It’s a sunny day, which is just as well as writer/director Luke Jeffery is scouting a location for a summer fete after our conversation. Although you wouldn’t put it past Luke to somehow conjure up a snowstorm as a backdrop for summer activities. Judging by his films, he has a rather side-long view of the world.
17 facts about the 17th Bond film on its 20th Anniversary
People like to argue about who the best Bond is but I don’t care. You can keep your Daniel Craigs, Sean Connerys, Roger Moores and the other two. My favourite incarnation of 007 is Pierce Brosnan. GoldenEye (Campbell, 1995) was Brosnan’s debut, released in November 1995, which means it’s 20-years old! To mark its anniversary, here are a few facts about GoldenEye, that you probably didn’t know…
1. The name’s… not Bond
Timothy Dalton was due to star in the 17th Bond film (GoldenEye), but instead, he decided to quit. This surprised many people, none-more-so than Bond 17’s screenwriters, who had already written a script with Dalton in mind.
2. The Bonds that never were
Pierce Brosnan was offered Bond in the ‘80s but did you know Liam Neeson and Mel Gibson were offered GoldenEye before Brosnan? When both actors passed, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson went with the cheaper option.
3. Kept you waiting, huh?
The six-year delay between the release of License to Kill and GoldenEye is the longest gap between entries in the franchise’s entire history.
4. The return of an old friend
The Aston Martin DB5 is synonymous with 007 but its appearance in GoldenEye marked the first time the car had appeared in a Bond film since 1965’s Thunderball.
5. A license to kill a lot of people
Pierce Brosnan’s 007 manages to kill 39 people in GoldenEye. Roger Moore easily beats that with a whopping 59 kills in Octopussy, but on average, Brosnan is the deadliest of all the 007s – with 27 kills per film.
6. Codename GoldenEye
GoldenEye was the first James Bond film to be created completely independently of Ian Fleming’s books but the title was taken from the name of Fleming’s Jamaican estate.
7. Bond was always a bit of a Queen
If the train sequence where Bond derails 006’s armoured train looks familiar, that’s because the location – Nene Valley Railway – was used to film Queen’s ‘Breakthru’ music video.
8. I ate Mr Bond’s liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti
Bond’s producers wanted a big star to play GoldenEye’s chief big bad aka Alec Trevelyan. Anthony Hopkins was their first choice but he turned it down, as did Alan Rickman.
9. Close but no cigar
Sean Bean auditioned for the role of James Bond twice and for two different films: GoldenEye and The Living Daylights. Still, he got to play one of Bond’s more memorable adversaries.
10. Always behind the times, but never without a watch
Prior to GoldenEye, 007 wore a variety of watches but the debut of Pierce Brosnan triggered a new dawn, with Bond wearing an Omega SeaMaster in each film thereafter. However, the watch Bond wears has nothing to do with advertising.
11. Strangling a cat
Everyone knows the GoldenEye theme song was written by U2’s Bono and The Edge. But did you know Bono also recorded his own version? Mercifully it was never used.
Actor Joe Don Baker has appeared in the Bond franchise as two different characters; as Brad Whitaker in The Living Daylights and as CIA operative Jack Wade in GoldeneEye. Is he the best double-agent ever? Probably not.
13. From Hong Kong with Love
Somewhat unbelievably, Hong Kong action cinema auteur John Woo was originally offered the opportunity to direct GoldenEye but he turned it down – just imagine what could have been!
14. The era of computer generated tomfoolery begins
GoldenEye has the honour of being the first Bond film to feature computer generated effects. Just don’t mention Die Another Day’s invisible car…
15. The Spy who loved the other Spy
The original GoldenEye script had to be rewritten because it was too similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1994 action film, True Lies – a film that steals liberally from Bond.
16. Bond and M sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G
In the original script for GoldenEye, the first scene between Bond and M implied that the two were former lovers but fortunately the producers dropped this awful idea.
17. GoldenEye’s multiplayer mode on the N64 was almost never a thing
GoldenEye for the N64 was infamous for its multiplayer shenanigans. However, the multiplayer mode was never meant to exist – it was an afterthought put together in secret by the developers in the last six weeks of production. Thank you RARE!
The latest outing from 007, Spectre, is out in cinemas nationwide now
In the last 24 hours I’ve been staring into the abyss, reflecting on life’s many quandaries but specifically about being single. Sat in my singleton squalor, I carelessly shovel Turkish delight into my mouth-hole while watching Céline Dion music videos from the ‘90s. She warbles on about her achy-breaky heart and her misfortunate nautical adventures. There were tears aplenty.
The formula: Shaken but not stirred
The formula for a James Bond film is a simple cocktail of action, explosions, globetrotting and beautiful women. Despite the age of the series it lacks any real maturity and like the MARVEL superhero films, it’s a series – despite the range of its fans – that is primarily aimed at impressionable young men. The franchise’s biggest problem is its regressive treatment of women, however, that problem isn’t just limited to the characters that inhabit these films. If art reflects reality, then the toxicity at the heart of the James Bond series is a reflection of the world in which these films are made.
In just a few hours, Owain Astles faces a night of filming in the woods but he doesn’t seem fazed. He’s bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and sharing his enthusiasm for filmmaking.