I hear that not-quite-007 Pierce Brosnan has now got his chance to play the suave-superagent: he gets into Bond-age for a spoof on the movies on a new Diet-Coke advertising campaign. I don’t know “Diet Coke, shaken, not stirred” doesn’t sound quite the same, does it?
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We have 10 copies of “The Living Daylights” for you to win and just two simple questions for you to answer.
1. Name ALL the actors to have played James Bond in the cinema
2. How many versions of the Aston Martin has 007 had?
Answers on a postcard together with your name, address and prefered format (VHS or Beta) and sent to:
PO Box 371
London SW14 8JL
Closing date 30th April 1988
Subscribers should affix your address label to the card as we have reserved four of the videos just for yu (our thank you for subscribing). Non subscribers will have an equal chance to win the remaining six videos.
If you wish to subscribe at the same time (and make yourself eligible for any of the prizes) then enclose your separate subscription (see page 47) with your postcard entry in an envelope and address it to Star-burst(Sub/Daylights).
MICHAEL G. WILSON PRODUCER AND CO-WRITER
Michael G. Wilson, who produced the latest James Bond adventure, The Living Daylights, with Albert R. Broccoli and co-wrote it with Richard Maibaum, is a native New Yorker who graduated from college as an electrical engineer before switching to law.
In 1972, he joined Eon Productions in a legal-administrative capacity and was named Assistant to the Producer on The Spy Who Loved Me. He was the Executive Producer on Moonraker and continued with that credit on the following two Bond movies before producing A View To A Kill with Albert R. Broccoli. He co-wrote the screenplays for For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View To A Kill before his current assignment on The Living Daylights.
When did you first hear about the James Bond movies?
“I was a university student when I first heard that Cubby (Broccoli) had purchased the film rights to the James Bond stories and was about to start filming them, beginning with Dr. No. 1 remember President Kennedy had included Ian Fleming among his top ten favourite authors for light entertainment reading, so from the very beginning, the stories were popular in the United States ...even though it was a British subject. Strangely, the screenplays have always been written by Americans.”
How would you describe the character of James Bond?
“The James bond character really depends on whether you read the books or watch the films. And then again, if you look at the films, it depends on which actor is playing the role. Basically, Bond is a secret agent with a Licence To Kill. He is a connoisseur and someone who is attractive to women. But each medium gives a different personality. In the books, he is a very serious character sometimes concerned with self doubt. Often ruthless, he was not always very successful with the ladies. The Sean Connery style movie Bond had that same ruthless quality but with a lighter humour, not quite so serious as in the books. Roger Moore was even less serious with a much lighter tone. With Timothy Dalton we have gone back to the more serious style as established in the Ian Fleming stories and in the earlier films.”
As co-producer of The Living Daylights, did you have a hand in selecting the new James Bond?
“Yes, he is a fine actor. We looked at literally hundreds of actors from all over the world. After the first month of looking very carefully and considering a lot of people, it rapidly became apparent that we had to maintain a certain criterion. James Bond had to be British or of British origin. He couldn’t be too young, he had to be a veteran, a man of experience. A man who had been through a great deal who would have the experience to cope with all the situations in which James Bond finds himself. And, of course, he had to possess all the other qualifications....the stature, the looks, and most important, he had to be a fine actor. When you start applying all these criteria the original list is whittled down to just a handful of candidates. Over the years, we had looked at Dalton on several occasions. Cubby and I talked to him about six years ago on the West Coast when Roger Moore was uncertain whether he wanted to continue in the role. Unfortunately, Timothy was not available at the time but it all became somewhat hypothetical when Roger decided to carry on. We saw Timothy again during March of 1986 when we were seriously looking for a new Bond. But he was about ready to being his Shakespearean West End run of Anthony and Cleopatra and The Taming of the Shrew back-to- back, alternate weeks. It was a gruelling schedule and he was unsure how long he would be committed to the productions so we had to look at alternatives. We considered some but again fate was not with us. Ultimately, Timothy became available - much to our delight and good luck.
What would you say Dalton brings to the role that is uniquely his?
“I think every leading man brings his own personality to every single role he plays. There is a distinction between a leading man and a character actor. Character actors can adapt themselves to different parts but leading men tend to play the role through the strength of their own personality rather than suppressing it. Timothy, as a man, is a positive person. He’s a mature, deliberate man who knows his own mind. He’s very serious and becomes very involved with the character and the situations, which is marvellous for me as the writer. We can become involved in the scenes and I can tell the story to the audience through the eyes of the character. These elements, from what we have seen, come across on the screen very well, we are all very pleased with Dalton’s performance”
Do you have some secret for keeping the Bond films fresh after fifteen films?
“I’m not sure that there is a secret to it. We are involved with similar characters throughout the series of films so we have to give them different things to do. We have to be continually surprising. We must keep taking different directions and creating different situations.”
Does your background in electrical engineering help in creating or conceptualizing the famous gadgets seen in the Bond films?
“The gadgets are often suggested by people other than myself. The Special Effects department, the art department, the director, Cubby, almost anyone working on the film can suggest a gadget or come up with a clever idea. Having a technical background is helpful in developing certain ideas. I keep abreast of scientific developments by reading periodicals on various areas which I find interesting which many others wouldn’t. The ‘Pipeline’ featured in The Living Daylights is something that come out of one’s technical experience when thinking of how to apply something like a pipeline to an escape route and how to develop it. We have to make the idea as convincing as possible and, as a matter of fact, technicians actually working on the pipeline admitted that it is possible to do what we did in the film.
“Many of the gadgets we come up with are not that far removed from ones that will be developed in the future. We tend to be just slightly ahead of reality and, as time passes, we begin to see the same ideas actually being adapted in real life. I think the pen that transmits messages and duplicates what it writes is the most possible to develop with today’s technology. The same applies to Bond’s keyring in the film which either emits a knockout gas or explodes when activated by a personalised signal. The gadgets on the Aston Martin are quite fanciful but I suppose one could pack them all into one car ...although I’m not sure just how practical the car would be. The gadgets are intriguing to the public and that is our foremost interest.
“We are often asked how we consistently manage to ‘top’ the previous Bond films with each addition to the series. This idea of ‘topping’ is really a case of maintaining the freshness and unique qualities of the films. There are various ways you top yourself. It can be done by doing something in a more spectacular way, a more exciting way... and that is becoming increasingly more difficult. Or it can be done by going in a completely new direction by developing a more intriguing character, by using locations or exciting situations in a different way. We will always have spectacular situations because that is the hallmark of the films but I feel we should not only try to outdo ourselves in terms of more spectacular chases or more spectacular stunts, but also in the development of the stories and the characters - and the situations in which James Bond finds himself. ”
The title of the new Bond film is from an Ian Fleming short story. Does The Living Daylights follow the author’s original story line?
“The Fleming story of The Living Daylights was a short story contained in the Octopussy collection of three short stories. It involves Bond being assigned to protect a Russian defector from a KGB sniper. This very similar to what happens in the first fifteen minutes of the film. So, the Fleming story is very much the springboard for our film and remains pretty much intact. Of course, we then develop the story in many exciting ramifications. When Fleming wrote the story in 1966, he obviously had no knowlege that Afghanistan would be occupied by Russian troops inside two decades, so that exciting part of the story contains a lot of original material. ”
And finally what would you attribute the phenominal success of the James Bond series?
“I am convinced that the tremendous success is directly attributed to the quality that the pictures have been able to maintain through not cutting back on the budget, not skimping on the sets, still providing high quality film no matter how successful the series is. Cubby has always insisted on that, which is probably the reason why they continue to be successful. Initially, they were successful because they were fascinating stories with interesting subject matter and very exciting entertainment. And that still stands today.”
Photos: The Living Daylights featured one a most dramatic endings / Haunting moment for James in Vienna
THE BOND BOOKS
In order of publication, the adventures of Janies Bond comprise fourteen books:
YEAR OF FIRST EDITION IN U.K.
1954-“Live And Let Die”
1956-“Diamonds Are Forever”
1957-“From Russia With Love”
1960-“For Your Eyes Only”
1962-“The Spy Who Loved Me”
1963-“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”
1964-“You Only Live Twice”
1965 “The Man With The Golden Gun”
THF SHORT STORIES ARE
1960-“From A View To A Kill”
1960-“Quantum of Solace”
1960-“Risico” -“For Your Eyes Only”
1960-“The Hildebrand Rarity”
1966-“The Living Daylights” -“Octopussy”
1966-“The Property of a Lady”
[Source: Starburst Vol. 10 No.8, P.1, 7, 27,32-35,47. Copyright © 1988 Visual Imagination Ltd.]