Connery vs Moore - the Battle of the Bonds

Who Won the Battle of the Bonds? - (Octopussy vs Never Say Never Again)

Connery vs Moore - the Battle of the Bonds

For James Bond fans, 1983 is known as the “Battle of the Bonds”.

Octopussy – Staring Roger Moore as 007

Never Say Never Again – Staring Sean Connery as 007

It was the year when veteran Bond actor Sean Connery dared to go up against Bond Producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli with a rival Bond film. Who would win the much-anticipated Battle of the Bonds and how did it all begin?

Sean Connery Never Say Never Again movie posterAfter For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore announced that he was stepping down from role of Bond. The person favored to replace Moore in the upcoming Bond film, Octopussy, was American actor James Brolin. But before Brolin could strap on Bond’s Walther PPK, it was announced in the summer of 1982 that former Bond actor Sean Connery would return to the role in a rival Bond film that was going to be released on the same weekend as Octopussy.

Because Connery was still very popular among Bond fans, Broccoli feared that Connery’s Bond film would upstage his own. Broccoli figured that an established Bond actor would do better against Connery so he approached Roger Moore to convince him to reprise the role one more time. Although initially reluctant, Moore ultimately agreed so Broccoli rescinded his offer to Brolin.

Filming for Octopussy began in August 1982 in the former West Berlin and later moved to Udaipur, India (though Q’s laboratory was located in Pinewood Studios). Afterward, the crew returned to London to film the last few scenes. The film was released on June 10, 1983. While in India, Moore was shocked to see the grinding poverty that many locals, particularly children, lived under which prompted him to get involved with UNICEF years later.

By contrast, the filming of Never Say Never Again was beset by numerous problems. Filming began in September 1982, in the French Riviera and then moved to the Bahamas two months later. But soon the production ran out of money which put the film months behind schedule.

Octopussy (1983)In addition, producer Jack Schwartzman’s relations with Connery were extremely acrimonious with the two barely speaking to each other. Filming was finally completed in the spring of 1983 but a few scenes had to be shot that summer which made it impossible to release the film in time for the summer blockbuster season. It was finally released on October 7, 1983, four months after the release of Octopussy.

The Battle that Wasn’t

By box office numbers, Octopussy clearly won the Battle of the Bonds. It grossed $67 million in the US market and $187.5 million worldwide and its production costs totaled $27.5 million. By comparison, Never Say Never Again grossed $55 million in the US market and $160 million internationally (through its production costs exceeded $36 million).

But this is an unfair comparison because Octopussy was released in the summer when cinemas show matinees every day so it had greater exposure, which put Never Say Never Again at a disadvantage. Thus, in reality, there was no Battle of the Bonds — but Bond fans still benefitted by two Bond films in one year.


About the Author: Nick Constantinou

I was born in Greece in 1965 and was raised in the United States. I have been a huge James Bond fan ever since I saw my first Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. I have seen all the films and have collected the DVDs from Dr. No. to Quantum of Solace. I currently live in Greece where I work as a translator and English teacher. 


The Flaming Hand of License to Kill

The Flaming Hand of License to Kill

license to kill movie header

The Urban Legend of the Flaming Hand in License to Kill

During the finale of License to Kill, Bond and Sanchez battle it out in tanker trucks over a stretch of highway known as the Rumarosa Pass in Mexicali. While filming a scene where a tanker exploded, a special effects crew member was taking photos from behind the scenes.

When he looked at his photos later, he saw what could only be described as a flaming hand reaching down from inside the explosion. Even eerier, director John Glen went through every single inch of footage filmed that day, frame by frame, and couldn’t find the hand anywhere else.

Dangerous Curves Ahead

Now, it can be said that this was just a trick of light from the angle the photograph was taken. However, the exact spot where it happened has a long and checkered history; years earlier a minibus full of nuns fell over the cliff and burst into flames. Since then the road had been closed due to its “dangerous curves.”

In addition to the flaming hand, the crew of Licence to Kill had all sorts of other mishaps over the course of filming.

While filming a scene where Sanchez shoots off a Stinger missile, the prop stinger went haywire and hit a utility worker on a telephone pole more than two miles away.

Other examples include the truck that mysteriously burst into flames in the middle of the night for no reason, the truck that started its engine and drove a few feet with no one behind the wheel.

Then, there were the apparitions that the security guards reported seeing that disappeared when challenged.

Were these all just random and freak occurrences or was there actually a higher power at work during the filming of Licence to Kill? Director John Glen thinks there might be, as evidenced by a quote from his book, For My Eyes Only.

There was definitely a strange atmosphere on that stretch of road. The special effects boys where convinced there was something spooky about the place. If there was any doubt left in my mind, it was dispelled by a bizarre photograph …

While we will never know for certain, it sure is fun to speculate.

 

Can you spot the hand?

Below is a gallery of screenshots from the License to Kill tanker explosion scene. Can you spot the hand? (spoiler alert – you can’t)

License to Kill Flaming Hand

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sean-connery-roger-moore-007

Kevin McClory, Sony and Bond: A 007 History Lesson

The Battle of the Bonds - Kevin McClory, Thunderball, and SPECTRE

Ernst Stavro Blofeld – head of SPECTRE – is arguably the most famous James Bond villain of all time.

However, his existence and disappearance have been marred in controversy since 1961; when Ian Fleming’s Thunderball novel neglected to credit (and pay) SPECTRE’s co-creator: Kevin McClory.

Sean Connery in ThunderballLawsuits followed; and, eventually, Kevin McClory was given the full rights to SPECTRE and the Thunderball story.

This settlement resulted in Never Say Never Again: a 1983 spin-off Bond movie; most famous for bringing Sean Connery back to the series.

In the decades that followed, various rumors were heard about McClory creating another unofficial film.

However, MGM was quick to file lawsuits and injunctions; ensuring that it never happened.

Finally, in 2013, the estate of Kevin McClory reached a settlement with the Bond producers; which brought the rights to Thunderball, SPECTRE and Blofeld back home.

It took less than a year for Danjaq to capitalize on the reacquisition: having just announced SPECTRE as the title of Bond 24.

. . .

For the full history of the 50 year battle over SPECTRE – including all the sordid details of never-filmed spin-offs, bickering, in-fighting and more – keep on reading.


 

KEVIN MCCLORY AND IAN FLEMING

Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory first met in 1958 at a screening of The Boy and The Bridge, which McClory had co-written, directed and produced.

At that time, Fleming had unsuccessfully tried to get all seven of his Bond novels turned into movies. The closest he had come to success was in 1954; when he sold the rights to Casino Royale to CBS for $1,000.

. . .

THUNDERBALL WAS ALMOST THE FIRST 007 MOVIE

It was McClory who suggested to Fleming that they take James Bond into an underwater world, as well as create a super-villain character.

Ernst Stavro BlofeldThis nemesis would be a diabolical, intelligent, seemingly invincible mastermind with formidable henchmen; whose single-handed defeat by James Bond would make James Bond evolve into a cinematic super-hero.

Fleming reluctantly accepted McClory’s offer; partly because, as Fleming said in 1959,

“…the trouble with writing something, especially for the screen, is I haven’t a single idea in my head.”

Fleming and McClory began to work on a script in early 1959 and were later joined by well known and accomplished British screenwriter Jack Whittingham.

The script, which included the introduction of SPECTRE and Ernst Stavro Blofeld, was written during a 10-month period in 1959 and 1960.

. . .

IAN FLEMING’S BIG MISTAKE

As Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham (photo to the right) were completing the script of Thunderball, Ian Fleming sent a draft copy to his agent, Lawrence Evans.

Jack WhittinghamThe novel Thunderball was published in 1961, based entirely on McClory and Whittingham’s script, and without the knowledge or consent of the coauthors.

On March 31, 1961, McClory and Whittingham filed a lawsuit against Fleming, citing a breach of copyrights, breach of confidence, conversion, of contract, false representation of authorship and slander of title.

The nine-day trial was held at the High Court in London, England, in November 1963.

During the proceedings, Fleming admitted to the court that he had indeed based the Thunderball novel on Whittingham and McClory’s scripts, and agreed to publicly acknowledge this fact.

On December 3, 1963, the court ordered Fleming to assign and sell the film copyright of the novel Thunderball and all copyrights in the screenplay to McClory.

Additionally, under the order of the British court, Fleming gave appropriate authorship acknowledgment in all future editions of Thunderball.

. . .

THUNDERBALL. the movie

In 1961, despite the ongoing legal dispute, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, together with United Artists, commissioned screenwriter Richard Maibaum to write a screenplay based on the Thunderball novel and/or McClory’s James Bond film scripts.

They had no assignment of film rights from Fleming, McClory or Whittingham.

You can clearly see McClory's name in this Thunderball posterSaltzman and Broccoli’s intended to film Thunderball as the first in a series of James Bond movies. In fact, they even used the script to lure Sean Connery to the series. He is quoted as saying,

“The first James Bond film which I was hired for was Thunderball for United Artists and the first [Bond] script I was given to read by Broccoli and Saltzman’s company was Thunderball.”

Despite being unable to use the script as the first Bond film, elements of Thunderball were incorporated into Dr. No; most importantly, the introduction of SPECTRE.

A 10 Year License

The first legal right for EON to use any material from Thunderball in a motion picture came on March 12, 1965.

This was in the form of a license from Kevin McClory’s company, Paradise Film Productions, which limited Danjaq/Eon’s use of Thunderball for one film only.

McClory insisted that the rights revert back to his company after ten years; so he could one day make further James Bond films. McClory also retained ownership of all shooting scripts and contents included in those scripts used to make Thunderball.

These rights did return to McClory; who, in 1983, produced Never Say Never Again.

 

DID YOU KNOW? Kevin McClory has a brief cameo in Thunderball; appearing as a guest smoking a cigar when 007 enters the Nassau casino. Below is a screenshot; courtesy of BondMovies.com.

Kevin McClory in Thunderball - a cameo

 


TEN YEARS LATER: BACK TO COURT

With the release of The Man With the Golden Gun in late 1973, Bond fans began to become tired of the Bond character.

Kevin McClory at a screening of Thunderball in 1965The film was a critical bomb, Albert R. Broccoli is working, for the first time, without his longtime partner Harry Saltzman, and the rights to Thunderball had returned to Kevin McClory.

Sensing that the time was right to get back into the ‘Bond-game,’ McClory promptly announced that he would begin production on a new Bond film, entitled James Bond of the Secret Service.

MGM promptly filed suit against McClory to stop him from making a rival Bond film. McClory’s argument was that he alone had the rights to SPECTRE and Broccoli and company could not use it.

Broccoli stated that McClory had no right to make a movie based on the original drafts; as he didn’t have Ian Fleming’s permission. Due to lack of financial backing, McClory backed down.

. . .

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. 1978 – 1983

In 1978 Danjaq/United Artists and the Fleming Trustees tried, in two separate actions, to prevent Paramount and McClory from making a James Bond spin-off movie called Warhead; which would be based on McClory’s Thunderball scripts.

Never Say Never Again Movie PosterDanjaq/UA did not proceed with their action, but encouraged and indemnified the trustees to bring the case to court, however unsuccessfully, in an effort to keep the project in limbo.

Fast forward to 1981.

The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker are global blockbusters and Bond is back in the limelight. Despite sneaking the “wheelchair villain” into For Your Eyes Only – an obvious reference to Blofeld – Kevin McClory still has sole rights to Thunderball, SPECTRE and Blofeld.

At this point, McClory has spent the last seven years talking about and trying to find financial backing to go win a court case and remake Thunderball.

All his problems were solved when McClory met Jack Schwartzman of Warner Brothers.

Schwartzman knew McClory had the rights to do the film; his case just had to be presented correctly.

The Fleming trustee case against Never say Never Again lasted until 1983, when the British High Court ruled for Kevin McClory. The ruling stating that the Deed of Assignment – dated December 31, 1963 – gave McClory full rights to both the novel and original scripts to Thunderball.

Thanks to the help of Warner Brothers’ lawyers, McClory was finally free to begin production on his remake.

. . .

Warhead Fan Art from 007ArtTAKING A BREAK.
1983 – 1997

Since releasing Never Say Never Again, McClory continued to hint at another remake. In 1989, he announced that he begin filming on Warhead 8; which never materialized.

. . .

THE GREAT SONY BATTLE.
1997 – 2001

From 1997 through 1999, the world watched as Kevin McClory once again found himself in court, battling for the then three decade old rights to Thunderball.

After announcing that Sony would be making a rival Bond film, MGM and Danjaq promptly filed a $25 million lawsuit in federal court; charging that Sony’s efforts to mount a rival Bond film are due to “a disgruntled former executive of MGM’s United Artists Pictures.”

In February, 1998, Sony Pictures counter sued MGM and Danjaq, claiming that Bond and the Bond movies are,

All based on the sort of action originally written in the story line for Thunderball.”

A fan's vision for a Warhead posterBecause of that, they claimed that McClory was the coauthor of the cinematic Bond.

Sony further claimed that MGM and Danjaq owed McClory fees for all the Bond movies they have produced because he was the coauthor of the cinematic Bond.

As the trial continued into the summer months, Sony began pre-production on their rival Bond film before MGM filed an injunction to cease all activities on the movie.

The injunction was issued on July 30, 1998 and production promptly halted.

This essentially marked the beginning of the end for the ill-fated second McClory remake. In the months that followed, the sides went back and forth.

The original December 15, 1998 trial date was pushed back indefinitely to give the appellate court an opportunity to rule on Sony’s appeal of the preliminary injunction.

The final blow came on March 30, 1999, when Sony reached a settlement with MGM.

“Essentially,” said Sony attorney David W. Steuber, “we have given up the universal right to make a James Bond picture.”

McClory promptly appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Their ruling was the same; and. on May 11, 2001, the original finding was upheld. McClory was not entitled to a share of the profits from the series.

. . .

A FEW FINAL RUMORS

Kevin McClory Despite that final nail in the Thunderball coffin, occasional rumors still trickled out over the next few years.

These rumors became particularly loud in 2004, when Sony Pictures entered a bid to buy MGM; which, it eventually did.

However, since all the official and unofficial Bond movies were now under the same umbrella, creating a “rival” Bond movie was no longer necessary.

Not to mention, Kevin McClory still owned the rights to the story and characters… even if he couldn’t do anything with them.

. . .

THUNDERBALL FINALLY COMES HOME

When Kevin McClory died on November 20, 2006, the rights to Thunderball, Blofeld and SPECTRE passed on to his estate.

Seven years later, on November 15, 2013, McClory’s family finally agreed to return those rights to MGM and Danjaq: the creators of all official Bond films.

Although the terms were not disclosed, the agreement finally put an end to a 50 year old rivalry… and paved the way for 2015’s SPECTRE.

UnivEx Coverage in the 1990s

In the late 90’s, Universal Exports reported extensively on the court battle. Below are links to some of the most important articles from the case.

 

* 2001 U.S. Court of Appeals Final Decision

* Sony Abandons Bond Ambition-3.30.99
* Connery to return in Doomsday 2000-10.24.98
* Judge postpones Dec. 15 trial date-9.18.98
* Sony co-CEO ordered deposed-9.14.98
* Judge Tells Sony To Stop-7.30.98
* James Bond Clone Killed-7.27.98
* McClory Makes Official Claims-7.14.98
* MGM Seeks Injunction-5.20.98
* MGM Takes Bond Action-4.15.98
* Sony Drops Bond Bomb-2.20.98
* Sony Strikes Back-2.20.98
* Sean’s Return?-1.16.98

* A Pending Lawsuit-10.18.97
* Official Announcement-10.13.97


jeremy bulloch

An Interview with Jeremy Bulloch: James Bond Actor and Boba Fett

jeremy bulloch-interview-james-bond

Universal Exports caught up with Jeremy Bulloch, who’s best known in Bond circles for his role as Smithers in For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy. Jeremy also played the part of an ‘HMS Ranger Crewman’, in Roger Moore’s third Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me. The Bond star has also had roles in Doctor Who, Star Wars (as Boba Fett) and a role in Robin of Sherwood, amongst many others. In this interview we discuss some of these past experiences.


Jeremy Bulloch speaks at Marscon 2005

1. Welcome to Universal Exports.net Jeremy, thanks for taking some time to chat with us.

It’s a pleasure.

2. First up, how did you become involved with the Bond series and consequently hired for both Bond role? 

It was such a small part, but my agent said there was a couple of days on a Bond film and I didn’t have to audition for it so it was a bit of luck on my part.

3. Was your character of Smithers intended to take over from Desmond Llewelyn’s Q character, in the case of his retirement?

No, not at all. I think it was going to be a running gag having me as Q’s assistant and whenever Bond arrives in the laboratory the new deadly explosion would take place.

4. In your time as Smithers, you were able to work with Desmond Llewelyn, much loved in Bond fandom for his role as Q. Did you spend most of your time with Desmond off set, preparing for the role? How would you describe Desmond?

Desmond was a charming man and had the most difficult dialogue especially when he tells Bond about the gadgets he would take with him on his travels.

5. Were you ever offered any other roles in the Bond series?

No unfortunately not but I was hoping that I could continue as Smithers in every film but that would mean keeping myself available for one day a year.

6. How many takes were filmed for the fake cast bashing the dummy’s head in For Your Eyes Only?

I think about three takes.

Jeremy Bulloch in For Your Eyes Only(image courtesy of BondStars.com)
Jeremy Bulloch in For Your Eyes Only(image courtesy of BondStars.com)

7. Hypothetically, would you be interested in appearing in another Bond film?

Oh yes of course I would, I think every actor would love to be cast as the new villain.

8. What do you remember most about working on the Bond films?

I remember the great fun we all had being in a Bond film. It was work but you felt like a little boy having the time of your life. Sometimes filming can be long days without much happening but the Bond films were long days with an awful lot happening.

9. Working on a Bond film, the scale of The Spy Who Loved Me, how long were you required for during filming?

Just a week.

10. Did you have much contact with Roger Moore during the filming of your Bond films? 

Most of the scenes I had in the Bond films were with Roger Moore.

11. What are your thoughts on Roger’s portrayal of James Bond?

I thought he was a very good Bond because he has a great twinkle in his eyes and has a wonderful sense of humour.

Jeremy poses with an unmasked Boba Fett doll

12. Off Bond for a moment, would you be interested in returning to the role of Captain Colton from Revenge of the Sith, if he was featured on the upcoming Star Wars TV series?

Oh yes, of course I would like to be involved again. We will have to wait and see.

13. Putting aside the fact this is a James Bond fansite, which of the many series’ that you’ve been involved in is your favourite? From Doctor Who, to Bond, to Star Wars and so on.

Has to be Star Wars, but only by a whisker, Bond and Dr Who come a close second and third.

14. In terms of acting, who is your favourite director to work with and why?

Irvin Kershner and Peter Yates. Both Irvin and Peter were very easy to work with. One other director comes to mind – Leslie Norman. I did a film with him called Spare the Rod, and he taught me the discipline of never being late, and thanks to him I never have been.

15. What was it like working with Sir Cliff Richard? Do you have favourite moment, whilst working on Summer Holiday?

Cliff was a joy to work with and my favourite moment was when he hired a boat when we were in Greece and surprised everyone by taking the whole crew and cast to one of the Islands.

16. One last question: are you a Bond fan?

Yes I am and when the films are shown on TV I never get tired of them.


Short Bytes

Short Bytes:Who is your favorite James Bond?
Sean Connery

Who is favourite villain?
Auric Goldfinger

What is your favorite Bond Girl?
Maud Adams

Which is your favorite Bond movie?
Dr. No


A word from the interviewer: Adam Farrington-Williams 

As usual, I’d like to thank the interviewee, Jeremy. Thank you for answering the questions so quickly and making yourself available for an interview.


David Arnold James Bond Composer

An Interview with David Arnold: James Bond Soundtrack Musician

david arnold interview james bond

In this exclusive interview with the current James Bond music composer, Univex becomes the first James Bond related Web site to interview the talented composer in relation to Casino Royale. David Arnold gives a few hints towards his Bond score for the up-coming film, fresh off completing it in the studio. David also dispels a few rumours on the current Bond theme and talks about what’s hopefully in store for him in the future. We hope you enjoy the interview!

First up, how long did the Casino Royale score take from commencement to completion?

We started recording music only 8 weeks after completion of principal photography. I had been working on the song for a little while beforehand, so the whole thing this time around was around 10 – 11 weeks.

Soundtrack.net reported in late August that Nicholas Dodd would be conducting and orchestrating your Casino Royale score. Are you able to confirm this and how and when did you first start working with Dodd?

Nick did work on Casino Royale with me. I first worked with Nick on my first commercial venture which was a film called the Young Americans. We had a small budget but I wanted to work with Nick and he kindly joined in for not much money. Before that I had been scoring student films with small student orchestras and had handled all the music myself.

For Tomorrow Never Dies, you told John Burlingame you used an 85 piece orchestra. Has that changed much throughout your tenure as Bond composer and if so how many does Casino Royale employ?

85 seems about right for Lyndhurst Hall. Any more and I don’t really hear the difference. Other composers have had larger numbers in there, but I feel comfortable with that amount. We were actually only about 70 players this time,although on some cues 6 of those were percussionists.

You mentioned, prior to writing it, that the Casino Royale score would take a rather different musical direction from past Bond scores. Since there is a new gunbarrel for Casino Royale, does this new direction involve the gunbarrel as well, or will you take a rather traditional approach, ala Tomorrow Never Dies?

Well the film has taken a rather different direction, so it was appropriate that the music does also. Overall , it’s a more serious piece, the film and therefore the music isn’t frivolous or silly and is rooted in a far more believable place dramatically. The music for action in Bond has to do what it has to do, although I rely far more on orchestral forces than electronic this time, and the writing for the poker games for instance is more about tension than anything else. I don’t think its anything radical, but its more mature I think.

Was anyone else in the running for the Casino Royale title song, apart from Chris Cornell? And what exactly were you looking for in the new artist?

Not that I know of. There are always names bandied around in the press but it is more often than not fanciful and speculative..The main reason for choosing Chris was to do with the idea of masculinity in music. I asked myself, who could sound the way Daniel Craig’s Bond looks?

The way Daniel moves made me consider the whole alpha male thing which has been absent in music and to a certain extent films for a while. Is there a contemporary male singer who can go from sensitive to aggressive and back convincingly. Lia Vollack, head of music at Sony Pictures came up with the idea of Chris, who wasn’t really on my radar at that point, but when she mentioned him, I thought it was an intriguing choice, especially as he is a great writer as well.

Reportedly, you used the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service theme as a template for “You Know My Name.” Did you end up using any other existing Bond themes for inspiration for new material on Casino Royale?

This wasn’t true at all. I said that in Casino Royale we would not be using the Bond theme (it’s in the script!) until the very end, so there would have to be music to replace it, I said that in that respect, its closest musical cousin would be OHMSS, where the main theme became the de-facto Bond theme for that movie (with the odd exception of course). I certainly never said I would be basing the music of CR on OHMSS

Are you able to tell us if the title track “You Know My Name” is incorporated into the actual score of Casino Royale as was done with “The World Is Not Enough” and “Surrender” in Tomorrow Never Dies?

It is, in numerous guises.

There are Internet rumors circulating that the “James Bond Theme” will not be heard in its full glory until the climax of Casino Royale. Is there any truth to this rumor?

It is true, although we hint at the Bond theme through the score as Bond ‘earns his stripes’. We don’t play it out until the end, and I think it is a glorious end. The band really played it fantastically well and it’s a no frills reading of the theme, a kind of, it all starts here approach.

A few days ago the track listing was released for the coming soundtrack. With 25 cues, it seems we may finally get most of the completed score. Are you able to tell us how much of the original score hasn’t made the final album?

Only a few tracks were left off, and I believe Sony are going to make those available as downloads through I tunes, so you can get the complete thing if you really want it. We were coming up against the physical limits of what we can fit onto a CD, but in the end, some tracks were a little too nebulous and strange to want to listen too in isolation (The license 2 kills track for instance which is largely atmospheric with bursts of extreme orchestral violence).

I think there is around 75 minutes of music on the album which I am delighted about. And props to Sony Records for turning the thing around so amazingly quickly. It will be in the shops less than three weeks after we finished recording, which is pretty stunning for a major label.

What would you say is the biggest challenge in writing a Bond score? And what is the one element that every Bond score needs?

The biggest challenge is living up to my own and everyone else’s expectations. I found that you cant please all the people all the time so you have to do your best and do it the way you feel is right at the time. Everyone has an opinion on what makes a good Bond score, and one mans meat is another mans poison. (That doesn’t quite sound right, but you get the point?)

Which Bond score do you feel you connected with the most?

I feel connected to parts of all of them, I feel closer to the more emotional pieces, like “Elektra’s Theme” but equally more excited by things like “Come In 007 Your Time Is Up.”

Have you thought about reviving John Barry’s famed “007” theme for inclusion in a future Bond film score?

I have thought about it and if it is right I will do it, but its quite a presence in any Bond film and it has a particular kind of heroism about it which isn’t always appropriate.

It certainly wouldn’t work in CR, as to me it gives the sense of whatever happens, Bond will prevail, and although we know this is ultimately what will happen, in CR the drama is much more believable and you never really know whether he will succeed or nor, in fact there are moments when he doesn’t.

There are rumours that your Tomorrow Never Dies score references previous Bond cues. Apparently the music from the tarantula scene in Doctor No crops up at one point. Are you able to let us know if this is truth or fiction? And if true, where exactly?

The only thing I referenced was Johns From Russia With Love opening orchestral figures. And a touch of Goldfinger’s opening PT sequence in terms of orchestration. If the tarantula stuff is on there, I never noticed.

Finally, are you able to confirm whether or not you will be writing the score for the next Bond film (Bond 22)?

We haven’t got into Bond 22 yet, but as ever, if James Bond returns, I would like to.

David Arnold James Bond Composer


A word from the interviewer: Adam Farrington-Williams

First off, I must thoroughly praise David for making himself firstly available for answering questions from his fans and then secondly for answering them so quickly. It’s a fantastic interview, thank you very much David!

Secondly, I must give my extreme thanks to the Administration at David’s official Web site. I strongly advise you visit it at www.davidarnold.com

Furthermore, the Web site has a number of David’s pieces available for download, including some of his unreleased James Bond cues. As well as offering a regularly updated news section, which informs fans of David’s works. Definitely worth a visit. David also frequents his forum and answers fans questions.

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview and stay tuned to UnivEx for more interviews, features articles and editorials in the coming months. We’re back and ready to go.


The Real MI6

the real james bond 007

MI6, or Military Intelligence 6 or the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), enjoys a reputation as the world’s most secret agency.

England’s strict Official Secrets Act (Mentioned in License to Kill) allows this agency to avoid the unwanted publicity given to other intelligence organizations in the West (Mainly, the lavish CIA, who have a website, and their numerous public-knowledge operations, including their many insurrections to undermine Socialist and Communist governments – the famous Bay of Pigs).

Exact estimates vary, but most believe MI6 to have roughly 3,000 intelligence officers in the field. Researchers believe MI6 to have a budget of US$30 million. The agency has its headquarters in Leconfield House, London. (I don’t know if this is in Regent’s Park or not – Andrew).

[The Real MI6]The Brits have valued spies throughout their history. Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, served in the early incarnation of the Secret Service against British subversives. In 1909, they divided into internal (MI5) and external bureaus. In 1911, the foreign department became MI6.

Like many old British institutions, MI6 maintains an atmosphere of gentlemanly tradition. Officials usually come from the same British Public Schools (Note: this is the equivalent of Private schools in the USA and Australia) and place great emphasis on their “old-boy networks”

(Whether this is a reference to the tradition of thinking of oneself as an Old Boy of a Greater Public School, or the term of endearment “old boy” I cannot discern – AJ).

The head of SIS customarily identifies himself as “C”, after Captain Mansfield Cumming, the agency’s founder. (Therefore, Fleming’s “M”, after Sir Miles Messervy, is incorrect) Countless other traditions give this agency its color.

The SIS officially limits its operations to gathering information. When WWII broke out, MI6 detached a department known as “Section D” to perform more violent operations. Section D became the Special Operations Executive, an agency devoted to sabotaging and unconventional warfare. It was also disbanded after WWII.

A possible reference for this above work may have been “British Intelligence and Covert Action”, by Patrick Fitzgerald and Johnathon Bloch, 1982. It contained details of British Service activities since WWII. Margaret Thatcher was then prompted to pass legislation to prevent further such material ever being published.


Taken from Steve Jackson Games’ GURPS (TM): Espionage, by Thomas M Kane, 1992, by SJG. Some additional information including everything in () by Andrew Jansen.