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.