Mission 21: Bond Facts

21 things you didn’t know about the world’s greatest superspy

You know how he likes his martinis. You know his favourite mode of transport and the make of timepiece strapped to his wrist.

In celebration of Casino Royale, the 21st official James Bond flick, here are 21 things you probably didn’t know about the 007 franchise…

  1. Affectionately regarded as the finest PA in movie history, actress Lois Maxwell was offered the role of Bond girl Sylvia Trench in Dr No. Maxwell opted for the part of Miss Moneypenny because she felt Trench was too raunchy.

     

     

  2. A fifteen year-old lad called Chris Blackwell took a job on Dr No as a location assistant in Jamaica. Years later, as head of Island Records, Blackwell snapped up Ian Fleming’s Jamaican estate, GoldenEye. 

     

     

  3. Eon began its love affair with shooting in the Bahamas in the 1965 flick, Thunderball. Sean Connery fell in love with the exotic surroundings and laidback way of life, nabbing himself a house on Nassau’s Paradise Island. 

     

     

  4. Sean Connery’s missus, Diane Cliento, actually doubled for actress Mie Hama in a water-dive scene for You Only Live Twice. 

     

     

  5. After sniffy critics sniped at George Lazenby’s portrayal of Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, producer Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli signed US actor John Gavin to appear as 007. 

     

     

  6. The studio eventually wooed Sean Connery back into the tux with the substantial sum of $1.25 million and a chunk of the box office takings. Big Sean gave the whole lot away to a charity he founded to improve education in his native Scotland. 

     

     

  7. The name of the villain in Live And Let Die came from the owner of the crocodile farm where one of the movies most infamous scenes was shot. Ross Kananga not only got his farm on film, he performed the stunt where Bond hops from croc to croc to escape becoming the snappers main course. 

     

     

  8. Christopher Lee plays tri-nippled assassin Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun. Lee is actually Ian Fleming’s cousin and Fleming originally wanted him to play Bond in Dr No. Lee, like many others (including James Mason and David Niven) turned it down. 

     

     

  9. When planning the massive action sequences for The Spy Who Loved Me, production designer Ken Adam pointed out to producer Cubby Broccoli that there wasn’t a stage in the world big enough to house the set pieces laid down in the script. To which Cubby famously replied, “Then Build it.” The 007 Stage at Pinewood was born.

     

     

  10. Ian Fleming once noted that The Spy Who Loved Me was his least favourite Bond novel. He made a deal with producers that they could snap up the rights but had to change everything… except the name. 

     

     

  11. For Your Eyes Only was next on the list for Cubby and his crew in 1979. Then came a fella called George Lucas and his little western set in space. Broccoli saw the dollar signs and decided to green-light Moonraker instead. 

     

     

  12. The gamble paid off. Moonraker scooped up $210 million at the box office, making it the highest grossing Bond flick until Pierce Brosnan wielded the Walther in 1995’s GoldenEye. 

     

     

  13. After entering a competition in skin mag Playboy, unknown Robbin Young won a small background role in For Your Eyes Only. 

     

     

  14. Maud Adams raised her profile in Bond legend by becoming the only actress to play two hefty roles in Bond movies. After appearing in the The Man With The Golden Gun, Adams cropped up in the title role in Octopussy. 

     

     

  15. Roger Moore sat Cubby Broccoli down before production on Octopussy and informed him he’d twitched his last eyebrow as 007. The producer began screen testing other actors, including American star James Brolin. Moore decided to stay on. 

     

     

  16. Moore threw his creeking bones into action one last time in 1985 for A View To A Kill, becoming the oldest Bond ever at 58 years old when production closed. 

     

     

  17. Everyone knows that Remington Steele star Pierce Brosnan was measured for the tux in 1987 and was all but announced as the 4th actor to slip into the Aston. The reason it never happened was the press furore and clear popularity of Brosnan as 007 convinced NBC to activate a clause in his contract to make another season of the detective series. 

     

     

  18. The GoldenEye production hit a snag when they were unable to get in to Pinewood to shoot. It was being used by another project… Sean Connery’s First Knight. Eon got around it by building another stage at Leavesden. 

     

     

  19. When they came to shoot Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997, Leavesden was occupied by George Lucas’s Star Wars mob. So they set about constructing Eon studios in Hertfordshire. 

     

     

  20. Actress Serena Scott-Thomas was given the option of using a body double when her character Dr. Molly Warmflash disrobes but the plucky thesp declined, deciding if she was going to be in a love scene with James Bond, she was going to do it properly. 

     

     

  21. Halle Berry’s beach scene in Die Another Day is clearly a nod to Ursula Andress’ introduction in Dr No. Andress filmed her strut from the surf in the burning sun of Jamaica, whereas Berry wandered from the waves in a chilly Spain in October.

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