Common Exaggerations about the James Bond Actors (and their Acting Styles)?

DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
edited May 8 in Actors Posts: 12,772
The idea for this thread came to me while I was waiting in a short line at the bank in July 2018. On the radio, in the bank, there was playing a local radio station which just so happened to play an advertisement for some sort of business in a nearby town. The thing that struck me about the advertisement was that it utilised a voice actor who was mimicking the very exaggerated Sean Connery as Bond accent that so many imitators trot out. That voice actor's impression of Connery Bond got me to thinking (or rather rethinking) about the subject of the common exaggerations that are out there in the popular consciousness not of the James Bond films per se but rather of the six actors that have portrayed James Bond in the 24 official Eon-produced films.

Personally, I've always felt that Connery's (admittedly sometimes thick Scottish accent) is overplayed rather in the media with voice actors imitating the Connery Bond accent to comic effect. Likewise, in the print media newspapers and magazines adding letters like 'h' or whatever to attributed Connery Bond film dialogue exaggerate his speech patterns as shorthand for the distinctive Connery accent. It's also used as rather lazy yet understandable shorthand for Sean Connery more generally when his name comes up in a news story, quite apart from the Bond connection in the many other films and TV appearances he has made outside of Bond.

So, my mind then turned to the other five actors that have filled out the James Bond role on the silver screen and how they too, to a greater or lesser extent (as the case may be), have also had similar shorthand used to define their era or idiosyncracies as Bond or even just as an actor more generally. So, I tried to compile a short list of what I feel (subjectively, of course) are the common exaggerations about each of the six different Bond actors:

1. Sean Connery: Exaggerations on his thick, manly Scottish accent and how he pronounces words and says dialogue with an added 'h' in print media, for example.

2. George Lazenby: Exaggerations here are harder to think of. Perhaps that he was a rubbish Bond and only made one because he wasn't a very good actor or an actor at all. There are certainly a lot of misconceptions about Lazenby in OHMSS, but as he only made one it's a little hard to pin down any exaggerations that may exist about him. Lazenby is sadly rather forgotten in the wider popular consciousness when it comes to his being a Bond actor.

3. Roger Moore: Exaggerations of note concern his famous raised eyebrow (which, to be honest, I find very hard to notice in his Bond performances). Also, that he always wore a safari suit in his Bond films (as Moore himself pointed out, people do wear that item of clothing in those particular climes and in jungles!). In reality, Moore Bond only wore the safari suit in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Moonraker (1979) and Octopussy (1983), as the latter two had the requisite jungle scenes. Perhaps that he was the jokey Bond always fooling around, though he could, in fact, be very serious and tough as Bond when he needed to be, of course. As tough as any of the other Bond actors, if not more so on occasion.

4. Timothy Dalton: Exaggerations include his moody Welshness, his breaking out into a Mancunian accent on occasions, his lack of humour and his "Dracula hairstyle" in Licence to Kill (1989).

5. Pierce Brosnan: Exaggerations include his "pain face" and perhaps his "Paddy Ashdown squint" (as Clive Anderson coined the phrase in a 1999 interview promoting The World is Not Enough!).

6. Daniel Craig: Exaggerations in the media and online in sites like DCINB about his blonde hair and being short and only being able to drive automatic cars etc. Also, being too unlike previous film Bonds by virtue of his appearance, cruel comments such as his being ugly, not having the usual black hair associated with Bond. And on it goes, as Craig suffered a bit initially with being the first fully-fledged "Internet Age James Bond" and all of the initial or continued abuse and exaggeration and hyperbole that comes with that rather dubious honour.

Now those are just my initial rambling thoughts on this subject of what I like to call "common exaggerations about the James Bond actors (and their styles of acting)". I'm pretty sure that there are many more to be detailed in this thread. You may agree or disagree with what I have described here as my rather subjective view on these common exaggerations that are used as shorthand in the media or even by fans to try to give a succinct gist of each actors' performance as James Bond.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to your response to this topic that I don't think has really been discussed as a whole in a thread here before. Now is your chance to have your say on it too, as I feel it is important in terms of understanding how the six Bond actors are perceived (rightly or wrongly) in the popular consciousness, and not necessarily by the diehard Bond fans collected here.

Comments

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    edited September 2018 Posts: 16,446
    Exaggerations, like the ones you have stated, @Dragonpol, tend to annoy me immensely.

    1) Connery: yes, the accent, pathetic. One doesn't notice it too much until he did DAF. Another exaggeration, however, is that Connery was always perfect as Bond, that he was the golden boy of the bunch. Look, Connery's Bond ROCKED! Between DN and TB, perfection was achieved by an actor who fitted the part very well. But, Connery's performances in for example YOLT and DAF cannot hold a candle to some of the performances given by other actors much later in the game. It's about time people are willing to acknowledge that fact.

    2) Lazenby: the one who's neither worthy of our time (because he only did one Bond) and who stunk as Bond. No, he didn't. Lazenby's performance was at times rough but overall solid and showing great potential. OHMSS is a Bond film many of us love and praise. If Lazenby really had done such a terrible, unwatchable job as Bond, that wouldn't be the case. Not even the sum total of all the other performances and jobs in and on the film could compensate for a terrible James Bond. Yes, Lazenby wasn't excellent, but he was good and even better than good. To call him a terrible Bond is an inexcusable exaggeration.

    3) Moore: the jokey, old Bond. It almost sounds as if Moore played Bond like some senile grandpa. The man stayed in excellent shape and his age, ironically enough, didn't begin to show until that unfortunate facial reconstruction between OP and AVTAK. Also ironically, his AVTAK Bond was much more cynical and harder than his previous performances. The difference, as I see it, is that while Connery "smoothed" a funny remark and Dalton spat it out, Moore himself actually had some fun with it. How a comedic line is delivered matters greatly, but I wouldn't go so far as to pretend that Moore's Bond let the comedy peak into the extreme compared to the other Bonds. In fact, some of the tougher Bond moments exist in Moore's era.

    4) Dalton: the uninterested, deadpan un-Bondian Bond. There's only one thing I can say to that: read Fleming.

    5) Brosnan: the dandy Bond. Nah, Brosnan was a 90s Bond, a bit more refined perhaps, but there's plenty of testosterone in that man.

    6) Craig: the "ugly" Bond. A) Subjective. B) Wrong. Craig doesn't look like he was pried from the cover of a male model magazine but retains a powerful masculine attraction nevertheless. His looks are unconventional but intriguing and his physicality is such that he means business. How he walks, how he talks and moves, ... I'm convinced that this guy can be an 00Terminator as well as an 00Charmer. Craig was one of the most inspired casting decisions so far.

    A more recent exaggeration is that Craig and "Babs" are conspiring to kill off Bond. That comes a few years after the exaggeration that Craig and "Babs" were conspiring to make Bond bisexual. People won't rest these days unless they have pointed their accusing finger at someone. And from a few loose hints picked up here and there, it is clumsily deduced that "Babs" and Craig are dancing on Cubby's grave. Whatever makes people happy, I guess...
  • RemingtonRemington I'll do anything for a woman with a knife.
    edited September 2018 Posts: 1,393
    I find these exaggerations annoying myself. Only thing I have to add is that every Bond is great in their own way. End of story.
  • Posts: 874
    The Craig pout is an exaggeration that always irks me.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    edited September 2018 Posts: 15,715
    ;) Just having a little fun.
    XkHc8MC.png
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Area 52
    Posts: 32,538
    After SF some journalist wrote he didn t care for it, as Bond was crying a lot and slept with men.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 31,927
    Murdock wrote: »
    ;) Just having a little fun.
    XkHc8MC.png

    I'm never going to tire of this image, it's rich.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Area 52
    Posts: 32,538
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    Murdock wrote: »
    ;) Just having a little fun.
    XkHc8MC.png

    I'm never going to tire of this image, it's rich.

    How so? Doesn t he ALWAYS have that expression?
  • After SF some journalist wrote he didn t care for it, as Bond was crying a lot and slept with men.

    A Norwegian journo?
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Area 52
    Posts: 32,538
    After SF some journalist wrote he didn t care for it, as Bond was crying a lot and slept with men.

    A Norwegian journo?

    No. Don t remember where, but he was either British or American.
  • After SF some journalist wrote he didn t care for it, as Bond was crying a lot and slept with men.

    A Norwegian journo?

    No. Don t remember where, but he was either British or American.

    I see. Would have been interesting to know who wrote it, had it been a journalist over here.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    This is all rather subjective. Sure there are exaggerations applied to all the actors, but at the end of the day this is really in the eye of the beholder. If such perspective exists in general in the marketplace, then there are probably reasons for it.

    As long as one maintains one's own opinion of each actor rather than allowing oneself to be coerced or unduly influenced by the collective opinions of others, it's all fine and good for me.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Never go full Petachi
    Posts: 3,273
    Murdock wrote: »
    XkHc8MC.png

    Go ahead, make my day.

    Daniel Craig
    Dirty Harry
    SUDDEN IMPACT
  • Posts: 12,071
    Connery never made a mistake, Lazenby had no personality whatsoever, Moore cracked jokes during his whole tenure, Dalton was only serious, Brosnan was only a pretty face and Daniel Craig is a prima dona who is still in the role only because Barb likes him.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Connery never made a mistake, Lazenby had no personality whatsoever, Moore cracked jokes during his whole tenure, Dalton was only serious, Brosnan was only a pretty face and Daniel Craig is a prima dona who is still in the role only because Barb likes him.
    Wait, you mean this isn't true? Blimey I've been misinformed!
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Area 52
    Posts: 32,538
    Roger Moore in particular would never get a strand of hair out of place, or a wrinkle in his clothes during any fight or action scene.
  • NicNacNicNac Moderator
    Posts: 6,661
    There tends to be a misconception outside of Bond fans that OHMSS was a flop ( it was the second highest grossing film of that year) & that Lazenby’s voice was dubbed throughout.

    I agree about Connery ‘s shh pronunciation of ‘s’. Nowhere to be found in the Bonds.

    Moore rarely played Bond for laughs. Most of the jokes happened around him. Occasionally such as the fire engine chase in AVTAK Moore joined in the merriment.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Defender of the Continuation.
    edited May 8 Posts: 12,772
    Roger Moore in particular would never get a strand of hair out of place, or a wrinkle in his clothes during any fight or action scene.

    It's nice to see this thread revived again for a second life.

    Yes, I've heard a friend say years ago that his uncle was watching Octopussy with him when it was being shown on the TV once and was complaining about Moore's hair always looking unflappable, especially during the train and plane action sequences.

    Of course a notable exception to this is how Moore Bond looks after coming out of the centrifuge in Moonraker where he does look very shaken.

    It reminds me that there was an interview Moore gave where he said they always gave him fresh shirts in the desert scenes in TSWLM when the extreme heat sweated his clothes. The reasoning for this practice was that Bond always has to look immaculate, even in the middle of the desert.
  • Posts: 598
    NicNac wrote: »
    Moore rarely played Bond for laughs. Most of the jokes happened around him. Occasionally such as the fire engine chase in AVTAK Moore joined in the merriment.
    I guess that would depend on your view of this. No, he never went for hearty laughter, but I'd disagree wholeheartedly otherwise. I heard a Moore interview where he was asked if he was at all like Bond and his reply was the only thing I try to add is humor.

    Richard Maibaum also complained about Moore's approach, saying he was always coming up with comedy lines on his own. Connery also mentioned Moore went for the comedy as opposed to himself.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Never go full Petachi
    edited May 8 Posts: 3,273
    BT3366 wrote: »
    NicNac wrote: »
    Moore rarely played Bond for laughs. Most of the jokes happened around him. Occasionally such as the fire engine chase in AVTAK Moore joined in the merriment.
    I guess that would depend on your view of this. No, he never went for hearty laughter, but I'd disagree wholeheartedly otherwise. I heard a Moore interview where he was asked if he was at all like Bond and his reply was the only thing I try to add is humor.

    Richard Maibaum also complained about Moore's approach, saying he was always coming up with comedy lines on his own. Connery also mentioned Moore went for the comedy as opposed to himself.

    I also feel Moore did go for humor. He did subtly enough that it was a bit of a wink to the audience but without making the film an outright comedy. It was as if he was just leaning on the fourth wall rather than breaking it.
  • Posts: 150
    NicNac wrote: »
    There tends to be a misconception outside of Bond fans that OHMSS was a flop ( it was the second highest grossing film of that year) & that Lazenby’s voice was dubbed throughout.

    I agree about Connery ‘s shh pronunciation of ‘s’. Nowhere to be found in the Bonds.

    Moore rarely played Bond for laughs. Most of the jokes happened around him. Occasionally such as the fire engine chase in AVTAK Moore joined in the merriment.

    I definitely agree with this. Moore does bring humor, but for the most part it's straight man humor.

    I'd say to me the biggest exaggerations are how hard Connery is, and how soft Moore is. I'd say that perhaps barring Dr No and parts of FRWL, Roger could have done any of Connery's films just as well, and likewise, Connery would have done well in most of Moore's stuff. They're tonally very similar. The frequent exaggeration is that in a scene, Connery could kiss a woman or put a knife in her. That's nonsense.

    Connery may have shot a corpse one more time than necessary, and he had a great fight with Grant, but there's little of the cold killer we see in Dalton or Craig. And that's absolutely fine. Roger, after all, is my second favorite Bond. I just think Connery is remembered by many Bond fans as what he was in about 15 minutes of the first two films. The "invincible man saved by gadgets" image Moore has (another exaggeration) is at least as applicable to Connery.

    --

    Dalton is generalized as a super serious Bond, and he was more serious than his predecessors, but he's also, I think undeniably, the warmest. He smiles and laughs more than the others, and appears to have actual friends. :-o

    Brosnan is sort of the reverse of Connery. Where Connery is remembered exclusively for his best moments, Brosnan is remembered for his worst: the pain face, the melodrama, the squinting, the mugging. And that stuff was all absolutely awful and unprecedented. But at the end of the day, 95% of the time, he was doing a very good job as Bond.
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 1,248
    @ProfJoeButcher I don't totally agree with your assessment that outside of 15 minutes Connery and Moore could have switched places. How about TB leaving Fiona dead after using her as a shield and having her take the bullet? In fact the whole chemistry between Fiona and Bond is off the charts and I struggle to see Moore doing those scenes as well as Connery. The fight scene at Osato's with the hulking driver of the car. I don't think Moore carries that fight off. If I can see Moore doing a Connery pic it has to be DAF as he could slide in there just fine.

    The gadgets do come forward in GF and they start to take over in YOLT. Then OHMSS really eschews the gadgets. Even DAF doesn't really have a lot of gadgets per say. Unless you count the fake fingerprints and the voice changing machine. (but then again both Blofeld and Q have that tech.) LALD starts to see the gadgets rise again with the watch that slices dices and even becomes a magnet. The big cheat to me is that we never know Bond has this slicing watch till the end of the movie and it suddenly saves his hide.

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