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Bond. James Bond
An iconic movie series turns 50
By Steve Fisher
IN 1962, a relatively unknown Scottish actor
hit the big screen in a film titled Dr. No and
uttered a short phrase—“Bond. James Bond.”
Cinematic history was made. Sean Connery
would become an international superstar.
Fifty years later Bond is still going strong,
with the character appearing in his 23rd film,
titled Skyfall. Skyfall stars Daniel Craig, the
sixth actor to play Bond. Other Bond portrayers include George Lazenby, Roger Moore,
Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.
Producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli,
along with partner Harry Saltzman, brought
the films, based on Ian Fleming’s series of
books, to the screen. The Connection spoke
with Michael G. Wilson, stepson of Broccoli,
who now produces the film series with his
half-sister, Barbara Broccoli, to talk about
Bond’s long-standing appeal.
The Costco Connection: Why have the
Bond films been so successful for so long?
Michael G. Wilson: The Fleming character is
a well-conceived character. It has a lot of dimensions. So every time we recast, we can bring out
other aspects of the Bond character. And it
really is a tribute to Fleming as a writer and the
Bond character as a character he created.
CC: What are the essential ingredients for any
MGW: People expect it to be an action-
Tablet or smartphone?
Watch a video clip from the
James Bond DVD box set on
The Connection newsstand
version (see page 83).
adventure film, of course, but it all starts with
the narrative, the story. You have to have a
good story, and the heart of every film, as
Barbara says, is Bond’s journey. And that’s
where we start, and then we slowly build on
that with the writers we use.
CC: Many people consider Sean Connery to
be the quintessential James Bond. But he
wasn’t Ian Fleming’s ideal for the role. [Others
mentioned included Cary Grant, David
Niven and James Mason.] Which actors were
considered and/or offered the role before it
went to Connery?
MGW: It’s true that Fleming questioned Sean
Connery. But after he saw Dr. No, he had no
doubts at all and he was very much in favor
There’s a telegram from [studio] United
Artists. When the producers [Broccoli and
Saltzman] said, “We want Sean Connery,” the
telegram said “No, keep trying.” But Harry and
Cubby stuck by their guns and said, “No, this
is the man we want.” They really wanted him.
They were both from North America—Harry
was a Canadian; Cubby was an American.
They wanted to sort of give a North American
attitude to the British character; that’s why
they wanted Sean. They didn’t want a polished
CC: What do you think made Connery’s portrayal so indelible?
MGW: I think he was almost an anti-hero
when you see what he did and the way he
acted. The way he would shoot an unarmed
man … bang, he shoots [him] and puts one in
his back for good measure and has a martini
afterward. Well, this is a new hero. No one
had ever seen anything like that.
From left to right. Three of the six actors
to play James Bond—Sean Connery, Roger
Moore and Daniel Craig.
CC: What differences did each actor who has
played the role bring to the part?
MGW: All the actors have been very, very different. I think they’ve been right for their
time. But they do bring a lot of their own personality to the role because they’re leading
men; they’re not character actors. For that
reason, you do get an interpretation of the
character by the actor rather than the actor
playing a role. … That’s what gives a variety
and contributes to the longevity of the series.
CC: How long can the series keep going?
MGW: That’s a challenge, I have to admit. But
I think by focusing on what’s going on in the
world, trying to make the films relevant …
keeping them fresh, hopefully full of new
ideas, somehow we keep going. C
OCTOBER 2012 ;e Costco Connection 35
The Costco Connection
A 50th-anniversary collection of the first 22
Bond films—all on Blu-ray—is available at
Costco this month, with an empty pocket for
when Skyfall is released on disc.