146 One Man Bond And Boots Riley
July 7, 2018 1:45 a.m.
Episode 146: One Man Bond And Boots Riley
Time to geek out about two very different things: James Bond and the directorial debut of rapper Boots Riley. I talk secret agent 007 with actor Tom Steward who created a one-man show for the San Diego International Fringe Festival called "One Man Bond" in which he takes us through all 24 Bond films in less than 60 minutes. Plus I speak with Riley about his film "Sorry To Bother You."
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Related Story: Podcast Episode 146: One Man Bond And Boots Riley
I'm Beth Accomando.
And today's cinema Junkie podcast is shaken not stirred.
Yes he's boss. My name's Bond.
James Bond. My name is Bond. James Bond. James Bond.
James Bond. The name is Bond. James Bond.
Now you up this. How we're going to have some gratuitous sex and violence.
I certainly hope so too easy. The hot weather here a move. They should just be enough time for him to. What do you. Expect me to talk.
About. I expect you to buy.
The ball. I hope I didn't frighten you. You have always been nervous so I'm just like some men just don't like to be taken for a ride. Some see.
A new BMW 750. All the usual refinements machine guns rockets. The GOP is tracking a.
Word. How did you go. Knuckles in the south. Oh I. Never. With. The business. So you're off duty. I'm completely vested. James. Yes. Make love to a woman. Who. You have and why. Sure. It pains. You to.
Turns to the side of right to search you. Well. I think you're a sexist Zogenix dinosaur to.
This sort of behavior can qualify as sexual harassment.
Some day you have to make good on you and you try and limit the customer by playing W7. Danny did what he did he make enough.
I'm sorry I can't do something because come off Old Joe. W7 always comes back.
That's right. And James Bond is scheduled to come back for the 25th time in the official W7 franchise in 2019 and today I'll be talking about all things bond with actor Tom Steward who created a one man show for the San Diego International Fringe Festival called One man bond in which he takes us through all six actors and all 24 Bond films in less than 60 Minutes. But before we go off on our MICEX mission I want to highlight a film that comes out next week that has a mission of its own Boot's Riley's directorial debut sorry to bother you is about a young man named captious green and you need to hear his name said out loud. He's just trying to survive in the not too distant future. Sorry to bother you maybe Bootes Riley's first film but he comes to filmmaking after decades of success as a rapper. Music producer and activist organizer. He studied filmmaking back in college but got pulled away from film by music and in 1991 created the political activist hip hop group the coop. Sorry to bother you deals with race capitalism workers rights art and activism. He describes it as an absurdist dark comedy with magical realism and sci fi inspired by the world of telemarketing. Here's the trailer.
A cast. I'm gonna take my money. God made this for all of us greedy people like you want to hog it to yourself and your family and me and my family. CASH I'm an. Uncle. Just really need a job. Or do you have to.
Stick to the script. Mr. casuistry sorry to.
Give you do you want to make some money. Use your voice for talking about Will Smith's wife. This young. Hey Mr. KRAMER This is Langston from Riegle if you.
As always will be getting that out to you right away. You do good with the voice.
The film announces a bold new screen talent but one marked by assurance and maturity from decades of work mixing art and politics and music. Riley not only has something to say but he has the artistry to say it in a fresh new style that demands attention. Although the issues he tackles in the film feel very much of the moment he says he first started writing the screenplay back in 2011.
Strangely enough it is just as relevant. It was as relevant then as it is today.
You know contrary to popular belief the economic system that we're in which is the motor that's pushing all of the craziness that's going on in our world was the same then. I mean we can't put this movie out in 2012 or 1972 and it would have been relevant. Matter of fact Mr. which is just Mr. Wood 7 underscores that the character that Omari Hardwick plays he had the line in our 2014 version that got published on McSweeney's. He had the line where he free is making America great again. It's just a movie that has a class analysis so that analysis allows you to understand how the system works and puts all the chaos that we get from our news feed into a working framework that allows you to understand how ways that we might be able to fight things back. But the news and most media usually doesn't supply that class analysis. So all the events that we hear usually seem like they're just like common knowledge nowhere or they're crazy and you know they end up making people kind of shrug their shoulders and hunch back and walk off into the distance instead of feeling like they can do anything about it.
One thing I found interesting in your film in terms of kind of the tone and the take you have is that you don't really fault clashes as much as you might see in other films that are kind of satiric or you know making political commentary. And I thought it was kind of fresh to have that take where you you seem a little more sympathetic towards them than some other films tackling the same issue might be.
Yeah I think that's because I have a background as an organizer which I think is what I would say is different than an activist. So I mean because to be an organizer for some people that determines interchangeable but you can't really say you're an organizer if you haven't done are a few things and some of that being like grassroots organizing where you get people in their place of work or place of that they live to try to do things around those areas. Doing that makes you approach politics less than a from a standpoint of you know you don't agree with me so therefore you're on the other side of the line then trying to figure out OK you don't agree with me. How do I get this person to agree with me. How do I get them on their team. It's not my I'd be working against my ultimate goal to just try to show that person that they're wrong and smash them down in some way. Because my goal is to have the working class united.
I read an interview with you and I was impressed at how many kind of diverse influences you cited from music and literature and film and I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about the kinds of things that have influenced you as an artist.
You know I'm always searching for people that are doing things creatively and whatever art form. I mean I haven't had a or so literature.
Definitely. And other films music I get excited about seeing even the things that didn't. All the way work. But they had something that that artist was trying to do that might inspire me or you know give way to things like So for instance I mean not the same because we're talking about Francis Ford Coppola. But I think he had a film that really didn't work in a lot of ways. Which was called one from the heart. I liked what he was doing with transitions and reflections in that movie. He did some things that there were practical transitions that I wasn't going to have the budget to be able to do certain things that were inspired by that. But one thing he does with reflection when Terry is like working in a window I forget what it is. It's inspired something in the movie there's a which doesn't happen in that same way but it got me thinking about reflections. But yeah as an artist I'm always striving for finding other things that get me excited and that kind of comes maybe from hip hop and what we call digging in the crates which is how many of us got our education. I also try to look for new things in life to get me inspired to that process. I went through a period of somewhat embarrassing period that people don't know about. Between my second and third hour where I say that I've stopped doing it stop doing music just to do this organization called the young comrades which I did. But during that time I also got slightly obsessed with miniature. I had this idea of all of these rooms
I would make that would illuminate certain things about the world and you know like there's a prison and b a certain kind of a living room with. And I was collecting all this stuff going to all places wherever I could get miniature stuff had collected like half of a garage worth this. And then one day I was like yeah I'm going to do this. And 12 people are going to see it. So I got rid of all that stuff and never really went forward with it. But exploring these ideas these different ways of making art is something I always try to take it into whatever else I'm doing.
The film is such a genre bending film because you've got magical realism you've got science fiction you've got social commentary you've got humor was kind of feeding into that.
I think that's just the way I think in the way I talk. And I think what also allowed that to happen is that I've been an artist for 20 years that hasn't worried about whether it's perceived as being done right. You know I have songs that I'll let mistakes be in there. I also haven't made art. Also know that there is something very useful about doing some things that people understand and you can play with that and use that as leverage to do the other stuff that you want that's more spectacular. I also wanted people to be engaged with this film in a different way. You know I didn't want people to be like when you see a heist movie and they've done that. The team building montage you know you can go to the bathroom after that because it's going to be a second before their first problem that they overcome happens. There are white people to be on their toes and know that they don't know what's going to happen. Film was an early love that I'm going to be focusing on now. And yet so I think there are different things you can do with film than with music with music. Some of the benefits are that you put these things out there these emotions these ideas and it lives with people for their whole life. And it plays and it takes on different meanings and it's not yours anymore. Very quickly. With film I get to kidnap people for an hour and 45 minutes and make them be in the world that I've created to make them have certain feelings and that more more. Aw fine.
Do you see art always being kind of wrapped up with some sort of activism.
Yeah the art is communication.
I think that only way to make great art is to be passionate about something else other than making art because that passion guides your static in a different way. That's not fowling or not flippant or not just putting things together to see what can happen. But my point is is that you need to be passionate about something either. I don't care whether it's love sex making the world better or whatever. And so I think that all art is connected to that the artists are a group of artists political ideas whether they want it to or not even if it's just that we're going to make something that makes it seem like the world is all. All right that's a political standpoint because me I as a human being want to be part of making the world better a thing that I do or produce is going to because I'm trying to also be honest as an artist and put my view of the world into my art. I need to do that. Otherwise what people do is they they end up falling into cliché because most of what we what we create a lot of times the art that we tend to create is more influenced by other artists visions of the world then really our own real life. And I always have to check myself for that and when I'm checking myself for that to decide what I really think about a situation and what I really think about the situation is going to have me be connected to larger ideas about the world. And that's going to come into my artwork all the time.
Well I want to thank you very much for your time and for making this film. It was great.
Thank you. Thanks so much for talking about it.
That was writer director Bootes Riley whose provocative new film sorry to bother you opens next week and it demands to be seen. Now the bond James Bond. San Diego International Fringe Festival just ended. And one of my favorites from the 11 days of eyeball busting shows was Tom stewards one man bond as a fan of bond since my earliest days. I was thrilled at the W7 geek on display on the show as well as the impressive showmanship of taking on the entire Bond franchise in an hour. Since the franchise is at a turning point with Daniel Craig the announced departure. I thought it would be the perfect time to geek out about James Bond with someone who's just immersed himself in the entire canon of films. But first let's hear how his one man show starts.
Dr. Gracies raise fees in the field don't turn away from the cops. Speaking of which Mr.. Money said it was a kiss before they declare what I'm doing sexual harassment. I'll give you three more years before the like consensus get on the plane get it way too much. You make me she did it all by yourself. We've lost a file of.
Well a Chinese woman in your office probably stole it would you say that it was a racist film. Did you hear that.
I feel excited but don't worry too much about that as we have different act in exile. How would the CIA see finally someone is racist. Speaking of racism this is where the big bad wolf tricks the Dragons you think are racist.
You ain't seen nothing yet. Regenerations dialogue. I don't know nothing about nothing at all. There's something in the bed sheets. There's a morning wood.
No it's a spider web soundtrack for taking me to come quarrell Sony and later I was just using a woman sexually before having a police shooting on Man coming Felix. Now we Americans just wait till the hard work is done and claim all the credit.
Let's count on the shore in full view of anyone who happens to be Pasic coming out of the scene naked except that it just after this suit. Hi Honey Rider night.
Well you're a castrations it allows you to have sex with me so I can hold on to my fragile masculinity. I'm Dr. No. I'm a disabled veteran. It's going to be a thing.
I have little hands and this is totally not going to be my downfall and falling down. If only I could up. All right.
Let's go and have sex and Adeniyi before I leave you in the sea. Go back to a woman who appreciate Scotish.
Tom you have just come off of the San Diego International Fringe Festival where you did a show a one man show called One man bond. So let me ask where did your love for James Bond start. Do you remember the first time you saw a Bond movie.
I do. Yes.
I mean this is did more by putting it together retrospectively. But in Britain when I was growing up Bond films were always shown on public holidays and that was that that was the tradition.
And back then there was a limited number of channels so it was real event television. I'm pretty sure it was Moonraker because I have no idea. I have no memory of bond before certain shots and images in Moonraker and it would have been a holiday Monday some time.
Yeah I think I think it was. It just seemed incredibly odd to say actually but it seemed incredibly contemporary to me.
If if if it was Moonraker it could also been view to a kill. They seem the most stylish pieces of anything I'd ever seen in my life. The colours the music. But I do remember that it was part of a really big event.
And it was very much gathered around the television and yes and it seemed like a completely different world from the one I belong to.
So you started with Moonraker and you still became a fan.
I'm amazed. Yes well I mean I I had to say yes I know it's since become my least favorite Bond film by by some distance.
But at the time I think I still had a sense that this was something very interesting and important.
Obviously the fact that it was such a big deal when they were on TV I would have got the sense of that as a child but you know everyone's kind of familiarity with it was very attractive to me. So you know different generations of my family were seemed to know bond as if they were you know a close friend.
Which was interesting to me so I kind of just fed into that and without really knowing what Bond was or who it was or what the bond films were. I very quickly adjusted to them as something that was part of British cultural life and family life. I love how you deal with Moonraker in the show especially after hearing you talk about how Moonraker was your gateway to bond. Films.
And what inspired you to turn your passion for bond into a one man show.
A few different a few different factors.
First of all in the past year I set up per theatre company Lonesome Whistle productions that was devoted to developing innovative forms of solo theatre. So that's where the one man part of it came from. Beyond that I was very interested in adding to the kinds of theatrical works that condense great canons of culture into a small amount of stage time. So thinking in terms of the Reduced Shakespeare Company or a more kind of a more kind of pop culture version would be the one man Star Wars trilogy which was a big hit at the Fringe festival some years ago and I actually saw it at the time to sort of take that to another level by by doing it with the Bond films which is sorta to assert that the Bond films are this you know are a significant contribution to world culture as Shakespeare or Dickens. But also you know also to say that you know there's a precedent for this kind of theater. And to do it with 24 films rather than say a trilogy seemed like a really great challenge to me to do.
And the other element was really thinking of how do you how do you bring film and film language onto onto the stage and thinking of ways it's been done before through things like Mystery Science Theater 2000 and riff tracks and to so you know trying to find a way to do a live commentary on a film on stage. And so all those things kind of coagulated into the the show that term that I did.
All right. So in tackling this what was your approach. Did you kind of like write jot down little notes from each of the films. Did you go back and re watch the whole canon. How was this process like.
The process was I I first of all the Bond films are kind of lodged in my memory certain images lines and I find myself going back to the films really just to kind of check that my memory was correct and this was kind of interesting because there were things which I thought I'd imagined happening in the films which of course when I went back to the films weren't yes they did happen and they you know outrageous pieces of sexism and racism and just just general just general prejudice really that I thought couldn't possibly be there in a film from 1984 or for you know or even you know into the 2000s and to find that they were absolutely dead.
But I'm watching the films back you know I would I would see things that I'd never observe before and it was just it was about finding a way to kind of bring unity and to these films and see what are the what are the major themes of the series.
Because of course one of the unique and wonderful things about the Bond films is that unlike many other major film franchises they they lack continuity. You know they really do draw a line in the sand at the end of every film. I mean there's a couple of exceptions to that. But pretty much that goes for all of them. They just stop. It's like a reset clock every time. And so in adapting all the films into one hour I had to get some sense of continuity between them and that was mainly kind of thematic.
Then you sort of think well you know try and treat this as one story with a through line. And what does that look like.
There's obviously comic potential in that because they're not consistent from film to film and the back story changes all the time. So yeah it was it was very much it was that and also I think it really started off with an alternative screenplay as if the Bond films were all one film. And I had to sort of transcribe the screenplay in a way that would play as one hour of of stage time so that meant kind of how would you describe the scene in written form and then finding a way to theatrical ize it. So it was a very very fluid process. And in that sense but it was it was interesting because you get a very different perspective on the films.
Now you mention going back to these films and finding sexism and racism and things like this. We're at a weird point I've found in fandom where you know you have the Star Wars fans demanding that last Jedd I be removed from the can and raising money to try and remake it and things like that where there's this kind of weird bent on fandom right now. But as a fan of Bob and I'm a huge fan of Bond. I grew up on them from you know my parents took me to see them when they came out in the theater originally and I was a young kid. But so how do you reconcile those things because obviously you're still a fan going back and realizing that James Bond was sexist doesn't necessarily ruin the films for you. My sister can't watch them like she you know she's a feminist and she's just like how you know these things are horrible for you. How do you reconcile is and can you still love the Bond films even if they have those elements in them.
Yeah I mean you you can't do to it what you do with a lot of great works of culture that have problematic representations in them because it's really not that long ago. And then some of the most egregious examples of problematic representations happen in films are actually quite recent in the canon I think Skyfall is one of the most abominably sexist films ever made. So you can't really use the historical excuse for it.
You have to give a lot of the films the benefit of the doubt in terms of what they're trying to do and eventually failing. It's it's a series that kind of wants to pay tribute to changing attitudes in society and you see that very clearly with the representation of women as the film goes on and on race. But it also it also wants to do justice to a formula that everyone is comfortable with and very much demands from these films perhaps more than any other film series that I can think of. They want certain things to happen in a Bond film that requires politically being very very retrograde sometimes. And so a lot of the when you weren't sure you know this kind of key films like Man With The Golden Gun or Golden Eye where you can see the film is trying to talk about feminism changes in political attitudes but it also has a kind of commercial acknowledgement that there needs to be some sort of suspension of disbelief that doesn't kind of resolve things. It doesn't make them easier to watch. Sure it doesn't excuse them but that's it really is a dialogue that's going on. It's like how do we take this character who is really even from the early 60s with something of a dinosaur in terms of their political attitudes and you know how do we how do we introduce them into this modern world every time. And that's one of the pleasures of the series. And sometimes it's very self-conscious sometimes it happens accidentally because they're trying to address contemporary issues and failing. It's definitely something that works and I think if you go back to the roots of
the of the film series in the Ian Fleming literary canon he never wanted you to like James Bond. This is something that the film the films have kind of kind of drawn out of him the idea of a hero he really really wasn't a hero or necessarily a likeable character.
And I think when certain actors have drawn on that fact there's no particular reason that you see that what Bond does and how he interacts with the world is necessary a template for how we should all act in a society. And in fact itself and the opposite of that. If you're adding kind of heroism to what Bond does that might say about us and as an audience member than it does about the film itself he really is this kind of blank canvas and we don't know what his politics are and we don't know we just know that you know he makes some dubious moral choices.
And I think that you know that was occasionally the Bond films are more complex than we give them credit for. In that sense but which is all my way of kind of hedging around the fact that they are very politically very difficult films.
And I think it's it's interesting to to sort of see where we go with that and we would think about it in terms of sexism and racism. But the series is also when it whenever it's kind of expressed explicit ideological beliefs. It's even more difficult. I mean you know there's a there's a Bond film from the late 80s Living Daylights Timothy Daltons first film where Bond is sort of an honorary member of the Mujahadeen which is a sort of a very star.
I mean some of the Hollywood films did it at the time because the U.S. was on the side of Afghanistan against the Russians. But but nonetheless you know that's right. That really is backing the wrong horse. If want to come around selling dope. Out. Of. The chief of the snow leopard brotherhood.
Who is the biggest opium dealer in the kingdom has worked for them time to time. I couldn't care less if the Russians knife my bullets for their opium. Side. We need the money to buy arms.
I think it's a very it's a very complicated thing and you have to look at them in context but at the same time you don't absolve them for for being particularly egregious and you will so you know it's not it's not a historical question because some of the more recent Bond films have been the worst in terms of the political mistakes they've made.
One of the appeals for me is that even though there was sexism involved and that some of the female characters are kind of you know degraded. But the lead girls lead women they were always called Bond girls they were and they were recalled Bond women. But when I was growing up they were called Bond girls even though they were adults and all but characters like Pussy Galore she might have a porn star name and all that but you don't remember her being like a submissive character or a character like she gets a kick. James Bond's bad man like to me her character was so much more interesting than women or actresses who are being presented more as these kind of role models because back in the 60s like Doris Day was supposed to be this career woman who was on her own.
She bored me to death and I couldn't see her but I think Laura I'm going like wait a minute she runs her own airline with all these women. She ends up making this moral decision to cross the guy. She's been working for and and she does end up you know flippin James Bond in a fight.
Now like I don't exactly see what's wrong with that.
You put your finger on a very important point which is that the the quality of the of the stars involved in the films to transcend the material given in the script and that's true across the board really.
I mean the example with Pussy Galore and you know that's a lot to do with a Blackmun's performance you know in this particular la Spiri I said I'd wake up dead tranquillize again. Now. I'm delighted to be here.
Can you do something for you Mr. Brown.
I'd just drink a martini shaken not stirred. Once you join me on duty Mr. Goldfinger's personal path. You are. And just hope personally that. I'm a damn good pilot. Period. Well that's good news. By the way what is a host if you want a head. There should be a memorable flight they can turn off the job. And. Be.
In On Her Majesty's Secret Service Dinerral. You know she's not in terms of the script she's not really treated differently than many of the of the bongo's upon women. But there is something about her which transcends that and seems incredibly strong no matter how much the script wants her to submit to bond even to the point of marrying him. Tracy. Should be.
Concerned with anything himself. We. Just have to go anyway leave.
It to find something else to do. Jane. I.
Like your. And you know that that goes with a lot of the you know a lot of the villains as well who you know are often kind of terrible racial caricatures Yaphet Koto and Live and Let Die is written in a way that's you know almost worse than Ian Fleming's original version of the Mr. Big character which is when most hideously racist representations in literature.
And yet because of you know because of Yaphet Koto who is one of the you know one the suave best and most powerful charismatic character actors that I could possibly think of Conargo poppy grower and thousands of acres of well camouflaged fields protected by the voodoo threat Anders Mr. Big distributor and wholesaler through a chain of Filyaw saw restaurants wholesale sell when the money. My apologies I am sure you simply give it away.
Excellent Mr. Potter. That's precisely what I intend to. Two tons of it to be exact when entering into a fiercely competitive field one finds it impossible to give away free samples man or woman black or white. I don't discriminate.
Two tons of heroin with a street value of over a billion dollars nationally distributed free should make a certain group of families rather angry wouldn't you say angry justified to passively drag them out of my ass quickly out of the business quite ingenious sort of junkers welfare system.
Until the number of adults in the country has doubled. Shall we say that I will begin to market the acreage that you blundered into the other day that heroism will be very expensive. The lady of my shop on the phone is the only two going monopoly's of this nation for years to come.
You remember him as this as this really elegant Bunny whose kind of nailed the characterization and you don't think about how he's written you think about how he's played.
And I think that's really helped. What really helped across the is.
All right so you brought up on her majesty's secret service which is for Bond fans a really interesting film. This was the film Sean Connery had decided not to return. They put this Australian actor George Lazenby in the role. You mentioned Diana Rigg who is probably one of the top Bond girls her and honor black men are just the cream of the crop.
So you've got this film on her majesty's secret service which I play these games where you know you get like oh if you could go back in time what would you do and people have these you know things like oh you know I'd stop this horrible thing from happening. Like no there's only two things that I want to do. I want Sean Connery in on her majesty's secret service and I want the sequel The Buckaroo Bonzai like those are the two things I would fix in the universe as shallow as that may be. But what are your feelings about on her majesty's secret service because on a certain level it's one of the best Bond films in terms of kind of its construction and it's got Diana Rigg But it has some people love George Lazenby more people kind of have issues with them so what's your take on this one.
If it is my age I think it is the best Bond film it's certainly my favorite Bond film I've heard this before.
Most people say well what if Sean Connery did an emergency service.
My view is what if George Lazenby had done Diamonds Are Forever. That's the kind of alternative Bond history that I'm interested in pursuing.
Yes. I mean late Laysan was the wrong choice in so many ways primarily because he wasn't an actor.
I mean that's what is going to be on your list.
He was a model who kind of finagled his way into the role by lying to the Bond producers about his acting background and they kind of they felt that that was enough because he lied to them and got away with it. They thought that that gave him an acting resume which is really interesting form of casting and I don't want to discount that because they were definitely onto something and they sort of tested him in a very perverse way where they they brought stunt actors to his hotel room to to fight him to see if he could. You know so it was it was a really experimental way to cast a bond. And while while it ended up with an actor who's naive he was kind of there for all to see on screen and especially vocally he couldn't really handle the role and he had to be he had to be dubbed with his own voice and also the voice of British charAt director George Baker at one point which is actually part of it. They turned that into part of the plot because he's pretending to be. He's in disguise as a character who we know is played by George Baker. But so. So there are some actual interesting consequences to George Ley's and b not being an actor. And they managed to work with that. Of course the biggest challenge is that this is the most emotionally demanding role for a bond to play and you know there are points in the movie where you think he's not living up to that and then the final scene of the movie where spoiler alert. I mean decades old there's got to be an embargo
on that by now. Where is his wife. Well let's say two minutes and screen time is killed. We have all the time in the world.
Good point. We do like that for blogs. I didn't even send you flowers. Anyway you have given me a wedding present.
The best I could have. Future. This is bomb soaked. Up. And dirty the old ones. He loves me instinctively. Infuriating intensely and in. The end but a break. First of all. It. Felt. Like.
The final scene is him left with her corpse and he's kind of in a traumatized grieving state and he's trying to explain to a highway patrol officer what's happened.
And they this is one of the very I mean must be one of the only points in the bond film series where they quote directly from the from the books it's verbatim how how the end of an Flemming's on a Secret Service which was something that Lazenby had read and was moved by.
And he delivers that scene as well as I think any actor could he absolutely nails the emotion in that that's because he really felt it.
He read the book and he cried and it was he and he understood what was going on.
JOHN Oh really. She's having a rest. Because he said. It's never easy.
All the time in the world. And I think I think there was he had life experience of similar grievances.
So in the end you know when you get to the end of the Secret Service he's George and he's figured out how to act.
So I would have loved to have seen what he did and grab himself forever because I think that I think if he'd have stayed in the role they would have made it something of a sequel and or at least they would have certainly referred to the fact that he was a he was a widow and they would have made that part of the movie in the way it turns out in the in the Connery continuation they just sort of forget about it and you can you can remember it if you want but if you don't want to it doesn't cost you anything in terms of the film.
But more broadly in terms of an homage to Secret Service I just think it's it is it is almost a cliche to say it's your favorite Bond film because it's its most unlike anything else in the bond canon.
But the undeniable quality of the cast of the script of the action sequences the fact that you know you you have a desire not only to build the depth that the characters the complexity of the drama in the film but also that you actually want to do something slightly experimental and artistic with the form one of the cliches of the Bond film style is that this kind of nod and a wink to the audience that we refer to everything that we're doing we tell the audience what's going on. We share a joke with them while they do that and on her majesty's secret service on a whole nother level to almost where the point. It's like a Jean-Luc Godard film. It's so you know self it's self reflexive in the way that it deals with film style and film art. And to do that in the late 60s on the back of the Connery films I mean it's not only brave it's ridiculous and it didn't pay off. It wasn't very successful in lase and B left the series although he was contracted to do another at least another four Bourne films. And yet it also works as a Bond film. One of the great criticisms of license to kill which is Timothy Daltons last Bond film was that it's a very serviceable late 80s thriller but it's not it's not a Bond film but an emergency service still you know it still pays tribute to the formula while doing something amazingly different with it and in many regards whether it's the score. The day the bond Bongo's the villains the supporting characters or some of the best you'll find in the series.
But it really is trying to do something different. I mean older Bond films say that and they invariably don't. Listen to everyone from guns were going to do something different this time. And they very rarely do. But an emergency service man a Secret Service means it and every time I go back to it I have exactly the same feelings. It's like I don't want this to be the best fun film because that kind of cheat. The other bum films but it really doesn't the quality is undeniable and by the end of the film whatever problems you have with George Lopez and the ME result you know you're watching you're watching someone on screen become an actor not just become born but you become someone who someone who could go on to be a professional actor if he didn't then decide to to leave the world.
Well it's funny because I grew up with Sean Connery as James Bond and I was in love with James Bond and when he left the series I was so angry about George Lazenby taking over the role and my initial reaction to that was just like I hated him I like I love Diana Rigby hated him in the role and it seriously took me decades to return to that film and see it kind of with some objectivity. And I had the chance to see the film at the TCM Film Festival a few years ago where George Lazenby was there and he talked about the whole getting the role and casting and the one thing he pointed out which kind of made something click for me as he said he thinks the real reason they cast him was because he wasn't afraid to step into Sean Connery shoes.
He said I'm a cocky bastard and I don't care what anybody thinks and I don't care if I do a terrible job. I don't care about even being an actor.
But he said that that kind of an attitude was something that they didn't want somebody who was terrified to step into the role or trying to imitate Shawn or something like that. And when he pointed that out and I watched the film again it's like I was going you know I will have to say he tries to own it own the role himself. He doesn't try to be Sean Connery. He doesn't try to. He doesn't seem timid about like just taking it on in and I have to say I have warmed up to the film in a broader sense beyond just dying.
Yeah and it's interesting you say that because you know I'm sure I can imagine that the producers Saltzman and broccoli would have gone into the venture without thinking that you know he could he could handle the role and that he would go in with confidence and that people would buy he was born. But what really comes across in his performance. Yeah it might be a byproduct of his naivety as an actor as an actor is that he brought vulnerability to the role and this was something that we hadn't seen really it always Sean Connery. And it's something that's that's a characteristic of the more modern Bond films is that bond has some you know he's he's fragile in a way we didn't see before and there was a little bit of that in the early Connery's. But by the time he got to you only live twice and he's not as interested in playing the role anymore he's kind of coasting a little bit. He's really kind of playing it more for laughs Laysan is kind of interesting in the sense that he seems to be more of a prototype for the Daltons and the Craigs who have you know the slightly more unsure of themselves which is closer to the way Fleming envisioned the character originally than the Connery did.
I think I think all older Bond actors have really kind of just wandered into the role which is something that you don't see often when when actors take over these iconic roles. I mean you know when Roger Moore took over with Live and Let Die certainly that the script is still written in that kind of Connery mould and you know he's doing things that don't really suit his portrayal of the role. But in terms of how he's playing it he really does look like he's been playing he's been playing the character for years. Like Queen on the Red King.
Sanitaire. My name is Bob. James But. I know who. You are.
What you are and why you come. I've. Made mistakes. Will. Not succeed.
Rather a sweeping statement considering that there's only been six bands but none of them look particularly nervous when they take over the role which is hard to understand given how much history there is and that the legacy of it and I think that's a credit to the producers in finding these actors who don't seem to have this problem with what they're stepping into and that that that will be a huge part of the way that you would cast the part.
Well in Roger Moore came off of the S.N. and the persuaders and so I mean he had a history of playing kind of these iconic roles so it was almost like Alright I'll just shift you know I mean he wasn't. No offence to him but I mean he was kind of the most cartoonish of the bonds of a certain level and so I mean he was kind of playing himself in in all those series and that and you just kind of like slid into it and was like I said I'll give a little tweak an bond right.
Yeah it did feel that way. He was Flemming's pick for the role. Even back when the series started in 62 in Fleming apparently picked him as his idea of what Bond was and that's another that's another interesting part of the Bond series is there's only ever been a very small pool of actors have ever been considered for the role. Timothy Dalton was considered to takeover when Moore did. Moore was considered to start the series. Pierce Brosnan could have easily taken the role when when Dalton did so. Up until Daniel Craig really there's only been a handful of actors who can play it and I think I think that speaks to a kind of an intimacy an almost kind of bond family which sets it apart from other big franchises which make effort to find the biggest star possible to fit into a certain role and you know we want this actor to kind of bring something to the to the bond. Up until up until Daniel Craig the options were very very limited. I think that that helps with the transition from Bond to bond you sort of you're not you know you're not really surprised and in the mid 80s it could have gone Pierce Brosnan or it could have gone Timothy Dalton in fact you know Pierce Brosnan basically started playing Bond and it was only kind of a contract dispute with Remington Steele that that dragged him back and Dalton who was the original choice but then stepped aside came back into the role. So it's it's a very good when you use the word incestuous franchise. But compared to you know given how big it is and how world beating a film
series it is. It really is something that's very that has a real intimacy about it.
Now you mentioned Timothy Dalton. I love Timothy Dalton and I enjoy his performance because you mentioned his vulnerability.
He seemed to be this kind of a little bit more emotional bond but I feel so bad for him because he got saddled with the worst Bond movies like as a whole like the films just didn't seem to work that well and I felt like if he'd been given a real shot I think he could have been a great bond and been in films that were really good. But the two films he was just seemed to be the worst crafted ones.
It's funny you and in doing doing the show at the Fringe Festival the love for Timothy Dalton radiates through the room as soon as I mention his name I had to whoops and different audiences for his name.
And this is something that I've seen since Daniel Craig took over the park from people who were admirers of Timothy Dalton when he was actually making the films and saw in him a really excellent kind of studied portrayal of Bond as a character. To then see Daniel Craig get older the kudos for doing that critically.
People who saw Dalton So what's the big deal. Timothy Dalton was doing this 20 years ago over 20 years ago. I know. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost when they were making Hot Fuzz which stars Timothy Dalton. They said exactly the same thing during the publicity. You know they were asked why. Why. You know why bring back you know Timothy Dalton. And it was it was when Daniel Craig's first Bond films were coming out and they said well because he did Daniel Craig before Daniel broke you know he did all all the same things. And audiences weren't ready for it. Roger Moore had been doing the role for over a decade. I mean that's that's also very important to point out. I mean it's like following Tom Baker and doctor who very much in terms of longevity. That's more than one generation. For whom. Roger Moore is their only bond. And so he had that to deal with he also had a huge change in the direction of the tone of the films that you had to manage. And this is a lot for men to do. And I think he did it brilliantly and people are seeing that now going back to it. His films are played down the living daylights played down because as I mentioned before you know he's he's allied to the Taliban.
So it's not a film followed one to be reminded of too much license to kill was seen as a failed experiment in changing the bond formula.
So he's kind of saddled with a lot of things that as an actor in terms of what he was doing you know he got the blame for for things that were nothing to do with his performance. But when you look at it in retrospect you see that he completely fundamentally altered the way that Bond films have been since. Because in every you know throughout the Brosnan era and throughout Daniel Craig's era it's been kind of it's become a new convention of the Bond films. There were some emotional consequences for bond within the frame of the film and that wasn't something that was necessary. Before Timothy Dalton but his legacy I think really is that it's not enough. Bond has to be something of a character that has to be some complexity has to go through some kind of emotional crisis within the frame of the film.
I mean even in don't know the day you know which is one of the most absurd comical Bond films. There's still you know still there's an opening sequence in which bond is tortured and I think that's the legacy of.
You know I think that's the legacy of Timothy Dalton and the idea that yes Bond works as a serious character with layers and depths and we have to pay some kind of tribute to that in each of the films in small or large amounts. Timothy Dalton opted not to return to the series I know they wanted him to come back with golden eye and that's another kind of alternate Bonefish history of Timothy Dalton decides to do one more Bond film Goldeneye I mean a lot of the emotional dilemmas in Goldeneye you sort of watch. And I think Pierce Brosnan. So I think one of the best leading men I can think of. But there are certain scenes where you think well I'd like to see Timothy Dalton have a go at that beach scene where you know bums bums pouring over you know he's he's he's pouring over how he's been portrayed and thinking about his dead parents and things like that. So yeah I think I think he's he's more present than we might remember and there is a lot of a lot of love for him either from people who felt he wasn't given he wasn't given the best chance when he first came out people who have sort of seen that he laid the groundwork for the kind of Bond films that Daniel Craig does now that they're not possible without him.
We bribe Daniel Craig. I remember when he got cast there was such an upheaval in like the bond fandom like he's blond as if that were something that would absolutely prevent you from playing the role in short. He's the shortest bond we've ever had. There was a lot of negativity before the film came out but I have to give credit to the franchise because of that reboot because it essentially kind of relaunched the character in a new way. Casino Royale is probably one of my top three Bond films and I just love the way they reenergized it and it just felt so good to see it's like. Bond is back and you really kind of felt like yes he is your father shows no skills to become a double.
It takes two. How. Did. Your.
Contract. Well you needn't worry. Second is. Yes sir durably. The man is the chief.
Private banker to the world's terrorists which would explain how he could set up a high stakes poker game at Casino Royale out of Montenegro. This game we have nowhere to run. The best fans service. The Treasury has a great stake in the game. But if you lose. A government that directly finance towers and. I will be keeping my eye on government's money. And all feel perfectly fine now.
Not the fan response is absolutely ludicrous. You know I mean if you take if you go back to 1962 and the things that people were saying about Sean Connery you know how he he couldn't be the bond of the of the Fleming series. He was two working class. He was too burly. Yeah. SCOTT Exactly.
He was Scottish and you know and then you flash forward to a few years later in Ian Fleming's changing the date the nationality of the character because the idea of bond is now inseparable from Sean Connery.
And I think Daniel Craig pulled off a very kind of similar you know a similar feat really in kind of embedding himself into the Bond character and I think crucial to that that reboot and it was really the first time that the Bond films done in a chronological reboot in the way that we're familiar with now you know that up until that point it was sort of accepted that although it didn't make any sense in in terms of you know physical time that bond was sort of the same character and it carried over whatever experiences it had from previous films. This was very much. This is Bond's first mission. It was contemporary with Batman Begins and a bunch of films that were trying to do the same thing taking the character back to the origin story in literary terms.
Casino Royale was the origin story and it was it was the perfect choice of source material. But director Martin Campbell who would also relaunch the series in Goldeneye ten years before. I think he needs to be given amazing credit he's twice taken the series from oblivion whether it be artistic oblivion or just you know no one wants to see these films anymore. So how do we make it happen. And two completely different ways with Casino Royale and Golden Eye which is not not not similar in any ways you can think of.
And they really they kind of introduce the idea of Bond as a blank canvas that we would gradually put experiences and emotions onto. Daniel Craig really embodied the idea of this. This is a clean slate. You know whatever happens to bond in these films that's what he will become.
He has no kind of essential personality or which again is riffing off what other kinds of films at the time. The Bourne series or even a television with 24 you know similar kinds of ideas of how you how you shape a character from from from a kind of empty mold almost think it did a terrific job and it's really interesting how little things have changed from the Connery or in terms of the way that the process of behind the scenes issues that Craig is going through now with his disillusionment with the series which he's been very public about. He's creeping into his fifth film now which will kind of put him on a par with Connery and Yonath twice and they'll probably be his last film last film films bombed as well and he's starting to kind of do the same things where he's he's becoming more relaxed in his performance style and he's starting to coast a little coastal little bit in the last couple of films. So it's really it's really interesting how little things change. You know these there's remarkable consistency in the way these films have been produced you know decades of film history and yet they're still making Bond films the same way that they always did. And the actors are still sort of doing the same thing. And in the show I mean I make fun of him perhaps more than any other I'll get a bond actor's forbade from being you know being kind of rough and tumble and a stroppy teenager. Still.
Is a kind of caricature. I had tremendous respect to him as a character actor and his approach to the role.
I mean the point at the beginning of Casino Royale where you're watching and you think wow this is really going to be something different. And it's when he runs out of ammunition during an action sequence and he throws his gun at the person he's fighting that. And then of course the famous example of the martini you know do I look like I care when when he's asked how he wants his martini prepared. There was something very bullish about that. I mean it does go back to Dr. No one how Connery played though in the films. And there were some moments where there really is the script writers give him things to do that say you really don't know who the bond is. And doctor now he shoots an unarmed man repeatedly for no other reason than seems statistics satisfaction and you sort of wonder who you know who is this character what's his moral code. And I think Daniel Craig's reintroduce that that idea is everything we're familiar with has been stripped away. And one of the other big controversies if you can call it that at least in phantom's was the lack of gadgets. You know the absence of cue from the the least of what the first two Daniel Craig Bond films Moneypenny. So there really was a sense of stripping away in one of my favorite sequences in Casino Royale is when he's trying to resuscitate himself using a hospital which is inside a car.
And I think his it's like oh this is this is pretty low tech. Now you know we're getting it we're getting to really low tech you know and anyone can come by and figure out oh you plug you plug this lead into his heart into it you know back into his heart and he'll be resuscitated and that's you know that's that's a different level from the invisible car but it's almost it's almost a reaction to that that in some senses.
But the other thing to say about Casino Royale which again is nothing really to do with Daniel Craig a little bit to do with with Matt Campbell but also the screenwriters an hour of screen time is devoted to a card game and that that's one of the I think it's one the bravest choices in popular cinema that I can think of with this chip exchange.
We enter the final phase of the game which means no more violence.
The big line is now one million dollars they really make an attempt to say we're going to adapt this book which is really one set piece you know an extended card game.
Check. Check. Time for me and I'm writing. Check check. Check. For players. Oh. Six million. But six million already. 5 million or. 6 million. Raise.
Rates 12 million.
And they do complete justice to that and introduce suspense into the bond films which is something that never happens. Suspense and dead time and all these things that seem antithetical to the bond films. Not only do they work. It's one of the most satisfying set pieces in any Bond film and there's no plane straddling or.
No no no underwater sequences or anything elaborate.
You know it really is just people sat around the table playing cards for it for at least an hour of screen time devoted to that. And so there were a lot of very very brave choices in that film which a lot of which pay off. And I think that sort of explains why the other films in the Daniel Craig series have not really been able to kind of live up to that especially Quantum of Solace coming straight off. I mean this problem there were problems with that film anyway but coming off Casino Royale and what it had to follow conceptually is it's almost impossible to to match up to people's expectations of them.
And you gave it you ripped it quite a bit and you're sure you know where. Yeah.
Yeah. Which I don't I don't you know.
I think so again you know we go back to license to kill it's a perfectly serviceable thriller.
But but not really a Bond film Casino Royale was not the first film Judi Dench for then but I think it was the first film where you really found her memorable as an. And she has been a wonderful addition I think to the series yes she she really is.
Now I have to be very clear I'm not a big fan of Judi Dench in her other endeavors as an actress and yet I think I think she's a great M and when. When she started out in Goldeneye they were they were very specific about her being a kind of a feminist antagonist to bond.
You didn't let me Bond sense. I'm an accountant a bean counter more interested in my numbers instinct thought had occurred to me. Good because I think you're a sexist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War.
Whose boyish charms it wasted on the obese young woman sent out to language.
Point taken. Not quite as heaven.
If you think for one moment I didn't have the balls to send a man to die. Instinct Pedro. Had no compunction about sending you to your death. I went to on him. Even with your cavalier attitude toward life.
And it was. It was necessary. But you know that that didn't really play to her strengths as an actor.
I think that you know to make her a political issue which she effectively was and certainly in Goldeneye although her scenes in Goldeneye are really excellent. But once she's kind of relieved of that and as the Brosnan film works through she kind of cools towards him and you get the sense that they're starting to have the original relationship and bond which is which I think Fleming always imagined as a kind of surrogate surrogate parent especially because in boms origin story he's he's orphaned and adopted and that's been brought back in recent Bond films. But yeah once he gets into Casino Royale it's first first scene I think in Casino Royale. She says almost exactly the opposite dialogue that she says in the first scene and golden on it so there's a sense that that is AM has been reset to something that it always was.
You know and again this goes back to the police. Sometimes the problems you have with the film politically are actually quite good for film for your actual film pleasure because she come. She comes straight into the film and she you know she says I miss the Cold War and you know spies used to have the decency to defect which are just great lines of dialogue anyway. But philosophically it marks her out as someone who belongs to the old order of the Secret Service which was the eye which was always the original idea for m that he represented the old guard.
And she she completely embodies that and she's kind of skeptical of this new young agent and his maverick ways and that's that's the original relationship between bone Italy and Sean Connery and interviews with Judy Dench. She said that she is the voice of Bern Italy in a head when she plays am currently playing. And up until Moonraker. So through three James Bond actors. And I think that's wonderful that that really speaks to the sense that she does have this. She understands the tradition of the role. I mean she was originally brought in to break that tradition and shatter it and she did a very good job of that. But I think the reason they've kept her around that they've kept her around because she she's been flexible you know she's been flexible. She understands the tradition of the role and she understands that this is a great character actor part if you play it the right way and the right way is to play it like a play like burn Italy originally played it which is not to take anything away from the actors who played it sense but it's just you know it's just character actor logic that there's one good way to play this role and. This may be too much for a blunt instrument to understand.
But arrogance and self-awareness seldom go hand in hand. So you want me to be half Monk half hit man. And his son can kill. I want you to take your ego out of the equation and you judge the situation dispassionately. I have to know I can trust you and that you know who to trust. So I don't know that I need you at my sight. And stick your head in the sand. Think about your future. Because these bastards want to go ahead and I'm seriously considering feeding you to them.
I think she's she. Absolutely. She absolutely nails it. I mean I think Skyfall is sort of interesting in that it's kind of giving into the cult of Judi Dench a little too much for my like for my liking.
And you know they let her read a poem and I think wow you know it's like oh we are we are we just saying goodbye to a beloved character actor or we know is this is this is this really necessary you know to to add another 10 minutes of the film to say goodbye to Judi Dench.
But I mean she plays she played the role as long as as long as an athlete it perhaps even in longer I'm not sure of the actual timeline.
But certainly that certainly they they matched each other. So it's it's very very very significant part of the canon of course. You know the first inspectors she comes back from the dead which is just which just says you know it and it makes it very hard for Ray Feins to sort of put his individuality on the role even though that is supposed to be a return to a more traditional and in some senses in the sense that he's male and he smokes a pipe. But but she I really think she was the one who carried on the spirit of Italy.
And I do want to talk about Q A little bit. Q Why is such a fun character. He's always a poor poor. Q Has his work with all the gadgets is never respected by Bond.
And he went through I think he went through more films than any other actor in the bond series. He must have done it. And he was and by the end he actually got to go out into the field and was quite charming in unexpected way. Ben Desmond Llewellyn was the actor. What are your feelings about.
Q Well this I mean it's one of those great filmmaking legends of you know an actor who's brought in essentially to do a bit part and ends up staying for decades and becomes the most essential part of the franchise. I mean I'm trying to think of other examples of this this Paulian the sopranos who has a similar kind of trajectory but but really I mean that is this greatest example you know. In the original books there was no queue character. It was just Kube.
Q branch it was an entity and the films kind of started with that in mind that he doesn't appear until from Russia with love and when he does he's he he's got a he's just kind of incidental character called Major Boothroyd and he's just the person who brings Bond his his equipment from Q branch so he's just a kind of a delivery mechanism really an ordinary black leather case with 20 rounds of ammunition. Yeah and now if you take the top off you find the ammunition inside and the side has a flat screen knife across that bottom.
And she comes inside the case to find an eight or seven folding snipers rifle point to five caliber with an infrared telescopic sight.
And if you put out these straps inside of 50 gold sovereigns 25 in either side that watch very carefully an ordinary tin of talcum powder inside a tear gas cartridge that goes in the case against the side like that it's magnetize 24 normally to open a case like that you move the catches to the side. If you do the cartridge will explode in your face that will stop the cartridge exploding turn that catches horizontally like that. Then open up.
But then something about the actor and his chemistry with Conergy and also the changes that the series made during Goldfinger which was due to stress technology Trex this idea of espionage as this very kind of elaborate thing which is something that really only starts with Goldfinger that just turns Desmond Whalan into an into it you know a full blown character and those scenes in Goldfinger that really shape him.
And he's he's not the dynamic between him between Q and Bond hasn't really changed since no matter what actors playing him. And that's all from from from. It's really interesting if you go back and watch Goldfinger. It seems as if the scene is kind of the first scene with Q where he's given the Aston Martin.
It plays as if we've seen the scene so many times on Connery is acting as if you know this always happens with Q and of course we've never really seen Cuba before he hasn't been a character before. And so it's wonderful that the very first encounter between bond and cure gives him a piece of technology plays as have all the other ones it's not atch the history it's referring to doesn't exist.
But the way it the way it's written and the way Connery reacts to him and the way that Desmond Llewellyn's sort of talks over Bandon and gives these elaborate explanations. It just immediately fell into a double act that seemed like it had a long history and incidentally we appreciate its return along with all your other equipment.
And once when you returned from the field you'd be surprised the amount of wear and tear that goes down the field. Anything else.
Well I keep go from all the NRA so if you give me your undivided attention that's kind of stay sort of stayed all the way through really what I think is so brilliant about Desmond Llewellyn's performance is that he he really is the the traditional straight man act to bond.
We've installed some rather interesting modifications. You see this here open the top and inside the defense mechanism and trouts smokescreen oil slick bulletproof screen left and right front wing machine guns. Now this one particularly but you see the gallery here. Now if you take the top off you'll find a little red but whatever you do don't touch it.
Now why not. Because you released this section of the roof and engagement and find the passenger ejector seat ejector seat. Joke I never joke about my word W7.
The technology becomes more and more absurd as the films go on. But he remains the same kind of staunch straight. This is serious. Pay attention to this. So it's a beautiful kind of double this kind of wink to the audience it's like you know this technology is ridiculous and yet I'm going to treat it as if it's real science as if it's as if it's completely possible and that takes us all the way to the invisible car and don't know the day which he never got to he didn't survive to do.
But I think that would have been a beautiful testament to Eid. I would have loved talking about alternate Bonfiglio out of love food.
Q To Introduce bond to the visible car but he gives him a remote control car which is wonderful but and yes so he begins as a straight man and then later on in the series he he starts to get more gags they suddenly cottoned onto the fact that he's he's got some really good one.
He delivers one liners really well remember if it hadn't been for Q branch you'd be dead long ago. Everything for a man on holiday explosive alarm clock guaranteed never to wake up anybody who used bentonite to use the latest plastic explosive some plastic.
He looks good in disguises he starts to go out in the field. You know they put fake beards and mustaches on him and then the biggest mistake they make I think is a license to kill is they overuse him. And then you begin to see there's a there's a real place for supporting characters and bond but it isn't always you know the more you put them in the film you don't get. It's not the best use of them to just keep including them more and in License to Kill. They keep trying to find excuses why. Why. Q Should should be helping bond in the field and they can't seem to find any reason. Even the screenwriters can't seem to find a way why why he's useful suddenly and so he was always a victim of that. But I think once they got back into the into the Brosnan era it was very of course he was getting he's getting a lot older. So he was limited as what he could do but they put him back in. Q branch in that you know they just did a series of visual gags in the laboratory which is where really where he belongs. But it's definitely he's the kind of gateway to a side of the Bond films which is which is just about fun. It's just about pure visual slapstick fun. I think you know he's the he's the perfect person to do that. It might be a kind of airplane situation where you know they hire all these serious actors and they don't realize that they're all comic geniuses.
But I think that's the same thing.
You know he's he's his comic capabilities are actually beautiful and Goldeneye. There's a gag about a baguette which he he nails almost like he you know almost like he's been a comedian all his life.
It's absolutely it's absolutely beautifully done and it's a kind of perfect tag to the scene. But I mean that was kind of interesting about it is that you know it's a very familiar character from British post-war culture.
This sort of quite Hamas reassuring scientist you know as a science and technology becomes risky and dangerous and scary. With the advent of nuclear power you need someone you need someone very straight laced middle of the road to kind of bring it all together and make us think we're in control of it. And that's you know I think that's that's where Q is best.
Well I want to talk about the Bond film that's my favorite it's partially my favorite because for sentimental reasons.
But I think my favorite Bond the one that I just love watching all the time is from Russia with Love on notorious for meeting don't secret agent is back and it is up to Putin and even his mother. I don't think I'm cut and no women.
To me it kind of was a little bit more like the books. It was not as gadgety or you know silly. It felt a little more rooted in kind of the spy world of you know danger and political intrigue and things like that. But I just that film I just really love even though it does not my favorite Bond girl in it. But the relationships that Bond has with other characters with his contacts and with the villain who's played by Robert Shaw and that's my favorite.
Yes. It's interesting when you when you watch back the series and you know the doctor now is is a great start to the series but it came out of a television script and it really feels like it it's almost like dragnet in Jamaica but once you get into from Russia with love we start to get elements that stick with the series and this become actually you know indespensible the first real theme song from Russia. Mudd's wise since.
Which you know is now you know you can't do a Bond film without having a star name to a theme song which you know Matt Monroe From Russia With Love was the first of those half naked ladies dancing on in the title sequence that was the first time we saw that first time we you know we saw the the film starting with the circle you know and the film starts inside that.
So there's like there's there's all there's there's lots of that.
But it is incredibly well crafted Filmon and a real attempt to adapt a book that was perhaps the best known and distributed Bond book at the time famously popularized by President Kennedy who listed it as one of his favorite favorite books of the moment.
But a very unusual very unusual bond book as Bond doesn't it only appears in a third of the book originally and obviously they weren't going to do that with the film. But sir.
But like you say that the world around Bond his antagonists his contacts is shaped is fleshed out in a way that we don't see in other Bond films and that that really comes from the books. Could two thirds of it is is setting the scene and then we finally get bond appearing and how you know how he interacts with it. And so yeah I think it I think it's a you know an excellent film and in terms of in terms of the villain as well I mean Robert Shore has yet to be bettered really in terms of steely cold villains. I mean it's the most complicated villain you you'll see in a film but perhaps the scariest headlines. But his agent as a Russian spy and commits suicide.
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This but it's a really really excellent piece of cinema and I think it was also the first Bond film that added the Hitchcockian element to the Bond film series.
So there are scenes in the film which very reminiscent of Hitchcock's North by Northwest and the 39 steps and that brings a totally different tradition of British cinema in the Bond series that that doctor and I really didn't really didn't have it was a very it was a very plain kind of police procedural kind of storyline from Russia with Love brought in I guess a more imagistic kind of Bond film more elaborate set pieces and then Goldfinger kind of golfing goes in its own way but it's clearly influenced by by kind of ramping up of the stylistic elements of the Bond films that we see and we see from Russia with love. And so so many great characters even you know in smaller roles Bronstein the sort of Chessmaster who devises this elaborate plan to entrap bond in a kind of political scandal in an international political scandal is it is just it's just so beautifully done.
And it's also interesting.
You can see that they didn't envision the Bond films as being separate separate entity separate stories the beginning of.
From Russia With Love harks back to Dr. No and the entire reason why they're trying to entrap Bond is because he's killed Dr. No and he started to become a problem. We stopped a lot you know it starts the story arc of Blofeld and Spectre for real.
I think as you've as you've reminded me that it's the first time first and only time really you get you get a bond girl who comes back as the same character and they clearly wanted to build on that. And obviously I think Goldfinger goes in another direction.
But yeah it's a really important it's a really important point in the series. I think more characteristic of what we know and love about the Bond films crystallised into a film than Dr. No is the logic would dictate that doctor knows the one that sets the formula. But I think from Russia with Love is but it it sets it in a way that is some of the best examples of any aspects or elements of the Bond films as is available at some point. From Russia With Love.
We mentioned that Daniel Craig is on what is probably going to be his last Bond films so this opens up this whole window again. Where does the series go. Is this franchise go in the future. I've been resistant to the idea of a black Bond or a female bond not because I don't want to see that in the series. I would love to see it in the sense of Daniel Craig handing the mantle over to double 0 8 and double 0 8 is Rosalba or is a female bond. The only time I felt like I wanted to see bond be cast in a radically different way was in the late 90s.
I was a huge fan of Hong Kong action films and my dream at that point was that they would give the franchise to John Woo and they would cast challan fat bond and they would be this political intrigue about the handover of Hong Kong.
And I thought like this is the moment where you can do something radically different and tie it into something that makes sense and make the Asian actor make sense as a bond you know agent.
I felt like it totally blew that moment. But I don't know what you see for the future of Bond and where you might like to see it go.
Yeah I mean again this is one of the things that makes the bond franchise different from other series of this kind is it's very much a colonial story it's a British colonial story and it doesn't have that. You know we think we think about how flexible a format like.
Well I mean this is not film but Doctor Who is it where you can conceivably put a woman or person of any race or any kind of makeup in that role and it still work because the format is that open with bond you know the format isn't it is.
It's a story of a kind of globe trotting white Britain who you know belongs to to a kind of fantasy of of empire that didn't even exist when the character was first always always severely in decline when the character was first conceived and now is is a relic of a relic of a relic but that you know that's something that I don't think the bond films can do without.
They just have to find ways of re mapping that situation. And I think it's a testament to the ingenuity of the producers and writers that they've continued to do. They've continued to do that they've they've seen how in a sense what Fleming predicted with the Bond supervillains was really it was something that then came back into came with the advent of global terrorism and in the 90s and 2000s and they were able to sort of capitalize on that and see the see that Fleming was also almost looking ahead to a kind of Osama bin Laden figure with the super villains he was writing it wasn't the it wasn't the states that was it wasn't states warring against each other it was these insane individuals who were creating a global chaos.
And so yeah I think that that's that's a big problem if you want to if you want to reimagine the character in terms of gender in terms of race. But it's kind of it's interesting in a sense because you know we like going back to George Laysan and you know Australian actor that's the first kind of post-colonial moment in the Bond films that you know they give the actor over.
I don't think there was. There probably weren't. They probably weren't kind of thinking too much about the ramifications of that but essentially saying well the Britishness of the character can be interpreted in a post-colonial way you know and when he can be traced back to that which definitely opens the field to my mind to a Jamaican bond even you know or especially with the series you linked to to Jamaica in Flemings kind of linked to Jamaican that that would be a definite route to go. And you know I would I would love to see. I would love to see that or any kind of you know West African connection.
So I think there's definitely opportunities to do that and the Hong Kong sample is a great one because you know that the idea of a handover from Brit of Britain of Hong Kong back to China and to do that with a bond I think that would have been an excellent opportunity.
Yeah. Oh my God.
But but it's not it's not it's another series which is necessarily open to many of those possibilities in the way that so many film franchises are.
I just I just think you have to become continually you have to be attuned to the fact the way in which society is changing and in different ways in which bond is out of step with the society that he's in now. I mean there's I'm not I'm not a fan of Skyfall in the way that people are but seeing that that comes to my mind is when Bond is tracking a villain through the London Underground and he's says over the headpiece. It's like people take the train every day like he's never been on the London Underground before because he's he's this kind of elite guy you know and you know he's he's he's in terms of class he's very insulated from the rest of Britain.
And I think that that scene definitely with the massive social divisions in British society now you know there's this possibility. There's there's better ways to talk about how bond is an affront to many of the things any of the changes in British society other than recasting him as a woman or a different different different ethnic group. So I think there is there's just a lack of fit there. I think it's still possible that they will do it. I think if they are if they are going to do it would have to it would have to be a sort of post-colonial sense then the decision is just like how much do which is facing the new series of Doctor Who is what it's like once you've done once you've made that leap. How much do you talk about it and how much how much do you want things to be how they always have and show people that it's possible to do diversity and yet have the formula and that's going to be a huge challenge and I don't know if they'll if the producers will necessarily be up for that. Also going back to that idea of the Bond family you know the Barbara Broccoli is still producing the Bond films the daughter of Albert Cubby Broccoli. So so it's not you know I mean obviously major film companies and major businesses are involved in the making of the Bond films but at the root it is sort of the same people who've always been producing it or it the same family you know only a small handful of people even directors have done Bond films so that that might affect they might not necessarily see the wider picture
of what the Bond films are. I guess the thing what I would kind of like to see is something something that does well on Her Majesty's Secret Service did to the series which is to stylistically up the films. I think even when you've had no major directors like Sam Mendelsohn they've not really imprinted anything stylistically new or different on on the series at least to my mind although they've done kind of character work which is which was which was interesting. Those are the kind of change I'd like to say and you know something that something that term that is less conservative when it comes to the films themselves. You know I don't know flashback based on films or you know the possibilities in that field are endless. But yeah I I think I think you get major structural problems if you try and change the gender or race to an extent of of the character.
A friend of mine is trying to get a movement going to get Edgar Wright to direct the next one which I think is kind of an interesting idea.
Yeah and it's it's really it's really interesting to look at the directors who've done Bond films over the years and you know how they've how they've cope with the format because it's you know for years the more workman like a director you were the better you were suited to a Bond film I think. Louis Gilbert describe you know bond making Bond films is kind of like just shepherding people you know there's no there's no filmmaking involved in it you just you have these giant sets to cope with in the huge casts and you know it's about how you manipulate those and you know it's only kind of recently that they brought they thought about bringing in auteurs directors to kind of put their stamp on the series and some Sam Mendes doing a pair of Bond films which kind of sames as much about his style as a director as they do about the Bond films themselves and that's something that Bonham's not really attached. They've always tried to kind of a face the personality of the director who's involved in it. So it's always it's always and you know that and then those great directors who have just spectacularly failed like Lee Tamahori to to make a decent Bond film and Roger Spottiswoode is great documentary filmmaker but also made the world is not enough which is not a great Bond film. But yeah you know they all go into it with the same idea of producing something different and new with the style. But you know I don't think I think that will be interesting to see for the future. What kind of director they select. And Danny Boyle is is an interesting choice I mean it's
replacing one or her director with another for sure but it's also it's also bringing some of the pop kind of pop up quality upon back who you think have done Danny Boyle's kind of history with films like Trainspotting which has a bond reference in it.
And I I really I really hope he brings some of the cast of Trainspotting into it and so on. I think they'd be excellent supporting actors and Johnny Lee Miller is of course the grandson of Bernard Lee.
So I mean he will be the perfect choice to go into to be some character in a Bond film.
So yeah so I think so you know it's possible to imagine that you'll get a very Danny Boyle like film but I think I think you'll also it's difficult to predict but I think you'll also get something which has that kind of pop out quality of a Goldfinger or a spy who loved me that that might not. And this is that this is a prediction that I'm sure will. I'm sure I want on record what the film actually comes out but I do get something that is that takes itself somewhat less seriously at least in terms of the of the visual style and the fun of the film which has been Spectre's kind of made up some of that ground I think. But but the Craig films as a whole is not a great deal of humour and fun about them. They take themselves very seriously. And I wonder if aren't hiring Danny Boyle is to is to inject a little bit of color in and get colour and pop art and pop culture and trying to reinject that into the franchise. I see I see in my head I see a very whatever the next film means it's going to be a very colourful film and wait he'll surprise you it'll be black and I know exactly what it will be all films and hand-held camera documentaries start with 28 28 Days Later but set up on film.
And what's going to be the future for your one man band usually shows that fringe kind of either vanish into the ether or go on a tour of other fringe festivals but there's usually not a whole lot of opportunity for people to get a second chance to see them.
It's a very open show. I feel like I feel like I definitely want to revisit it.
By the nature of the Fringe Festival was trying to be as live and as low tech as possible because that's that's the kind of nature of the beast but I think there's definitely a future for incorporating screenings of the films or clips from the films as a way of because you know going back to that mystery science theater analogy there were there is a way in which you know you can see the show as a kind of live commentary on the Bond films. And so it would be interesting to explore that with the Bond films playing underneath them and how that affects it.
And that would fill in a lot of the gaps that people who perhaps felt that they they didn't know they didn't know the references and that would kind of solve the problem of for knowledge that you'd be able to see what you would be able to see what was happening and what was being parodied as it happened.
So I'd like you know I'd like to do something in that respect. Yeah. Beyond that I don't know. I mean it's it's definitely definitely.
It definitely works as a solo show and I think it's enough of a pop culture phenomenon that it could come back. But I like the idea of it as multimedia maybe as well incorporating some music more recording music more as well I think.
I think my renditions of the Bond themes only go so far.
And that is what alternative lyrics to the theme songs.
So it be nice to see some of that put into some kind of original original context and you know it is it is it is a discussion of the Bond films not simply a recap of what you see on screen so there is there is a comparative dimension to it that I'd like. I'd like people to see it also. You know I don't think people believe me that certain things happen in Bond films.
I'd like to actually have to have the the scene itself on screen. It's like yes Telly Savalas really is Blofeld and yes he really is smoking a cigarette like that because he thinks that's how Europeans do it. Yes it is all Havlik.
So yes people can see Grace Jones slap her self in the face for no reason in their view to a Kill Jaguar. Yeah. So I think there is there was a there was a future for it but maybe it's more interdisciplinary with regards to to matching up theatre and film in a way that you can actually whether you can actually see the Bond films aren't just in my head as I as I as I present them to you that you can actually see some some evidence of them well I'm looking forward to that I greatly enjoyed your show at French and I really enjoyed sharing some Bon geekier with me too. Thank you so much.
That was Tom Stewart creator and star of the Fringe show one man bond. Thanks for spending another geeky session with listener supported Kaye PBS and I'm a junkie podcast gawd. He's a man with.
Check out a new episode every other Friday. If you've been enjoying the show please recommend it to a friend and leave a review on iTunes. It takes just a minute of your time and it's the best way to encourage new listeners to sample the show till our next film fix. I'm Akha Mondo Beth aka Mondo your resident cinema junkie. From Mr.. Where. This. From. Where all.