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

DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
edited September 2018 in Actors Posts: 12,488
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. 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 added an '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!
    edited September 2018 Posts: 16,094
    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: 1,227
    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: 700
    The Craig pout is an exaggeration that always irks me.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    edited September 2018 Posts: 15,634
    ;) Just having a little fun.
    XkHc8MC.png
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Earth, spinning in its grave.
    Posts: 30,874
    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.
    Posts: 31,264
    Murdock wrote: »
    ;) Just having a little fun.
    XkHc8MC.png

    I'm never going to tire of this image, it's rich.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Earth, spinning in its grave.
    Posts: 30,874
    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 Earth, spinning in its grave.
    Posts: 30,874
    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 Roger Moore Is Forever, Forever, Forever
    Posts: 2,902
    Murdock wrote: »
    XkHc8MC.png

    Go ahead, make my day.

    Daniel Craig
    Dirty Harry
    SUDDEN IMPACT
  • Posts: 11,878
    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!
Sign In or Register to comment.