternative Bonding

Alternative James Bond music — Bond upbeat and bashed up — is certainly worth a listening appreciation.

Check on these truly funked-up albums (entire Bond albums are at SpiralFrog.com and elsewhere, free and legal for your listening pleasure!):

*Bond, Beat & Bass: The Elektronika James Bond Themes
*David Arnold Project: Shaken And Stirred
*Forever Bond
*Future Legend Records’ The Themes Bond… James Bond
*Sex Mob Does Bond
*The James Bond Themes Go Under Cover

Max Vesterhalt from FYEO

Wes Britton has interviewed my friend Max Vesterhalt, a lovely lady who appeared in For Your Eyes Only. Deb Lipp met Max at our NYC fan event held in 2005.

The show will first air over WWW.KSAV.org at 7:30 P.m. Pacific time, 10:30 EST. Then, on Wednesday, the show will be archived at WWW.audioentertainment.org.

When you think of Bond girls, the name Max Versterhalt might not jump to mind. However, she not only appeared in Roger Moore’s 1981 classic, she was originally intended to be one of its stars.
On the next edition of the online radio show, “Dave White Presents,” Max tells her story, of how a poster of her promoting Greek tourism brought her to the attention of Cubby Broccoli, what went on during the filming of the casino scene, and what she thought of Roger Moore and director John Glen. She discusses a new website currently being constructed about “Bond Girls of Color.” In addition, “Dave White Presents” will debut some of Max’s newly recorded jazz tunes not yet heard anywhere else!

Fun or serious bond films?

Are you a fun Bond movie fan, serious Bond fan or both?

DR NO -Serious
FRWL -Serious
*GOLD -Fun
*THUN -Fun
CR ’67 -Fun
*YOLT -Fun
OHMSS -Serious
*DAF -Fun
LALD -Fun
TMWTGG -Fun
TSWLM -Fun
MOON -Fun
FYEO -Serious
OCTO -Serious
NSNA -Fun
AVTAK -Fun
TLD -Serious
LTK -Serious
GEYE -Serious
TND -Fun
TWINE -Serious (?)
DAD -Fun
CR -Serious
QOS -Serious
SKY -Serious
SPEC -Fun

*Consider the box office successes of the early fun asterisked films and you can see why the series got “fun” for some time afterward.

The Brozza’s swan song

Is it really Oh-Oh-Seven years now since The Brozza’s swan song in Die Another Day?

Some fans, actually a surprising number of fans, really regret DC’s entry to the Bond role. I get e-mails from them, swearing they have bought no merchandise, not even a DVD at Wal-Mart from the Daniel Craig era.

Pierce had some great moments and some cheesy ones, but where do you stack him against Daniel?

Craig’s third

With only hints of a script in production now, and opportunities to return Moneypenny and Q to the big screen, there is some anticipation for Craig’s third outing as Oh-Oh-Seven.

Further excitment comes when you consider that Connery, Moore and Brosnan were in the heights of their Bond powers for their third films (Goldfinger, TSWLM, TWINE).

You have the com, Mr Bond. What would you make the plotline(s) of the third Craig Bond?

For me, since all bets are off and the whole series has been rebooted, I say remake Goldfinger. Great and memorable villains, great dialogue and situations. Golf is hot with Tiger Woods on the trail, heck, put him in the movie.

how to get a bond star’s autograph

Before you spend money, double check on a Bond actor’s address by either Google search, contacting them on Facebook, or looking for their official webpage.

You are more likely to get an autograph if you write “To me please, [to my name]…” so they know you won’t be reselling it later. Go generic instead if you do want to resell it later.

Then, buy the still you want on eBay or perhaps from Jerry Ohlinger’s NYC store (big selection online). Then, pad it with cardboard so it stays crisp, and pad it with paper so the ink on the still doesn’t smear/the print doesn’t blur, then send it inside a self-addressed stamped envelope to return to you with postage already on it, along with your request to please ask for their inscription. All this will speed your genuine autographed item to be returned to you promptly.

Follow my rubric and you’ll receive 95% of your items or more back signed, and often very beautifully done as well.

daf still a fine listen

I happened to be listening to the Diamonds Are Forever ultra-expanded soundtrack last night, and I must say it is an underrated Bond score.

Everyone gets their own musical theme-Q, Wint and Kidd, Blofeld, Willard Whyte, Burt Saxby, the Bond theme and the 007 theme. John Barry lets loose on his JB Seven and jazz roots, and the Vegas music makes you snap your fingers and listen for Sammy and Sinatra.

Listen especially to the last tracks at the end. There are rich shadings of themes that get more fully developed in Octopussy and A View To A Kill among others…

…Sorry, but DAF is one of the best Bond films, still!

Greatest Marches Not Included

quantum of musical pleasure?

It’s no secret that I enjoy Another Way To Die as a title tune. It’s rollicking and clever and echoes Bond tunes from Goldfinger to Herb Alpert’s/Burt Bacharach’s Casino Royale ’67…

Overall including the White/Keys title track, the Quantum of Solace soundtrack is a fine addition to the canon. I believe composer David Arnold has made up for TWINE and DAD stumblings with CR and QOS.

…but I’m not sure completists will find the “bonus tracks” out from QOS and CR worthwhile. They drag along, mostly, and I can see (hear) why they’d be left off the original (digital) pressings.

Your thoughts? What are you seeking in the Bond 23 soundtrack (other than we’d not wait two years to hear it, as now seems likely).

“David Ahh-nold will be baack to terminate more music for Bond’s enemies…”

jonathan pryce: obe

Pryce, the nefarious Elliot Carver of Tomorrow Never Dies, just received an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II:

http://commanderbond.net/8854/cbe-awarded-for-tomorrow-never-dies-star-jonathan-pryce.html

Unlike Bond, he refused to refuse this honor.

Pryce has dazzled in productions like Miss Saigon and Evita. He offered to sing the TND title song but was refused. Could he have been wrong based on the lackluster acclaim received by Sheryl Crow’s big TND number?

“…And Pryce is the only way to live…”

good news for skyfall

There is “good news” online this week that Bond 23 will promptly begin shooting near the end of 2010, providing us with a 2011 movie and “only” a 3-year wait between films.

It’s all we fans can do to keep from screaming aloud–and it’s your fault for making Craig’s Broadway show so popular!

Sanchez Rant

Lazy Sunday, I watched AVTAK and LTK yesterday. Several rants are to ensue, starting with:

Franz Sanchez is a sadistic psychopath! An aircraft pilot and drug lord, Sanchez owns a casino topped by a multi-story hotel, a bank, a palatial home, an airport and an airline concession, a small army headed by a Colonel with its own tank, ninja-killing warriors and stinger missiles, and an entire new age religion headquartered in an ancient temple complex with a hidden heliport and drug lab. He wears thousand-dollar silk shirts and his pet iguana wears a million dollar diamond necklace. Sanchez further owns a gasoline export concern that ships worldwide via oil tanker and also his local mayor and chief of police, a general and a president. His bank heads the “world’s largest private investment fund” that launders a cash surplus of $10 Million PER DAY through the U.S. Federal Reserve to legitimate holdings.

His maniacal plot is to expand his cartel which extends from Chile to Alaska into Asia by using a unique drug smuggling method impervious to any government’s technology. By the tank chase scene Sanchez holds an added $500 Million in bearer bonds and TONS of cocaine in his tanker truck fleet.

Raoul Silva is also a sadistic psychopath! A rogue agent, he owns an art theft and smuggling concern and a deserted island serviced by a 250-foot luxury yacht and a beautiful prostitute. He owns influence in his local casino, a large helicopter, and a great many computer servers.

His maniacal plot is to shame MI-6, kill M, and directly and indirectly, many of her field agents.

Sanchez has been called “not a big enough villain” but Silva has been called “the best villain since Kronsteen or Goldfinger.”

Rant 1 has been executed.

Sean Connery Watch

Sean and the gang started filming Connery’s latest epic, “Finding Forrester” in Toronto, Canada and around Ontario for the entire month of April 2000. They then headed to New York City between Wednesday, May 3 and Saturday, June 10. (The “Con-Man” only had a total of eight to ten days’ work on New York sets.) We had a peek at the new script draft to help us find “King Connery”.

The majority of Connery’s scenes were lensed inside NY’s Evangelical Seminary on 10th Avenue at West 21st Street in Manhattan. They crew worked briefly on Saturday, May 6 (Matt Sherman’s birthday!) at East 52nd Street on the famous and well-traveled Park Avenue. Later, everyone moved up the avenue for the remainder of the day at the corner of East 68th and Park where the Americas Society’s building doubles as a private school.

Plans to return the following day to the same location shot were cancelled, and a bit more than a day later, the Finding Forrester crew with Connery appeared at Lexington Avenue just south of East 86th Street. Connery’s powerful visage was seen strolling this expanse with multiple reflections of him appearing on shop windows all over the street! He also did night shooting at the subway steps of Jerome Avenue at the 161st Street and 168th Street entrances (way uptown in The Bronx!) and at Yankee Stadium’s garage plus inside a desolate Yankee Stadium on the field without any crowds present. (You don’t want to visit Yankee Stadium to see Connery’s film location, fans, without armed escort unless there is a Yankee game in town at that time with crowds of people present!)

One summer evening, nearby the stadium at 229 East 158th Street, at the playground across the street on Park Avenue in The Bronx, Connery’s double was spotted prepping for daytime shooting. Meanwhile, “Mr. C.” enjoyed his favorite sport of golf at the Deepdale Golf Club in Nassau County, Long Island, just off the Queens, NYC border, and stayed in a rented house nearby in the Great Neck area (home of the Great Gatsby and one-time residence of my grandparents–Matt).

Bond version 1.0 also checked on his son, Neil Connery, who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan near Hunter College (address withheld by request for security reasons). Though few outdoor scenes were done on location on New York streets where the fans could watch the goings-on, much of Finding Forrester was filmed in New York inside many different public school classrooms across Manhattan and The Bronx. Greenwich Village’s private and hoity-toity “The New School” was also a rumored location. (It was hard to follow this crew, they moved so fast! The Mayor’s film bureau kept them moving because press and the public jammed traffic on the New York streets!)

“Forrester” was the senior Connery’s first film shoot in New York since November ‘88 when he visited The Big Apple for his “Family Business” with fellow Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick. Connery gave “the Business” during outdoor shooting in Jericho, Queens; Long Island and Jersey City, New Jersey. We recommend a lovely site, Sean Connery To The Stars which features possible future projects of his; the latest, which he hasn’t signed onto, is called “End Game”. Also keep watch here at 007Forever for the latest Bond and Connery happenings.

Dossier: Paula Caplan

Subject: Paula Caplan
Organization: Bahamas Customs Agent
Height: 5`10″
Weight: 125 lbs
Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown
Skills: None
Weaknesses: None
Fields of Expertise: Local Customs
Background: One of Bond`s local contacts in the Bahamas during his Thunderball mission; her main focus was to assist Bond on any jobs he needed having done or answering any questions he might have. Paula was kidnapped by Vargas and Janni. She later swallowed a cyanide pill rather than divulge what she knew about the investigation into Largo.
Born: 8/1/1943
London, England

Bond Weekend 2000 – New Orleans – Bruce Glover

If you are a DAF fan, then you will be delighted to meet and make the acquaintance of Bruce Glover, “Mr. Wint” from Diamonds Are Forever, at the third annual Bond Collectors` Weekend, Bond Weekend 2000.

Bruce Glover is a charming and hilarious fellow who is bringing many anecdotes from his days hanging with Sean Connery (including a funny pickup soccer match with Bruce`s team) and other stars like Jack Nicholson and his fellow co-stars, to the Bond event in New Orleans. The last time we spoke he kept me in stiches for more than an hour and I promised to keep silent for now about some of his star gossip!!

Besides stints as a college football player and soldier, Mr. Glover held a variety of fascinating jobs before being “bitten by the acting bug”. Mr. and Mrs. Glover will also be sharing on their lifelong legacy with America`s nature conservancy movement. Their famous family includes their son, the popular character actor Crispin Glover.

As with Bond Collectors` Weekend 1999 in Las Vegas, the Bond Weekend event provides for each fan wishing to do so guaranteed quality time with the celebs in attendance, (yes, you can actually talk to them at length in a casual setting and do not have to wait on a long line to do so!) and we have different guests for each day/evening of this Friday through Sunday event. Attendees at the Weekend (besides you, dear fan!) include Bond authors and fanzine/web writers, industry insiders and super-collectors who will be showing off their wares.

How can we love a Bond movie like DAF where Bond never fires a traditional gunshot? We just do and we will celebrate the whole legacy in New Orleans, including inside information on Bond 20 and The World Is Not Enough during a Weekend to “Live and Let Die For”!

Registration for Bond Weekend 2000 includes tons of perks and goodies—check it out! Contact us with questions for booking group rates!

Bruce Glover: A selected movie and television filmography

Black Love, White Love (1967)
Bless the Beasts and Children (1971)
Blindfold (1965)
Captain Midnight (1970)
Chaindance (1990)
Chinatown (1974)
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Final Chapter – Walking Tall (1977)
Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
Kiss Me, Kill Me (1976)
Little Indian (1973)
Night of the Scarecrow (1995)
Popcorn (1991)
Sludge C.C. and Company (1970)
Stunts (1977)
The Armageddon (1993)
The One Eye Big Score (1983)
The Over-the-Hill Gang (1969)
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
This Is the West That Was (1974)
Walking Tall (1973)
Walking Tall Part II (1975)

Some TV Appearances:
B.J. and the Bear
Battlestar Galactica
ChiPs
Gunsmoke
Mission Impossible
Murder, She Wrote
Rat Patrol
T.J. Hooker
The “A-Team”
The Big Valley
The Dukes of Hazzard
The Streets of San Francisco

–Matt Sherman is one host of the annual Bond Collectors` Weekends, and he likes it, even though he slept about three hours during the week of the Las Vegas Weekend because everyone had stories to tell and partying to do!

Keep 007Forever at Cinescape bookmarked for the next year, plus send an eMail to BCW Productions to get on our Bond Weekend mailing list for regular email updates on Bond events and memorabilia, worldwide or call (USA) 352.372.5094 today for more information or to register.

interview: Vic Flick: Music To Our Ears

Vic Flick.
Vic Flick is a music industry legend. He has composed, conducted and performed alongside many of the biggest names in show business. He took time recently for an in-depth interview for the fans at 007Forever…

Matt Sherman: Thanks, Vic, for agreeing to an interview with us at 007 Forever. Please tell us a bit about your early career. What motivated you to play guitar music? Why that choice of instrument?

Vic: When I was about 12 years old, my father started a small dance band with a neighbor. I was studying piano at the time but as my father played piano, that was me out of the picture. A friend bought me a Gibson guitar, which I practiced on like crazy, joining the band a year later. I could have been given a trumpet or a flute but guitar was it and that was what I finished up with, playing for the rest of my life in varying degrees of intensity.

Matt: Your debut as composer was for the famous “Viva Zapata!” in 1952. [Note to 007 Forever readers: Joseph Wiseman of “Dr. No” fame helps headline the picture.] Tell us about doing that project as a young performer. Zapata must have made an interesting genre for a young composer helping to build a film score.

Vic: “Zapata” was a title included on an album by John Barry called “Stringbeat”. John was stuck for an extra title and asked me to compose one. A last minute demand–but what you hear has proved to be very popular.

Matt: You`ve played on hit tunes and conducted and recorded alongside some of music`s biggest greats, including–and this must be some kind of incredible statistic–Bond music stars Tom Jones, Lulu, Shirley Bassey, Matt Munro, Burt Bacharach, Nancy Sinatra, John Barry, and more! What standout memories remind you of your British studio recording days?

Vic: The very early 60`s were wonderful times to be in the music business. The “Pop Record” phenomenon was just taking off and everybody was happy to be on board. Singers like Tom Jones, Lulu, etc., were more friends than “stars”–if you know what I mean. I used to see and work with them regularly in recording, broadcast and television studios. More often than not when they were promoting their record that I`d worked on. I remember Burt Bacharach as being a perfectionist in his arrangements and production–as well as being a great guy to work with. I hadn`t seen Burt for what must have been four years when I met him again at a recording studio`s entrance. Without hesitation he said, “Good to see you again, Vic.” Quite a memory.

Shirley Bassey is one tremendous artist and always a joy to work with. Matt Monro was one of the nicest people you could wish to meet. He always made a point of talking and meeting with the musicians in the orchestra. Same with Bing Crosby. I was working on a television show with him and he actually apologized to the band for wanting to rehearse his number again. Not like some I could mention!

Matt: The James Bond legacy has brought enormous popularity and exposure to everyone associated with Agent 007. As lead guitar and an innovator on the project, what was your reaction, and that of your colleagues on the Barry Seven, at the runaway success of the original Bond theme in the early 60`s and beyond?

Vic: In the beginning there wasn`t much to react to. It was another film session that we were perhaps more associated with than many others. I was pleased to be so intimately involved yet it was probably 20 years later that I began to realize how significant the Bond series of films were and really, only in the past 7 to 10 years, has the amazing popularity of the films made an impact on me.

Matt: Most fans know that the original Bond theme was a rush job for John Barry handed down from the producers of “Dr. No”…Was it a very good feeling in the studio right after the track was laid down with the Barry Seven? Did you foresee any of the amazing popularity of the song?

Vic: I can remember there being an atmosphere of excitement about the recording because, in a way, it was very different to the majority of film themes–especially spy films. There was no film shown at the time of the recording so we could only imagine what the content of the film was! When I saw “Dr. No” and heard how much the theme had been used throughout I thought how good it sounded–and how effective was John Barry`s treatment.

Matt: You worked on six of the first John Barry-scored EON Bond films. Does one production or studio session on the Bonds stand alone as a favorite?

Vic: “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds Are Forever” have always been my favorites. They seem to epitomize the Bond “thing”. Shirley Bassey`s recordings of the themes were winners and they were the first Bond films I felt completely involved with.

Matt: You were invited to update and re-record the original Bond Theme with Eric Clapton for License To Kill. Please tell us about those sessions!

Vic: It wasn`t an update. Eric and Michael had composed a new theme and had asked me to come in and think up some low guitar riffs reminiscent of the original theme. We had a great day together in the studio and the following day we shot the video in a loft overlooking the Thames. The sound recording and the video disappeared after EON Productions turned it down as not being commercial enough. As we all know, Gladys Knight got the job.

Matt: 007Forever fans have been eagerly following Jeffrey Bunzendahl`s spy spoof, “Wilson Chance,” due out in spring 2001 and headed for wide release in video stores, for which you are graciously helping Bunzendahl`s “Steel Shavings” production team in scoring the final film. It sounds like a fun collaboration…

Vic: It is a fun collaboration. Jeffrey and George Bunzendahl and the rest of the team are so full of enthusiasm and technical know how that it`s a pleasure to be associated with them. They are a young team who are managing to do some great work without the financial backing that, say, Dreamworks has. Most important, Jeffrey has promised me two seats for the premiere.

Matt: Bond and genre music fans were abuzz when you recorded key tracks from the EON films for “Bond: Back In Action,” a recent release bringing you to reprise some of your work. Was the success of that project the motivation behind your creating “James Bond NOW” for the fans? Why revisit the Bond genre at this time?

Vic: In a round about way, yes. A colleague, Les Hurdle, and myself had worked on the “James Bond Theme” and “Goldfinger” some six years ago as part of a “James Bond” project–kind of samples to see if anybody was interested. Even back then the treatment was very little different from what you hear on “James Bond NOW”. Silva Screen Records asked me to do the signature track and some other guitar work on their CD at the same time informing me of the upsurge of interest in Bond music. I presented Silva Screen with the two titles but they weren`t interested saying it wasn`t as the original score–something they specialize in. When I heard the David Arnold music track to the recent Bond film, “The World Is Not Enough,” I realized we were ahead of the time and decided to go ahead with the “James Bond NOW” project as an independent production. I`m glad I made that decision, as the reception to the CD has been wonderful.

Matt: Your new compositions on James Bond NOW like “Copacabinsky” (adding to your re-worked Bond covers) are quite interesting. Tell us about them. What kinds of things ran through your mind in the studio sessions and beforehand on this special project?

Vic: I wanted some original input on the project and decided that a composition, “Shaken Not Stirred” with the excitement of the Bond Theme, a romantic composition, “Silken Cover,” and a third composition mixing the coldness of Russia with the exoticness of Latin music would do very nicely.

Matt: What would be your response if composer David Arnold or another Bond conductor invited you to play for the twentieth Bond film due out in 2002? Would you be willing to revisit the theme for a 40th Anniversary special?

Vic: What a great idea Matt and something I would be thrilled to do. If it happens I`ll make sure you`re in the studio when it`s recorded.

Matt: Indulge in a little wish fulfillment for 007Forever`s readers if you will. Imagine you can pick up the phone and plan a fantasy collaboration with any musician of any era, past or present, from Beethoven to Billy Idol. Who would you choose to work alongside? And how do you feel about current trends in today`s pop and rock music? Are there any bands or soloists today you avidly follow?

Vic: Some question! I`d like to have another try with Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen. Hendrix playing a solo on one of my compositions would be a high for me–as would collaboration with my session colleagues “Big Jim” Sullivan, Jimmy Page and Chris Spedding. There are so many excellent and varied groups out there that it is impossible to choose. If Mariah Carey would like to sing a vocal that would be the frosting on the cake.

Matt: What do you want people to remember about the life and times of Mr. Vic Flick?

Vic: Musically, I am pleased to have been a part of so many people`s lives. I also hope that if I returned to all the places I`ve been, I`d be greeted with a smile.

–Vic Flick and his delightful spouse, Judy, live in Santa Monica,
California and Vic`s work is featured at www.vicflick.com. Music samples from all ten tracks of his latest work, “James Bond NOW,” are available to listen to online in different audio formats at www.blizzardrecords.com.

Geoff Leonard, co-author of “John Barry: A Life In Music” recently reviewed Vic Flick`s “James Bond NOW”. Some of his comments: “From the mid-sixties onwards there have been many cover versions of James Bond film themes available to an apparently insatiable record-buying public. Some have been very good, even excellent, but some have been very poor–horrendous in one or two cases. So it`s a great pleasure to be able to review a new one, and one by the man who played guitar on the original James Bond Theme, and on many other Bond film scores–Vic Flick. For “James Bond NOW,” Flick has taken seven of his own favorite Bond themes, given them his own highly original treatment, and added three of his own compositions as a bonus…”Goldfinger” and “The James Bond Theme” have received sparkling makeovers. The famed guitar sound is still prominent, but a backing track years away from the sixties birthplace of these themes has been utilized to surprisingly good effect…” Welcome back, Vic!

interview: Seva Novgorodtsev: Kill Bond Now!

To Western Bond fans, he`s the famous Russian helicopter-pilot in the AVTAK pre-title sequence. To Russian citizens, he`s the famous BBC narrator whose voice penetrated the Iron Curtain during the Communist era.

Seva was born July 9th, 1940 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He served in the Soviet Navy as a Petty Officer 3rd class and played in several music bands. In 1975 he left the USSR and moved to Austria, then to Italy. Finally, in 1977, Seva settled in London, where he began working for the BBC.

So how did he get in a Bond movie? Let Seva tell you personally:

“Well, here`s the story. “In the 80`s I had a small firm; my English girlfriend and I were consulting for movie companies whose films either dealt with, or took place in Russia – we were advising designers, dressers, writing dialogue in Russian, doing voice-dubs, casting actors for casual roles; all that stuff. There was a cook, named Sasha, whom, in `84, I invited to play the role of a warden (in an almost unknown movie Gulag). But the day before the shooting he, the rascal, had gotten seriously drunk and didn`t come to the movie set. Just imagine: there are more than 200 people, and a single day`s shooting costs approximately 100 thousands dollars! The director tells me: “Come on, put on his uniform”. So I did and played the role, putting all the hatred I felt towards the drunkard into my actor-reincarnation. And I liked it! When our First Assistant Director was hired for AVTAK, he recommended me as an actor. It was one-day work, but I almost passed away: I was sitting in the helicopter`s cock-pit the entire day, and again and again, I was dying from the explosion (the red smoke grenade was detonated right under our chairs). By day`s end, my underwear was all red. So were my lungs. As for our dialogue, I had to think it up on the spot. The English Director didn`t care.”

(Seva`s line translated into English is: “It`s hopeless. You won`t find anybody there!”)

The story continues. Episode II, 16 years later:

“In a London pub, my step-daughter Anastasia (16 years old) makes the acquaintance of a young English actor, who is also a Bond fan, so she tells him about me. He instantly transforms himself into the Russian helicopter-pilot and, almost without accent, quotes my line: “Poprobuj tout najdi kogo-nibud!” That is immortality!

Apart from A View To A Kill, Seva has appeared in several other movies – including the John Landis directed film SPIES LIKE US – usually playing Russian soldiers, KGB agents, etc.

Seva currently works at the BBC Russian Channel (www.bbc.co.uk/russian)

His personal web-site is www.seva.ru.

007Forever would like to offer a special thanks to Sergey Pantsirev, the webmaster, and to Seva Novgorodtsev for taking time to answer our questions.

interview: Michael Wilson: Part II

In this, Part Two of Producer Michael G. Wilson`s Interview with Steve Biodrowski, Wilson answers the questions most appealing to Bond insiders in this second half of a discussion with Fandom/Forever.

WHAT WOULD IAN FLEMING SAY TODAY?

I guess he`d say, `Wow, I can`t believe it`s still going on.`

WHAT KEEPS IT GOING ON?

Bond`s a contemporary character, and we keep trying to make it contemporary. With the changes in casting, the five Bonds we`ve had, the fact that each one of them brings something different to it plays it a different way, has kept it going.

DO YOU THINK IT`S THE ACTOR OR THE CLIMATE THAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF SUCCESS?

Certainly, Sean and Roger were extremely successful. Pierce has been extremely successful. I guess it`s a combination of the people who come together, the political climate, the actors, and the directors.

IS THERE ANOTHER ACTOR OUT THERE TODAY YOU WOULD ALSO SEE AS BOND?

I can`t think of anybody at this point. He`s just taken over the role and made it so much his own–I don`t see anyone there.

HOW DOES A GREAT BOND FILM COME TOGETHER?

Well, we have a great team, and that team has been with us for many years. Their fathers and sometimes their grandfathers are with us, and they all pull together. They all have an investment; they all want it to succeed, and that spirit comes across and makes it work.

YOU HAVE TO KEEP COMING UP WITH GREAT OPENING SEQUENCES. WHAT ARE SOME IDEAS YOU`VE THROWN OUT?

Well, I guess I can`t even think of what we`ve thrown out. There`s a big pile of stuff, and sometimes we go back to the bone pile and say, `What`s in there?` The opening sequences really are kind of two categories. One is Bond`s just finishing a mission, and it`s basically just puts you into Bond`s world. The other ones fulfill that function but also set the story up. The way we conceive of the film opening, we start with the iris and the gun. That to show you Bond`s being stalked. He lives in a world where there are assassins, and he has to be able to shoot faster than the next guy. But it`s also a portal into this movie world, this fantasy world. It`s kind of like your world but it`s a parallel world. It`s brighter. It`s exotic. People wear tuxedoes when they don`t wear shorts. So we`re brought into that world, and that little opening sequence says, `This is the world we`re suddenly in.` Then we go into the titles and this exotic, thematic background. That`s kind of the way we bring the audience in.

HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED USING, FOR INSTANCE, THE JOHN GARDNER NOVELS AS THE BASIS FOR FILMS?

I haven`t…I read many of the John Gardner novels, and now there`s another fellow writing them, but I haven`t felt they have the things that would make good films.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE BOND GIRL?

That would be telling! I can`t really say. If you`re asked to chose between your children, what do you say? They`ve all been great. Really, that`s tough. They`ve all been troopers. They`ve all worked hard. They`ve all done a lot for us. They come out and do publicity. They did that thing in Vanity Fair where they all came out. They`re all just wonderful.

WHAT ABOUT A FAVORITE CHARACTER RATHER THAN A FAVORITE ACTRESS?

As a character, Sophie [Sophie Marceau as Elektra King] has to be the most complex we`ve ever had; I don`t think we`ve had any as complex as Sophie.

WOULD YOU EVER CAST SEAN CONNERY AS A VILLAIN IN THE SERIES?

We haven`t considered that, but I would never rule out anything. Our basic philosophy is that we`re always looking ahead. If you have writers come in and pitch you ideas, you`d be surprised how many ideas sound the same: `I`ve got GOLDFINGER`S DAUGHTER—this is gonna be great!` It`s always something along that line: they like to take something that they liked and repackage it in a way. But we`ve resisted too many looks backwards. We do some; we bring in characters we`ve used before, but we try to keep our nose pointed toward the future.

ANY CHANCE OF BRINGING BACK SPECTRE OR BLOFELD?

Well, with Spectre and Blofeld, the last film we did was DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER in 1971. When I talk about not looking backwards, that is looking backwards. We`ve kind of moved beyond that.

WELL, HE WAS IN FOR YOUR EYES ONLY.

The guy down the chimney? [laughs and quickly takes a question from another journalist]

YOU HAVE GREAT DIVERSITY IN YOUR FILMS.

Well, you have to understand that our films are international. About seventy to seventy-five percent of our income comes from exhibition outside the United States, and there`s a lot of people out there from all different ethnicities, all different religions, all different backgrounds, and they`re all great Bond fans. So we have to make sure those people come to our films because we don`t do anything to alienate them, and we do things to encourage them to come. So having a racially mixed cast is important. Having people with different points of view is important. Having visual gags is important. I guess it`s always been global. We`ve always been a series that appealed outside the United States more than inside the United States. Now, most American films are almost fifty-fifty. We`ve been even from the beginning fifty-fifty. We were always considered to be an international phenomenon.

I KNOW YOU SAID YOU`RE NOT INTERESTED IN LOOKING BACK, BUT WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER GETTING THE RIGHTS TO DO `CASINO ROYALE` AS A SERIOUS MOVIE?

Well, CASINO ROYALE is an interesting property. It happens to be the first book. It sets Bond up, in a way. But if you look at the structure of it, the first half is about the caper, and the second have is a love story where Bond ends up being betrayed by the woman. He kind of shuts down. It explains a lot about him, because up to this point he`d only done a couple of missions and they weren`t very complex. In that sense, it might be thought of as a coming of age story. So just shooting it as the novel is probably not what people would expect from a Bond film. It wouldn`t have all the elements that people like to see.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT `AUSTIN POWERS` SPOOFING THE BOND FILMS?

People find them funny and great. I think they`re probably not pitched exactly at my age group. But I guess if you can be spoofed and you`re big enough to be spoofed, you`re lucky. If people take the time and trouble to spoof you, it must mean you`re a household name.

interview: Michael Wilson: Part I

Michael G. Wilson has been a part of the James Bond franchise since with THE SPY WHO LOVED ME in 1977. Not only has he produced ten of the films; he also worked on scripts for five of them. Working first under the auspices of producer Albert Broccoli (who launched the series, along with Harry Saltzman, back in 1962), Wilson helped revive interest in the exploits of 007 after a certain decline during the early to mid-`70s. During the `80s, he oversaw the gradual move away from the light-hearted, humorous turn the series had taken, back toward a more serious direction.

In the `90s, since the death of Albert Broccoli, Wilson and his sister, Barbara Broccoli, have been carrying on the family tradition, again reviving flagging interest in the series, this time with the casting of Pierce Brosnan as Ian Fleming`s famous creation. The latest Bond film, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, is meant to set the character up in a way that will carry the franchise into the next millennium. This is quite a feat when you consider that the films have long since run out of books to adapt; fortunately, that hasn`t slowed the series down.

IS IT HARD COMING UP WITH PLOTS NOW THAT YOU`VE RUN OUT OF FLEMING NOVELS?

Plots are always needed. It`s really coming up with a good story that`s the key thing. It`s not something that the audience appreciates in the sense that, if you ask them what they like about the film, they usually don`t mention it. But if it`s absent, they won`t like the film. It`s almost a kind of unconscious, visceral thing. They really want a good story; they just articulate it. That`s why when people do research and stuff, they miss out. We do a lot of research. A lot of the series that you`ve seen that have come and gone have listened to the audience and then tried to write scripts according to what the audience says. The audience generally remembers the stunts and the action, so they just keep on getting more and more stunts and action, and letting the story go. Before you know it, they don`t have a series anymore.

HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THE SCRIPT WITH NEAL PURVIS AND ROBERT WADE?

They came to us and said they wanted to do it, and they gave us some writing samples and threw out some ideas. (We only used established writers, I hasten to say, because we get floods of stuff all the time, and it just goes to our lawyers and gets sent back.) But these fellows looked like the type of people we could work with. That`s the main thing: you want writers that can collaborate with yourself and the director. That`s key to making these kinds of films. These are made by teams of people, and the writers are part of that team. Then, we were talking about the idea of a woman villain, so we started off with that as a general idea. And then Barbara Broccoli, my sister and co-producer, saw one of the Nightline episodes about Bakku and the oil. We thought, `This could work as a backdrop.` Then it was just a matter of coming up with the plot. It evolved over eight or nine months of working, pretty much meeting the writers weekly and then daily.

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE MICHAEL APTED?

Part of the film works because the relationship between Sophie and Pierce works; if that didn`t work, the film wouldn`t work. So rather than think in terms of `Who`s a good action director?` we thought `Who`s a good dramatic director who can work with actors to bring out the drama that we need for this to work?` As a consequence of hiring him, we were also have to have Robbie Carlyle and M have a great scene together, Bond and M have a great scene together. It sort of…the whole picture improved because of the fact that Michael knows how to deal with actors, and they trust him implicitly; he gets a really good performance out of them. As far as the action goes, he`s knowledgeable about action; he knows that all action sequences need a good, solid narrative, and he had no problem letting Vic [Armstrong] and the special effects guys work to bring these really good, solid action sequences in.

WHAT WAS YOUR CONCEPT FOR THE DR. JONES CHARACTER?

The Dr. Jones character came out of a friend of mine who collects rugs from Afghanistan. When you collect something that obscure, you have to go where they are; to find other collectors is quite a job. In New York city he heard of a Russian woman who was a collector of these rugs, and it turned out that she was an atomic scientist who, as soon as she graduated, went into the special services. The Russians-when a plan crashes with atomic weapons on board, no matter where it is in the world, they spend a special unit that surreptitiously drops in, and they take the bombs and disarm them. This is what her job was during her twenties, and she was an athletic, attractive, wild kind of girl who was an atomic physicist. Having that was a pretty good model for Denise.

WHAT MADE DENISE RICAHRDS THE BEST CHOICE FOR THAT ROLE?

Well, we wanted an American. We wanted somebody who could fit this image of a physicist who was going around doing something important. Not necessarily an action hero but just committed to doing something.

IS DESMOND LLEWELYN LEAVING THE SERIES NOW THAT YOU`VE ESTABLISHED JOHN CLEESE AS R?

As far as Desmond Llewelyn, who`s been playing Q since FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, we`re anxious to have him continue on. He`s the one who suggested we bring someone else in, a younger man, so we brought someone in just slightly younger. But he`s just great. He just goes on and on, so we`re going to keep using him.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE TO HAVING JUDI DENCH AS M?

The idea of casting a woman as M, which we did in GOLDENEYE in 1994, came about because Stella Remington had taken over MI6 in London, so we had a woman in charge of MI6. We thought, `If we`re going to be contemporary and up to date, why not try it and see what it would be like?` When you think about that, you then say, `Who can we cast in that kind of role?` It turned out that Judi Dench was enthusiastic and ready to do it, and we thought, `Wow, we`ve got a great opportunity here.` We`ve taken that and developed that idea, and she has a much bigger role in this film. The character of M has never had as large a role as in this film.

THE NEW FILM TRIED TO BALANCE THE DRAMA WITH LOTS OF VERBAL HUMOR.

Some better than others, I trust. I think it`s just a matter of trying to get a balance right. Sometimes we use too much humor, too many double entendres; sometimes not enough. As soon as you change anything, you get a flood of letters: `What happened to this? What happened to that?` Other people write in saying, `It`s all right, except you`ve got too many double entendres.`

THAT LAST LINE OF DIALOGUE WAS A BIT MUCH. WHOSE IDEA WAS IT?

That was Rob and Neal, the original writers on it. We`ve always pushed a bit. At the very end of the film, we kind of pushed a bit, for the teenagers. We`re family films, and you`ve got to have something for everybody in the family.

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT SELECTING COMPOSERS AND PERFORMERS FOR THE THEME SONG?

We`ve had a lot of different forces acting on us in the music area over the years. We have a view, Barbara [Broccoli, Wilson`s sister] and I, that we should have the composer do the theme song, the title song, because the theme will be integrated throughout the score of the film. The lyric may be done by the performer or some other guy. We feel ballads by female singers probably work the best in the Bond films, so we aim for that. This time, we were lucky enough to get Garbage. That`s because David Arnold, our composer, suggested Shirley [Manson, the singer] and went out and got a hold of her. She was very enthusiastic, and we clicked right away.

WERE YOU AWARE OF THIS BAND?

I`ve heard of them, but I don`t know much about them. I can`t say I`m current on pop music.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT OPENING ON NOVEMBER 19?

The way it works these days, nothing builds; everything comes out, and they hit you on the head with a hammer. You`ve got to go see the picture, and first weekend`s important, and everybody looks at the figures. But of course we`ve seen films that have gone on and on. Some of our films have; they just play through. I think, to me, that`s the most important thing, because almost any films you can get a big weekend out of it if you advertise it to death. The good films have legs, and they go. We`re positioned here, the 19th, because we run up to the biggest weekend in America. There`s really two big weekends in America: the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving`s the biggest one for film and everything else. We`re playing so that`s our second weekend. We`ve got very few-certainly no other action-adventure films competing with us. We have things like SLEEPY HOLLOW and END OF DAYS, but we don`t seem to have any other ones coming in to Christmas, so we should be able to play through the Christmas holiday. If we do that, we`ll have a good return.

PIERCE SAYS HE`D LIKE TO STEP BACK AND TAKE A BREAK AFTER THIS FILM.

It doesn`t give me a problem to do one in three years instead of two. The studio may feel different, but these are very hard to put together. They take over your life. When we`re working on the script and production, my wife will say, `Do you realize you`ve been working seven days a week?` So I don`t mind doing something else; to me it`s fine.

interview: Pierce Brosnan, Part II

Q: DID YOU EVER PICTURE YOURSELF AS BOND?

PB: As Bond? No, I didn`t. I read, and have read, that it was my life ambition to play this role, and I dreamt of playing this role—which is complete untruth. I grew up watching the Bond movies, and they certainly sparked my interest in cinema at the age of ten when I saw GOLDFINGER. But I never wanted to be Bond or dreamt about being Bond. It wasn`t until I was doing REMINGTON STEELE that these kind of mutterings and whitterings were going on about me being Bond, because my late wife had done a Bond movie and because we knew the Broccoli family. You already know the history of that from `86. But I guess he and I were just meant to meet on the stage: destiny, destiny, destiny, I guess. There was no getting away from it. And um, I enjoy playing the role enormously.

And you know us here at 007Forever. We like to show you what you wouldn`t normally see in the films or in the books (see Close Calls, The Eye That Never Sleeps for more details). Now, we bring you jettisoned excerpts from Steve Biodrowski`s interview with Pierce that will only be found here.

IS DOING A BOND FILM DIFFERENT FROM MAKING ANOTHER KIND OF MOVIE?

It’s basically the same. It’s just…it was easier this time around than the second time around and the first time, because it was the third time around. You’ve kind of figured out a little bit what you’re doing, and you have more confidence and relaxation about it. You don’t push as hard, or you know when to push and when to pull back on it. But the principles are the same: dealing with some kind of truthfulness and theatricality.

ARE YOU A BIT MORE DARING NOW WITH THE STUNTS?

Well…yes and no. I’ve done a lot in all three of them, to various degrees. There are certain things you just can’t do—you’re not trained for it, and they won’t allow you to do it, because of the insurance.

YOU MENTIONED ON A TALK SHOW THAT YOU HAD BEEN INJURED ON THE FILM.

It was actually the last film. I got whacked in the face. Actually, it happened again, on the top of my lip, but there were no stitches. It was driving the boat through the restaurant door—the door hit me in the face. That was it; there were no bones broken. That was me, sitting in the seat [of the boat]. I didn’t do the barrel role, obviously. It was a kick in the pants. It was amazing. I mean, this boat is so snug fitting. You just got to put your foot down and you got to go—it sits low in the water, so the nose is up and you can’t see where you’re going. You just toodle along with the nose up. It was just one of those wonderful things I could do.

IS THAT ONE OF THE FUN PARTS OF DOING A MOVIE?

Certainly a Bond movie, because you’re able to enter this world that you’ve known about and is part of your own kind of screen mythology and screen education from childhood, and you’re playing the character. It’s a guy thing, I suppose; it’s playing The Man.

HOW WILL JAMES BOND OF THE NEXT MILLENNIUM COMPARE TO PAST BONDS?

Oh, I couldn’t be so presumptuous to answer that question. I don’t know. Time will tell.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE VANITY FAIR LAYOUT?

I thought it was wonderful. It was a great piece of publicity.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE BOND GIRL?

Well, the first one, I guess. Shirley [Eaton in GOLDFINGER] I saw when I was ten-and-a-half years of age. She left a permanent impression on my psyche, I must say.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW BOND THEME SONG?

I love it. I think she does a great job. I think it’s on the money. It’s back to the Shirley Bassey. It’s as good as Shirley Bassey; it’s as good as GOLDFINGER. Miss Manson has a great set of pipes on her, and she delivers the song, and they went right for a kind of Bond theme. I couldn’t be happier.

WHO BRINGS THE HUMOR TO THE SCRIPTS? IS IT YOU?

No, Bruce Feirstein is a funny guy. Anyone who could write REAL MEN DON’T EAT QUICHE is a funny guy. So Bruce is there; there’s the direction and myself, so there’s collaboration.

DO YOU FEEL THAT BECAUSE OF BOND PEOPLE PUT YOU IN A BOX?

Oh yes, they do, but I don’t feel the box around me. I just can’t allow that box to be there. You have to make peace with that box and say, ‘Don’t sweat it. Just go with the flow.’ Otherwise, you turn negative on yourself and you get bitter about it, and the jig’s up.

interview: Pierce Brosnan, Part I

I always knew Pierce Brosnan could play James Bond. Back in the `80s, when his name was first mentioned in connection with the role, there was some grumbling from the hardcore 007 fans who were worried that they would be getting another Roger Moore, with a cool, tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the role.

You can`t really blame people for this fear, but it was based on the assumption that Brosnan`s take on Bond would be the same as his take on REMINGTON STEELE. But when THE FOURTH PROTOCOL came out, anyone paying attention should have been able to see that Brosnan is capable of putting aside the sophisticated Cary Grant routine; his performance as the KGB assassin had a serious, lethal edge that was clearly appropriate for playing the British secret service agent with the `00` license to kill.

Surprisingly, Brosnan expresses no regrets over the circumstances that prevented him from taking over the role at that time. “No, I think someone was watching over me with respect to doing it back in `86,” he declares. “If you saw photographs of me in 1986–I have seen photographs; I`ve got photographs of me with the late Cubby Broccoli, signing the contracts, standing outside the soundstage with his Rolls Royce–I look like something out of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. I mean…it`s Remington Steele. That script sat beside my bed for all the negotiations of what ultimately became THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS. So I was lucky that I didn`t do it then, very lucky.”

Of course, the actor was very disappointed when the renewal of REMINGTON STEELE created a scheduling conflict that allowed Timothy Dalton to step in, because at that time Brosnan had no idea that the opportunity would ever role around again. This has led to some media depictions that he felt as if he had lost out on a role he had long coveted, but had he really always pictured himself as playing 007?

“No, I didn`t,” he says today. “I read, and have read, that it was my life ambition to play this role, and I dreamt of playing this role–which is complete untruth. I grew up watching the Bond movies, and they certainly sparked my interest in cinema at the age of ten when I saw GOLDFINGER. But I never wanted to be Bond or dreamt about being Bond. It wasn`t until I was doing REMINGTON STEELE that these kind of mutterings and whitterings were going on about me being Bond, because my late wife had done a Bond movie and because we knew the Broccoli family. You already know the history of that from `86. But I guess he and I were just meant to meet on the stage: destiny, destiny, destiny. There was no getting away from it. And I enjoy playing the role enormously.”

Brosnan helped breathe new life into a franchise that had lain dormant for six years, since the box office disappointment of LICENCE TO KILL. The Bond films had gone through a phase of self-parody during Roger Moore`s tenure, and the attempt to return to a more serious tone with Timothy Dalton had fallen flat due to a reluctance to completely abandon the over-the-top antics for which the series had become known. (For instance, the stunt-and-effects-packed chase scene near the end of LICENCE is an impressive piece of action-choreography when taken out of context, but within the film it detracts from the dramatic core of the story, which is about the personal conflict between Bond and his antagonist, the drug lord Sanchez.) With Brosnan in the role, the `90s films have struggled hard to maintain the proper balance between witty one-liners and action-packed violence, harkening back to the glory days of Sean Connery.

Says Brosnan of his predecessor, “Well, going into the ring, it`s about taking the belt. Connery`s got the belt; I want the
belt. It`s as simple as that. It`s a game; the whole bloody thing`s a game. You go in knowing that there`s only one man in the ring. There`s that analogy, which is kind of dramatic and makes for good copy, but there`s also just one`s own self esteem and respect for the character, respect for the millions of people who loved the character. Doing GOLDENEYE was huge. The tension was there from Day One when I put the phone down after my agents said, `You`ve got the job,` right through to finishing the press junket. And Connery was the Man. He was Bond; he was the one I grew up on. You have this kind of thing of wanting to take the belt, but you also have to find your own path with it and not get too blind-sided by the competition and someone else`s performance.”

Continuing somewhat in the direction of Timothy Dalton, Brosnan has moved away from playing Bond as the tongue-in-cheek caricature of Roger Moore. “For me, he is a human being,” says the actor. “To come into the role the first time round, it had such a mighty mythology to it. How do you make it real for yourself; how do you find your [own way]? Because what Fleming put down on paper and what Connery did in the beginning are two different things, really; there`s two different men. So you have to find the man for yourself. You pose the questions to yourself, `What if I were this man?` He`s highly trained, respected, solitary. A survivalist. Doesn`t simply like trying to kill anybody, but kills. Is always looking over his shoulder. Drinks too much. Did smoke too much at one time but has given up–I think he has a quiet cigarette behind the set. For me, it was just trying to make him human, and that`s a dangerous thing to do with any kind of fantasy-figure character. We did it more this time than the last two movies.”

Part of humanizing Bond in the new movie results from twisting familiar situations in unexpected ways: violating the sanctity of MI6 headquarters with an explosive attack, placing the character of M into unfamiliar situations, including mortal jeopardy. This allows 007 to show a little more concern for the character, instead of just the usual respectful banter laced with wit. “Yes, he does love this woman,” says Brosnan of Bond`s boss. “Yeah, she`s a Bond babe–she is THE Bond babe. So there is a great love and respect, and I wanted to see more of that. Michael Apted, who is a very adept director and has a fine ear for dialogue and storytelling, [wanted to explore] what is the relationship between Bond and M, to put us in a situation where they could actually feel something for each other. You see something behind the mask of the charade they might play.”

This is in keeping with one element that Brosnan has emphasized in order to distinguish his characterization: a more obvious compassion for the women in the Bond films. This was on view in TOMORROW NEVER DIES vis-à-vis Teri Hatcher, suggesting a certain vulnerability not always apparent. “I cannot do, nor do I want to do, what Connery did,” he says. “Nor do I wish to do that kind of character who smacks women around and smacks them in the mouth. I mean, he could do it, and he has done it: with Famke Janssen in GOLDENEYE, he gives her a ding in the jaw, but then she deserves it.”

Brosnan is perhaps being a bit disingenuous here, considering what happens in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH: Bond`s compassion re-emerges, even more pronounced, in regards to Sophie Marceau, but it turns out to be misplaced. “In the context of this film, he is so conflicted and torn by what has happened, and he is also very seduced by this woman,” he says of showing Bond`s fallibility, “and I think there`s nothing wrong in letting that seduction happen within the film. It adds to the drama.” Yes, it does, but it also creates a situation wherein Bond ends up giving a woman more than just a ding in the jaw.
This is all part of a move toward pushing Bond into a morally gray area. As in GOLDENEYE, the villain of THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is a former friend or ally turned hostile because of past mistreatment. In this new film, however, Bond himself is at least somewhat implicated in the moral malfeasance.

“That is good,” says Brosnan. “We talked in that direction, Michael Apted and I. Bruce Fierstein, who has penned all the ones that I`ve been in, has always talked in that gray area of ambiguity from the beginning. I think GOLDENEYE had it in miniscule amounts, maybe in one particular sequence on the beach with Izabella Scorupco. The second film, I think they wanted to be so bigger and bolder and brasher than the first that it was just wall-to-wall action. But this time around they allowed us to have story, to have character-to have interaction of character and subtext of character, and subtleties. So you have this incredible heroic character, but there is that gray area–an elliptical side to him–and that`s what intrigues me: how far you can push that and how far you can go with that, without pulling it all down.

“When you dig into the dark side of this character, that`s when it gets really interesting–dealing especially with the killings, his license to kill, what really goes on in his head when the door closes in Hamburg or Helsinki or wherever he is in the world-the quiet moment,” Brosnan continues. “Michael Apted [is] not maybe an obvious choice for a big action movie, but I think at day`s end will be viewed as a man who brought it around in a different way. Certainly for me he did, because of his intelligence and storytelling and his own wry sense of humor. He was wise enough to let the boys who handle all the stunts and special effects get on with their job. People have talked about Michael coming back. I haven`t even talked about whether he would want to do another one or not. It would be wonderful to work with him again. It would be wonderful using this as a platform to push the fourth Bond out into an area that is not radical but following the train of thought that we`ve got right now with the character.”

Making the rather safe assumption that WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH will be successful enough to justify a fourth turn by Brosnan as Bond, what would the actor like to extract from the character? “I`d like to see the quietness of him,” the actor reveals. “I`d like to see him just alone on the stage there-how it all affects him, the mission, the killing of someone. We see a little bit in this, but he`s so heroic and always gets the job done; he always has the gadget at hand. But what happens when he doesn`t have the gadget at hand? What happens when it goes wrong? What happens when it`s the betrayal that he deals with in his life the whole time?

“I think we`ve kind of got the foundation to do a fourth and maybe a fifth,” he continues, referring to events in WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH that point in the direction he would like to go: “Because of his guilt, he lends himself to a particular woman, and then how foolish could he be to let it get out of hand so far?” He adds that he would like to extend the character by “taking all of those sequences one step further. You have a rating on this film, which is PG, which should always be there. But there`s a part of me that would love to do an R-rated Bond, or just take the PG rating off it and do it–not for real, because you want the fantasy–but just to see some surprises and explores facets of the character more.”

Before doing a fourth film, however, Brosnan would like some time off to recharge his batteries and to do other films. “I was trained and taught with the belief that I could do many different characters,” he says. “When you`re a younger actor, you feel you can do the whole gamut, but as you get older you realize you have limitations. So there`s that side to the question, but then there`s just me having a good time. Then there`s also me as the guy who needs to work to pay the mortgage, and you don`t have that many choices of scripts on the table, so you take that job because you have to take that job, because if you don`t take the job there might not be a job in two months time. So there`s been that element of my career. There`s an element now, a different side where I have choices, a few choices, most of which I`m making myself. There`s a flood of scripts coming in the door. But you make your own work for yourself, create spaces for yourself where hopefully you get the work, with luck and timing.”
Despite his desire to play other roles, Brosnan definitely wants to return as 007. “I want to do a fourth,” he states. “There is contractually the option of a fourth, and I would like to do a forth film. But I don`t want to go as quickly as we have done the last three. It`s just exhausting. I knew if GOLDENEYE hit, and hit hard, that we were going to be off running. When it did come in strong, then I knew that they were going to want one every eighteen months. So, if you are successful with it, you are going to be known as this character, because I have the knowledge and history of seeing what Sean Connery went through and what Roger Moore went through. So I would like some space between this one and the next one, but of course the studio will want it differently.

interview: Patrick Bauchau, “Scarpine”

Patrick Bauchau is probably best remembered by Bond fans as the suave and ultra cool Scarpine, Head of Security for Max Zorin, in A VIEW TO A KILL. In the film he gets to rig a horse race against Bond, eventually knocks him unconscious and assists in trying to drown him, feeds Klotkoff to the propellers, sets fire to San Francisco City Hall, traps Bond and Stacey in a burning elevator shaft, guns down dozens of miners, drains a lake, floods a fault, aids Zorin in creating an earthquake that will kill millions and tries to splatter Bond up against the Golden Gate Bridge. Scarpine is as bad as they come. But what kind of person is Patrick Bauchau? Unlike his alter-ego, I found Bauchau (and his wife) to be quite nice, charming and very friendly.

Patrick Bauchau (pronounced “beau-show”) was born in Brussels and raised in Belgium, England and Switzerland. His father, Henry Bauchau, a Flemish writer, served in the Belgian underground during the war, ran a publishing company and was the head of a finishing school in Switzerland. His mother, the late Mary Kozyrev, expatriated from Russia and at one time ran both the publishing company and the finishing school. Patrick attended Oxford university on an academic scholarship and holds a degree in modern languages. He speaks English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Walloon. He also knows a bit of Flemish and Russian which he learned as a child.

A VIEW TO A KILL was his first major film; a big break of sorts. His agent, Jean Diamond, knew the location work of the film would eventually lead the project to Paris and Chantilly, France, and suggested Bauchau meet with Cubby Broccoli in London for the role of Scarpine. `When I first met the producers, there was little to the role; no characterization,` Patrick said. In fact, the role was actually written as an Italian henchmen. Many fans assume that the name Scarpine was based on the scar that Bauchau had on his left cheek, a scar which, by the way, was not real and had to be reapplied
every day. In actuality, the name Scarpine is Italian and means “little shoes”. At first “they [the producers] wanted me to play him with an Italian accent but after a few attempts at it, word came down to do it straight”. Therefore, the Italian background and accent went right out the door, much to his disappointment. He was looking forward to playing an ethnic character. Although he wouldn`t get his chance here, the Tom Clancy thriller CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER would open up the opportunity to do for that film what he hadn`t been allowed to do for A VIEW TO A KILL.

When asked to recollect his experiences on the set of A VIEW TO A KILL, Patrick was both gracious and honest. “It was very enlightening…a great experience. I felt like part of a family” he said of the atmosphere that Cubby Broccoli was famous for fostering on the set. But there were some things that even Cubby`s good nature couldn`t overcome: the nasty June 27th, 1984 fire that burned The 007 Stage to the ground. Though the studio was rebuilt in time to accommodate the massive sets needed for A VIEW TO A KILL, particularly the mine sequences, it did take its toll on the cast, who
at times could do nothing but wait in boredom until their set was ready for shooting. “At times it was like biting my nails, waiting for something to happen,” Bauchau explains. “France went smoothly. Iceland went smoothly. San Francisco went smoothly…but London went on forever.”

At one point during the filming of the zeppelin sequences, Patrick fell asleep while the cameras were shooting. The cast and crew played a joke on him, by all gathering around him, staring at him and bringing the camera in for a close up shot. Patrick was in a bit of shock to eventually wake up and find a hundred people, and a couple of cameras, all looking at him.

Fans who thought Zorin`s remark about the history of Chantilly Castle`s stables was just a joke have presumed wrong. Patrick`s lovely wife Mijanou told me how Le Prince de Condé built the castle and the stables to be even bigger than Louis XIV Gallerie des Glaces in Versailles. When asked why he was building such a large, palatial estate, Le Prince de Condé answered: “It`s because I`m going to be reincarnated as a horse!”

Patrick says that Roger Moore was the most relaxed person he ever met,
always playing backgammon with Cubby Broccoli (the producer) and always having a very funny and caustic joke ready. For their scenes together at the Chantilly Estate, they didn`t always know how to exit out of the scene, as Director John Glen was sometimes more interested in establishing the shot but not calling “Cut!” Patrick said : “I`ll go to the right!” and Roger said: “Ok, I`ll go to the left and I shall phone them for the rest of my dialogue.”

The effect the long waits took on the cast would not surprise some of the fans, and most of the harsh critics, who felt the whole production lacked punch. Grace Jones was a “true delight”, Bauchau remembers, but as for 007 himself, Patrick felt “Roger…knew this would be his last and didn`t seem too interested in the film.” The production schedule seemed to affect even veteran actor and Oscar winner Christopher Walken. As the shoot wore on, Walken seemed to “slump into a daze”. Patrick didn`t immediately see the film when it came out because he was busy shooting another film. But
he did see it later and thought it `good, but not among the best,` a reason he attributes, partially, to the technical issues surrounding the fire.

I asked him if he`d seen any of the Bond films since the release of AVIEW TO A KILL and he gave a very thoughtful, deliberate, and perhaps insightful answer. He said that he had seen Timothy Dalton`s films, but had not seen the “American Bond films.” I laughed a little bit and asked him to clarify what he meant by “American Bond films” since Brosnan is a proud Irishman. Bauchau feels that the Brosnan films are a “Hollywood Bond” production, and lacked the style and coolness factor of Sean Connery, whom he really likes.

Bauchau`s work cuts across so many different genres that it would be remiss of us to not mention some of the highlights of his very successful post-Bond career. He`s dabbled in Drama/Horror with two different shows: BLOOD TIES and KINDRED: THE EMBRACED. `TIES` was an ambitious project from the mind of Richard Shapiro, one half of the dynamic duo Shapiro team (the other half being his wife, Esther). Together, they were responsible for such fare as DYNASTY and it`s spin-off THE COLBY`s. In 1991 they set out to revitalize the genre of nightime dramas, a genre that had been considered to be defunct, with DALLAS, DYNASTY, THE COLBY`S and FALCON CREST all either off the air or about to be cancelled. BLOOD TIES was the story of wealthy,
warring families who just happen to be vampires. BLOOD TIES was a very
compelling, captivating, well acted tv-pilot that turned and twisted the notions of soap operas and night time dramas. But the Shapiros had problems with the FOX Network as well as Aaron Spelling and the proposed drama was thus cancelled. KINDRED: THE EMBRACED fared no better.

Bauchau`s other big name projects have included two different Tom Clancy projects: CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER and OP CENTER. In `DANGER`, Bauchau played Enrique Rojas, a rival Columbian drug lord to the main villain, so thoroughly that he was virtually unrecogonizable. Bauchau came upon the part because his neighbor isn`t just a neighbor; he`s a friend. And his friend isn`t just any friend; he`s a director. And he`s not just any director: he`s big name director Phillip Noyce, who has directed projects such as SLIVER, THE SAINT and PATRIOT GAMES. For the past four years Bauchau has played Centre operator SYDNEY on the hit NBC show THE PRETENDER. Ironically, one time Bond actor George Lazenby appeared on THE PRETENDER as Jarod`s father, and came back for the season finale.

George and Patrick are good friends on and off camera.

So where is Patrick going from here? NBC has not renewed THE PRETENDER after four years, but there is interest from TNT, which will begin airing the show in syndication in September 2000. But Patrick is hardly wanting for work. His schedule is very full this summer, with an expected shoot in Montana for an upcoming movie, as well as starring in the new Jennifer Lopez psychological thriller THE CELL, which is due to open August 2000. He even hints that STAR TREK may be in his future, in one form or another. Though no formal discussions have taken place, and the future of STAR TREK is up in
the air in terms of both the television series and feature films, Bauchau alludes to some interest on their (the producers) part towards him. “I`d love to do STAR TREK. I`m interested in that and I think they are interested in me,” he said.

Patrick has lived in Los Angeles since the mid-80`s as a matter of practicality; so much of his work was taking him to Los Angeles. He divides his time between projects there and projects in France, not neglecting the European cinema. Often, he and Mijanou spend the hiatus months of THE PRETENDER in France. They have one daughter, Camille, and Mijanou is the sister of famed screen legend Brigitte Bardot.

007Forever would like to thank Patrick, Mijanou and the webmaster of www.bauchau.com, Deb Stewart, for arranging their busy schedules to talk with us.

For more information on Patrick Bauchau, you can visit his official website: www.bauchau.com.

interview: Location Manager, Anthony Waye

What made you enter the film industry and how did you go about that? I mean you’ve been an Assistant Director and now Line Producer for altogether over thirty years.

Well, I’ve been various capacities for over, since 1955.

What were you working as in 1955?

Well I started here as a trainee in 1955.

Doing what exactly?

Well, in those days you started as a trainee and you did a period in the post room and then they assessed you. If they thought that you were art department material, you went into the art department or if you were camera material, you went into camera. Or if you were editing material, you went in… whatever you showed a leaning towards. I obviously showed a leaning towards production. I wanted to go into art but I couldn’t get into art because my… then the next step was to draw. My skills of drawing although fairly good weren’t good enough to do basic draughtsman’s work. So I failed that. I didn’t fancy camera, I didn’t fancy editing and I was obviously an organiser so I went into Production.

So that would be a case of Pinewood finding staff for the films that came here?

Yeah, in those days, you were regularly employed. There weren’t freelance people. Freelance people didn’t exist.

So it was sort of like the studio system?

It was the studio system, yes. And there were two thousand, three thousand employees permanently employed here. They made twelve films a year for the Rank Organisation. You had five permanent camera crews, maybe four/five permanent sound crews. You had maybe twenty Assistant Directors who went from film to film.

Very tight units. Do you think that is a reason why the British industry has developed? I’ve found that when I work on films, everyone knows everyone else.

I think it is. When I was on the floor, when I was an Assistant Director and of course, I did far more films per year than I do now- now I do one every eighteen months or every two years- in those days I used to do maybe three films a year. Or maybe five over a two-year period so you worked, you tended to work with a different crew on each film. So at the end of the year, you met three different crews. There was overlapping. And I used to know everybody when I was an AD. You knew all the Sparks (electricians), you knew the Props, and you knew the other AD’s, that sort of thing. But now it’s vastly different because the freelance world has exploded. There weren’t the commercials in those days. Pop promos didn’t exist. Commercials were made by Pearl and Dean and they used to have a base here and they were very much more, a simplified thing. Now you have a vast array of new people coming who don’t even know how to behave in the industry. They come from pop promos and they have no discipline, they have no training. Occasionally, you get one with some, one or two with skill who makes it up the ladder.

Would you say it’s now the case of ‘who you know’ not ‘what you know’ in the industry?

It’s not so much ‘who you know’. It’s very rare ‘who you know’. It’s whom you know who appreciates your skill. I mean, I may know Lord Bloggs’ son. And Lord Bloggs might say to me ‘I want my son to be first AD on the film.’ But if Lord Bloggs’ son is a total polisher, I don’t want Lord Bloggs’ son. I want someone who does the job. So it is ‘who you know’, yes but you don’t succeed in this business if you’re no good. You soon get found out. Very soon you get found out and this is what used to happen when the Rank Organisation used to make twelve films a year. Take the production line that I went on, you went from the normal six to seven months training period in the mailroom, which was good because you learned the whole studios, you learnt all the departments, then you were made up to a Production Runner. You got assigned to one film and then as you got more interested in individual production, you got to know it, they would very soon- much the same happens now- the first AD or second AD would recognise if you had AD material. You can see it now, you can see it in trainees, you can see it when you interview people, you know if they’ve got the right attitude for the film. So I obviously had the right attitude, so I did runner on quite a few films and then slowly get taken on the floor to help out on a crowd sequence or big sequence as an additional AD. It is another way of learning, a good experience. Then I became a third (AD).

What was your first film as a third?

The first film as a third was… I didn’t finish it because I got called up for National Service. I can’t remember the film. There was a lot of shooting at night in Camden Town; I can’t remember the name of the film. And then I came back to being a third…

So how long were you away for?

Well the National Service was two years. You went away for two years. And they had to hold your job for you.

By the time you came back you were how old? How long had it taken you to work your way to third AD?

Probably from about sixteen to about twenty. Four years. I came back here and I was offered a film living in a tent in the desert, which I turned down as third assistant, which turned out to be Lawrence of Arabia.

Are there films, now that you look back, that make you say to yourself, ‘if only I did that’?

Yes. There are films in retrospect one wishes that one could have done. I was reading the paper this morning; they just reissued a film called KES.

Oh yes, Kenneth Loach, great film.

That was a film in those days, I mean in those days, who was Kenneth Loach nobody knew who he was. There was a chance that I was going to work on it, I didn’t think much of it but in a way one wishes that you’d done films like that. I mean I’ve done films I suppose that other people wish they’d done.

Star Wars springs to mind.

Well, Star Wars yes, was certainly one of the films I did as a first. But you didn’t know it was anything special.

That’s the picture I’ve got from most documentaries. I was told that you don’t actually like talking about Star Wars.

That’s true.

Why is that?

Well, that’s because Star Wars, I mean partly maybe because one doesn’t remember a great deal of it because it was just another film.

That’s great. You know you’ve reached a pinnacle when you can ‘it was just another film’.

Yeah, well you see, when I did my first interview for Star Wars all I could remember was negative thoughts about it. It was pretty unhappy, it was low budget, it was pretty tight on money to make it. It was very inventive. You were inventing a lot of things, which was fine, but they were quite complicated. We were shooting in a difficult country in a difficult location in Tunisia and so when I looked back on my notes on Star Wars, all I could see was negative thoughts I had at that time. I was thinking about it, I was going to do a Sky Television interview and so I phoned them up and said I really couldn’t do an interview, I didn’t want to talk about it because all I had was negative notes, memories. Then I thought afterwards, maybe it’s me, maybe… and I know it was me to a degree but I looked back on my CV and thought ‘well what have I done?’ By the time I’d done Star Wars, I’d done thirty-five films as a first assistant. So I was reasonably experienced. And I’d done some fairly good films. But then it was quite interesting because the thoughts that I began to remember about it- it is very rare that I sit down and think about something- I’m told that many of those same situations developed on the current one. Basically, the problems were that George Lucas had this fantastic vision in his mind but had difficulty in conveying that to the crew.

You’ve worked with directors such as Lucas and Lynch. Do you find you have to adapt to each person’s style?

Oh yeah, very much.

What exactly would you do as an Assistant Director?

Well the Assistant Director runs the set. Runs the shooting crew to the instructions of the Producer, through the office and to the instructions of the Director. And he has to adapt to those instructions to make it work best. To keep the schedule going, doing the budget, to make the film as good as possible. He has to be aware of the mood of the unit, to either jolly them along or jiggy them up, or calm them down if they are getting irritable about something and if there’s problems, let the office know. To help them out, or sort things out if there’s been too long a day and people are tired.

So the natural progression from Assistant Director would be Line producer?

No. Very few AD’s leave the floor and go to the office. Not first assistants. A lot of second assistants do. A lot of second assistants don’t like to be firsts.

Why?

I think there is a different mentality. I think first assistant is the best job in the business.

Really? So how big is the difference between a first and second?

The second does a lot of office work. Planning the call-sheet, making the hair and make-up work, getting actors through in the morning, planning the fittings of the extras coming up, arranging transport with the office and just generally thinking ahead for the first assistant. The first will be thinking ahead to the next five, six shots and the next day and maybe the day after and in the evenings when he sits with his second they’d be looking at the next week. So you are always planning ahead. Whereas a second assistant to a degree once the day starts, his day is planned. He’s got the actors ready for the day, all he’s got to do is to make people, if they’re running late, call someone and make them a bit later or cancel people from stand-bys.

Generally, once the day starts, the second’s day is in place so they need to start thinking about the next day. Start roughing up the call sheet which throws up questions so he goes on and talks to the first and meanwhile, while they’re roughing up the next day, they are thinking about the big crowd call on the location in five days time. So he’s thinking ahead for the first whereas the first is thinking ahead on the set not only to the next shot but the shot after that. Keeping the crew up-to-date, warning the crew that the next shot, that wall is going to come out and that one is going to go in so that they can start clearing the equipment. Just thinking ahead so you don’t have any hold-ups. The first is thinking instantly to the next shot and planning the next four, five shots. Maybe the whole day’s shots in his mind, thinking loosely about tomorrow whereas the second is more seriously thinking about tomorrow.

You said that being a first was the best job in the business. If that is so, why did you take the unusual step of entering the paperwork?

Two or three reasons. One was, by the time I packed up being a first, which was; my last two films were Octopussy and Ladyhawke. That was ’83, ’84. The salary structure for one thing was that for one, firsts weren’t quite recognised financially as they are now and I found that on both those films that they had very large crowd- costume films- Octopussy wasn’t so much costume but there was quite a lot. You finish up running the whole show and the director would tend to sit down at the back of the set and let you do it all and you felt that you were not getting enough funds for what you were doing. I’d also got a bit bored because at that point I must have done forty-five films? And then on top of that I’d had a couple of accidents on films and injured my back so I found standing up all day was a bit of a strain. And another thing was that I was offered a job the Bond, I’d done to films as firsts, and offered me Production Manager on View to a Kill.

A first is also one of those jobs you cannot go on doing forever. It’s not entirely true. Probably, that was the height of the time when the commercials market was coming through and if you were over twenty in the commercials market, you were an old man. They didn’t want people over twenty-five because they were too old and they didn’t want the experienced people because they were too experienced. Not that I ever did commercials but one felt that the future lay more in the office than on the floor.

Did you ever try TV?

No.

Why?

Because I make films.

Terry Bamber (2nd Unit Production Manager) told me that the industry is getting younger and younger. Do you feel that is the way it is because of advertising?

Oh yes. You get a lot of people come through pop promos and commercials. Through now digital video work and that sort of thing and they are coming into the industry. There are some very good people, there are always good people but for every good person there is probably twenty idiots- who think they know what they’re doing. I’ve heard of at least three films this morning, which are being made by virtually amateurs who are running into trouble. They’ve had to call in more experienced people- three films.

Which… are you going to say?

Of course I’m not. These are three very small British films and this is what happens. This is part of the reason we make such a lot of rubbish that no one wants to see. Somebody thinks that it is wonderful to make all these silly films but you’ve only got to pick up the daily telegraph today and read the film reviews. Of the films they review, the first one is KES and they say it’s the only one worth seeing.

You say no one wants to see British films.

I think we’ve got the wrong attitude. The system is totally different from the American. In America, everyone appreciates, the Government appreciates, the State Government appreciates, everyone appreciates the industry. What is it? The third, fourth biggest money-spinner in business. We have not quite the same opportunity in this country but we have a golden opportunity but we have never had a government that understands it all. Even now, this government with all their talk, they’re bringing in legislation, which is damaging to our industry.

There are two industries in England. One is the big film industry based in the studios, which services the American films like Bond, The Mummy, 102 Dalmatians, Star Wars, that sort of movie. It takes a high degree of very good technician, who we have, there are very good technicians in this country and then you’ve got the smaller Soho type, which make a lot smaller films. Every now and again, one of them makes an impact. Like Lock Stock. There are some very good little films made but they can’t get advertised. They certainly can’t get shown because they are not advertised and the cinema chains are run by Americans and they are not going to show some little English film that no one is going to go and see. And the government doesn’t help with its stupid legislation. We have a golden opportunity right now to attract more films to this country from America, golden opportunity. Canada’s full, people are getting fed up of Australia.

Star Wars has just moved there.

Well Star Wars I wouldn’t say is a normal film because as the last one you saw, has two highly powered actors in there who were wasted and most of the backgrounds were put in afterwards.

You didn’t like the new Star Wars film then.

No. I thought it had some good moments but it had nothing left in it.

Did memories come flooding back when you saw it?

No. I was so fed up of the two actors looking bored and in the wrong film and that idiot Jar Jar, interrupting all the time. I was interested to see it for the visual effects. Some of the sequences were very good and very clever. The pod racing scene based on Ben Hurr was good, very clever. The effects were very clever but the trouble with effects now is that they are in every basic commercial. Watch a Persil ad now and the figure comes off the packet and talks to you. You can do anything on a computer. I think that there are two different styles of the industry. Regrettably, a lot of the Soho based films hire people who after two small six-week films think… I get the CV’s in the post. They call themselves Production Managers and have no comprehension what it is like to be the PM or the AD on a film of this capacity. Then of course, there are some extremely good people who come through.

When The Empire Strikes Back came to Elstree, were you offered work on that?

No, I think I’d gone on to something else. I think George and Gary, certainly George had… I don’t know, you do a film and you get deflected, you do another and you are deflected another way. Then you meet up with people. I much prefer to do Elephant Man to the Empire Strikes Back, I think it’s a far superior film and it was a gem to work on. It was an absolute joy to stand there and watch it acted. It was acting. John Hurt and an excellent cast. It was just superb. It was a wonderful experience.

What was it like to work with my favourite director- David Lynch?

He is a strange one. I like David. I think he was a little bit out of his depth in a way, working with the actors we were working with, the John Gielguds and people like that and working in London. All I remember was it was a very pleasurable experience. We worked some very strange hours. We used to do a twelve-hour day, every other day with days off in between. The make up was like a six-hour job so he used to come in at 4am, be ready for 10am and we would have the crew call for 9. We would then work non-stop until ten o’clock at night with a running buffet on the set and the next day we’d have a midday call and work until five setting up the next day’s work. We’d have that day without make-up to give his skin a rest. It was a fantastic way of working. Between twelve and five you would rehearse the whole of the next day’s work so that you knew the route, you knew the positions, the actors knew what they were doing, the director got the acting right, the cameraman knew where the lights were to go, the dolly would be ready. Great, great work.

You’ve worked now on eight, nine Bonds?

Eight.

What has attracted you back?

Well, what is it that attracts everyone? Everyone wants to do Bond. When they were being made every two years, and the first five I did were, they got the same team back every time. People made themselves available to do the film. People used to phone around and made themselves available for the film. The first five I did weren’t the best films in the world and they were reaching the end of an era at that point. They had family, they are family run films, there’s not many family films. They were pleasant to work for, they had a certain amount of aura about them and since in this current series, since Goldeneye they have an even bigger aura. They are a little tougher. The atmosphere has changed a little bit because they are much more complicated now. Much more complicated and much bigger than they were in the first five we did. They were quite simple films to do. Now everyone works much longer hours, in those days you didn’t.

Do you think that since Cubby past away, the Bond films aren’t quite the same?

No I don’t think that at all. Everyone misses Cubby and he was brilliant to have around on set because he knew everybody and he’d talk to everybody and everyone respected him. No, it changed with the natural break came in the six-year break and then you had a new Bond. A new style of script-writing a new style of director and the public also demanded a new type of film. When you go back to the end of the eighties, when Timothy and Roger were around, the films were a little bit down. They were very much the same as they were in the sixties. The audiences were getting more sophisticated. They needed more excitement.

Do you think this had to do with the big blockbusters in the eighties?

Yes to a degree.

I loved Dalton as Bond.

Well, you love him or you hate him don’t you?

Well, I loved his hard edge.

A lot of people say to me, who are far more knowledgeable about Bond than I am- I have too much to do on a film I read a script three or four times and I get the gist of it. I never make comment on whether I think it’s good. Only on certain scenes do I think it good or bad. It’s not my problem, we’ve got producers and writers to sort that out and the director. It is not my concern. I’ve just got to organise a thousand people in five or six countries to shoot it. That’s not my concern. I will make comment if I think a scene is naff or it’s unnecessary or we don’t need it. Once you start shooting the script starts changing anyway. You never get a chance to read it again. Never get time to sit and digest a script. So I can finish up on a Bond film with a script I haven’t read for thirty weeks. You just read the scenes that come up in the schedule. So I’m the wrong person to ever talk about the quality of Dalton. I think Dalton could have helped himself and the film more though you are also right, he had an edge, they were harder pictures. Many people say he was close to the original character Fleming had devised. I think that’s probably true. You’re going back to how Sean was in the early days.

Sean was the king. You can’t take his crown away.

Ah I don’t know!

You don’t know?

I think Pierce is equally good as Sean when Sean was in his prime.

How does your job change between production and post-production?

Well, obviously it changes dramatically because when you’re shooting, and I’ve got three or four units going, sometimes in two or three countries at the same time- you’re constantly jiggling schedules and talking to people on the phone, first thing in the morning, last thing at night with all the various problems that come up. Trying to make sure that everyone is working the next day. If something changes you may have to swing another set in, in order to fly more people out or you may have to bring more people back or even change a rest day. It is non-stop fourteen hours a day. Six days a week. Whereas in post-production, you have a team of people who are professionals in their own right and we have a Post-Production Co-ordinator. We didn’t used to; we used to do it ourselves so it takes a load off from me. On the other hand I have a lot of clearing up to do from the locations, even this late and all this paperwork relates to either delivery requirements which I have to do, cast and crew screening (pointing to a pile) or the lending out of our equipment to another film which is another bunch. Sorting out the odd insurance problem and that sort of thing.

How different is Line Producer from Producer?

It differs on the film. On this film, a film of this size, basically I run it. I run the film apart from artistic decisions or budget re-decision.

Michael Wilson will get final cut.

The producers will get the final cut, in conjunction with the director.

What was it like to work with Michael Apted?

He’s a very organised man. I think he has a very appealing style, which a lot of people in the world could learn from. As soon as a man starts screaming and shouting on the set, I think he is an idiot.

James Cameron?

Well, I have worked with James Cameron. You don’t need to do that. If you can’t get your authority over without having to scream and shout then there’s something wrong. You don’t need to. You can be firm, you can be positive, you can stamp your foot gently now and again and if you know what you are doing as a director, you don’t need to scream and shout. That’s a fallacy and this is an area where these ‘wonderful’ people that come up through commercials and pop promos and they think they have to be outrageous. That’s unprofessional.

Have you ever thought of directing yourself?

Years and years and years ago. I was offered to direct.

Anything I would have heard of?

No. My brain isn’t that sort of brain. I’m an organizer brain. I’m too practical to be a director.

It would have been a job you could have done.

Oh, I know how to shoot a film. Yes I can easily shoot a script. Whether I get any performance from it is a different story. I think that with my contacts in the world now, when I finish this and I take a break and I start looking around if there was a script that I liked and believed in, if asked to direct, I would direct. But it would have to be something that had… it would have to be something that you believed in. If you had a really deep acting film and the actors come and want to have discussions, I don’t think I could tolerate that. I don’t have the patience for that.

Would it be a British film?

Oh yes. Well yes. One will support the British industry as best as one can. Another great mass of this paperwork is all this idiot government legislation that is coming out and how we can fight the government to try and make them see sense. That is why in part a group of us from the Guild of Production Executives are getting together and we are trying to persuade the government that what they are bringing in is bad for the industry.

So when do you finish with Bond?

My contract is up at Christmas. I see-through post production. I will deliver the film by the end of October and then I have some input into the cast and crew premiere screenings. Having done that, one will finally hope to file all this paper work as a record must be kept of everything. Probably won’t get time to do it all. We will make an attempt to do that.

Lastly, what advice would you give to someone attempting to enter the Production side of the industry?

I don’t know. It’s a very precarious business. I’ve been very lucky all these years; I did have twenty years of the best time. It will never be like that again, ever. You can see from my CV, we went from picture to picture. You had another picture fixed before you finished the first one. Halfway through, you were meeting the directors for the next film. You had four, five weeks off after it and you were on the next one. That doesn’t happen now. There aren’t the films around. There’s far more people chasing the jobs now because of media and film schools. What advice? The advice is if you’re good, you will get there. Somehow you will get there, one way or the other. If you’ve got the wrong attitude, you haven’t got a chance.

Most people in this industry have the right attitude. You know you’re going to do long hours. You know it’s going to be hard work. You know you are going to be covered in shit all the time. You know you are going to be soaking wet and filthy with mud but at least you can hope to achieve a major production. Make a film you are proud of to have on your CV. It depends what side of the industry you want to go into. It takes time to establish your name. If you want to be an Assistant Director, you’ve got to work harder. A lot of people think you can jump in and be a first after doing three commercials. I think the industry will choose you. In a way, it was said earlier, it is word of mouth. People will recommend you. People do phone up everybody and say ‘how was X on the last film?’ You need the experience.