Category Archives: Weird and Wonderful

Wilson Chance: 007 Spoof’s Creators

In the beginning there were the Zucker Brothers (Airplane! The Naked Gun). Then God, seeing as how it was not fit for the Zucker Brothers to be alone, created the Farrelly Brothers (Dumb and Dumber, Something About Mary). Now, ready or not, here comes the Bunzendahl Brothers with their independent film WILSON CHANCE, whose lead character could make Austin Powers look downright smooth.

Along with Dean Williams and his film A PEPPER FOR TOMORROW, the Bunzendahl Brothers, who are based out of Colorado Springs, CO have become instant cult celebrities in the Bond fan community. They appeared at Bond Collectors Weekend last month in New Orleans, debuted several scenes from the new picture and soon the whole event was abuzz with talk about the film. It`s a hybrid mix of WIZARD OF OZ, GET SMART, MATT HELM and JAMES BOND 007.

Justin Williford, 24, plays the lead role of nerdy box office ticket taker Willy Lance, and his alter-ego Wilson Chance. He`s also a college student, holds down a part time job and is the star of the film. At the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Williford majors in Communications and Recording Arts, with a minor in Film Studies. He`d like to major in Film Studies, but the college doesn`t offer them. He has taken acting classes in the past.

So strong is his committment to WILSON CHANCE that he was willing to sacrifice huge amounts of his personal life in order to get this film completed. When I first met Williford, I had him pegged as either a baseball player or a quarterback. I wasn`t completely wrong; he`s an expert rifleman and gave up an Olympic career on the National Mens Shotgun Team to do this film. His extensive knowledge of firearms also makes him the film crews resident expert on gun safety.

Williford works part time at the local Blockbuster on the nights he`s not filming (which is about three times a week). This job affords him the opportunity to stock up on free movies every night and study them. When I asked him what his boss thought of his desire to be an actor, Williford explained to me that not only was his boss enthusiastic about letting Williford have time off to film, he`s even in the film (he plays a bartender to whom Wilson Chance requests a Shirley Temple, “skaken, not stirred”).

George Bunzendahl, 33, is the Producer of the film and his energy, excitement and humor about the film is infectious. He gleefully admits he could `sell a ketchup popsicle to a white gloved customer` if he needed to. In other words, it`s his job to sell the film and so far he`s doing a great job of it; i`m sold. George is the “people guy”; the “mover and shaker”. He promotes the film, coordinates the days shoot and gets actors for the film. In real life, George is a special agent. Yes, he`s an insurance agent for Progressive Auto Insurance.

Jeff Bunzendahl, 28, is George`s brother, and the Director and Writer of WILSON CHANCE. Jeff`s first introduction to Bondage was a trip with his dad to see MOONRAKER when he was six years old. His love of filmmaking was sparked by, ironically, a spoof of STAR WARS called HARDWARE WARS, in which a variety of kitchen appliances were piloted. Jeff refused to play with other kids and their action figures unless the playtime included a narrative from which he could work with. By age 12, he was already beginning ot make movies.

At 20, Michael Helsley is the youngest of the bunch. He`s Korean, an Electrician on the side, and keeps in shape for his role as an assassin with a strenuous workout of Jujitsu. While all four key players assume many roles when making the film, acting is the one area Michael would like to focus on when he`s got the time to do it. He`s what they call “a natural”. That means, he`s got screen presence and doesn`t necessarily need to take acting classes.

Jeff has been Mike`s Jujitsu teacher since Mike was 14. Jeff has a 3rd degree Black Belt in Jujitsu and feels that, as Mike`s teacher, it helps him to better choreograph the fight sequences knowing what Mike is capable of. Justin Williford also took about 5 months of Jujitsu training and learned techniques that make him better able to take a fall.

The film had its genesis in a chance meeting four years ago when Justin met George in class at the University of Colorado. Justin had heard that Jeff was making some independent films and was interested in being in some. Jeff began putting Justin in a series of short films that left such an impression that Jeff was sure Justin was the embodiment of WILSON CHANCE.

LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE was essentially a 7 minute clip of things they`d like to do in a full length movie. It helped establish Williford in Jeff`s mind as `Chance`. That was two and a half years ago. WILSON CHANCE is the full length, feature film they`ve all been working on for the past year under the tutelage of Professor Robert von Dassanowsky (he also serves as Executive Producer and is a knowledgeable Hollywood player). While Austin Powers was a sexy agent in the 60`s but out of place in the 90`s, WILSON CHANCE`s gimmick is that the hero, Willy Lance, is too stupid to even get his dreams right. His alter-ego, WILSON CHANCE, is almost as uncool as Willy Lance is.

The Bunzendahl Brothers received a small inheritance which has gone a long way towards funding the film. In fact, it has allowed for Jeff to concentrate solely on the film without having to worry about a second income. If the film attracts enough attention at upcoming independent film festivals, the whole group may soon be able to make filmmaking their full time occupation.

WILSON CHANCE is entirely shot on location in Colorado, which also doubles for Norway; Quebec, Canada; Mexico and Germany. For one scene, the brothers received permission to use a bed and breakfast in Pikes National Forest just outside of Deckers, CO that is designed to look like a German castle.

Independent projects are no less troublesome than major, studio funded films. The only difference is the creative ways in which the brothers resolve their problems. Because the budget is small, Jeff and George were keen on finding actors for the movie that they could be sure would be committed to seeing the film through, no matter how long it takes.

For one particular sequence, the brothers called ahead to the local police department and warned them that they would be filming in the woods and invited them to come down and watch. The scene involved Chance and some henchmen shooting at one another. Despite the heads up, the 911 call center`s phone rang off the hook, with at least 20 calls from frightened neighbors claiming that terrorists were attacking the area. Filming was taking place at night and passersby could see the flash report of the guns going off from the freeway.

Actors have been known to give Jeff fits as well. One actor in particular was regularly absent from the set and made up excuses as to why he couldn`t show up. When the unnamed actor would bother to show up at all, he was usually late. Early on in the shoot he had long hair but inexplicably cut it all off halfway through. Jeff had to go out and buy the guy a wig to compensate. After much thought, the actor was simply let go and all his scenes were reworked or cut out.

Professional stunt men? Forget about it! In a variation of THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, Justin held on for dear life as he clung to the top of a Volkswagen van while doing 50 to 60 m.p.h through the Rocky Mountains, which were doubling for Norway. That`s one stunt all agreed they`d never do again without the proper safety checks in place. However…

That didn`t stop them from using a real knife in a fight sequence one day. Apparently, Williford forgot to bring the prop knife to the location shoot. Because the film is independent and made on a small budget, every days shoot is invaluable once everyone is in place. After all, most of these actors and actresses have other jobs they have to tend to in real life. Because of the uncertainty of getting everyones schedule back in sync for a future shoot, Jeff decided to have Justin use a real knife and just be very careful.

I`m curious about the film, so I ask how long will it be? About 90 minutes. Will fans be able to buy it? Yes, it should be out on DVD/VHS in late February or early March. Are there any Chance Girls in the film? Yes. That last answer gets my interest and my ears perk up. Surely the job of leading man in a spy spoof means Williford gets to be surrounded by a lot of beautiful women, right? Surely there must be a spicy story in there somewhere, right? Not quite. Although it is safe to say Chance gets the girl in the end, the kiss was a kind of “turn your back to the camera” sort of thing.

Well then, being an up and coming film star/producer/director means getting more women, right? Not necessarily. All four have sworn off groupies or potential Yoko Ono`s. This group is tight, focused and dedicated to the task at hand. Serious relationships can wait.

As for Williford, the typecasting as WILSON CHANCE has already begun. One night on the way back to the hotel after partying on Bourbon Street, I ask George some questions about his actor, Wilson. Then George just starts laughing like a mandman and I realized I had totally forgotten that his real name was Justin Williford, and had become completely absorbed in the catch phrase value of the name WILSON CHANCE. The absurdity goes even further. When Williford was picked up by campus security for a driving violation, he was so well known as WILSON CHANCE, that he was ticketed under the name WILSON CHANCE. He beat the charge anyway.

So, where do the brothers go from here? Filming is almost complete and post production will soon begin. I`m sworn to secrecy for right now, but I can tell you that the guys are getting some pretty big assistance from several key people in the Bond fan community that will go a long way towards making sure the film is a cut above the average small budget movie.

Maybe it all sounds crazy, but isn`t this what being a fan is all about? You`ve got to admire these guys for sticking their necks out so far on something they feel so passionate about. The Bunzendahl Brothers, as well as Justin Williford and Michael Helsley, truly embody the term “fandom”, and 007Forever is excited to follow the progress of their film!

Keep watching 007Forever for more news and special coverage of WILSON CHANCE in the weeks and months to come.

You can contact the guys of WILSON CHANCE at SteelShavings@netscape.net for questions or comments.

Like A Bullet to the Brain

Another game friends and I enjoy (yes, they are not imaginary Bond friends) is “Best Bullet Award”.

What is the single most entertaining gunshot taken in the Bond films, not including the gunbarrel logo? For example, just as Deb Lipp and Michael Di Leo have favorite Bond explosions, I really like when Bond kills the fellow in Octopussy in the train reveal scene, you know, the fellow who looks stupidly cross-eyed just as Roger Moore pegs him right between the eyes. Enjoy!

Dr. Mortner, Meet Dr. Stein

I saw Expelled last night, and other than being an extraordinary, powerful film, I was incessantly bothered each time one of Ben Stein’s interviewees cropped up.

One of the leaders of Seattle’s Discover Institute for Intelligent Design research looks as photographed remarkably like Willoughby Gray as “Hans Glaub” (Dr. Carl Mortner) in AVTAK.

Good way to get a Bond fix while waiting for QOS and Devil May Care.

The Strange Link Between Goldfinger and TWINE

I had to post some articles at one of my sites and why not Bond?

I’m featuring the common thread between Goldfinger and The World Is Not Enough at:

http://billiards.about.com/od/poolmoviesshows/gr/10_04_03goldfin.htm

http://billiards.about.com/od/poolmoviesshows/gr/10_04_04worldno.htm

…and check out those photos of Connery and the Gomez kids (Hunter appeared at Bond Collectors’ Weekend 10 in L.A.) with Pierce

Senses of Bond Say Craig Is Bond’s Son

Jeffrey Bunzendahl (WILSON CHANCE auteur) and Robert Dassanowsky (CASINO ROYALE ’67 and general Bond film expert) jointly posted a fascinating article on Daniel Craig as Bond’s son.

Professor D. is from a famous theatre family. Among his mother Elfi von Dassanowsky’s many achievements including founding a Vienna movie studio at the tender age of 22, she tutored Curt Jurgens (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME) in piano!

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/08/47/james-bond.html

Crazy Crossovers

With heightened hype on the Fleming Centenary, QOS and now, the forthcoming Peter Jackson-produced Hobbit it’s time for (drum roll, please) more crazy crossovers…

“Now pay attention, Gandalf! First, your new car, Shadowfax. Comes when you whistle “God Save The Queen”, goes 0 to 100 to Mordor in 15 seconds, and of course, 9 beverage cup holders for the 9 black riders…”

This one may seem crazy but no more so than Lucas and Speilberg’s Bond-imitative “Raiders” series…

“Now hear this, Goldfinger. Throw me the idol, and I’ll give you the whip…”

“James, where have you been? M has a big bee in his bonnet…

…Would you believe, chased by Auca Indians and a giant ball in their temple?”

And your crazy crossover is… ?

Two-Way 007 Quiz

— Folks are celebrating 2 holidays, Christmas and Chanukah, this week. So here’s my gift–a celebratory Double Bond Quiz. For example, which 2 movie Bonds have Bonded twice now? Answer–Dalton and Craig, though many of us would like to see BOTH do a third Bond film soon.

Q. In which 2 Bond movies does Bond wear a pair of (2-legged) denim jeans? NSNA doesn’t count, by the way, those were overalls and not jeans Bond wore while fishing.

Q. In which 2 Bond films is Bond’s–shall we say–rear exit–made use of in humorous fashion? And in which Bond film did Sir Roger Moore merit 2 extra exits, per his personal report from on set? (Hey, I didn’t say this was an easy quiz!)

Q. In which 2 Bond movies do we see onscreen a heroin needle? And in which 2 films (and these are 2 different movies, not the first 2) is heroin smuggling integral to the Bond plot?

Bonus Q.: Name a Bond film with a body in a trunk 2 times, and 2 bodies in the back of a plane, once. It is implied a body was in a trunk a third time, too! That’s just weird.

Maybe I Am Hearing Things

I happened to see Quantum Of Solace again yesterday and heard these (!):

Bond and Camille’s first meeting: “You’re late.” “I had to meet with a friend of Mr. White.”

Bond and Mathis in Talamone: “Do you know Bolivia?” “I have a few friends there, I was stationed in South America for 7 years…”

Mathis in the Bolivian taxi: “I want to speak with a friend… Carlos?”

That makes a total of sixteen (16) uses of “friend” or “friends” in the film!

See my related story.

tweeting 007

Whether you think it’s sick or sane, Twitter is here to stay. Somehow condensing comedy or action updates into 140 characters or less has caused a great craze worldwide.

For James Bond, consider how compactly you can describe his movies and books. For example, The Spy Who Loved Me becomes “The one with Jaws” and Moonraker, “The other one with Jaws”.

Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, therefore, might be “The one with Craig” and “The other one with Craig” or “The other Blonde Bond (not Sir Roger Moore)” and “The other-other Blonde Bond” or even “The Bland Bonds” if you’re a Pierce Brosnan fan. Or condense Bond 21 and 22 still further with “Bond begins” and “Bond continues”.

What are your “tweets” of the Bond films and books?

Bond real world connection # 68794

I was just out walking my pet rat and i seemed to have got lost.

There really are people (and a pool) down there… you won’t believe this real world story!

Under the tunnels? Curly, just give me my stamps!

**

LOVEBIRDS Steven and Kathryn share a well-organised home in bustling Las Vegas. They have a neat, if compact kitchen, a furnished living area, and a bedroom complete with double bed, wardrobe and bookshelf featuring a wide selection including a Frank Sinatra biography and Spanish phrase book.

And they make their money in some of the biggest casinos in the world.

But their life is far from the ordinary.

Because, along with hundreds of others, the couple are part of a secret community living in the dark and dirty underground flood tunnels below the famous strip.

Rather than working in the bars or kitchens they “credit hustle”, prowling the casinos searching the fruit machines for money or credits left by drunken gamblers.

Despite the risks from disease, highly venomous spiders and flooding washing them away, many of the tunnel people have put together elaborate camps with furniture, ornaments and shelves filled with belongings.

Steven and girlfriend Kathryn’s base – under Caesar’s Palace casino – is one of the most elaborate. They even have a kettle and a makeshift shower fabricated out of an office drinking water dispenser.

But their bed and many of their belongings are on crates to keep them off the damp floor.

Despite it being hot and dry outside, their tunnel is wet from water being sent down from nearby construction work.

As he gives a guided tour of home, Steven Dommermuth explains: “We use our imagination a lot.

“Our bed came from a skip outside an apartment complex. It’s mainly stuff people dump that we pick up. One man’s junk is another man’s gold.

“We get the stuff late at night so people don’t see us because it’s kind of embarrassing.”

He later gives directions to the tunnels’ own art gallery, a collection of graffiti by local artists and some by the underground residents.

Steven moved into the tunnels two years ago after he lost his hotel front-desk job due to a heroin problem he claims he kicked in January.

He now works the same hotels credit-hustling, and his life retains other similarities with the one he left behind.

He says: “We work our way down the strip. The most I’ve ever found is 997 dollars (£609) on one machine. I’ve found about $500 a few times. But normally $20 or so is enough to call it a night.

“We buy food and supplies like shampoo and soap. Last night I went and watched the new Quentin Tarantino movie Inglourious Basterds up at the Palms Hotel.”

Despite his established set-up, Steven claims he eventually wants to leave the tunnels but can’t because of two outstanding arrest warrants from drug possession charges two years ago.

It is estimated the population of the underground community could be as many as 700. As well as credit-hustling, they earn their money off the wildly excessive city above by begging and “dumpster diving” – raiding bins and skips.

There are around 350 miles of flood channels running under Las Vegas. Most inhabitants are in the area under the city’s strip.

Another couple, Amy and JR, have lived in the tunnels for two years, having moved to Las Vegas in search of work, wealth and a slice of the famous Sin City action.

Putting down the Twilight vampire book she is reading for the third time, Amy, 33, explains: “My husband and I have been down here two years this week.

“We were living with my mom in California but the house was full and we had to leave.

“I heard Las Vegas was a good place for jobs. It’s the city that never sleeps, with all the bright lights, and I’d always wanted to come.

“But it was tough and we started living under the staircase outside the MGM casino. Then we met a guy who lived in the tunnels. We’ve been down here ever since.

“I have my books, my CD player, crossword puzzles, some clothes and my picture of our son Brady, who was killed 11 years ago at four months old. The main dangers are the floods and the Black Widow spiders. But it’s not a terrible place to be if you’re homeless.

“It’s much cooler than on the streets, we get a breeze coming through and the cops don’t really bother you. It’s quiet and everyone helps each other out down here.

“I hope to get out one day. But I want to stay in Las Vegas – I love it here.”

Amy and JR met 13 years ago and even got married in one of the city’s popular wedding chapels on Valentine’s Day last year.

Their wedding had some similarities with the 110,000 other couples who get hitched in the city each year.

JR, 36, explains: “We got married in the Shalimar Chapel.

“We went to watch a show, then to McDonald’s for dinner. We got a little bit drunk and did the other normal wedding day things – only we had to come back down here rather than go to a hotel room.”

Some of those living there have been forced into the network of tunnels by the recession and difficult job market.

Food The economic downturn has hit the underground residents in their pockets too.

Amy and JR’s neighbour Jamie, showing off a wristband he found that gives him free food all day at a hotel buffet, explains: “I’ve been down here since May.

“I’ve worked at a lot of the hotels, mainly in building and construction, but not for a couple of years. The jobs are harder to come by now.

“Now I credit hustle but there are lots more people doing it these days. Hundreds and hundreds. You see little old ladies doing it.”

As for other entertainment in the tunnels, the 45-year-old adds: “We’re big talk radio fans. And a few of us are accomplished musicians and have instruments here.

“One guy down here has a full-time job. I don’t think gambling is the cause of many people being down here. It’s more alcohol and drugs. We all gamble a bit – we’re in Vegas.”

Local writer Matthew O’Brien, who has had a book published about the tunnel people, called Beneath The Neon, has been working with Steven and others to help get people housed. He recently founded the Shine A Light foundation to aid them.

He explains: “I guide social workers into the tunnels, show them the terrain and introduce them to people.

“They offer these people services like health and drug counselling.

“We have got 12 to 15 people into houses in the last six months.

“But a lot of the people are very resistant to help. Many don’t want to give up their addictions.

“They like their freedom and that no one is telling them what to do.

“They are scared of what’s out there.

“To come out of the tunnel and face the world is intimidating for some of the people. Some are very much entrenched down in that tunnel and comfortable. That’s why the charity doesn’t like to give out too much food, water and clothing.

“We don’t want them to get too comfortable because it is really an illusion. It can be extremely dangerous.

“It doesn’t rain much in Nevada but when it does the tunnels can fill very quickly. There have been 20 drownings in the last 20 years and a lot of those were people who were living in the tunnels.

“Steve and Kathryn can say they feel like they have a home. But when it pours down three inches of rain in two hours it’s clear it’s not a home. It’s a flood channel.”

timothy dalton spotted in textbook

So, I’m reviewing my daughter’s high school Theatre textbook last night for her drama class. I’m just sitting there listening to the drama teacher at Parent/Teacher night, flipping through the pages looking at photos.

All of a sudden, I see Timothy Dalton in costume for an illustration discussing contemporary sets and costumes on stage.

And there you have it.

Kara, we’re inside a Russian air base in Afghanistan…”

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.

Ride Virtually With Bond, Live!

Motion simulation experience utilizing film footage, a giant-screen image, digital audio technology, special effects and moving seats to create the sensation of speed and motion as you join James Bond in a series of hair-raising stunts.

Ride Designers: Produced by Landmark Entertainment in association with MGM and Danjaq.

The Landmark Entertainment Group is renowned for creating, producing and delivering attractions representing the “magic of Hollywood” to venues around the world including: Terminator 2/3D and Ghostbusters Spooktacular for Universal Studios Florida; Jurassic Park: The Ride and Kongfrontation for Universal Studios Hollywood; and Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton, a joint production with Paramount Parks.

Opening: May 9, 1998
Ride Duration: 4 minutes
Number of Theaters: 2
Seating Capacity: 148 passengers
Ride Capacity: 1,480 guests per hour

Collecting the Lifestyle of James Bond

Paul Kyriazi specializes in making men of mice, and Bonds out of barely successful fellows. He is the author and lecturer of “How to Live the JAMES BOND Lifestyle”, a fascinating program geared toward turning our Walter Mitty-ish fantasies about the world’s greatest super spy into practical advice for conquering our own personal supervillains and winning the girl and saving the day.

Drawing heavily from the world of 007, especially the man’s man portrayal of Bond in the early 60’s films, Kyriazi walks his listeners through more than a dozen chapters offering advice on everything from the secret motivations of women to “taking command” of resorts and securing choice hotel accommodations, to gambling in Las Vegas like Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (but on a sensible gaming budget!) and living, thinking, dressing and acting for success, just like our man 007.

Straightforward, whimsical and personable, Kyriazi delivers a cornucopia of tips and tricks for success for men among James Bondian moves, witticisms and choices. He points out the universals of Bond’s appeal, such as a constantly intrigued, bemused expression on a tanned, weathered face with an appetite for life, the delivery of fun, charm and sophistication to any woman he meets, always having the right gadget and the right amount of cash, charm and control to get the job done at hand, and much more. Kyriazi’s Bond is the gentlemanly lover of a good woman in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, the connoisseur of fine beverages in “Goldfinger” and the man of the world who knows how to tip his help in “Diamonds Are Forever”.

Working now in Japan to train men to live and think for success with his popular program on “Mr. Kiss-Kiss-Bang-Bang”, Paul Kyriazi has taken the lifestyle of the world’s greatest fictional hero and honed it to acquiring the confidence and sophistication today’s man needs to survive with integrity in our dog-eat-dog culture. Bond fans will enjoy his materials and reminiscences, and men needing to get organized, get sensible about their budgets and get ahead in life will benefit as well.

To learn more about living like James Bond contact Paul Kyriazi and his staff by email or online at or their website, “Bondlife.Com” or by mail at:

RONIN AUDIO BOOKS
12335 SANTA MONICA BLVD PMB 116
LOS ANGELES CA 90025

–Matt Sherman’s twenty-year-plus hobby of collecting James Bond 007 has taken on a new and ironic dimension through “How to Live the JAMES BOND Lifestyle”, practicality!