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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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?



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?


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.

interview: John Barry: Out Of Oxford

On a brisk Fall Monday this past October 18th, I had an opportunity to join about fifty scholars in the centuries-old Oxford University student union library for an intimate conversation with legendary film composer, John Barry

Guided by a moderator under the watchful eyes of an Irish BBC documentary crew, Barry fielded a wide variety of questions — ranging from his thoughts on Shirley Bassey (“She convinced you of Goldfinger. It was a ridiculous song.”) to Robert Redford’s rejection of the original Horse Whisperer score — generated by a mostly male assembly. The handsome but brooding visage that stares back at us on vintage On Her Majesty’s Secret Service LP sleeves has since become more than a little wizened and grandfatherly today. His recollections sometimes meandering, Barry’s assessment of today’s movie-making process — soundtracks in particular — was nonetheless clear and brutal.

Here are some of the evening’s highlights:

Opening with a few general remarks, Barry was quick to observe that in the world of film, change is a constant. Therefore, “to sit and pontificate about what it’s all about is totally impossible,” he reminded the audience.

Despite his years of experience, the composer’s sense of wonder at the whole process was evident in his observation that the movie projector was “the most extraordinary piece of equipment.” By the same token, it governs everyone’s actions with one inescapable rule: Twenty-four frames per second. “That’s what this is all about.” From his standpoint, it was otherwise a game without laws. “I feel like a psychologist,” he noted, “analyzing the producer … the director. It’s all a game, really.”

But it was Barry’s harsh criticism of today’s score scene that “ruled” this evening. Despite his own occasional flirtation with synthesizers for scores such as … Majesty’s … and The Black Hole, the composer was particularly opposed to the trend in digital composition and manipulation, going so far as to cite the recent announcement of digirati Hans Zimmer as director of music for the film division of DreamWorks as, “the kiss of death.”

Mr.Barry remarked that Hollywood’s current regime was overly-fascinated by — and completely reliant on — computer-generated sound. Although some might argue that this has broadened the range of available effects and compositions, Barry counters that the sheer expense of both the technology and the technicians, as well as the abandonment of less costly but nonetheless proven methods, robs movies of quality while adding a “weight” that overwhelms the images. He further lamented MTV’s other sad influence on film: “Cutting every second. Nobody gives anybody a chance, there’s no time to absorb anything.”

The Academy Award-winner was especially saddened by the use of pop songs in place of true scores. Lucrative though it is for the record companies, Barry sees no connection between this approach and film-making. “Now is not a very good time [for traditional film composers],” he stated.

Raised on a steady diet of epic films — his earliest childhood memory is of a visit to the Rialto theatre in New York City; “It was SO big!,” he recalls — with epic scores by the likes of Korngold and Steiner, John Barry himself rose to prominence in the 1960s under much different circumstances. Largely due to the advent of television, gone were the days of in-studio orchestras lead by on-staff conductor/composers.

With the rapid succession of such diverse films as Born Free, The Lion in Winter, Midnight Cowboy, and the James Bond series, does he have a favorite? Noting that the time and energy required to produce a score most often left him unable to appreciate the final result, Barry did offer that sometimes, years later, he’ll catch a telecast of one of the films he’s scored and think to himself, “Oh, that’s not bad.”

To what does he owe his good fortune? Backing from U.S. studios despite never actually working in America for one (although he’s quick to profess his appreciation of Americans; “[They] don’t mess around. Saves a lot of time.”). More simply, though, he considers himself to have been the right person, in the right place (i.e., London), at the right time.

As the evening wound to a close, a petite exchange student posed the session’s most genteel question: “What’s more important, the music of feelings or the feeling of music?”

“I can’t separate them,” Barry stated. He went on to explain that the challenge to the composer is to examine the feelings while simultaneously seeking to express those emotions musically in a way that’s unique (that is, unlike the score of a similar scene in a previous film), yet still appropriate to the film overall.

Currently at work on the big-screen version of Thomas the Tank Engine — which will definitely delay both his next non-film album as well as an already problematic concert schedule — Barry seems content with his lot. “Sometimes I think I should be writing the next Messiah,” he acknowledged, “but I’m happy doing what I’m doing.”

The BBC documentary on John Barry is scheduled to air in the UK early next year.

For a comprehensive look at John Barry, visit The John Barry Resource.

interview: How Gloria Got Her Groove Back (gloria Hendry’s Story)

Before I first met Gloria Hendry at the Bond Collectors Weekend, which took place in New Orleans over the weekend of September 29 through October 1, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d heard the words “strong” and “feisty” in conjunction with her name, but by the time the weekend was over, I would need to add the words “articulate”, “passionate”, “outspoken” and “inspiring” to this article.

On a Sunday morning, overlooking the grand Mississippi with its tramp steamers and paddleboats and with some light jazz tunes breezily playing in the background, a packed meeting room of 75 to 100 guests sipped on champagne and dined on sautéed duck, seasoned lamb, crawfish, crabs, shrimp etoufee, grilled salmon, jambalaya, a wide assortment of meats and cheeses, pasta salads and a host of different desserts while listening to Gloria Hendry explain a bit about herself, who she was, why she was here and how she came to be an actress. When the champagne brunch concluded several hours later, Mrs. Hendry had received three standing ovations, was literally moved to tears by the warm reception, and posed for dozens of pictures and autographed countless photographs and books. It was the perfect ending to a weekend of official festivities. But the path that took Mrs. Hendry to that point wasn’t always perfect, and she was honest and open about the difficulties she’s had to overcome in order to be the strong and passionate woman she is today.

That Mrs. Hendry didn’t fall through the cracks of society is a testament to her fortitude and strong character. Lesser people raised in similar circumstances would have succumbed to the temptations of drugs or street crime. Mrs. Hendry had certainly seen it happen to her friends and neighbors growing up.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Mrs. Hendry has both Seminole and Chinese blood in her heritage. In an unflinching manner she related to the audience the struggles her family had gone through. Her Grandfather was a sharecropper, and her great-aunt was a slave, or “mandingo” (a slave purposefully used to breed more slaves for future use on the plantations). She came from a strong, conservative, strict family that didn’t care for her rebellious, headstrong ways when she was a child. When her mother would drop her off at church, Gloria would wait for her to leave, then sneak out a back door and go do her own thing.

In a community where girls had babies as young as 12 or 13, Gloria remained a virgin until she was 18. The guys in the neighborhood often only wanted one thing from the other girls, and Gloria had to learn how to fight like a boy from other boys. Walking like a dude didn’t hurt, because it helped her send out a message that she wasn’t one to be messed with. Today, she can curl 900lbs with her legs and 45lbs with her arms. She remains an avid gym enthusiast.

She eventually left Florida and moved to Newark, New Jersey to work as a legal secretary with the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Despite the fact that the area was more cosmopolitan and progressive thinking in the late 60’s/early 70’s, she still had to contend with bomb scares and the occasional racist remarks. She dared to dream, but even some of her own people told her that she could never hope to be anything more than a legal secretary for a law firm because of the color of her skin.

Her first big screen appearance was the 1968 film For Love of Ivy with Sidney Poitier and Abbey Lincoln. That lead to her receiving the coveted position of Playboy Bunny. Not only did she pose for Playboy, she also worked as a Bunny in the clubs and performed a variety of musical revues. The work with Playboy came as a surprise, since she fully expected to be turned down because of her race.

While she was working as a Playboy Bunny, she also juggled a music and modeling career. She was the first black female to do commercial or print endorsements of such products as After Six Tuxedos, Planters Peanuts and Viceroy Cigarettes. She also had a record deal with Singers Studios International, but the effort failed to launch her career in the way in which she would have liked. This was okay with her, because she was making very good money between her modeling, Bunny and endorsement jobs. The money she made allowed to her to travel around the world to such places as Europe and Jamaica. Back in those days, because she dressed nice, was young, single, attractive and financially independent, she was often presumed to be a prostitute.

She took her friends suggestions to move out to California and within a week of arriving had gotten herself an agent. She was soon cast in BLACK CAESAR and later was in HIT MAN with future Felix Leiter star Bernie Casey. She got the role in BLACK CEASAR because she was willing to do the nudity that the role required. As a Playboy Bunny, being nude was not necessarily an obstacle for her, but for other black actresses, it was downright impossible. Black actresses, as a general rule, did not do nudity because it was deemed as a reminder of the past when black slaves, both male and female, would be completely stripped down so that their masters could get a good look at the kind of stock they were attempting to purchase. Not only would Gloria have to change the minds of white people, but she`d also have to break down barriers from within her own community.

Gloria picked up a few more film roles in the early 70`s and found that herself landing right in the middle of the “Blaxploitation” film period; she would soon become a diva of the genre, alongside Foxy Brown’s Pam Grier. “Blaxploitation” is a term often used to refer to the sudden surge of black talent both in front of and behind the camera, sometimes with mixed results. Some of the films were quality pictures, while others were made on a small budget, with one take and most actors and actresses doing their own stunts. Soon, motion pictures featuring all black casts were being made, crossing over to mainstream audiences (i.e. white) and making money. While some film historians prefer to call that period “blaxploitation”, Gloria likes to call it the “Black Renaissance”. She’s more right than she may know. For while Live and Let Die is unfairly pegged as a blaxploitation Bond film, it is also worth noting that had this renaissance not come about, Live and Let Die may very well have never been made. For years the producers refused to bother with the book, citing its black villains and racial overtones as too touchy to deal with. When the black renaissance began, it gave the producers a fresh opportunity to take another look at Ian Fleming’s book and attempt to make a film out of it.

As knowledgeable readers of this website and Bond fans know Diana Ross was under serious consideration to play the role of Solitaire, the role of a white, female fortuneteller written by Ian Fleming. The producers felt that if any black female celebrity could pull this off and make it acceptable to white audiences, it had to be the enormously popular soul singer. Tom Manciwiecz, the writer, lobbied hard on behalf of the effort, but the studio was concerned that a new James Bond and a black leading lady may be too much, too soon. So, a compromise was reached. The role of double-dealing, CIA operative Rosie Carver would go to a black actress. Gloria had to pay her own way to audition for the role of Rosie Carver (which is standard practice in the industry), a role she fully expected not to get. But she did.

Soon, worldwide the headlines were playing up the fact that James Bond would be married to a black woman in the next film. The attention paid to Gloria was enormous and in some areas of the world she was receiving co-billing with Roger Moore. The newspapers in Jamaica, under the mistaken belief that Mrs. Hendry was native, proudly declared on the front pages: “JAMAICAN GIRL COMES HOME”. The media frenzy was on. But at the same time, in some parts of the world and the United States, Mrs. Hendry was not accepted as being a legitimate Bond Girl. Her image was removed from publicity materials in South Africa, her love scene deleted and in some places, her name was taken out of the credits and off the poster. The fame was truly a double-edged sword. She dined with the President of Jamaica, was treated like royalty by Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli, and even fell in love. Yes, Gloria got her groove back in Jamaica.

But there was also an almost apologetic feel from the cast towards Gloria that she at first didn’t fully quite understand. Because Bond’s world had almost always been white, Gloria had never kept up with the films, nor the casting decisions that went into them. Going into the film, she was unaware that a black actress (Diana Ross) had been considered and then turned down for the role. People felt that they had to remedy that situation by being extra nice to Mrs. Hendry. The producers even flew Mrs. Hendry’s mother down to Jamaica first class for Christmas.

Mrs. Hendry had more to offer the audience than simply a retelling of her Bond experience. She also took the time to explain the rise and fall of the “Black Renaissance” period. I was curious as to what created the black film movement from a time in which there was no representation, to a time when blacks actors were prominent on screen, only to see it all fall apart by the mid to late 1970s. Mrs. Hendry was a victim, but not a casualty, of the implosion that occurred among the black film industry. The films of that genre were noted for their sex, nudity, violence, drug use and profanity and leading black organizations, such as the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), were not pleased with the images that those films were providing America. They began to interfere with the creative process, and demanded that the studios not release these films without first screening the films to the organizations or at least allowing the NAACP or the SCLC to approve the scripts. In addition, the NAACP and the SCLC wanted to be paid to approve what the black community could write and film. The ensuing result was that the black film movement imploded on itself and the damage trickled down to Mrs. Hendry as well as countless other actors and actresses for whom previously opened doors suddenly became tightly shut. That might have been the final chapter for many people, but Mrs. Hendry seems to be able to survive and even thrive in spite of adversity. She’s not a woman to be pushed around. She’s a strong-headed, independent, articulate speaker and her candor is refreshing.

She`s even modest about her own contribution to the world of James Bond. Halle Berry and Thandie Newton can thank Mrs. Hendry for breaking down the interracial barriers that allowed them to star as love interests for Kurt Russell in EXECUTIVE DECISION or Tom Cruise in MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE-2. In 2000, these interracial relationships are a non-issue for most moviegoers, but it took the hard work and determination of Mrs. Hendry in 1973 for black actresses to enjoy the freedoms they do today.

Mrs. Hendry lives in metro-Los Angeles with her husband and is currently writing a book about her experiences. She appeared at our Bond Weekend III.

interview: Gloria Hendry – Rosie Carver

Gloria Hendry is one of the most lovely women I’ve ever had the chance to meet. Recently she took a large amount of time from her busy schedule to answer some of my questions. Gloria’s a lady who is not only beautiful but incredibly intelligent as you will see in the following interview. I hope you enjoy it.

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am the eldest of two girls. We were born in Florida. My family members are from Georgia, Alabama and Florida. My people are Seminole Indian, African, Creek Indian, Irish, Chinese and something else and range in color from deep chocolate to café ‘ole. Since America symbolizes the melting pot of the world, my family members are true Americans.

My mother left Florida to join my grandmother and grandfather in Jersey City, New Jersey, when I was about 2 years old and my sister around a year old. We lived with them until I was about 7 years old. From the age of 7 until 18, my sister and I lived with my mother and her companion in Newark, New Jersey until I graduated from high school. Throughout elementary school, I maintained excellent grades and played the violin in the All-City Orchestra and performed for radio, and various academic events.

During my high school years, my grades were average and my educational training consisted of Gregg shorthand, typing and various clerical skills to prepare me for my occupation as a Secretary. After graduation, I attended Essex College of Business for Law for a Legal Secretary position. All through school, I excelled in sports of all kinds: basketball, touch football, baseball, volley ball, sprinting, fence climbing, bicycling, swimming, gymnastics, Latin dancing, jumping rope, roller skating which continued into my adulthood, tennis, snow and water skiing, distant running, weight lifting, ballet, roller blading, ice skating and Karate.

You were the first African American Bond girl (Unless you count Thumper from Diamonds Are Forever) and at the time it wasn’t socially acceptable for a white man to be with a black women (or a black man for the matter ) do you think that your role in the film helped make the interracial situation more acceptable to audiences?

I remember Harry Saltzman talking seriously to me about racism. He expressed that it was a shame that we still had racism. He said that everyone should marry another race so no one could say they were one race or the other and this would stamp out racism. He suggested to me that I should marry a Caucasian.

As a black woman with a white co-star in the 1970’s did you ever receive any negative feedback from the audiences?

A fan told me that in certain sections of Live and Let Die, where Roger and I were kissing by the lake was cut out. My photograph and name were splattered throughout the world in various newspapers, magazines and billboards with positive comments associating me with Live and Let Die. For a number of years thereafter, people called upon me to make special appearances and/or to give my endorsement for various causes.

If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that I had starred in Live and Let Die. After being associated in advertising all over the world and going from one publicity event to another for Live and Let Die, I found after time had passed my name was no longer associated with the film. Nor was I named or called upon when there was mention or request of the 007 James Bond Ladies. I never knew what to think of that.

How did you get the role of Rosie Carver?

I received a phone call from my manager, Lloyd Kolmar, in New York City, who said, “I need you back in New York to audition for “Live and Let Die,” the James Bond movie. I said I don’t have a chance in the world. They want large breasted women, not me. Besides, I’m not White. My manager said, “They want to see you. Don’t you understand? You have to fly back on your own dime.” I had to think about that. After a couple of days in numbers crunching, I called him back and said exasperated, OKAY! Where is the audition? Lloyd gave me Harry Saltzman’s office address in New York City and the time and date for me to appear. I caught the next flight out. I still had my New York apartment. So, I said to myself, I’m going to put on my best clothes. It was November 1972.

When I walked into Harry Saltzman’s office, I saw this regal, strong, sophisticated, deep, dark set eyes, white-haired man, quietly sitting there. As I entered, he stood up. He said nothing, just gestured for me to sit down and so did he. And in the next moment, he asked me how was my flight here from Los Angeles. I told him. Then, he said, How soon can you fly out to New Orleans to meet the director, Guy Hamilton, and Roger Moore? We can book you on the next flight. If you would like. I said, without thinking, Okay! So before I knew it, Mr. Saltzman made arrangements with his secretary. He had a car waiting for me.

So, off I went to the airport on the next flight out. At the airport in Louisiana, a driver met me with a sign holding up my name and picked me up in a large Mercedes limousine and took me to the French Quarter where someone from the “Live and Let Die” production greeted me. I met with the director, Guy Hamilton, and Roger Moore, The Saint. I was very nervous. We talked, laughed and ate. It was like a dream come true. But, I knew not to take any of this seriously. Then, they took me to the movie set to watch them continue to film “Live and Let Die.” They were most gracious and asked if I wanted to stay for the weekend. I said, No, no thank you. I would like to return to New York on the next available flight. That evening they said, We will call me later to let me know. I returned to New York City and stopped at my apartment again and got a few things, then, hopped the next available flight to Los Angeles, California. About a week had passed, I received a telephone call from my manager, Lloyd, “YOU GOT IT!

Tell us about you relationship with Roger Moore. In his James Bond Diary he refers to you as “Gloria Ass” which has lead some people to believe that you two didn’t have a “sparkling” relationship.

Throughout the filming of Live and Let Die, Roger Moore and Harry Saltzman were most gracious and kind to me. By the way, during our stay in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, at the Sans Souci Hotel, my room was located in between Roger and his family and Harry and his family which I had the great pleasure of meeting and often having dinner with them. In my mind, I thought they wanted to keep an eye on me and keep me safe. However, I snuck out as often as I could to hang out with the people of Jamaica. I had the fortune to fall in love with a wonderful Jamaican gentleman.

It’s also been said (by Lois “Moneypenny” Maxwell as a matter of fact) that Roger Moore didn’t like/get along with many of his female co-stars. How would you respond to that?

During the filming and stay in Jamaica, Roger shared his chauffeured driven limousine with me each workday. Whenever Roger was asked and he signed his autograph, he gave me the pen and said sign yours too (this was a first-time experience to sign my name for any fan). Each morning, around 6:00am, Roger and I shared the hotel swimming pool, half asleep, pushing dead bumblebees aside, as we swam from one end of the pool to the other, in opposite directions. I liked Roger very much. He was a true gentleman.

Tell us about locations shooting.

We filmed from November through December 1972 in Jamaica. Sometime in December, Harry asked me whom would I love to share the holiday spirit? Without any hesitation, I told him, my Mother. He said, so be it. I called my Mother at her factory job, American Aluminum, in New Jersey, requesting her to take off and join me. My Mother was thrilled. She had never been to Jamaica or for that matter ever flown first-class. Harry had my Mother flown first-class and stay with me until New Year’s Day.

How many days total were you on location shooting?

After my Mother left Jamaica, I was called in for a meeting with Harry and Guy, who said in essence, we don’t want to kill you off Madam because so many people like you. So, standby there might be a script change. A couple of days after that, Harry apologized that they had to kill me. So, we shot the scene that day. Then, I was flown ahead of everyone, as a tourist, to London, England, where someone met me at the airport. My hotel room took up the entire floor of the hotel. I had the opportunity to work at the legendary Pinewood Studios, dubbing and completing interiors. I remember Harry talking seriously to me about racism. He expressed that it was a shame that we still had racism. He said that everyone should marry another race so no one could say they were one race or the other and this would stamp out racism. He suggested to me that I should marry a Caucasian. Then, he introduced me to a very special gentleman whom he considered would be a good choice for me to marry. I went out with him a couple of times, and he told me how to dress and act. I became disinterested in an arranged marriage. However, because it was winter, I also wanted to go home.

It was always very dark and cold in London – there was never any sunshine. During my stay, I received a telephone call from a producer and was sent a script and offered a starring role in a film opposite Jim Brown, “Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off,” which I accepted.

The producers often are said to have given the best of the best to their stars. Would you agree?

Yes. They had treated me like I had starred in Live and Let Die and so much more. The only time I saw the film with the public was in New York City at the 1973 United States’ premiere with my mother and her companion, sister and I were chauffeured in a large black limousine Cadillac, a huge affair that I had never ever experienced in my whole life. I remember not knowing how to act because people were shouting my name, asking for my autograph (remembering Roger giving me the pen to sign), cameras were flashing all around me and at that moment in my life, I felt I was somebody really, really special.

My photograph and name were splattered throughout the world in various newspapers and magazines with positive comments. For a number of years thereafter, people called upon me to make special appearances and/or to give my endorsement for various causes. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that I had starred in Live and Let Die.

Everyone on the set treated me like I was starring in Live and Let Die. I had my own chair, dressing area, Roger shared his limousine with me, and personal publicity shots. The photographer followed me throughout filming both in and out of the States. One day, someone on the set came up to me and told the story that the role of Solitaire was initially written for and a Black actress was hired to play the part. While filming somewhere in New York City or New Orleans, they decided that it was too risky to have a Black Woman end up with James Bond. Therefore, the role of Rosie Carver was switched to Black and the role of Solitaire was switched to White. That is where I came in. I am known as MRS. JAMES BOND.

Tell us about working with Guy Hamilton and the others on the crew. I’ve talked with Guy Hamilton and he seems like he’d be a pleasure to work with.

Guy Hamilton was a joy to work with. He took his time. Never got upset. If the scene was not working, he would take me aside and have a conversation about the weather, then mention a thing or two about the scene. Then we would return to filming. Roger disliked retakes, so Guy handled Roger with great care and consideration, as he did all of us.

–Gloria Hendry resides in California and is currently working on an autobiography. She has appeared at Bond Weekend III.

interview: Ejection Seats And Secret Doors: Q Remembered

“Yes, I know Q is beloved,” Desmond said. “But for God`s sake, don`t make him some kind of sentimental grandfather — that`s what I am in real life.” Meeting Desmond Llewelyn was a little like meeting Santa Claus…

“The key to Q is his conflict with Bond,” Desmond explained that day at lunch. “When I was cast, the director said, `Everyone loves Bond, except for you. You hate him…”

Bruce Feirstein knew Desmond Llewelyn intimately since the early 1990`s and his first work on “GoldenEye”. Enjoy the full story courtesy of Salon.com at “Desmond Llewelyn”.

interview: Director Michael Apted

In Los Angeles to promote The World Is Not Enough, Fandom writer Steve Biodrowski caught up with the new Bond director to get his thoughts on doing Bond. Here`s an excerpt of that conversation:


Apted: Well, he had to approve me. I had to meet with him before we started and all that. I think he had a real appetite and energy to develop what he was doing. He wanted more character in it; he kept saying to me, `Give me stuff to do; give me stuff to play.` He said, `I`ll do all the action, but I don`t want to spend six months just doing that. I have Judi Dench; I have Robbie Coltrane. These are great actors-give me something to do with them.` His dynamic all the way through while he were doing draft after draft-sending them back saying, `This isn`t very good`-was that we were on the same page, and that we both wanted the same thing. All of us wanted the same thing; it wasn`t that we were at odds. He was a very useful kind of benchmark for it, because he was doing THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR at the time, so he wasn`t there for the endless discussions. He would keep on at me and keep on at me to make the stuff better. That was what he wanted, and he was really pushing me to deliver what I could deliver. So it was a good dynamic. I think he just wants to make it his own-put his personality into Bond, which I think is the key to the franchise. It`s why the franchise has stayed alive. Although it`s James Bond, it`s five different characters. They`re all called James Bond, but they`re not remotely alike, and I think Pierce wants to stamp his individuality on it. One of his individualities is his ability to be complicated and to connect with other characters and his willingness, as Bond, to be vulnerable-to walk that high wire between being a mean, brutal killer and also being kind of sensitive to things, which is in some ways more the spirit of Fleming than even Sean [Connery] was.

The full interview with Michael Apted can be found at www.fandom.com Thursday.

interview: Director John Glen and Producer Michael Wilson

Imagine if you will, our hero being buried in an avalanche of snow during a harrowing ski chase in the Swiss Alps; plunging off a 5,000-foot precipice while evading a team of KGB assassins; being thrown from a plane sans parachute during a savage midair battle. Each scenario spells certain death, right? Not for James Bond for whom these adventure`s are all in a day`s work. They epitomize his world and touch the imagination of filmgoers across the globe. They`ve also made James Bond films the most successful motion picture series of all time.

With the advent of Roger Moore as Ian Fleming`s intrepid agent 007, the Bond films transformed from tongue-in-cheek spy thrillers to action-comedy romps that strove more for cheers than thrills, laughter than suspense. This approach reached its height (or depth, if you prefer) with 1979`s MOONRAKER. Having moved as far as it could go in this direction, the series began edging back towards emphasizing action and suspense with FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. Two of the men who helped guide the films in this direction were director John Glen and producer-cowriter Michael G. Wilson.

“The Bond films have evolved over the years in a variety of ways,” Wilson concurred. “But they`ve changed with the times. They went from being spy thrillers to becoming action adventures; and their comedy went from being rather cynical, sick humor to a more comic knd of humor.”

The slapstick humor and spectcacular action of MOONRAKER supports this. Gone was the sardonic, razor-sharp Bond who had created a phenomenon in the `60s. In his place was a Bond who seemed content to let the audience know that he was having a good time, and who continually served as a reminder that this was, after all, only a movie. Characterizations and plot took a backseat to stunts, gadgets and special effects; and the film was closer to a comic STAR WARS than to early James Bond. Though the metamorphosis was not terribly well received by critics and purists, it received praise from the commerical audience, and was one of the highest-grossing entries in the series.

“As far as our audience was concerned, MOONRAKER was the most popular one,” said Wilson. “It was our feeling–which was probably more in line with the critics than the movie-going public–that we couldn`t go any further in that direction. You always have to take new directions or you risk becoming stymied.”

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY followed in 1981, and though Bond was portrayed as a more serious character, critics claimed that the film was nothing more than a series of chase scenes. They placed the blame on debuting director John Glen, who had previously supervised the stunt sequences in several earlier Bond films. OCTOPUSSY (1983), on the other hand, released in 1983, combined the best of the old and new elements and turned out to be one of the more superior Bond films to be released in many years. Unfortunately, the follow-up, A VIEW TO A KILL (1985), slipped back into slapstick excess. The film turned out to be Roger Moore`s swansong, allowing the series to reinvent itself with a new, younger Bond in the form of Timothy Dalton.

“I learned a lot of things on FOR YOUR EYES ONLY in terms of pacing,” Glen reflected. “I tried to be more objective on OCTOPUSSY and not too emotionally involved in the action of it–stepping back and listening to criticism. I also think that I did more work on OCTOPUSSY`s script. On FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, I was brought in just before shooting began; the script was very rushed. I think the transitions were better in OCTOPUSSY.”

Analyzing the success of the Bond films` new style, Wilson explained that “starting with THE SPY WHO LOVE ME, we had developed a style of spectacle, action and humor in about equal amounts. You`ll find that other successful pictures, like the Indiana Jones films and Superman, have utilized these same ingredients in about equal balances.”

Glen fully agrees with this point, citing his own work as second unit director on SPY. “I suppose my biggest single contribution was the pre-title sequence. In fact, I think that is really responsible for my being [allowed to direct].” Indeed, that sequence, which has Bond skiing off a mountain ledge, impressed both critics and audiences with its inventiveness, and Glen went on to helm five Bond films-more than any other director.

“I really think that that scene really helped to change the Bonds,” Glen continued. “They became basically action pictures, and the stunt sequences had to be improved with each one: we had to outdo outselves. It does get quite difficult to come up with original ideas, but I think we managed to do it.”

Despite the reliance on stunts, Glen finds it strangely amusing that these films can actually shoot key sequences without an actor having been signed for the lead role. He cites a climactic scene in OCTOPUSSY as an example. In this sequence, James Bond is on horseback pursuing a plane taxiing for takeoff. He leaps from the horse to the plane and hangs on for dear life as it soars skyward. It is undoubtedly one of the most stunning sequences ever filmed. We shot that before we commenced main shooting,” Glen admitted with a wry smile. “We hadn`t cast James Bond yet, but the favorite was a fellow with black hair, so the double had black hair.”

During the first week or production, rumors began that Roger Moore would be coming back as Bond, so the double was told to lighten his hair a bit. “During the second week, we found out that Roger would be returning, so we told him to lighten it all the way,” he recounted. “That`s what happens. You have to keep shooting even though you don`t know who the actors are.”

Glen stressed the importance of staying ahead of the competition. “That`s the biggest problem. Coming up with the story takes the most time, but the shooting is so visual that the idea is to keep on getting it right and staying original.”

These efforts paid off on the screen. In A VIEW TO A KILL, for example, an enemy leaps off the Eiffel Tower and floats away via a cloak turned parachute; Bond (again on skis) is pursued by a bomb-dropping helicopter; and during a chase through downtown San Francisco, 007 hijacks a fire engine and tries to elude police. The last collaboration between Moore, Wilson and Glenn combined originality with a hybrid plot that borrowed heavily from several Bond films, including FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, GOLDFINGER, and ON HER MAJESTY`S SECRET SERVICE, as well as from SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. Computer genius-villain Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) plots to trigger an earthquake on the west coast that will plunge California–together with much of the world`s computer technology and expertise–into the ocean.

While Michael Wilson has gone on record saying that he didn`t make the connection between the sinking of California and SUPERMAN until A VIEW TO A KILL was heavily into production, he did admit that it`s becoming increasingly difficult to come up with original Bond capers. “The limitations on the character are British Secret Service and sort of spy,” he said. “This is basic, and when you get into that, you do become limited, to some extent, in the variations. We try to make our capers reasonably important, and for that reason it`s sometimes difficult. If you made them less important, then I suppose we could have more of a variety.”

As to how Bond storylines are “important,” Wilson responded that he believes the films are “fairly political. In THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, each side was played off the other until they found out about this and joined forces,” he explained. “In OCTOPUSSY, Russian General Orlov was ready to launch World War III; and in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, General Gogal was quite prepared to take any advantage he could, so long as he didn`t get himself in some kind of public involvement. I think that`s more or less the attitude of Russians today. They`ll take advantage if they can, but they`re cautious at the same time.”

Despite any political stance Bond films may have taken, each release brought an outcry from critics and Bond fans for a return to the early, more serious Bond. “When people say `a more serious Bond,` I`m never quite sure what they mean,” Wilson said emphatically. “They might mean FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE was a serious kind of film. I`m not sure they really want that today. We`re comic adventure fantasies. That`s what we do. As to being serious, they`re never going to be serious. I mean, they`ll never be serious in the sense of GANDHI or some other films.”

Does anyone feel that there is an end in sight? Said Wilson, “The Washington Post said that at the rate we`re going, it could continue into the 21st Century. The way I put it is that I think of myself as a member of the House of Representatives. Every two years I`m up for a vote, so I never know when my term is over. I have to be re-elected.”

Interview: Desmond Llewelyn: “Q: Part II”


You know, it`s an awful thing to say: I haven`t seen it. I will see it. I believe it is very funny. I did see the spoof with–I can`t pronounce his name–Schwarzenegger [TRUE LIES]–and I did think that was very funny. But I suppose it`s very flattering to have a series like Bond being `taken off.` They know damn well they can`t imitate it, so they may as well [spoof it]. They did try, with Sean Connery`s NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, and it didn`t really take off. The Broccolis just have got that something, whatever it is, that other people haven`t got.


I was always in M`s office; in all the early ones, M is generally there. It`s only lately, with Judi Dench–I`ve never been with her. I`ve never had a scene with M, but I`ve been in his office, talking to Bond. It`s only sort of recently, in a way, that it`s all been transferred to my workshop.


Yes, I think it was a surprise, and I was really very flattered that anybody of his eminence, really, should be my assistant.


Well no, actually, poor old John, you see, was going into hospital for a hip operation, I think the day after, so he was in great form, but I think he was in awful pain. I mean, you wouldn`t know it.


Well, I`m very flattered because nowadays people do call me by my name, `Mr. Llewelyn.` People do, when they pass me in the street, say, `Morning, Q.` I am really very flattered that a lot of people at the moment are calling me by my name. I went down to the Millennium Stadium in Wales for rugger, the Wales and France match there, and so many people there were calling me by my name. To be recognized in one`s own country is very nice.


Oh yes, very much. I`ve become very, very typecast. Up until the video releases and television, I did quite a lot of other work. I did a series called FOLLY FOOT. Granted, that was twenty five years ago, and I`ve done one or two other television things. Since then, I`ve only done amateur films. I`ve done three or four of them. And I did a German film the other day called ERA 2000, where I play a professor. I`m told I`m nothing like Q in that, which is rather nice. Whether the film is going to be generally distributed or not, I don`t know–just to show these damn producers and directors that I can do something beside Q. I played a Welshman in an amateur film. I wore a mustache and a cap in that. I have a photograph from that, and somebody who saw it said, `I didn`t know you had a brother.`


Luckily, I`ve got this thing called `Video Plus,` where you just push buttons, so I can record all sorts of programs. I hire a television service, because it would cost me a fortune having a man come in the whole time to tell me how to work it. Now, he just comes in rather resignedly and says, `Well, you have to press this button.` It`s a very odd thing. I`ll go into a hotel, turn on the television, and it won`t work. I`ll have to ring down and they`ll come in and say, `Well, I thought you should have been able to fix it.` And it turns out the bloody thing isn`t plugged in or something, but one should have expected it to be plugged in. I fly over, and the headphone–everybody else`s will work, but mine won`t work. As I said, I went to this rugger match in Millennium Stadium, and they have this new thing where you push one of these [tickets into a slot] to get in. But would mine work? No. Everybody else was wandering through, and I had a queue behind me while I was trying to get this damned thing in.


If you want to read all about that, my biography has just come out. It`s all about Bond and life before Bond and after Bond–well, it can`t be after Bond, can it? That`s rather a slip of the tongue! It`s called simply Q. It came out [in early November in England]. I don`t think publication is fixed in America. All the big publishers were not interested, because what they`re interested in is Bond and not me. They said, `Desmond`s childhood in Wales? We don`t want that. Desmond`s life in the theatre? We don`t want that` But luckily this publisher said I`ve had a very interesting life and the book mustn`t be solely about Bond. So I`m very grateful to him. I hope he does well–not only for him but for me, too.

Interview: Desmond Llewelyn: “Q: Part I”

The unreplaceable Desmond Llewelyn, whose letter, “Q”, is as well known worldwide today as our man 007`s three digits, is sorely missed this week and always. We at 007Forever present this first of a two-part series of interviews from Fandom`s Steve Biodrowski, representing one of the last interviews the beloved ambassador of the Bonds gave the world. Within is a haunting look at one of James Bond`s very best friends, on screen and off.

Before his death, Bernard Lee appeared as M in all the James Bond films from DR. NO (1962) to MOONRAKER (1979). Lois Maxwell lasted even longer, continuing with the series until 1985`s A VIEW TO A KILL; after that, the casting of Timothy Dalton as a new, younger Bond necessitated the casting of a new, younger Miss Moneypenny. With those two stalwarts long gone, the closest thing to a perennial player in the series is Desmond Llewelyn, who joined up as the head of Q Division for FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and has appeared in all the official James Bond films since then, except for LIVE AND LET DIE . (Obviously, CASINO ROYALE and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN do not count.) So it`s sad to see unmistakable signs that he, too, may not be with the series for very much longer: for THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, the actor returns to his familiar role (“back again,” says Llewelyn, like “a bad penny”), but now Q now has an assistant (played by John Cleese), and openly discusses retiring.

“I`ve been saying for quite a long time that I ought to have an assistant,” explains Llewelyn, who has survived numerous changes to the series, including the casting of Pierce Brosnan following the six-year hiatus after LICENCE TO KILL. “I was very, very lucky: after that long gap, when Pierce took over, everyone went, but they kept me on. I said I was very grateful and everything like that, but I said I ought to have an assistant, because as much as I`d like to, I can`t go on forever. They sort of took no notice. I said so again for the next film, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH; in fact, I wrote a sort of idea for an assistant, and they pooh-poohed it. Then this time, at last, I have got an assistant.”

As the only cast member to work with all five different Bonds, Llewelyn has his opinions on the various stars who filled the role, from Sean Connery through to Pierce Brosnan. “Well, they`re all highly professional,” he states. “They`re all extremely good actors. And they`re all very, very easy to work with. With Sean, obviously, he was sort of a big star, and I wasn`t really established as Q, but he was marvelous to work with. I think he helped me a certain amount because, in the character of Bond, he was always fidgeting with the gadgets.” Llewelyn explained that this habit helped make his own natural frustration seem part of the character of Q. “As I`m very bad at learning lines and remembering them–and not really understanding what I`m talking about–a lot of my irritation is not so much about him as `Oh, stop fidgeting–it`s making me forget my lines!`”

Regarding Roger Moore, who took a more humorous approach to 007, Llewelyn recalls, “Of course I knew Roger [Moore], and he was great fun to work with. He used to muck about an awful lot, and he used to give me extra lines to say that I didn`t understand. When I did a close up, he`d stand there shaking his head as if to say, `You`re going to dry [forget a line], aren`t you?` And of course I immediately would, and he`d shove up a big idiot card saying `Bollocks.` He wasn`t very helpful,” Llewelyn laughs.

More recently, Llewelyn has worked with younger actors playing Bond, first Timothy Dalton and then Pierce Brosnan. “Timothy was different, in a way, because he was a stage actor, and I was a stage actor, years and years ago. I think perhaps there is something in that–I don`t know quite what it was, but I got on very well with him,” he says. “And of course Pierce is marvelous. He sort of looks after me and treats me rather like old granddad. So he`s very helpful and kind, and he`s marvelous to work with.”

As a result of passing time and changing casting, Q seems to have changed somewhat in his attitude toward Bond. Of course the familiar irritation (“Try to pay attention, 007!”) is still there, but now it seems more a pose born of habit than genuine dislike. “Yes, I think he`s mellowed,” says Llewelyn. “I still don`t think he likes Bond. I don`t think he likes his way of life and certainly the way he treats his beloved gadgets and all that sort of thing. But I think over time he has certainly mellowed. I think he would, but he still gets pretty annoyed.”
In fact, because of the age difference, coupled with the casting of Judi Dench as a female M, Q has become almost a de facto father figure for Bond. “Especially with Pierce, that is much more evident, that sort of feeling between us, than with the other Bonds,” Llewelyn agrees. “I know a lot of people have said the interplay between me and Pierce is the best that it has ever been. But then, he`s extremely sympathetic; he`s wonderful to play with. I think he has brought more depth. I think there`s one scene which always stands out in my mind, a scene in GOLDENEYE, when he`s on the beach with the girl, explaining what life is like. I think that is one of the best Bond-girl scenes of anyone. He out-acts or out-whatevers Sean, Roger, or anybody with that sort of feeling he has for that girl. I think it`s a beautiful scene, and it`s beautifully played. It really is terrific.”

As Bond has changed, so have the films, and not necessarily to Llewelyn`s liking. “The last film [TOMORROW NEVER DIES], being an old man, for me there was too much action,” says the actor. “It went on and on and on and on. But the young people love it! The more action and the more noise in the film, the happier they are. In the old films, you had pistols and machine guns. In the new films you have hundreds of those blasting away! The last film I thought was incredibly noisy. I think–I haven`t seen it, but they`ve told me this new one has sort of gone back a bit. I mean, we`ve got such a very, very good cast in this–I think a better cast than we`ve had for a long time, which of course all helps.”

All the action has been revved up for modern audiences, Llewelyn suggests the promiscuity has been toned down. Was there really more sex in the older Bond films? “Oh yes, there was,” he insists. “But then, I suppose things have moved on. Somebody was saying with AIDS and all that you can`t have Bond sleeping around with everybody nowadays. I don`t know why not. They keep talking about being politically correct, but I don`t think you want any of that nonsense in the Bond films. Just keep on with the fantasy. Oh, we cut out cigarettes, but I suppose we had to. Perhaps it makes it more real, because on the whole it was quite ridiculous for this secret agent to be smoking his own special brand. I mean, the villains have only got to come in and look at the ashtray: `Oh, Bond`s been here!` So perhaps it makes him more real.”

Having been with the franchise for over three decades, the actor has formed a few ideas to explain Bond`s longevity. “Well yes, I`ve got my own theories,” says Llewelyn. “I think the main thing was it`s pure fantasy: everything is bigger and larger than life. We live in this rather drab world, and we`re out there looking at this wonderful world of beautiful women and beautiful scenery. [Late producer] Cubby Broccoli, you see, followed Fleming`s dictum. Fleming was asked what makes a good thriller. He said, `To any adventure story, add all the advantages of expensive living. Give Bond the right background, the right clothes, and the right girls; set your story in the most glamorous and beautiful of places; describe everything in detail; and take your story along so fast that nobody notices the idiosyncrasies in it.`

“Cubby agreed with that,” the actor continues. “What he also added is the Hitchcock thing–which is that, when you come to a climax, you then have another one, and another one. For example, in [OCTOPUSSY] when he diffuses the bomb in the circus, that should be the end of the film, but no: we have a balloon sequence; then we have the thing on top of the airplane. So you`re on the edge of your seat the whole time. And it doesn`t matter how many times you`ve seen these damn films, you`re hooked. You know bloody well that Bond`s going to do it, because you`ve seen it before; if he didn`t, there wouldn`t be another Bond. But it still holds you. How they do it, I don`t know.”
Llewelyn has a favorite Bond film. “Yes, naturally, LICENCE TO KILL, because I had the biggest part in it. That was wonderful.” He`s not sure, however, why the producers decided to emphasize him so much in that particular outing.” God knows! I wish it would happen more! I loved it; it was very fun. But I think they all think I`m too old to go out in the field, but you never know. Keep you fingers crossed.”

Despite the greater screen time in LICENCE TO KILL, Llewelyn acknowledges an appreciation for the older films. “To watch, I think those early films are really remarkable. They are classics in their way. Of course, they were Fleming`s stories, and they were brilliant adapted by Richard Maibaum, and we had Terence [Young] to direct FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and THUNDERBALL and Guy Hamilton to do GOLDFINGER. I`m not saying the other directors aren`t as good–we`ve been very, very lucky, with marvelous directors. But those perhaps first three films were so good–absolutely classics.”

Normally, Llewelyn films his scenes in only a day or two–which must make for a spectacularly strange career, being called back every two years to play what must be the world`s most memorable bit part. “I was very lucky in this film,” says the actor. “I got three days out of it. I got three days out of the last one, too. On the first one [with Brosnan], I got two days, and that was chiefly because of the explosions. I came in, in a wheelchair, and the first explosion worked, but it didn`t satisfy the cameraman and the director, so then it took a couple of hours to set up again. That is the great thing about my part: I do get extra days because of all the gadgets, which is very nice.”

Although he has a favorite Bond film, the actor most emphatically does not have a favorite Bond gadget. “I haven`t got one,” he states. “I mean, they`ve got so many wonderful gadgets. I suppose it would be a car. I can`t think of [anything else].” He adds, “You see, I loathe gadgets. I`m absolutely useless with them. I haven`t got a mobile telephone. I haven`t got a computer; I wouldn`t know how to work one or anything like that. I`m completely untechnically minded, if that`s the word.” That`s right: the actor who plays the head of MI6`s Q-Division prefers to avoid anything more high-tech than a toaster. And his real area of expertise is…decorating! “I am–or was very good at gardening and house decorating. I`ll decorate anybody`s room, wallpaper for them; I`m very good at that. I`ve been offered lots of jobs, if I give up acting, as a painter–not artist-wise, although I dare say”–he smiles–“I could do some modern painting: just put dabs all over the place and call it `La Reggae.`”

With the non-acting job offers rolling in, and with John Cleese firmly in place as R, does this mean that Llewelyn is actually planning on retiring from his role as Q? “No, I`m not going to retire,” he declares. “No, I`m there as long as the producers want me and God doesn`t.”

Interview: Denise Richards: Merry Christmas, 007

Denise Richards, who should be known to science fiction and action-adventure fans for her role in STARSHIP TROOPERS, is the latest actress to enter the long tradition of being a Bond Girl.

How does she feel about the experience? “It’s exciting,” she proclaims ethusiastically. “It’s so fun to be part of the history and to follow in the footsteps of Ursula Andress, Jill St. John, Maude Adams, Jane Seymour. I actually did a VANITY FAIR shoot [for the November issue, with Jim Carrey on the cover], starting from Ursula down, and it was so cool to meet a lot of them. They were all very supportive, and they said to enjoy it because it’s exciting and they didn’t realize when they did their films that it would stay with them for as long as it did. They said it stays with you forever.”


I would say Ursula Andress and Jane Seymour. I was waiting to meet Ursula. I finished the shoot a little early, and I didn`t know when I would ever have an opportunity to meet her again, so I was really looking forward to meeting her the most, because she`s the first Bond girl. I really loved her in DR. NO.


Actually, the first Bond film I saw was GOLDENEYE. I didn`t grow up watching them. Of course, I went back to watch them!


Hm… My mom`s favorite is GOLDFINGER. She saw that seven times. I couldn`t pick one.


He`s very personable to the whole crew and to the cast. He`s accessible, and he has a great sense of humor, and he`s great fun to be around.


[laughs] Very professional!


I guess in people`s eyes it`s very cool to kiss James Bond, but when you`re on the set, with the crew and everything, it`s a little different. But yeah, I got to kiss Pierce Brosnan.


He`s an actor, so he knows. He can`t say anything because he`s kissed women too in films. But I`m sure it`s uncomfortable. It`s not the most normal thing to have your boyfriend or girlfriend go to work and kiss their co-worker!


I worked with Michael, and I also have an acting coach. She helped me with different things, as opposed to just appearing out of nowhere. But I`d like to keep that [background] to myself.


I think the Bond formula has been working quite well over the years, and I didn`t want to try and copy another Bond girl. I just wanted to focus on what the character is and just do the job.

Interview: Brosnan-Era Screenwriters: Feirstein, France, Wilson and More

With the debut of the 19th James Bond film, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, it seems fairly ludicrous to have ever wondered if 007 could still be relevant in the 1990s. Three films and $700 million into the final decade of the 20th Century, the answer is pretty obvious. But in November 1994, just prior to the release of GOLDENEYE, that question was very much on the minds of not only MGM – the studio behind the series that was desperate for a box-office hit – but the producers of the franchise who had been at the Bond game since 1962. And with good reason.

Their previous effort, LICENSE TO KILL, had been obliterated during the summer of 1989 by Tim Burton`s BATMAN, Richard Donner`s LETHAL WEAPON 2 and Steven Spielberg`s INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. The critics weren`t impressed, and the audience stayed away in droves; the film collected a mere $38 million domestically.

Some blamed star Timothy Dalton, who they felt was too serious in the role, not bringing the humor that had been so integral from the moment that Sean Connery picked up his Walther PPK. Others believed that the series had become a victim of its own success, so mired in formula that this one-time genre innovator had fallen to the wayside in the wake of the competition.

Producer Michael Wilson states that at the time he, personally, did not feel the same kind of pressure as the studio. “I guess we`re consumed by the daily challenges and focusing on that,” he explains. “When you first start out, you have a sense of having to make this one good, but if you remember Truffaut`s DAY FOR NIGHT, in terms of making a film, he says, `You start off wanting to make the greatest film ever. By the end of the film, you just hope that you complete it.` There is something about that that`s true. After you set it up, it becomes a task to make it the best that it can and you stop thinking about every detail. There are production issues, staffing issues, personalities, money. Decisions that have to be made.”

Reflecting on the status of the franchise at that point, screenwriter Bruce Feirstein offers, “I think the formula needed updating. For me, the scene where the movies left the ranch was in the Roger Moore film, MOONRAKER. Roger Moore is in a gondolier, and it comes out of the water and he goes through the plaza. He`s a spy! It`s not right to look from today at what they did in 1979 because in their time those movies did really well. At the time of GOLDENEYE, it had been six years since they`d made a movie. Director Martin Campbell was in a position to start over again from scratch. There was going to be a new Bond in the form of Pierce Brosnan, and a new director. I think the six-year break was good. Everyone agrees that although Timothy Dalton was good in his time, the series needed to be reinvented. With GOLDENEYE, what everybody working on the film did was to see how Bond could be updated. When I got to the script, Martin Campbell and I met and talked and realized that the world had changed, but Bond hadn`t. Every scene in that movie is filled with that conflict. It was a way of turning the rubik’s cube slightly to find a new way to approach Bond. That film, in my opinion, has all the elements of a good Bond film. Look at the way that movie opens. It opens with an absolutely incredible stunt with the bungee jump off the dam. That sequence builds and builds. He goes into a chemical factory, all of the chemical stuff blows into the air, then he dives into a plane. Now, the plane is larger than life. It looked fake; I know it looked fake, yet because it looked fake, it became larger than life. It said, `This is the world we`re in. We`re in James Bond`s world,` and so when the pre-credit sequence ended, there was a huge amount of applause. It set up the fantastic world we, as the audience, were in. To some extent, the movie delivered on that all the way through.”

GOLDENEYE began in the mind of long-time Bond fan-turned-screenwriter Michael France, who had previously written the Sylvester Stallone spectacle, CLIFFHANGER. In writing the 007 film, France explains that he wanted “to make sure that the action was bigger than it`s been in some of the other picture. Not so much that it was bigger than other Bond pictures, but other mainstream American action movies, most of which I don`t think are very good and which have unimaginative action scenes. I wanted to make those as big as possible, because I knew these were the producers who could pull it off. As far as Bond`s character, I wanted to bring out a little more of the darker stuff and some of the Bond we know from the Fleming novels, and present a Bond that is like the Bond of GOLDFINGER. You`re entering a fantasy world, but while you`re watching the movie it seems real. Two hours after you watch GOLDFINGER, you think there`s no way any of that can happen, but when you`re watching it, you believe it – you want to believe it. I wanted to make sure this was grounded enough in reality, with the break-up of the Soviet Union and what`s happened in the world of spying. I wanted to have enough of that reality in the picture. If you believe that, then you`re willing to go along with the bigger parts of it, which are the action scenes.”

The producers next turned to screenwriter Jeffrey Caine, who proceeded to focus more on character relationships than pyrotechnics, embellishing what France had done. “I think things started to go wrong with the series with Roger Moore,” offers Caine. “A lot of the stuff with his films were very comic book, like the steel-toothed Jaws, who`s indestructible. Bond needs adversaries who are fearful but credible. Timothy Dalton was a little too austere in the role. I liked Tim`s performances, but the material he was working with was pretty austere, there wasn`t too much wit in it. I think it was a little too heavy on the stunt stuff. In fact, I think they still are. The problem is that these days studios have an idea that young audience require break-neck stunts, ever more fantastic than the last, for two hours. I think that gets tiring; you get restless watching yet another helicopter chase, another machine gun firing, yet another fall off a cliff. What I wanted to do was bring in some new characters and try to add some wit, and stuff to fill the spaces between the stunts. The whole idea of doing this film was to get something back of the flavor of the early Bond films.”
Says GOLDENEYE director of photography Phil Meheaux, “I think the nature of action films have changed a lot over the years, heading much more into reality. So what we`ve tried to do is retain the elements of Bond as a fantasy character in a sense, but also try and bring it into the `90s with a more real approach in terms of the way we film it. I think that`s been helped by Pierce as an actor, who`s very good with all that action stuff and likes doing it for real. Martin and my approach is more of a sense of reality than possibly the previous Bonds were.”

Martin Campbell clarifies one point. “It`s not that I was consciously going out of my way to make it different,” he says. “I just made it the way I thought it should be made. Not to denigrate the previous director, but I think I`ve given it a lot more pace. It is tougher. By that, I mean I think the action is tougher and harder, with more of an edge. It`s a much pacier film than a lot of the previous ones have been. There have tended to be long stretches between the action. We`ve got some really good dialogue scenes and so forth, but equally there is a really good sprinkling of action and the whole movie moves pretty fast.”

“When DR. NO was made in 1962,” Meheaux adds, “people didn`t go to the Caribbean. Half that film was shot in the Caribbean, so for all of us in those days that was very exotic. Now everyone has traveled all around the world and that, to them, is no longer an excitement. The actual place that you are is not exciting – what is exciting to the audience is letting them see what happens in that place. I think that`s what made us change the way the films are made. It`s a move away from the exotic place to the more action-packed story. Martin and I wanted to bring it into the `90s, but also put our stamp on it, as it were. We couldn`t make a film in somebody else`s style. It`s very difficult to do that, so it was essential that the Bond company were prepared to let us do what we wanted to do. To give them their due, Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and all of those people said, `It`s your film, do with it what you want.` We wanted to preserve the old Bond-style character and the nature of his way of life, because we liked all that stuff anyway. We preserved that, but we tried to make the shooting of it much more real and grittier.”

Needless to say, GOLDENEYE astounded virtually everyone by pulling in a worldwide gross of $350 million, neatly establishing itself as the most successful Bond film of them all (not counting for inflation, of course) and paving the way for future films. Plus, it immediately established Pierce Brosnan as the true successor to Sean Connery`s crown as 007. Two years later, MGM released TOMORROW NEVER DIES, a decidedly more action-oriented Bond directed by Roger Spottiswoode. The plot involved media mogul Eliot Carver`s (Jonathan Pryce) attempts to trigger a war between Britain and China in the hopes of boosting his profits and ratings. As such, it seemed quite `90s and managed to equal the box office success of its predecessor.

Director Roger Spottiswoode admits that he tried to take Bond to his next logical step following GOLDENEYE. “What we tried to do,” he offers, “was to make it firmly into a different formula, which was a very contemporary thriller that happens to have this character James Bond in it, and many of the things you associate with that character do actually happen, but they`re much more cleanly imbedded in the plot, much more functional. Obviously there`s a lot of action, but it`s pretty well rooted into what is going on. One doesn`t want a string of meaningless stunts that don`t really connect. I think action like that is completely pointless and it doesn`t even work; nobody quite enjoys it. You have to be invested; you have to go for the ride; you have to be involved with the characters, it has to work in that way; otherwise, it`s meaningless. If one has succeeded, great, other people will tell you. I can only tell you what I wanted to do.”

One person not entirely pleased with the final results was Bruce Feirstein. “I personally did not want all of the running and shooting in the film,” he says. “I had a different kind of conception for the character of Eliot Carver. I wanted him to be much more like Goldfinger. I have a background in journalism, where I have at one time or another worked for all the moguls. I didn`t see this as being a character who was surrounded by eighteen guys in black camo-gear, carrying uzis or whatever. I saw him as a guy being surrounded by eighteen guys with briefcases. That was lost. At the box office, obviously I was wrong. Michael Wilson and I had long conversations about this. Michael has very firm beliefs that this is why people go to see these movies. We have tremendously funny arguments where I would say to Michael, `You basically believe that in the basement of every building in the world there are eighteen guys in camo-gear waiting to spring.` In the end, TOMORROW NEVER DIES did $350 million worldwide. When I went to work on THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, Michael and I had this very conversation where he said, `You see, I was right.` And the truth is, the numbers are on his side.”

Feirstein is hopeful that THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH falls somewhere between the film`s two predecessor in terms of tone. “What I`ve been told from the early screenings is that people love it,” says Feirstein, who had not seen the finished film at the time of this interview. “Pierce has gone around saying that it`s the movie he wanted to make, that it`s filled with characters and he got to portray the character he wanted to portray. He is extremely laudatory, as we all are, of director Michael Apted in that he wanted to make a more character-driven movie. This, I think, was the goal there. Hopefully there will be enough action and there will be enough romance, suspense and intrigue that it will have all of the great Bond elements. The reason I sound strange regarding the action is that on one hand I think there was too much action in TOMORROW NEVER DIES, but on the other hand there still needs to be action. It`s finding a right balance. The truth is that these are still big international movies that have to play in a variety of languages. I don`t know that people who go to see James Bond movies see the day-to-day struggles and tribulations of James Bond. But I know there`s room for character and action and that both can be accomplished. People go to James Bond movies for the ride. I believe GOLDENEYE delivered on the ride. You do not go to a James Bond movie to see things you saw in AMERICAN BEAUTY.”

Having successfully conquered the 1990s, the Bond franchise has its eyes set on the 21st century. “Bond is a contemporary figure and he has his own unique personality,” says Wilson. “He`s one of the few suave action heroes: intelligent, sophisticated, a man licensed to kill. I think it`s a dangerous time. There are more wars going on. Things are not centrally controlled anymore. I think Bond is more timely than ever. As long as all those people were under central control in the Eastern Bloc countries and the former U.S.S.R., it was fine. Now they`ve all been released from that control and are for sale to the highest bidder. So you`ve got 5,000 highly trained agents roaming around the world, looking for work. I think Bond is going to be well occupied into the 21st Century.”

Sebastien Foucan On Bond


Sebastien Foucan is a trail blazer in his chosen field.

Now 40, the Frenchman has been at the forefront of the Parkour movement for nearly 30 years and helped developed its offshoot, freerunning.

But despite edging towards middle age, Foucan – best known for introducing the world to Daniel Craig as James Bond as Mollaka in Casino Royale – says he will not stop leaping between buildings, climbing up lamp posts and darting through the urban landscape.

Parkour, based on military obstacle courses, sees practitioners moving between to points in the most efficient way, whether that be leaping between platforms, crashing down stairs or jumping over things.

Developed in the late 1980s, it grew in popularity throughout the 1990s and 2000s and remains so to this day – walk through most cities in Europe and you can find people leaping between obstacles.

Freerunning, is an offshoot of the discilping.

Foucan says: “Freerunning is my own evolution of Parkou, which I started in the late 1980’s when I first met my friend, David Belle. Together, and later with others, we used the environment around us to express ourselves. It became our playground to jump, climb and run. It became a lifestyle.

“[Will you ever stop?] No! Once you start, it becomes part of you and your everyday life, there is no time when you are not doing it.”

Some see freerunning as a philosophy as well as a sport, a notion that Foucan thinks is changing.

“I believe it is becoming more of a sport and less of a philosophy but it really depends on the practitioner,” he adds.

“With the development of coaching qualifications and practice in schools and clubs there has been room for it to grow as a traditional sport for the mainstream.

“It is fantastic that it can be appreciated, and is accessible,  for many people in safe environments. For me it the core of the practice will always be the philosophy.”

The Parisian also believes the sport will one day grace the biggest stage.

“I believe this will go big like the Olympics, and there will be more schools and clubs where you can learn it.”

And what does he remember of Daniel Craig and 007?

“Being in a James Bond film was amazing and unforgettable, I was lucky to be part of this and really happy with the way I performed there. It is a legacy who will stay now with me and this is absolutely fantastic.”