It’s a strange coincidence that Sir Roger Moore, 007 No. 003, died only about 48 hours after the premiere of the very funny Hulu documentary Becoming Bond, about one-and-done 007 George Lazenby — who, incredibly, landed the most sought-after role in showbiz (circa 1968) with double-oh-zero prior acting experience.
I’ll never get tired of this real-life story. And the Bond flick that resulted, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is in my Bond Top Five, way above of any of the Moore entries. Anyway, I wrote about all this for the weekend crowd. And I fan-casted Matt Gourley, again.
I wrote this piece quickly, and it occurred to me only after I’d send it off to my editor, the great Linda Holmes, that I might’ve mentioned the passage of the documentary wherein Lazenby explains the discovery that turned him from a failing salesman into into a successful one. He might’ve been talking about acting.
My pal-for-life Glen Weldon is Down Under this week—like Quigley, like Jackman, like Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee—but I was glad to be part of a reduced Pop Culture Happy Hour panel along with host Linda Holmes and regular Stephen Thompson to dissect the messy but fascinating prequel-sequel Alien: Covenant and to marvel at how the political satire Veep has stayed so strong for six seasons. At the end of the episode, I give a little love to little-loved—by me, anyway—replacement 007 Sir Roger Moore, who passed away this week at the age of 89. You can hear the full episode here or embedded below.
Posted in movies, podcasts
Tagged 007, ALIEN, Aliens, H.R. Giger, James Bond, Linda Holmes, NPR, Pop Culture Happy Hour, PROMETHEUS, Ridley Scott, Roger Moore, shameless self-promotion, Stephen Thompson, Veep
Two of my main beats—aviation/space and theatre—overlapped last week when I attended a reading of Ad Astra, a new play by James Wallert about the life of pioneering rocket scientist—and Nazi—Wernher von Braun. I wrote a post about that for Air & Space/Smithsonian, but at my editor’s suggestion we removed a paragraph where I named the four actors who performed the reading. That was the right call for Air & Space’s audience; after all, when Ad Astra gets fully staged it will likely be with a different cast. Still, the cast—all members of New York’s Epic Theatre Ensemble, which Wallert co-founded—was terrific, so I’d like to name them here. Continue reading
It’s been a few years since I sat in on an episode of Filmspotting, the great Chicago-based radio show and podcast devoted to dissection of movies new and old, famous and obscure, foreign and domestic. But now I can reveal that earlier this week, founding host Adam Kempenaar sent me a highly classified diplomatic cable inviting me to join him an regular co-host Josh Larsen for the Top Five segment of this week’s SPECTRE-themed show, devoted to Favorite Bond Things. I regret only that I did not refer to Diana Rigg’s character from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by her full name, Contessa Teresa Di Vincenzo.
I went D.E.E.P. on the H.I.S.T.O.R.Y. of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. for this Atlantic essay chronicling the tortured-acronym-loving cabal’s bizarre contributions to the James Bond literary and film franchises. Anyone with enough interest in the Bond flicks to stick with this thing for nine paragraphs won’t be surprised by the SPECTRE spoiler found therein, but consider yourself duly warned.
Posted in movies
Tagged 007, continuity, Daniel Craig, James Bond, James Bonding podcast, Judi Dench, nerdery, Ralph Fiennes, Roger Moore, S.P.E.C.T.R.E., Sam Mendes, Sean Connery, The Atlantic
“Passion without pressure” is how Roger Moore describes the kissing technique he says in his (second) memoir that Lana Turner taught him in 1956, a century or so before he replaced Sean Connery as 007. Gross. This poor girl. Gross.
Roger Moore was 45 when he made his first debut as James Bond — older than Sean Connery, who’d played the role in five films before he got fed up and abdicated, then was coaxed back and quit a second time – and approximately 110 by the last the last of his seven appearances as 007 12 years later. On the DVD extras for Live and Let Die, his 1973 debut as the superspy he and no one else refers to as “Jimmy” Bond, Moore tellingly bemoans the “30 minutes of daily swimming” he endured to develop the not-particularly-athletic physique he displays in the movie. In the three Bonds he made in the 80s, he rarely looked hale enough to survive a tryst with one of his decades-younger leading ladies, much less a dustup with punch-pulling henchpersons like Tee Hee or Jaws or May Day.
Such was the strength of the Bond brand: Audiences would buy that this guy, who looked and acted like the world’s most condescending game show host, was an elite assassin, as long as he looked good in a tuxedo. Which just happened to be Moore’s primary, not to say only, skill.