SPECIAL AGENT 007
James Bond, code number 007, as we know him, is nothing like who he was meant to be. The british MI6 spy created by Ian Fleming is quite a character. Initially he was intended to have none, the first draft of the man was outstandingly boring bar the fact that he was a secret agent. Only his adventures were exciting. As any longstanding character he has evolved first through the words of his pen father and then through his multiple appearances and faces on the big screen.
Ian Fleming was full of admiration for his brother and other commandos he met during the second world war. Their stories and personas were the foundation of James Bond. To that the author added a few of his own personal tastes and characteristics along the stories. Casino Royale published in 1953, was the first of a series of 12 novels plus a couple of short stories. The character was defined more precisely through the series. Sean Connery’s film interpretation of the spy influenced the development of the character with Fleming.
James Bond has a purposely boring name due to his originally bland personality and traits. Born from a Scottish father and a Swiss mother, who both died in a climbing accident in the French Alps when he was the age of 11. After an education in Eton, Fettes College, and Switzerland, Bond joins the Ministry of Defence in 1941. After the war he applies to the position of special agent by M, the head of MI6. His 00 code number indicating his licence to kill.
The literary Bond has a taste for food, drink, cars, and smoking. The special agent’s unlimited mission expense account allows him to enjoy the best of food, in the best of places, wearing the best of menswear. Throughout the books he drinks and smokes profusely. His signature drink is of course the vodka martini, shaken not stirred, baptised ‘Vesper’. Bond’s cigarettes are custom made and he smokes on average 60 a day. His cars are generally the best of British, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, even though other makes appear.
In the movies Bond’s basic tastes remains the same but details change. Bond still eats, drinks and smokes. He tends however, to get a little soft as the franchise ages. The British luxury comfort cars are replaced by the more sporty but just as elegant Aston Martin models, from the DB5 to the DBS. The iconic gadgets appear but vary in sophistication. Omega replaces his Girard Perregaux watch from the novels. Finally, James develops a strong taste for women, the 'Bond girls'.
Each of the James Bond actors have added their own touch to the character, each time signing a new style and era for the agent. Never however is he the boring 007 Fleming intended him to be. Bond through his different interpretations is a confident man taking on the world’s most prominent criminal minds, with class and a touch of humour. He provides a good description of the franchise when talking about his ‘Vesper’ in the Casino Royale novel: “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad.”
Let us face the fact that he has no place in the reality of secret service, too distinguishable for his own good. James Bond is an alpha male with a twist. He is an elegant maverick agent who evolves throughout his various interpretations. His excellent taste and debonnaire attitude remain timeless and are certainly key to his success.