I saw a great deal of the EPIX special Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story Of 007 at a MoMA screening last night before having to run home and catch the debate, and found it deeply informative and enjoyable.
The movie, that is, not the debate.
It turns out that along with all the decades of joy and success for the Bond film series, there were lawsuits, deaths, bankruptcy, and some bad feelings.
Author Ian Fleming was an introverted guy with a taste for booze, cigs, and women.
(“I hope you’re not a lesbian,” he’d say as he dove on a lady to kiss her.)
Not adding to his good times, the first filming of a Bond book was an Americanized TV adaptation of Casino Royale with Barry Nelson as “Jimmy Bond”!
Fortunately, the feature films went back to the source material and cast more accurately.
One of the doc’s most interesting segments has George Lazenby (below) describing how, with no real acting credits behind him, he landed the starring role in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service after he pushed himself on the producers, lied about his experience, and passed several screen tests.
But because Lazenby had been a male model, the producers were afraid he was gay. (Horrors! “I hope you’re not a lesbian,” they probably said, lol.)
Lazenby describes how they sent a woman up to his room one night to test him, “and after that, they realized I was straight.”
And he had tons more women after that.
Once famous, Lazenby became rather drunk and unruly and refused to adopt the conservative off-screen look the producers wanted, so he got canned.
Later, he remembers, Roman Polanski said at a party, “This is George, the redundant actor.”
“I had to look up ‘redundant’,” admits Lazenby, but he realized he’d blown it.
I guess he was shaken, not stirred.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 4, 2012