SO WHAT IF this weekend’s big film release is essentially about a sulky girl who has been transformed in to an equally sulky vampire.
Now that we’ve saved you €8 with our synopsis, here’s some more good news.
James Bond would not stand for any of this undead nonsense… probably.
But just how much do you know about the one they call 007?
LIFE’s book on “50 Years of James Bond” has uncovered some interesting tidbits. Below are 12 of the best.
1. Skyfall isn’t technically Bond 23
There are 25 James Bond movies in all.
2. Bond appeared on screen before the 1962 film, “Dr. No”
Before his theatrical debut, 007 made his entrance in a television episode of Climax Mystery Theater on 21 October, 1954.
CBS paid Fleming $1,000 to show the hour-long adaptation of his novel Casino Royale.
3. The names Bond, Jane Bond
Producer-director Gregory Ratoff and screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. found the male James Bond to be unbelievable for the film adaptation of Fleming’s “Casino Royale.”
Ratoff nearly wanted Susan Hayward to play the role of Jane Bond.
4. Fleming wrote most of his Bond books in his Goldeneye estate in Oracasbessa, Jamaica
The author has said he named his home after the novels “Reflections in a Golden Eye” and “Operation Golden Eye” which Fleming was in charge of running in Spain.
Nearby is James Bond Beach where Ursula Andress filmed her iconic “Dr. No” scenes. Today, it holds annual concerts.
(Sean Connery as British super-spy James Bond and Swiss actress Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in “Dr No”. Also pictured, a rather large shell – Topham/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images)
5. Bond was formed in creator Ian Fleming’s own image
007 and Fleming shared a lot in common right down to his hairstyle and eye color.
Both were heavy smokers, loved to drink, and were womanizers.
Fleming and Bond also attended Eton, a British boarding school, and were lieutenant commanders in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Fleming even owned up to the personal inspiration behind his fictional spy saying, “Bond was a compound of all the secret agents and commandos I met during the war.”
(Writer Ian Fleming, left, with actor Sean Connery during the filming of “From Russia with Love” on 12 August, 1964 – AP/Press Association Images)
6. It took author Ian Fleming a little more than two months to write the first James Bond book, “Casino Royale”
Fleming reportedly started writing the book 15 January 1952 and finished it on 18 March of the same year.
7. James Bond – bird watcher extraordinaire
Fleming told The New Yorker in 1962 that James Bond was named after an American ornithologist of the same name who wrote Birds of the West Indies. Fleming had the book in his Jamaica estate.
When I wrote the first one in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument,” Fleming said. “When I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought, by God [that] is the dullest name I ever heard.
8. George Lazenby–the youngest man to play Bond–passed up on a reported $28 million to reprise his role as 007
Lazenby starred as Bond once in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Right before the film’s premiere he announced he wouldn’t return for another film no matter the paycheck.
According to LIFE, Lazenby thought the franchise was done with the impending onslaught of ’70s hippie culture.
(George ‘chillin’ Lazenby – PA NEWS/PA Archive/Press Association Images)
9. It took an hour and a half with makeup artist Paul Rabiger to transform actress Shirley Eaton into Bond’s painted Golden girl
A rumor spread the actress was killed on set during filming when the actress really retired soon after the film to raise her family.
10. Sean Connery was paid $5 million to star in Warner Bros “Never Say Never Again”
The film was one of two unofficial Bond movies not released by United Artists.
As a little background, Connery signed on to do this film after a long-standing feud between he and Bond producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman in which the actor claimed he wasn’t paid his dues for his job.
Instead, he reunited with “Thunderball” director Terence Young to bring “Never Say Never Again” to the big screen in 1983 opposite Broccoli and Saltzman’s “Octopussy” starring Roger Moore.
Though “Never Say Never Again” had a stronger opening than its competition ($10.8 million vs. $8.9 million), the UA film featuring Moore came out the overall winner with a $67.8 million gross at the time. “Never Say Never” Again earned $55.4 million.
11. Ursula Andress was not the first Bond girl. That title belongs to Eunice Gayson who played Sylvia Trench in both “Dr. No” and “From Russia with Love”
Gayson has said she was originally supposed to play the role of Trench in the first six Bond films under director Terence Young.
Her character was dropped when Young didn’t return to direct “Goldfinger” after “From Russia with Love.” Young did return for the next film “Thunderball.”
(Eunice Gayson can’t believe it’s a phone… in a car – YouTube screengrab)
12. Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron were both considered for the role of Vesper Lynd in “Casino Royale”
The role eventually went to Eva Green.
(Shhhh, don’t tell the other two – AP Photo/Alastair Grant)