Trivia / James Bond

Literature Trivia

  • Adaptation Overdosed: The novels became movies, comics, radio plays and video games.
  • Outlived Its Creator: Even after Ian Fleming died more Bond novels were written. Not to mention films with original stories.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The Climax! TV special adaptation of Casino Royale lead to Ian Fleming being offered a hand in developing a Bond TV series (Working title: James Bond, Secret Agent). Fleming wrote a series of outlines for the show but negotiations fell through and it didn't get made. However, Fleming salvaged the outlines and used them to create the eighth Bond novel, For Your Eyes Only.
    • Per Fine Ounce by Geoffrey Jenkins was supposed to be the first Bond continuation novel after Fleming's death. It was rejected for publication, and, aside from few excerpts, remains unpublished to this day.
    • After writing Colonel Sun, Kingsley Amis planned to write a Bond novel of him in a train to Mexico with assassins in it.
  • Write What You Know: Since Fleming had a beach home in Jamaica and wrote all Bond novels there, he had Bond go to the island on three occasions.

Film Trivia

  • AFIS 100 Years Series:
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Often the reason why actors and musicians accept to take part in a Bond film.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The infamous "Oh, James!" line that numerous people have used to imitate the equally numerous Bond Girls has actually been used very infrequently, probably about in only 1/3 of the films.
  • California Doubling: So, so, common. For instance, basically every underwater scene will be shot at the Bahamas (where the original in Thunderball were done) even if the depicted sea is not the Caribbean.
  • Fake Nationality:
  • Franchise Zombie: Roger Moore's contract was for five movies. Eventually he was convinced to do two more, even as Moore felt he was getting too old for the role.
  • Iconic Characters: For movie audiences who first saw Bond in the 1990s, when Bond is mentioned, Pierce Brosnan's incarnation has about as much recognition as the classic Connery original. Also because the generation that grew up with Brosnan as Bond also coincided with the branching of the franchise into popular spin-off video games, thereby increasing his exposure.
    • Both Bond and Blofeld have often been used as templates for homages and parodies of secret agents and supervillains respectively by every form of media going.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: According to Roger Moore's book Bond on Bond, Desmond Llewelyn (Q from From Russia With Love through The World is Not Enough) was a Walking Tech Bane who couldn't get a pocket calculator to work if his life depended on it.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: For a cold-blooded killer and womanizer, Bond has been played by humanitarian activists, devoted family men, and easygoing charmers (with the exception of George Lazenby, who then had a case of Small Name, Big Ego).
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Bond, obviously. But also other recurring characters such as M, Moneypenny, Blofeld, Felix (especially) and even Q between Dr. No and From Russia with Love.
  • The Pete Best: Contrary to popular belief, Sean Connery wasn't the first actor to portray James Bond. Barry Nelson, an American, played him first by a good eight years before Connery. He played James Bond as an American named "Jimmy Bond" in the Climax! adaptation of Casino Royale mentioned above. Both his portrayal, and the Climax episode at that, are barely even mentioned in most Bond related merch or books. The episode, a live broadcast, was considered lost until a kinescope emerged in the 1980s almost 30 years after the fact. What makes him The Pete Best though is that even when he had played him before, he wasn't even considered for the role for Dr. No, although the fact he was American and older than Connery by almost thirteen years probably didn't help his case.
    • Sort of, Peter Burton played a character named Major Boothroyd in Dr. No, before Desmond Llewelyn made the role as Q.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • Dalton was strongly influenced by the first three Bond films and drew heavily from the books for his portrayal.
    • Pierce Brosnan decided to become an actor after his parents took him to see Goldfinger as a child, and has also mentioned being influenced by Roger Moore's performance in The Saint.
  • Real-Life Relative: Pierce Brosnan's wife Cassandra Harris played Countess Lisl von Schlaff in For Your Eyes Only. She even hoped that someday he'd get to be Bond. Unfortunately, she passed away before it came true.
    • Sean Connery's then-wife has stunt (particularly swimming) and stand-in parts in You Only Live Twice.
  • Reality Subtext: Desmond Llewelyn's Q explains in The World Is Not Enough that he intends to retire and turn that John Cleese will replace him as quartermaster (much to Bond's disappointment). A few weeks after the film's release Desmond Llewelyn died in a car accident, tragically making this a definite farewell to the actor.
    Q: I've always tried to teach you two things: First, never let them see you bleed.
    Bond: And the second?
    Q: Always have an escape plan.
    A trap door opens beneath Q, slowly lowering him out of sight as Bond sadly watches.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: The film franchise has suffered two big ones.
    • The first was the film adaptation of the first Bond novel, Casino Royale. Fleming had sold the film rights to another producer, which eventually led to the parody adaptation by Columbia Pictures. Years later, as Columbia's parent company Sony threatened to make a rival Bond series using both Casino Royale and Thunderball (see below for more), they settled on giving the rights back to MGM/UA for MGM's partial rights to Spider-Man. This led to the production of a more serious adaptation (ironically, distributed by Columbia due to MGM's everlasting problems).
    • The earliest films have a villainous organization called SPECTRE led by one Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Thing is, SPECTRE was invented in the original screenplay for Thunderball, before it was released as a novel. A lawsuit over the publication of the Thunderball novel awarded screenwriter Kevin McClory the rights to SPECTRE (as he collaborated on the Thunderball screenplay). Although the first Bond films were allowed to use SPECTRE as part of a ten year agreement, the agreement expired and the filmmakers were not allowed to use the organization or it's members. SPECTRE would disappear from the official Bond films for over forty years...until MGM/UA got the rights from McClory's estate in 2013. SPECTRE was reintroduced to the Bond films with the movie Spectre
  • Star-Making Role: For Connery, Dalton and Craig. Bond also pulled Brosnan out of mediocrity following Remington Steele.
  • Technology Marches On: Given that it's a gadget-heavy series that spans over 50 years, it's bound to happen every now and again. However, the more high-tech, and therefore obviously fictional, a gadget was then the less likely it was to look silly in a few years.
    • Casino Royale (2006) came close to invoking this by featuring Blu-ray discs in several scenes before it was determined what the next-generation HD disc would be. Beyond that, however, the Daniel Craig films appear to be intentionally averting this trope by rarely giving Bond anything more high-tech than a mobile phone to play with.
      • However, ironically the real-life cell phone Bond uses in the 2006 film is already dated and outmoded, whereas some of his gadgets from the 1960s such as the rebreather from Thunderball or even Q's radioactive tracking lint in OHMSS, still come across as cutting-edge.
    • Skyfall parodies it, with Bond's only gear besides his firearm being a simple radio transmitter, which for its size would have been cutting edge back in 1962, but could be built with parts from a Radio Shack nowadays.
      • Director Sam Mendes explanation was that the most innovative gadgets they could think of were basically available in your local Apple store, so it was less ridiculous to avoid them entirely.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Steven Spielberg always wanted to direct a James Bond movie, but Albert R. Broccoli rejected him twice. The first time, early in Spielberg's career, Broccoli turned him down because he was young, inexperienced, and unknown. He approached Broccoli again after directing Jaws, but Broccoli wouldn't hire him because he was afraid he'd demand too much money.
      • The silver lining of this: Spielberg's despondency at being unable to shoot a Bond film inspired his good friend George Lucas to create Indiana Jones for him.
    • They've also tried repeatedly to spin-off a series based on one of the various Bond Girls, describing it as something of a "Winter Olympics" alternative to the main films. They tried with Wai Lin from Tomorrow Never Dies and Jinx from Die Another Day .
    • Thunderball began its life as a screenplay written by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming (copyright dictates in that order). When the movie wasn't getting made, Fleming turned it into a book which led McClory to sue. As a result of the lawsuit, EON couldn't make Thunderball as the first Bond movie, so instead they went with Dr No. This also lead to a lot - lasting Screwed by the Lawyers situation.
    • Both Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton were offered Bond at least ten years before they were able to take it. Cary Grant was also offered Dr No and Howard Hawks reportedly wanted to make a Casino Royale movie starring him, in the former case EON decided he was too old (Grant was in his late fifties at this point) and went with Sean Connery instead, and in the latter Hawks lost interest.
    • The biggest what could have been of them all: George Lazenby was originally going to be signed to do seven films, not just one, but his agent convinced him that Bond was a dated character that wouldn't last, and thus Lazenby decided to leave after OHMSS. Lazenby fired his agent soon after, and till this day, freely admits he made a mistake.
      • In a similar vein, the reason that Sean Connery got so pissed off with the Bond people ultimately had to do with working on You Only Live Twice. Ironically, he later said that he would've much preferred to do a Bond film like OHMSS.
      • Lazenby gives a different story in the documentary Everything or Nothing. In that, he says that EON Productions fired him after he showed up to the OHMSS premiere with shaggy hair and a beard when he was told not to, for not properly representing the brand.
    • There was a rumor that Die Another Day director Lee Tamahori wanted to film a Sean Connery cameo, which would have confirmed that the James Bond name was just an alias passed down from character to character (thus explaining how each actor can be so different in the role), but he was ultimately overruled. (A favorite film theory is that Sean Connery’s character in The Rock is actually his version of James Bond, tossed into the chokey after Moore took over.) The producers of Skyfall also tried to coax Connery back, but he wouldn't hear of it.

Gun Barrel Openings

  • There have been 9 variations on the iconic gunbarrel openingnote :
    • The first one, with Stunt Double Bob Simmons as the Bond. This one was used from Dr. No to Goldfinger. The "Bond" is actually a silhouette.
    • When the aspect ratio changed, the sequence had to be re-done. This version used Connery, and was the first version to "expand" onto the screen. This edition was seen in Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. It was filmed in black-and-white, and a sepia tint was added for two of those movies.
    • Lazenby featured in the gunbarrel sequence only once. His Bond drops to one knee when firing and is wiped out by the blood.
    • Roger Moore was the first Bond to shoot the sequence twice—again, necessitated by an aspect ratio change. He's the first Bond to lose the hat, too. He's also the first Bond to don a tuxedo in the gunbarrel.
      • Moore is also the only Bond that uses the Weaver stance when shooting—so he can be said to be the only Bond that employs proper firearm etiquette in the gunbarrel sequence.
    • Timothy Dalton filmed it once.
    • Pierce Brosnan filmed it twice, but the one from The Living Daylights was never used. This is the first digitally-generated gunbarrel. Die Another Day had a CGI bullet added in (yuck), in celebration of the 40th anniversary.
    • To signify the reboot status in Casino Royale (2006), Daniel Craig's gunbarrel was actually incorporated into the opening sequence, with the blood now being opaque. It's the second gunbarrel to segue directly into the opening.
    • Finally, Quantum of Solace featured a return of sorts to the "classic" form. It was now at the end of the movie, featured a different barrel and Craig became the first Bond to be shown walking away at the end. Skyfall did it again, only without Bond walking away.
    • Spectre once again puts the classic gunbarrel back at the start of the movie.