- The casting is currently underway for a brand-new actor to step into the role of James Bond. It’s entirely plausible that the British series is set to go in a unique direction. With the anniversary of James Bond also rolling in, it’s a great time to revisit some of the behind-the-scenes details that many viewers might have never known.
James Bond is one of the most legendary secret agents in all of fiction. Because of him, he has inspired video game characters like Solid Snake and created parodies like Austin Powers. The character has gone through so many missions and has been seen in countless types of media.
However, newcomers may not know everything about James Bond beyond the obvious. These bits of information range from simple explanations about his background to lesser-known facts like his real first live-action appearance, all of which are rooted in Ian Fleming’s books that Bond first saw life in.
UPDATE: 2023/01/07 12:00 EST BY GEORGE CHRYSOSTOMOU
The casting is currently underway for a brand-new actor to step into the role of James Bond. It’s entirely plausible that the British series is set to go in a unique direction. With the anniversary of James Bond also rolling in, it’s a great time to revisit some of the behind-the-scenes details that many viewers might have never known.
The 007 Automobile Tradition
Many fans might not know that there is actually a tradition about what cars James Bond drives. There are a select few, British manufacturers, who are responsible for giving the James Bond productions their automobiles, which include Aston Martin, Bentley, and Lotus.
It’s rare to see Bond with a car that wasn’t made somewhere in the UK and often the models that he uses are either top-of-the-line or haven’t even been released to the public at the time of recording. The tradition will continue with every future actor.
James Bond’s Real-World Technologies
James Bond has boasted some ridiculous gadgets over the years and newcomers will get used to seeing all manner of bizarre inventions. The assumption is that most of them are fake and wouldn’t work in the real world, but actually there’s a layer of reality to each piece.
Whether it’s his jetpack or his custom-made briefcase, perhaps even his fingerprint gun; all of these weapons and gizmos are based on legitimate designs and are often created for the movie by outside companies. Every James Bond actor thus gets to work with authentic equipment, even if they don’t deal genuine damage.
The Rights Debate For Thunderball
Thunderball has a peculiar position in James Bond history. The initial novel with the same story was written by Ian Fleming, but was based on a narrative created by Kevin McClory which was intended for a Bond screenplay. That meant that the rights to the plot were complicated.
McClory would end up producing on the Thunderball big screen adaptation, but would also use the rights that he was entitled to, to produce his own James Bond movie with the same premise titled Never Say Never Again, which in itself sits awkwardly in Bond canon.
The Franchise’s Theme Tune Wasn’t Meant For Bond
The theme for James Bond is as iconic as the character himself. It’s played in all of the movies and will far outlast any actor portraying the part. The music itself sums up 007 as a character and sets the tone for each adventure but it wasn’t actually meant for Bond originally.
It was revealed that the score was initially created for a musical adaptation of V.S. Naipaul’s novel, A House for Mr. Biswas. History would have been very different if that piece of famous music was actually sent to the stage rather than the big screen.
The Real Inspiration For M
M or mother as is often the assumption for the title, is the name given to the person at the head of the British Secret Service. Judi Dench is the most famous and consistent M in movie history, although Ralph Fiennes has recently become M’s replacement. In truth, the character was inspired by a real person.
Ian Fleming took many aspects of M from the real head of the MI5 and MI6, Sir Mansfield Smith-Cunning. The M in the title is directly inspired by the name Mansfield and many traits for the character line-up with the initial portrayal. In fact, the real world was constantly influencing the writer’s work.
James Bond Is Scottish Thanks To Sean Connery
Obviously, James Bond is a British icon but his descent is actually Scottish. This can be most prominently seen in films such as Skyfall, where Bond visits his old home in Scotland and nearly ends up getting killed by the villain. However, Bond’s ancestry didn’t become prominent until later in the books.
Ian Fleming added Bond’s Scottish ancestry following the success of Dr. No, which starred Sean Connery as the famed spy. Connery is, of course, Scottish. Specifically, Fleming added these Scottish details in the 007 book You Only Live Twice, cementing Bond’s ancestry forever. Connery would later star in the book’s film adaptation, though it was barely accurate to the source material.
Fanmail Made The Walther PPK 007’s Signature Weapon
Ever since his first film, Bond has been equipped with his classic modified Walther PPK. Originally a user of the Beretta 418 from the books Casino Royale to From Russia With Love, Bond changed his weapon to the Walther in the film Dr. No. This is because Fleming was contacted by fan and gun enthusiast Geoffrey Boothroyd, who criticized his choice of handgun.
Specifically, Boothroyd took issue with the Beretta’s limited bullet type whereas the Walther used a more universal caliber whose bullets could be found anywhere in the world, which fit Bond’s globe-trotting adventures. Following this advice, Fleming switched Bond’s trademark weapon and the Walther was established as his signature weapon. Fleming thanked Boothroyd by naming MI6’s armorer in Dr. No after him.
James Bond’s Name Came From An Ornithologist
When coming up with inspirations for the character, Bond was often based on people that Fleming has personally met. These include people within his time at the Naval Intelligence Division in World War II, an experience that informed his writing, and even Bond’s original preference for a Beretta 418 since Fleming himself used one in the war.
However, the name James Bond didn’t come from anyone extraordinary. Instead, a bird ornithologist of the same name was Fleming’s inspiration for his famous spy’s now-famous name.
James Bond Is A Frequent Drinker, Smoker & Drug User
Many fans know that Bond is often decadent with fancy food and great drinks. His favorite drink in particular is the Vesper, a martini (shaken, not stirred) named after one of his love interests. Every iteration of the character has stuck to this.
However, what newcomers may not know is that the character is also a frequent smoker, having smoked up to sixty cigarettes a day. He is also a known drug user, using them to stimulate himself during a mission. Notably, his drug habit isn’t shown in the films since it would’ve been an instant source of controversy.
James Bond Loves Disney World
Although Bond has seen some of the most dangerous and even weirdest things known to man, even he has a bit of a fun side. During the storyline Never Send Flowers, he visited the EuroDisney Resort (now known as Disneyland Paris) with his girlfriend.
Bond was supposed to stay there for a few days but he ended up loving the place so much that they stayed for a whole week. The story even ends with a climactic fight and shocking sequence in the theme park. This goes to show that even this cold and effective MI6 spy/assassin has a sweet and almost childlike side.
James Bond Hates Tea
As mentioned earlier, Bond is an avid drinker, loving anything from martinis (shaken, not stirred) to shots of whiskey. However, when it comes to non-alcoholic drinks, he is an avid coffee drinker. Specifically, his favorite brew is Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee.
That being said, he absolutely despises tea, which he considers to be the drinkable equivalent of mud. In fact, he dislikes it so much that he believes it’s the reason that led to the British Empire’s downfall!
Bond, on the mission, is very cool and sophisticated. Eating the best of the best while also drinking high-quality alcohol is basically a part of the job. However, when he isn’t protecting Queen and Country, he is far more down to earth.
When working, he eats exotic food at the various places and countries he visits. But when he is back in his flats in England, he eats average British food. This includes grilled sole and cold roast beef with potato salad.
James Bond Married Once & Had A Son
In spite of the insane number of women that Bond has been acquainted with (so to speak), Bond has actually married at one point in his life. Notably, this matrimony was very brief. During On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond married Teresa di Vicenzo (later known as Tracy Bond), which was an unexpected yet heartwarming decision for the playboy spy. Unfortunately, she’s assassinated by Blofeld in a drive-by shooting in both the film and novel.
Many fans like to think that Tracy’s death is the reason why Bond lives an adulterous life as he’s afraid of committing to someone again, knowing full well that his line of work could get them killed. Bond also had a son with Kissy Suzuki from You Only Live Twice named James Suzuki. Sadly, Kissy also died but of natural causes.
James Bond Is A Jack Of All Trades, But He’s Not The Best At Everything
Bond is an incredibly versatile character. Dishing out a lot of damage in every film, book, comic and just about any piece of media he’s been in, it seemed like he was virtually capable of doing anything the plot demanded. This includes shooting literally any kind of gun, beating powerful and imposing villains, and speaking different languages, just to name a few.
That being said, Kingsley Amis’ book The James Bond Dossier made it clear that while Bond was good, he is still easily beaten by his instructor. Not only that, but when it came to things like hand-to-hand combat or sports like golf, he is good but not the best. This adds a bit of subtle realism to an otherwise out-of-this-world fictional spy.
James Bond Has Been Portrayed By 8 Actors (So Far)
Bond has been in film since the ’60s and as such, he’s been played by plenty of actors. Although Bond’s been portrayed officially by six actors (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig), he has actually been played by eight in total. The other two are Barry Nelson and David Niven. Nelson is actually the very first Bond actor, doing so in the TV show Climax! where the Casino Royale segment (above, left) failed to spark interest in a proposed Bond TV show. This episode predates Dr. No by eight years. Meanwhile, Niven portrayed an older, retired Bond in the 1967 film Casino Royale (above, right), a parody of Dr. No and other spy stories of the time.
Each version helped cement a generation of Bond fans. Some prefer the classic version of Connery, while others might enjoy the campiness of Moore. Newcomers might love the modernized Craig films. Regardless of one’s taste, there is a Bond for anyone.
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