006, 006.2456, 006.378, 006.842 and finally...
May 1, 2012 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Still pissed Idris Elba is not going to be the new Bond.
posted by Fizz at 6:19 AM on May 1, 2012

From that lot I'd have to say they picked the right Bond.

The others looked like they'd make a fine Matt Helm though.
posted by mazola at 6:32 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bond producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman told LIFE that the new 007 would be "an instant millionaire" — so imagine their shock when Lazenby quit after On Her Majesty's Secret Service, passing up a seven-year contract because he thought the emerging counterculture meant the spy franchise was passé.

The cold war brought so many cool trends that even the trendsetters were snow blind.
posted by Brian B. at 6:34 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

They got it right. Even from just the stills, you can see a certain looseness and comfort*.

*Full disclosure: I rank Lazenby second overall.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:37 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

Awesome find! Thanks infini!

As a huge Bond fan (and OHMSS has long been either at or very near the top of my list) this is like catnip.

I agree Lazenby was the right choice. Okay, he wasn't Connery, but nobody was ever again going to be Connery. Indeed, as Diamonds would prove a couple years later, even Connery wasn't really Connery anymore. I think Lazenby handled the physical side of the role very well indeed - love that beach fight at sunset - and wasn't bad as an actor for somebody with little to no training or experience. Given a full run of films I think he would have grown into the role very nicely. (And there's got to be some kind of object lesson for ambitious young people in how he ended up wrecking it for himself.)

As for which of these if not Lazenby, there were a couple good candidates there and a couple pretty bad ones IMO.

Richardson would have been an interesting choice. Something about him seems less British. Maybe it's the way he's so much less... well, clothed than the others, and his haircut, but he seems to have a kind of California surfer boy air about him. Yet in some ways he actually reminds me a little bit of Daniel Craig.

Rogers, no. Just no. He's all wrong - although oddly enough I can kind of see him working in the sillier vein the series would enter in the dark Roger Moore years.

I went back and forth on Campbell. The first shot of him looking into the camera is just awful. All of them seem to have been tempted to overdo the whole "I'm a tough guy with a flinty stare" look. But in the subsequent shots I warmed to him a bit. He doesn't get to do much in the shots the photographer took but be in clothes, but yeah, there's a bit of a Bond vibe about him.

DeVries, again with the so earnest it becomes silly "I am Bond dammit" look into the camera. But he never recovers from it. Just the wrong choice.

Now we need to find this article for the process to replace poor Pierce Brosnan after the first time they tried to hire him and NBC fucked it up. The process that ended up with the (again sadly underrated) Timothy Dalton.
posted by Naberius at 6:54 AM on May 1, 2012

I came in here to write Naberius' comment, but Naberius beat me to it.

Great find. Thanks for posting it.
posted by immlass at 6:56 AM on May 1, 2012

The problem with the Dalton films was that they reacted too strongly to the silliness of late Moore and as a result were way too dark. ...like '80s Michael Mann dark.

I think Craig strikes a good balance.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:03 AM on May 1, 2012

Its funny how the first time is what sets "Bond" for you - mine was Dad driving us to another town where they were playing "Live and Let Die" (he'd been traveling when it showed in our town) - I must have been 9 or so (the movies reached South East Asia a little later) and that there became James Bond for me. Oh, I'd begun reading them already since Dad had many of the paperbacks but Roger Moore was the face and the man. It took me a long time to get over the shock of Connery, though Brosnan was easier to accept but Lazenby? Dalton? even poor Craig...nuh uh, that's no 007 in my Pavlovian imprinted brain.
posted by infini at 7:10 AM on May 1, 2012

>The process that ended up with the (again sadly underrated) Timothy Dalton.

>The problem with the Dalton films was that they reacted too strongly to the silliness of late Moore and as a result were way too dark.

I'm of the view that Dalton's strong point is also his weak point -- he's easily the most professional of all the Bonds. Stone cold pro. That makes him an excellent spy, but not so much an endearing movie character.

I'm firmly on the Anti-Craig side on this one. Aside from the one scene flirting with Eva Green, there's been no charm whatsoever. A psychopath, really. And a lousy spy. But I admit that my problems with Craig may not be with Craig directly, but with the tenor of those movies, removing all the hallmarks of Bond films. Don't fuck with the formula. The formula WORKS. *sigh*
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:20 AM on May 1, 2012

Dalton as Bond always struck me as the Magnum P.I. of 007. They were good but there was something very American about him.
posted by Fizz at 7:22 AM on May 1, 2012

leotrotsky, I think there may have been some reaction to the excesses of the Moore years. But I think the tone of the Dalton films was at least as much about playing to his particular strengths with the role. Dalton did gritty, pissed-off Bond very well indeed. There was an intensity about his performance when he got into that single-minded, "anything between me and the enemy is going down and damn the consequences" vibe that was almost scary.

But whenever he had to play a lighter moment, love scenes in both films, the wedding sequence in License to Kill, he just looked goofy.

I agree the Craig films are better, but there are some parts of both Dalton films that are among my favorite moments in the series.

BTW, they always say they're going back to the basics of a gritty, realistic Bond whenever they introduce a new actor, and then slowly get more and more silly until they have to correct. Brosnan is a perfect example of this. (Try watching Goldeneye then the execrable Die Another Day back to back sometime.) They even tried to do the back to basics move with Moore in For Your Eyes Only, which was supposed to be his last one, and made what I think is the best of his Bond outings.
posted by Naberius at 7:26 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and also, nobody's mentioned Agneta Eckemyr yet. Damn! How did she not get into the film somewhere?

Wikipedia says she eventually turned up in a '70s Disney adventure film, and then as the centerfold in the October '75 Playboy.

...I'll be in my bunk.
posted by Naberius at 7:34 AM on May 1, 2012

If only they'd chosen the skinny Bond, my life would be so much different now.
posted by orme at 8:16 AM on May 1, 2012

Wikipedia says she eventually turned up in a '70s Disney adventure film, and then as the centerfold in the October '75 Playboy.

I checked out Google's image search, and immediately recognized her, but couldn't say which movie. Then I saw:

1977: The Kentucky Fried Movie - Ming Chow (segment "A Fistful of Yen")
posted by jquinby at 8:31 AM on May 1, 2012

That George Lazenby was quite a character.
posted by eye of newt at 8:39 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

George Lazenby was also in Kentucky Fried Movie (in the disaster-movie-spoof 'That's Armageddon")
posted by jquinby at 10:03 AM on May 1, 2012

It should have been Tom!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:03 AM on May 1, 2012

Still pissed Idris Elba is not going to be the new Bond.

Elba--as anybody who has seen Luther can attest--has the potential of unearthing psychological dimensions in Bond that even Fleming was unaware of. He'd take the franchise in a totally different, and totally more authentic, direction. Elba is the ur-Bond.
posted by Gordion Knott at 11:30 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I remember reading that Fleming said that Lazenby was the actor that had the most physical resemblance to what he thought Bond would look like.

And I also thought that On Her Majesty's Secret Service was underrated ... I mean, c'mon, Diana Rigg.
posted by Relay at 12:29 PM on May 1, 2012

"a fine Matt Helm though"

With a little less chin, Rogers is almost identical to how I pictured Helm while reading the novels. Dean Martin wasn't even close looks-wise (let alone otherwise).
posted by Ardiril at 12:57 PM on May 1, 2012

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