18 June 2021 749 Views

Fleming Friday: What if you swapped a few Bond actors between their movies?

by James Murphy

Imagine you can take individual Bond movies and actors from their time streams and mix it up a bit? Here’s what I would do..

SEAN CONNERY:

Let’s stick him in Casino Royale. Have him genuinely fall for Vesper and thereby lose all his abilities to be hard and tough in the face of her death, albeit as an explanation as to why he is so super-cool ever after? Be interesting to see him go after Sanchez in Licence to Kill, too. That thuggery would be deployed well and you would ‘buy’ him as invested in Felix Leiter’s fate, given Sean’s 007 probably had the closest ‘bond’ with that CIA operative?

Might excel in Moonraker, too: outlandish, other worldly and semi sci-fi would confuse Connery yet also stretch him and ensure he did not pick the wrong franchises in his later life (Lord of The Rings and Matrix: both turned down in favour of League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen..Connery’s regret led to premature retirement?).

GEORGE LAZENBY: 

This is not a Bond you want to fight. Seriously, he has speed, accuracy, ferocity, strength, pace and a nod to graceful choreography via brutality. So it’s GOT to be some worthy adversary. Diamonds are Forever actually had a preliminary treatment in circulation among the filmmakers, before George was recast with a returning Sean. It was very Fleming: George’s 007 started all rundown, broken, disheveled: he is mourning his lost love and wife, Tracy. A thirst for vengeance and a genuine mission opp to take down a properly scary (ie not camp and silly) Blofeld..makes Bond smarten up in every way. George had the beard and the Easy Rider look, readied and could still have played the traditional smart 007 on resurrection. Best of all worlds!

I would also loved to have seen his Man with the Golden Gun: Lazenby vs Bruce Lee in a Kung Fu face off? Throw in a genuine gangster hoodlum threat from Scaramanga (Jack Palance? Christopher Lee deserved a more elegant villainy imho?) which forces a reluctant Lee/Lazenby team up to take down the baddie..

ROGER MOORE: 

Would have aced it in From Russia with Love, getting across the sense it’s a fun romantic caper as much as a spy thriller. Skyfall would have been ideal, too. Imagine Roger and Bernard Lee or Robert Brown (he had a professional chemistry onscreen with both Ms imho), on the run?

The Englishness, soft low stakes and romantic character development would have given Moore a chance to show off his comedic and more serious dramatic credentials, perhaps. You could also play, directly, to the perceived flaws in Roger’s tenure (lack of emotional investment due to humour; exaggerated save the world action upstaging more urgent danger in the fight scenes?) with a truly different take that would nonetheless appeal to his traditional, gentlemanly and pastoral values.

TIMOTHY DALTON: 

Stick him in Octopussy / View to a Kill and you improve both films, immediately. GoldenEye is written for him and you can tell (personal stakes married to espionage thriller: would have concluded a kind of trilogy from Living Daylights and Licence to Kill).

PIERCE BROSNAN: 

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is MADE for a Brosnan Bond. A real life widower, he would have sold the painful loss of Tracy as much as the process of falling in love with her and enduring the stormy relationship leading to a wedding. He toyed with remaking it. The Living Daylights is a mid-way 007: a fun and charming caper but with real world based thrills and a solid plot (ie the KIND of movie Pierce wanted to make yet never quite nailed in his tenure).

DANIEL CRAIG: 

Such a shame he has no actual Fleming material to play with after his debut. But you can see a hint of Goldfinger in the sports club during Casino Royale (that German man with the gold land rover?). Tomorrow Never Dies could work today with Daniel, as media remains real-world menace as much as daily tool in our lives. An all out save the world caper would have been nice, too, albeit with some measure of grit (Thunderball, maybe?).

JAMES MURPHY WILL RETURN! HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND. TRANSMISSION ENDS..



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