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IT'S PAINTING AND DRAWING HERE From Monday 25th. April
Live and Let Ski: Bond 24 Takes Shape There are strong indications that the next James Bond movie will at one point make dramatic use of the beautiful Austrian Alps for some snow-bound sequences. Since the last JBIFC Newsletter, various exciting news items have emerged about the possible themes and locations for the upcoming Sam Mendes-directed 007 movie, and it was recently suggested that a 3-day shoot has been scheduled in the small Austrian village of Obertilliach, with sets for another ‘village’ to be constructed nearby. Snow and ice have regularly played a big role in previous Bond movies (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, The World Is Not Enough). Moreover, in Ian Fleming’s 007 books, the author gave the orphan Bond an interesting family history: Bond’s parents had been killed in the Alps. Fleming also described 007 as an expert skier. So, in a sense, Bond 24 will be tapping into some traditional Bond angles with a snow-bound location. Interesting rumours have also emerged (warning: possible spoiler alert here!) that a chase sequence will be shot in the area, involving skidoos (one-person snowmobiles). Double Snow Seven According to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, the Bond producers had originally considered the Svalbard Island group as a possible filming location, and had requested some image material on the location. However, possibly due to the sheer logistical challenge of shooting there in ice-cold wintry conditions, or due to script changes (or for both reasons), they opted for the more accessible Austrian Alps instead. The Norwegian Svalbard group of Islands (formerly known as Spitsbergen) is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic ocean, located north of mainland Europe. We understand that an icy or wintry location played a key role in John Logan’s original storyline for Bond 24, and it is interesting to note that sources in the Swedish media have pointed out that some Swedish actresses have been screen-tested for the role of a ‘Scandinavian’ woman in the movie. Licence Reviewed: ‘Tweaked’ Script Now Delivered As many Bond fans are aware, news emerged in the early summer that EON’s producers had hired the veteran screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who had stepped aside from Bond script-writing duties after Skyfall, to carry out some work on John Logan’s script for Bond 24, and provide it with more ‘punch’ and some extra interplay between 007 and the other characters. Although we have been unable to verify this, the JBIFC has been led to understand that Logan’s main focus in his original treatment had envisaged 007 lying low in a north European country after a mission had gone wrong, but the producers, along with Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes, felt the storyline needed to be widened out and given more action. Purvis and Wade, who worked in close collaboration with Craig and Mendes, have now finished their work on the Logan treatment and have delivered the script, and everybody is now said to be ‘very happy’ with the reworked treatment. From Rome With Love? From ice to sun: sources in Italy recently claimed that Bond 24 will make use of the beautiful Italian capital city of Rome for some important location shooting. According to media reports in Italy, the recently appointed president of the Rome and Lazio Film Commission, Luciano Sovena, had said that Bond 24 will possibly make use of locations in Rome later this year, subject to approval from the city authorities. He said he had met the producers of the Bond films, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and had ‘discussed the project’, which may include a car chase in streets around the Via Quattro Fontane (the Four Fountains). Golden Touch: Barry Norman on Bond Since the rights to screen the James Bond films on TV in the UK were recently transferred back to the ITV network, after a brief spell with Sky, ITV have certainly been making the most of its screening opportunities, with regular showings of the movies on ITV4. And this has inevitably led to some interesting reviews and reassessments of the series by various film critics. One veteran writer on 007 is the BBC film critic Barry Norman, who has taken a close interest in the franchise ever since 1961-1962, when he first got to know the then relatively unknown young actor Sean Connery. Norman’s love of the franchise was on display again recently, when he penned one of his typical appreciations of a Bond film, Goldfinger, when ITV screened Connery’s third entry on Saturday August 2. Writing in the BBC’s listings magazine Radio Times, Norman argued: ‘Dr. No was a good start, From Russia With Love a strong follow-up. But it was the third 007 movie Goldfinger that truly established the never-ending franchise because it was here that most of the elements that characterised so many of its successors were first introduced’. He continued: ‘For a start there’s the pre-credits sequence with Bond performing heroic and sexual feats that have little or nothing to do with the action that follows. Then there are the gimmicks, the technological gadgets. The first two films were relatively free of those, but this time around Bond is equipped with such things as an Aston Martin with radar, machine guns and an ejector seat for unwelcome passengers. Add to that Oddjob (Harold Sakata), the Korean valet with a decapitating bowler hat, Shirley Eaton slain by being painted gold and a lethal laser beam that threatens to end 007’s womanising days for good, and you have the quintessential, albeit 50-year-old, Bond movie’. Oddjob, Nick-Nack, Hinx? There were some further fascinating (unconfirmed) reports in late August that a leading casting agency has been on the lookout for an actor to play a key henchman in Bond 24, a character provisionally named ‘Hinx’. The agency has indicated that the Bond 24 team are interested in equipping the new 007 movie with a memorable or quirky henchman in the tradition of Oddjob or Jaws, as this has arguably been absent from the last three Craig Bond movies. The agency has been looking for a ‘physically fit male between the ages of 30 and 45’, and over 6 foot 2 inches; the successful candidate will undertake stunt training for fights and also some driving duties. It is known that both Craig and Mendes are particular fans of Live and Let Die, and some sources have suggested to us that they may be keen to have a henchman like Tee Hee (played by Julius W. Harris) – a tough henchman with a peculiar physical quirk or ability, but still very believable and dangerous and rooted in reality. Make of all this what you will. Time will tell. From Switzerland With Love Some key sequences for Goldfinger were shot, of course, in some beautiful and spectacular locations in Switzerland. To help celebrate the 50 th Anniversary this year of the movie, our good friends at James Bond Club Switzerland have organised an event called ‘Goldfinger Reloaded’, which will take place on Saturday, September 13, 2014. The Club want to ‘honour and celebrate’ the movie and will host special guests Tania Mallet, who played Tilly Masterson, and Norman Wanstall, Oscar-winner for Best Sound Effects for Goldfinger. The special event will have a guided tour of the original movie locations, with vehicles and a photoshoot, and later there will be an autograph session, Q&As, a memorabilia sale, and a 3-course dinner. Organised by Markus Hartmann, further details of the very special day can be obtained from: firstname.lastname@example.org or: email@example.com Pure Gold: New Goldfinger Anniversary Steelbook And here’s some more special Goldfinger news: to help celebrate the 50 th Anniversary this year of the iconic third James Bond movie, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment are to release an elegant Limited Edition gold Steelbook Blu-ray of Goldfinger. Available from September 22, 2014, this exciting new collector’s item will feature sketches of the Aston Martin by legendary Production Designer Sir Ken Adam on the inside of the case and will contain a variety of Special Features, some of them sourced from the archive of EON Productions. There will be Audio Commentaries by the Director Guy Hamilton and other members of cast and crew. There will also be special Featurettes on the movie’s locations, production, publicity campaign, and global impact. In addition, the Steelbook will include the Screen Tests of Theodore Bikel and Tito Vandis, an interview with Honor Blackman, and some notably rare stills. Special Interactive Features will also be available in the Steelbook. The Goldfinger 50 th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook will be priced £24.99 in the UK. From Sweden With Love Fancy a trip to Sweden? Our good friend Anders Frejdh, who runs the notably comprehensive Swedish 007 website ‘From Sweden With Love’ (FSWL), has spent the last six months very busily organising a special ‘James Bond Weekend’ in support of the charity UNICEF. There will be exclusive film screenings with Q and As, autograph signings, a Bond exhibition, a charity gala and a live singing performance by none other than Robert Davi who, of course, so memorably played the main villain Franz Sanchez in Licence to Kill (1989). Yes, while Robert Davi still acts in films (he can be seen for example, in The Expendables III, currently in cinemas), he also has another huge talent: he can sing Frank Sinatra songs! Other guests will include director John Glen and stunt coordinator Paul Weston, to name just a few. The special FSWL James Bond weekend will take place September 19-21, 2014. Full details of the not-to-be-missed event can be obtained at: http://www.jamesbond007.se/from-sweden-with-love.asp Spy Another Day The World Premiere of the new espionage thriller The November Man, directed by Roger Donaldson and starring former four-times 007 star Pierce Brosnan, took place on the evening of Wednesday August 13 at the famous Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Brosnan plays veteran former CIA agent Peter Devereaux (code-name ‘November’) in the new movie, which is based on a series of best-selling novels by Bill Granger. Brosnan and his co-star Olga Kurylenko (who played Camille Montes in Quantum of Solace) attended the premiere, and both generously spent time signing autographs for fans, who had been waiting patiently across the street since the afternoon. Other special guests at the red-carpet premiere included actor Ben Kingsley and two-times Bond director Martin Campbell, the man who launched both Brosnan and Craig on their Bond careers, directing the debut 007 movies of both men. Looking super-cool in a dark, three-piece suit, 61-year old Brosnan, when asked to comment about director Donaldson’s view that Brosnan’s character Devereaux ‘could kick James Bond’s butt’, smiled and described his character as a ‘hard-boiled man, a cultured bad-ass and sassy operative’, someone who had been in the game of espionage for quite a long time and is called out of retirement. Brosnan said he felt that there had been sufficient time between him playing Bond and now for him to ‘jump back into the ring’ and play a spy again. He also said he had very good support from a team who had worked with him previously on the Bond movies, led by stunt co-ordinator Mark Mottram. Mottram was Brosnan’s (uncredited) stunt double on Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and The World Is Not Enough (1999), and was also a stunt performer on Die Another Day (2002). Pierce also revealed that they were allowed to have free run of the streets of Belgrade for the new movie, allowing them to create plenty of dramatic explosions and action for the fast-paced plot of The November Man. Produced by Brosnan’s own Irish Dreamtime production company, there are already plans in place for a possible sequel. Return Another Way? While busily promoting November Man since its premiere, Brosnan has made some interesting further reflections on the links with his time as James Bond and, in the process, given us some clues as to where he may have taken the character of 007 had he been given the chance of a final Bond movie. Speaking to Wenn, for example (August 21), Pierce revealed that he signed up for the role of Peter Devereaux in a bid to conclude his journey as James Bond which, in a sense, was ‘unfinished’ after he was abruptly replaced as 007 by Daniel Craig. Brosnan told Wenn that he never really got the chance to get the Bond franchise or character out of his system. But now November Man has helped him ‘exorcise’ that ghost once and for all. He said: ‘After my four outings as James Bond there seemed to be unfinished business in the way that the Bond films finished in my life and the demise of Bond going offstage left into the night; it seemed like there was a certain void there... Bond was so big and mighty in my career’. He added: ‘I wouldn’t be in the company of you all, talking about The November Man, if it hadn’t been for James Bond’. On the other hand, given the complexity of the character of Devereaux, which had a ‘punch and a grit to it’, Brosnan said the role gave him ‘the opportunity to really take the gloves off’ and ‘be as hard as nails’, showing a moral ambivalence to his character. A View From a ‘Q’ John Cleese, former gadget master in two the last two Brosnan 007 films, speaking as his famous Monty Python team embarked on their final reunion stage shows in London in July, voiced some reservations about what he claimed has been the ‘humourless’ tone of the recent James Bond films. Cleese, who played a trainee assistant to ‘Q’ in 1999’s The World Is Not Enough and then assumed the full Quartermaster role in 2002’s Die Another Day (following the tragic death of Desmond Llewelyn in 1999), spoke to the BBC’s Radio Times magazine. The 74-year old comedy actor reminded readers of the magazine that he did two 007 films ‘and then I believe that the tone they needed was that of the Bourne action movies, which are very gritty and humourless’. He said that in his view the action sequences now go on for too long. Cleese has been hard at work recently working on his memoirs, and has just agreed to appear as the villain in The B Team, a new movie directed by Chris Cottam, which will (unofficially) reunite some of the stars from the old Baywatch TV series, but with a comedy and espionage storyline. The movie starts shooting in September. The Monty Python reunion shows took place at the 02 Arena in east London, near the River Thames; this was formerly the Millenium Dome and will be very familiar to Bond fans after it featured in the spectacular pre-credits river chase sequence in The World Is Not Enough. Concert Royale: David Arnold Wows his Many Fans The theme song to The World Is Not Enough, originally sung by Garbage, was one of the songs bravely sung live on stage by former 007 music composer David Arnold at his first live London concert, which took place in front of a packed audience at the Royal Festival Hall on July 6, to much acclaim from Bond fans and general film music enthusiasts. There was a great atmosphere in the auditorium. Arnold played a variety of excellent compositions from his distinguished film music career, and was backed on the evening by a 75-piece orchestra conducted by Nicholas Dodd. The evening included Arnold’s main song from Made in Dagenham, the new West End stage show, sung on stage by Arnold himself. As well as a range of familiar and less familiar Arnold film compositions, the superb evening included (for Bond fans) ‘Surrender’ (sung by David McAlmont, with backing on acoustic guitar by Arnold); ‘City of Lovers’ from Casino Royale; ‘A Night at the Opera’ from Quantum of Solace; and a brilliant instrumental version of ‘You Know My Name’, the main title song from Casino Royale. There was also a nice surprise for Sherlock Holmes fans, when Arnold introduced Mark Gatiss and Amanda Abbington who both introduced the ‘Sherlock Suite’, conducted by Michael Price, from the smash-hit Sherlock TV series. After Nicholas Dodd reappeared to conduct the spectacular end titles to Arnold’s music for Independence Day, there was a mouth-watering Encore to the evening when David Arnold played the famous ‘James Bond Theme’ on his electric guitar. There is no doubt this remains one of the most famous pieces of film music in the world, and Arnold did it more than justice. What a musician! Barry is Forever One of David Arnold’s big personal heroes was John Barry, and he has pointed to Barry’s music for You Only Live Twice as having a major inspirational impact on his own decision to become a film composer. Regular filmmakers at Pinewood Studios over the years will have become very familiar with what was once called the Pinewood Studios Screening Theatre no.7. However, in honour of the famous James Bond music composer John Barry, who scored some classic 007 films and many other films produced at Pinewood but sadly died in January 2011, the screening theatre has been renamed ‘The John Barry Theatre’ in memory of the Yorkshire-born music maestro. A private unveiling ceremony took place at the location on Friday 20 June, attended by his wife Laurie and Jonpatrick Barry, together with the 007 producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and former Bond director John Glen. Barry scored the soundtracks to 11 Bond movies between 1963 and 1987 (arguably 12 if you include his work on rearranging Monty Norman’s ‘James Bond Theme’ for Dr. No in 1962). Double-O-Heaven: New edition of Music of Bond And while we are on the subject of the music of the 007 films, September 2014 sees the publication of a new, updated edition of Jon Burlingame’s superb study The Music of James Bond, which was originally published in 2012 to coincide with the 50 th anniversary of the James Bond movie series. The first edition of the book contained a chapter devoted to each of the Bond movies (including the non-official ones), and quickly became a key reference book for Bond scholars and general film music enthusiasts alike. Oxford University Press have announced that the new 2014 paperback edition includes a new chapter on the most recent Bond movie Skyfall. Moreover, Burlingame has revealed to eager readers that the new chapter is based on some comprehensive interviews with all the people involved behind the scenes with the production of Adele’s award-winning theme song, together with the movie’s soundtrack composer Thomas Newman. Burlingame, who teaches film and TV music scores at the University of California, has become one of America’s leading experts on movie soundtrack compositions, and it will be fascinating to read his views on the latest entry in the Bond music canon. To Jamaica With Love Another book well worth investing in concerns Ian Fleming’s love of Jamaica and the extent to which the island may have played an even more important role in his development of James Bond than experts previously realised. The book, which has just been published in the UK by Hutchinson, is Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born – Ian Fleming’s Jamaica, written by historian Matthew Parker. The new book is a combination of part-biography of Fleming, a history of Jamaica (and especially its tourist industry), and a critical exploration of the James Bond novels. Many of the 007 books were developed and written in Fleming’s island retreat of ‘Goldeneye’, the rather austere bungalow built to his own specifications, where the Bond author would regularly sit at his writing desk (still there today) and type out a first draft of his latest Bond adventure, smoking his beloved cigarettes and listening to the tropical birds in the lovely sunken garden; he would then reward himself with a daily swim in the bay. Parker’s thesis is that, not only did the exotic island provide much incidental background and atmosphere to the Bond series, but that Jamaica’s place in the wider global context of the Cold War was also an influence on the Bond books, especially in relation to Anglo-American relations in the Caribbean and evidence of Britain’s declining power in the post-war world. A good example was the friendly sparring between Bond and his CIA buddy Felix Leiter. Golden High for Goldeneye The book has been well-received by critics and highly praised in various quarters. Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett, for example, writing in the Literary Review (August, 2014 issue), praised Parker’s ‘close and intelligent’ reading of Fleming’s work while David Mills, writing in the Sunday Times review section (August 3), also noted how Parker has pointed to Bond as Fleming’s response to the decline of Britain as a world power. Robert McCrum, writing in the UK’s Observer newspaper (August 17), said that Parker’s account of the role Goldeneye played in the evolution of 007 is ‘persuasive, well-researched and entertaining’, while John Preston in the Daily Mail (August 15) reflected: ‘You might think there is nothing new to say about Ian Fleming – that every detail of his life has been obsessively picked over by biographers. Matthew Parker, though, has produced a book as illuminating as it is intriguing’. The JBIFC hightly recommends the book for your collection. And for those who want yet more, Parker himself has also penned a special tie-in article on his book’s main themes for the new BBC History magazine (September, 2014), which has just gone on sale in the UK. Underneath the Mango Trees There is no doubt that Fleming drew upon his immediate surroundings as well as his friends (and enemies) for inspiration and plotlines in his 007 novels, as well as key aspects of his own personality and life. The lovely Caribbean island of Jamaica provided the setting for three James Bond adventures penned by Fleming: Live and Let Die, Dr. No, and The Man with the Golden Gun. A Jamaican backdrop was also used for his short story Octopussy (published posthumously in 1966). In his recent book Ian Fleming’s Commandos (2011), the historian Nicholas Rankin noted how the central character of the story of Octopussy, Major Dexter Smythe, shared certain key characteristics with Fleming himself: both lived on the north shore of Jamaica, and both spent much time snorkelling in the water by their home. Moreover, during the war (like Fleming), Dexter Smythe had formed a unit for ‘special operations’. Did You Know? When Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and Harry Saltzman decided that Dr. No would be the first James Bond movie instead of their original choice (Thunderball), they faced the tricky challenge of casting an appropriate actor for the main villain, Julius No. A near-neighbour and close friend of Ian Fleming in Jamaica was Noel Coward, the famous playwright and star of stage and screen. Fleming was keen for Coward to play the role of Julius No but, when he sounded the famous thespian out, Coward sent a telegram back to Fleming with the now immortal words: ‘Dear Ian, the answer to Dr. No is No! No! No!’ Bond Bits: Brief News Items You May Have Missed Award-winning actor Rory Kinnear, who played M’s assistant and Chief of Staff in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, and will reprise his role in the upcoming Bond 24 this autumn, was interviewed in the BBC’s Radio Times in May in relation to his BAFTA nomination for his role in the TV series Southcliffe. He said he loved ‘working with actors who surprise me’... It has been very good news recently for Pinewood Studios, the traditional home of James Bond. The film studios group Pinewood Shepperton reported in June that there has been ‘unprecedented demand’ for its famous production facilities and pre-tax profits had recently doubled to £3.5m... Pinewood also recently finally won permission for its £200m expansion project to go ahead, which will double the size of its studios with new stages, new facilities and badly-needed additional capacity, such as offices and workshops... A fair number of Bond fans are also big fans of The Saint TV series, which famously starred Roger Moore in the 1960s, before he became 007. So there was much excitement when a new Saint TV movie began shooting. Then all went strangely quiet. So, what happened? The JBIFC recently checked out the latest news... The new Saint revival project, which had the backing of Sir Roger and also his TV-producer son, seemed to have ended in stalemate, but all is not lost. A pilot movie for a new TV series (which also included a small role for Sir Roger) was indeed made and completed, and the hope was that the major US TV networks would take it up... But the major networks apparently took so long trying to decide whether to buy the pilot that the main star and his female lead have moved on to other projects! According to insiders, though, all is not lost. The plan is to try to recast the main role and carry on with making the TV series... Interestingly, the scriptwriter Chris Lunt told The Times newspaper (May 1) that he has been working on new scripts for the Saint reboot and that they now hoped to find a ‘Roger Moore-type character’, who would give the new series a ‘very British feel’... Famke Janssen, who played the wonderfully-named Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye (1995), remains as busy as ever. Famke was interviewed for the London Metro newspaper (July 24), while she was promoting her role in the second series of the supernatural Netflix drama Hemlock Grove... Famke reflected on her role in the X-Men franchise, making it clear she would like to feature in the films again in the future if the possibility is there, but she is also very keen to continue pursuing her own independent projects: she was a writer, director, and producer on Bringing Up Bobby (2011), which starred Milla Jovovich, and she is now trying to get her next script, a satire about Wall Street in the 1970s, off the ground: ‘I’m about to shop it around to producers to look for money’, she said. ‘It’s a difficult time for independent films and I have to work on it between acing jobs. But I’ve never shied away from challenges’... Another veteran of Goldeneye, Sean Bean (who played the villainous former ‘double-0’ section agent Alec Trevelyan), hosted an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on the social media site reddit.com in early August and, perhaps inevitably, he was asked about Bond, James Bond. He revealed that he was given an Omega watch, with ‘Issued to Sean Bean, 006’ inscribed on the back, as part of his thanks for playing the role... In response to another Bond-related question, Sean also said the famous Goldeneye Nintendo 64 game is ‘great’, but he thinks his head looks ‘a bit square’ in it! Perhaps the designers used ‘Q’s facial identikit hardware from For Your Eyes Only? (“I said a nose, Q, not a banana”!!)... Alan Cumming, who played the computer-hacking henchman Boris Grishenko in Goldeneye, and has been treading the boards of Broadway in a revival of the hit show Cabaret for Sam Mendes, has been busy penning his memoirs. He recently (in May) signed a contract with Canongate books. Entitled Not My Father’s Son, his new book will be published in November, 2014... The JBIFC were very sad to hear about the death of Tom Pevsner (1926-2014), Executive Producer on Goldeneye, who died on August 19, aged 87. He was also Associate Producer on For Your Eyes Only, A View To A Kill, The Living Daylights, and Licence to Kill. He started his career in the film industry back in 1951... Live and Let Bye: it was announced in June that Sir John Sawyers, currently the real-life ‘M’ (known officially as ‘C’) is to bid goodbye and step aside from his job as head of MI6 in November, 2014, on the fifth anniversary of his appointment in 2009... Known as a ‘smooth operator’, when he was originally appointed Sir John was likened to Pierce Brosnan’s portrayal of Bond by some media outlets, who were keen to coin a headline. Rumours that Dame Judi Dench, who took over as ‘M’ in Goldeneye and recently ‘vacated’ the role in Skyfall, has offered to step in and fill Sir John’s shoes have been vigorously denied by MI6 insiders... The latest James Bond novelist, William Boyd, whose best-selling 007 adventure Solo recently appeared in paperback, has joined a campaign to save the old Curzon Cinema, in the King’s Road, Chelsea, London, which is not far from where he lives... According to the London Evening Standard (August 12), the Bond author recently used the newsletter of the Chelsea Arts Club to help drum up support for the ‘Save Curzon Chelsea’ campaign, as he is unhappy about the plans of a developer to drastically reduce the size of the unique pre-war picturehouse... Boyd said the cinema is an integral part of the local area’s ‘rich and enduring artistic life’ and demolishing it risks ‘King’s Road being turned into a soulless, homogenous 21 st-century shopping mall’... People tend to forget that Boyd is not just a highly talented novelist: he also has a love of cinema. He directed the independent movie The Trench (1999), set in the First World War on the eve of the battle of the Somme. The film included a gritty performance from a younger pre-007 Daniel Craig as a war-hardened British army soldier, Sergeant Winter. Eagle-eyed viewers of Boyd’s dramatic account of the last 48 hours in the lives of some infantrymen can also see a young Ben (‘Q’) Whishaw in the movie, who played Private James Deamis... King’s Road, of course, is also famous as the road named by Ian Fleming as James Bond’s local residential area in London. In the Bond novels, 007 has a flat just off the King’s Road, which is maintained by his loyal Scottish housekeeper, May. Ian Fleming himself was very familiar with the general area, and had a flat not too far away in Ebury Street, near Victoria Station... King’s Road was also increasingly famous in the Swinging Sixties as the place to be seen for fashion-conscious youngsters and upcoming pop stars. Interestingly, Sebastian Faulks, who penned the James Bond continuation novel Devil May Care (2008), had Bond in chapter 3 driving his beloved Bentley Continental down the King’s Road towards Sloane Square... Another Fleming car was in the news recently: a survey by the UK’s Auto Trader of the British public’s favourite screen cars placed ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ at no.3, even beating the Batmobile (which came in at no.4). First place went to ‘Herbie’ from The Love Bug... The musician, painter and actor Goldie, who played the gold-toothed henchman ‘The Bull’ in The World Is Not Enough (1999), has just curated a new triple CD called Masterpiece, which showcases the music that has influenced him over the years... And talking of music, Sam Smith has poured cold water on recent internet rumours that he could be singing the theme song to Bond 24. The 22-year old singer, famous for Money On My Mind, spoke to the New Musical Express in mid-August and said of the claims: ‘I have no idea what that was about. I think it’s something everyone would love to do, but yeah, it was all news to me’... However, according to the NME, he did reveal that he is a big fan of the song written for Quantum of Solace, sung by Jack White and Alicia Keys: ‘I thought it was amazing. Her voice and his voice together, I thought, was really interesting’... The ever-lovely Rosamund Pike, who played treacherous Miranda Frost in Die Another Day (2002), joined Simon Pegg to sign autographs for fans in Leicester Square, London, on the evening of August 13 for the World Premiere of their new comedy Hector And The Search For Happiness. Pike plays the wife of a psychiatrist (Pegg), a man who sets off to find out what makes people happy. Just getting an autograph from Rosamund should be on top of the list, surely?... We were very sad to learn of the loss of Iris Rose, one of the veteran members of the EON ‘Bond family’, who passed away on Tuesday, August 12. Iris had served four 007 actors since 1981. She was promoted to Unit Manager in 1985 on A View to A Kill, and her last film was Quantum of Solace. RIP, Rose... Dame Diana Rigg, who played Tracy Di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), and more recently starred in Game of Thrones, performed her own one-person show at the Edinburgh Fringe Arts Festival, August 14-12, entitled ‘Dame Diana Rigg: No Turn Unstoned’ (great title!). Her well-reviewed stage show was based on Dame Diana’s old 1982 book of the same title, which famously brought together some of the worst critical notices ever served on actors over the years. Her show updated this material... As part of the tie-in publicity for her Edinburgh show, Dame Diana was interviewed by Peter Rossin in The Sunday Times newspaper (August 3) about her life and wide acting career, and she revealed that, despite her iconic role as super-fit Emma Peel in the cult TV series The Avengers and her subsequent role as James Bond’s late wife in OHMSS, she could still get awful reviews from critics who, instead of commenting constructively on her acting, would make jibes about her physical attributes... Dame Diana said she had never forgotten one such wounding review given to her in 1971, when she was starring on Broadway in Abelhard & Heloise, in a role that required a nude scene: the critic John Simon, reviewing the production, wrote that the actress was ‘built, alas, like a brick basilica with insufficient flying buttresses’... Dame Diana clearly still knows a trick or too from her karate-chopping days on The Avengers, however. According to the London Evening Standard (August 19), Rigg, who played the kickass Emma Peel in the famous series, put her martial arts training to good use again during her stay in Edinburgh. Minutes before being interviewed live by the BBC, Rigg found herself locked in a Portaloo. After calling for help to no avail, Dame Diana, now 76-years old, karate-kicked the lock off (!)... Interestingly, Dame Diana had some hard-hitting things to say about her time as a Bond woman. Interviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe by Sue Perkins, at one point she was asked about OHMSS. She said that working with George Lazenby ‘was a nightmare’, and she wished it had been Sean Connery or Roger Moore instead. She said that George ‘had read too many film magazines and thought that was the way you have to behave. Oh, he was ghastly. And I had to marry the man!’. Ouch. Strong stuff... The British radio channel Classic FM devoted the rain-soaked August Bank Holiday Monday (August 25) to a special ‘Movie Music Hall of Fame 2014’, playing the top 100 favourite film music scores of all time, as selected by the channel’s listeners. Bond composers, predictably, did very well in the chart. David Arnold’s Casino Royale came in at no.83, followed closely by John Barry’s theme for The Lion In Winter at no.82. Monty Norman’s James Bond Theme came in at no.55, while Barry’s dramatic Zulu was placed at no.46... John Barry also featured twice in the survey’s top ten: his haunting and beautiful Dances with Wolves reached no.6, followed next, at no.5, by his remarkable classic Out of Africa. First place went to Canadian composer Howard Shore’s 2001 theme for Lord of the Rings... Happy birthday, Sir Sean! It may be over 50 years since Sean Connery took on the role of 007 and changed cinema history, and he may now be retired from movies, but he’s still pursuing an active life and looking as cool as ever when he appears in public. Sir Sean, who turned 84 on August 25, was seen recently in New York with his wife Micheline eating at the Atlantic Grill, and then going for a stroll and some shopping. Photos appeared in the UK’s Daily Mail (August 22) and in other media outlets...