The New James Bond
SCOTT SIMON, host:
There's a new James Bond--again. British actor Daniel Craig was so anointed this week at a press conference at a Royal Navy facility along the Thames River. Mr. Craig, who's been previously best known for starring in British television dramas, will succeed Pierce Brosnan, who followed Timothy Dalton, Roger Moore and George Lazenby, who all succeeded Sean Connery. James Bonds have been coming and going for 43 years now.
Craig will soon start shooting "Casino Royale" from the first Bond novel that Ian Fleming wrote about the time that Pierce Brosnan was born. Why is Mr. Craig, who's relatively unknown, replacing Pierce Brosnan, who habitually appears on `sexiest men in the world' polls? Because Daniel Craig is 37; Pierce Brosnan is 53. Craig is in the summer of life; Pierce Brosnan is in his autumn--colorful as it is.
The producers of the Bond franchise seem patently afraid of James Bond getting old. They say they want Mr. Craig to play a grittier, more real Bond. But by changing Bonds as soon as 007 begins to shoot more Botox than bullets, they are evading the grittiest challenge of all: growing old. And they may be missing out on the chance to make films that try to relate to that largest demographic group: aging baby boomers. They could show a James Bond who isn't afraid of Rosa Klebb, inspector, but male pattern baldness and receding gum lines. The most important gadget that Q gives Bond wouldn't be his amphibious Aston Martin or the Union Jack parachute that pops out of his tuxedo, but a sturdy pair of reading glasses. You can't keep Dr. No from world domination if you can't read the small print on a menu.
007 has a license to kill, but his doctor probably won't give him a license to eat a piece of cheesecake without swallowing his Lipitor. Smirsh(ph), Goldfinger and Odd Job are no longer his enemies so much as arthritis, cholesterol and tiny hairs growing out of his ears. Instead of ordering a martini shaken while he plays baccarat on green felt tables in the gaming casinos of Monaco, James Bond will sip green tea while clacking mahjong tiles in Sun City, Arizona. (Imitating Bond accent) `Oh, Moneypenny, come quickly. They've got shrimp on the early bird buffet.' And instead of frolicking with Pussy Galore, Kissy Suzuki and Holly Goodhead, James Bond will plead, (imitating Bond accent) `Oh, sorry, darling. Can't we just watch the Manchester United game in bed tonight?'
(Soundbite of music)
Mr. ROBERT GOULET: (Singing) Beautiful girls, walk a little slower when you walk by me.
Chorus: (Singing in unison) Lingering sunsets...
Mr. GOULET: (Singing) Lingering sunsets, stay a little longer. We'll only see children everywhere. When you shoot at bad men, shoot at me. Take me to that strange enchanted land grownups seldom understand...
SIMON: Robert Goulet at 18 minutes past the hour.
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