“Now: you said something about going down… together?”
DIE ANOTHER DAY
Lee Tamahori . 2002
The series was 40 years old and Halle Berry supplied
a lustrous tribute to all Bond Babes with her
magnificent entrance, striding from the waves…
Like Ursula Andress in Dr No
(and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale!)
Tabloids also suggested that Sean Connery had been persuaded to come back – and had, indeed, shot his cameo as… Bond’s father! Utter rubbish, of course.
007 . Pierce Brosnan was pacted for one more film.(And as he says in the film: “There will be others after me”). However, and despite having made a right cock-up of John Steed in The Avengers , the charmless Ralph Fiennes became a hot favourite in September 2001. He was overtaken by Scots actor Dougray Scott, who made his name as the Mission: Impossible II villain(and became Batwoman Ruby Rose’s father in the Batwoman series in 2019). “I’m very flattered that people consider me good enough to play James Bond. But I couldn’t play that part any better than Sean did. I’m not convinced I’m suave enough for the part.”
Ironically, the editor of Scott’s Mission, Stuart Baird was among several directors seen before handing this mission to Lee Tamahori (a New Zealander like Martin Campbell).Baird stayed in the family though; he edited Daniel Craig’s 007 debut.Stephen Hopkins (nobody until he started 24 on TV), was also considered.
And, although the team always preferred directors of UK stock, so were Rush Hour’s flashy Hollywooden Brett Ratner… and Ocean’s Eleven’s Steven Soderbergh. “He’d do it if they gave him creative control,” reported his pal, Matt Damon. “Absolutely not, they said. They have a formula, they stick to it, and it makes them a lot of money. They know what they’re doing, and they’re going to keep doing it.”
Jinx . “She is effectively someone who lives in the shadow of death all the time,” said co-acripter Neal Pervis, “and, therefore, takes her pleasure where she can. And in that respect, Jinx in much much like Bond.” Witney Houston was suggested, then Saffron Burrows and Salma Hayek before Halle blew them away. “She was very intelligent.She was Bond’s equal… She had to save him a few times in the movie.Bond and Jinx had a great partnership.”
Sam Jackson suggested a more
Flemingesque name: Cinnamon Buns.
This soon became a running joke on-set. Halle was the first Bond Girl to win an Oscar (for Monster’s Ball, 2001) while playing a Bond Girl. (Kim Basinger won her Oscar 14 years after joining Sean’s comeback; Judi Dench, aka M, also has an Oscar from Shakespeare In Love). However, spin-off plans for Halle’s Jinx, were jinxed by the rotten box-office for the latest action girls: Charlie’s Angels and Lara Croft.
Q . There was some talk about not replacing such a cherished character after the 1999 death of Desmond Llewelyn at 86. That had previously been suggested before, following the 1979 death of Bernard Lee… But M continued: Robert Brown, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes. Edward Woodward, who played a grittier Bond-like spy, Callan, in the 60s, was rumoured to take over as Q. In the SAS thriller, Who Dares Wins, Woodward co-starred with Lewis Collins, among those suggested as Roger Moore’s successor. Neither idea took off. . And with inspired casting right outside the box, the new Q blissfully became John Cleese.
Colonel Moon . Korean actor In-Pyo Cha refused the role, played by Will Yun Lee. Kingsley Amis’ one and only 007 novel (signed Robert Markham), was titled Colonel Sun. And if that isn’t close enough, the full name, of the baddy Moon was Tan-Sun Moon. (Moon was a good name: much of this tale derived from Moonraker).
Miranda Frost . Saffron Burrows, Alicia Silverstone and the London singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor lost out to the glacial, Grace Kellyesque Rosamund Pike… who had the film’s best line…
“I know all about you, 007.
Sex for dinner
and death for breakfast.”
She had tested, “looking scruffy,” immediately on her return from a prolonged trek around China and Vietnam. Joining “the magic carpet for a year or more,” she felt, “was one of the biggest votes on confidence and compliments you can be given. It’s one of the coolest gigs you can be offered… Somehow, all these years of films have been crystalised into one idea of a Bond Girl – it involves some silhouette and statement of sex appeal – and, actually, if you line them up they’d all be really strong women.”
And she had never seen a Bond film before almost stealing this one.
Pike later narrated The Spy Who Loved Me in the Bopnd audio-book series, was Pussy Galore in the BBC Radio 4 version of Goldfinger and even sent up the whole gig by joining secret agent Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Reborn.
With typical self-effacement, Brosnan would later to declare: “I never felt that I really nailed Bond. There was always a hint of Sean Connery and Roger Moore that was so indelible in my own mind. It’s a prestigious group to be in the company of.”
According to The Economist, which obviously counts more than dollars and euros, Brosnan was the bluntest of all instruments, knocking off, on average, 19 foes per film… twice more than Connery or Moore.
Summing up his reign, during the Deauville festival in France in 2019, Brosnan declared: “As soon as you walk into that house, you know you’re going to live with it for a long, long time. The gift that keeps giving. I shall talk about it as long as people ask about it.”