With the new 007 flick coming out soon, I thought I would ask my friend Dave some questions about our favorite British secret agent. Virtually all of my guy friends are James Bond fans and Dave is the biggest fan of them all. Dave is also a cinephile, a film maker, and an Oscar prediction savant who runs Awards Frenzy. This year, he correctly predicted 20 out of the 24 Oscar winners. Unreal!
Who is your favorite Bond actor and why?
Sean Connery. He was simply effortless playing James Bond. He possessed the natural confidence required of the role and had the perfect touch of seriousness, when required, and humor. Just by watching him, you could understand why women loved him and enemies feared him.
How do you feel about the direction and decision to have Craig take over the role of Bond?
It was a great decision. Pierce Brosnan brought a cartoonish type quality to Bond and the franchise needed someone to counterbalance that. The best way was to find someone with a dark side. If you notice, the series sort of gravitates between more serious and less serious actors. Brosnan was a good alternative to Dalton in the same way. Craig also brought the acting chops to attract a more diverse audience to the films.
What do you think about Craig’s recent comments about being done with the role?
He can say what he wants. 4-5 films is usually about right for an actor to play James Bond. It's always nice to see a fresh take on 007. Of course, it would be nice to see Craig acknowledge more the benefits the role has afforded him. He is now an A-list actor. You couldn't say that about him before.
What do you expect from SPECTRE?
It will probably be just as good as Skyfall, which means basically it will be a very intelligent, well acted, and entertaining film. Mendes is a crowd pleaser and he's not afraid to take risks, but he's also very loyal to the mythology of Bond so you shouldn't expect anything too drastic. Waltz will probably be a memorable villain character like Javier Bardem's character from Skyfall, but it would be nice to see another strong female lead like Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale.
You and I (and most of my blog’s readers) are feminists. How do you reconcile this with the blatant misogyny of the old Bond flicks?
It's a movie and for the most part people understand that. If people are really that offended by it, they don't have to go see it. Of course, times have changed and the Bond series has obviously evolved from the Honey Ryder and Pussy Galore days, which is a good thing, but I think most viewers can separate reality from fiction and not think poorly about the older films in that regard.
What makes a good Bond film for you? Acting? Plot? Special effects?
It's a little bit of everything of course. But some of the key elements are a strong and creative villain, exotic locales, unique action sequences (not just gunfights and car chases), gadgets, beautiful women, and a storyline where Bond has to match wits against a formidable opponent. A truly great Bond film will also delve deeper into 007's character, and present emotional challenges for him as well as physical, but not too much. After all, it is still an action film.
Which Bond film do you feel is very underrated and why?
Live and Let Die. It is easily a top 10 Bond film yet not everyone sees it that way. The film totally immerses you in a different world and has such memorable characters as Tee Hee, Kananga, and Solitaire. Roger Moore is very impressive in his debut and a lot less tongue in cheek than in his later outings. And it's scary, which is an added plus for a Bond film.
Which actor from past or present did you wish was a Bond?
A younger Sean Penn would have been an interesting Bond. He certainly has the charisma as well as the acting ability to take the character perhaps to a different level.
What’s your favorite Bond movie and why?
Casino Royale. I love origin stories and there were so many fascinating parts of this movie that helped explain how Bond became the way he is. It is also a powerful and devastating love story, on the same level if not better than The Spy Who Loved Me and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Why do you like Bond movies?
Who doesn't? It's pure escapist fun! There's a formula that's tried and true and you know what to expect, yet it's always a little different each time which makes it enjoyable. You root for Bond and you sit back and enjoy some of the greatest stunts ever attempted, like the skiing off a cliff scene in The Spy Who Loved Me or the leap off the bridge from GoldenEye. In a world full of uncertainty, 007 is the hero you can always rely on. What can be better than that?