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IN MY EYES: James Bond: from Connery to Craig

By Edward B. Antonio

The James Bond movies are the most anticipated in the world.

I have to agree, fellas.

I have seen all those Bond movies from “Dr. No” to “Spectre” portayed by Sean Connery (1962-1967, 1971 and 1983), David Niven (1967’s “Casino Royale”), George Lazenby (1969), Roger Moore (1972-1985), Timothy Dalton (1986-1994), Pierce Brosnan (1994-2004) and Daniel Craig (2005-present).

My wife used to adore Roger Moore who died just recently at age 89 due to cancer. She is just fascinated with “For Your Eyes Only” especially on opening salvo where Bond wrestled to battle an enemy through a remote-controlled chopper and that breath-taking cliff scene at the end. She eventually fell in love with Pierce Brosnan whose good looks made every woman swoon.

So far, Roger Moore is the only one who has died. In terms of age, Moore was the oldest having been born in 1927 while Sean Connery, who was the first Bond, is 86, born in 1930. Connery’s friend, Michael Caine, denied in 2013 that Connery had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. One of the more recent sightings of Connery occurred in January 2016 when the National Enquirer reported that he looked “frail” while walking through an airport. Australian actor, George Lazenby, is now 77 and is said to be in good health. Just a few days before Moore’s passing, the Guardian reported on the crazy story of how Lazenby got the role as Bond in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The 29-year-old had never acted prior to being cast and is by far the youngest person to be selected for the role.

I also remember how my classmates and I escaped from our classes in high school to see “The Spy Who Loved Me” at the Consuelo Cinema (now Novo) in Vigan City. It was earlier advertised by a movie crier who totted a megaphone all the way around the town to promote the movie.

Of all the Bond characters, only Lazenby had one, refusing to sign a contract for more Bond movies thinking that James Bond “was finally over” as it was a Sean Connery gig. Timothy Dalton had only two after the movie outfit went into legal problems. He waited for 5 years for the next James Bond assignment and when it did not come, he quitted. Moreover, he was considered as too serious for the role.

George Simpson said James Bond star Sean Connery reportedly quitted after “You Only Live Twice” following a feud with the producer, thinking 007 had got boring and being dissatisfied with his salary.The 1967 movie was also a turning point in the franchise, with Connery unhappy having to play the role yet again. According to the Telegraph, the actor thought Bond had become boring as the character hadn’t really developed since the first outing, 1962’s “Dr. No.”

Tensions were seemingly rife on the Japanese set between Connery and Albert R Broccoli, the franchise’s producer.

It turns out their relationship became so bad that Connery would lock himself in his trailer whenever Broccoli visited the set.

This feud wasn’t the only thing to rile the Bond star, with his new found fame leading to him being followed by a stalker throughout the filming of You Only Live Twice. He was even followed into a public restroom by Japanese photographers, leaving Connery furious. The last straw was his salary of $750,000 (£589,000) with 25% of merchandise profits.

But the most tragic Bond hero is Pierce Brosnan.

He first lost his wife Cassandra Harris in 1991 after a four-year battle with ovarian cancer. The slow decline in her health and her eventual demise nearly ruined Brosnan. Years later, in 2013, Brosnan’s life would be struck once again by ovarian cancer. This time, his daughter Charlotte passed away from the crippling disease. His son Sean nearly died, too, in 2000 after he and his friends met an accident along a mountain slope where the car fell down 200 feet below. Sean had fractures and a spinal injury. His childhood was also a tragedy. As he told Esquire in 2017, he grew up without a father and his mother was largely absent because she was working. Brosnan was born and grew up in a small Ireland town. His father left shortly after his arrival and his mother left Ireland for London for better work opportunities. So, as a result, he was left to live with relatives and at one point in a boarding house with strangers.

Despite big success at the box office, Brosnan claims he was significantly insecure as the character James Bond. It’s hard to believe because he played the British crime fighter in four movies—“Golden Eye” (1995), “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997), “The World Is Not Enough” (1999) and “Die Another Day” (2002), respectively.

Why did he quit the character?

According to a 2015 Guardian report, Brosnan says he was “kicked to the curb.”

Brosnan said: “I was in the Bahamas, working on a movie called After the Sunset and my agents called me up and said, ‘Negotiations have stopped,'” Brosnan revealed in a book about the movies. “[Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson] are not quite sure what they want to do. They’ll call you next Thursday.'”

Finally, the day Brosnan had been dreading finally arrived. “I sat in Richard Harris’s house in the Bahamas, and Barbara and Michael were on the line —’We’re so sorry,'” he recalled of that awkward phone call. “She was crying, Michael was stoic and he said, ‘You were a great James Bond. Thank you very much,’ and I said, ‘Thank you very much. Goodbye.’ That was it. I was utterly shocked and just kicked to the curb with the way it went down.” The authors claims Brosnan was asking too much cash for the fifth film.

And so we now have Daniel Craig.

I don’t know if he will last long, fellas, because after “Casino Royal,” he said: “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”

Craig might still be the next after producers Barbara Brocolli and Michael Wilson junked Ex-Taylor Swift boyfriend Tom Hiddleston at the last hour of negotiations.

Let’s wait and see, fellas.#

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