The Art of Acting Bond

edited November 2023 in Bond 26 & Beyond Posts: 1,707
Stanislavski's advice to actors to 'Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art' seems an appropriate topic for Bond actors. Much has been written on this site about Bond performances good and bad. In the current thread Where Does Bond Go After Craig, Lazenby practically becomes a punching bag for some. That many find plenty of support that GL delivered a bad performance in OHMSS doesn't make it so. I enjoy his turn as Bond, far more than I ever have an RM performance. No question Moore was a seasoned actor. A likable man, very much so, but in my mind not a great James Bond.

So let's sort it out. Let's talk about performances and techniques by all the Bonds and why we think one Bond actor succeeds while another fails. For example, I think one of Connery's strengths as an actor was his eyes. He projects an intensity and focus I don't feel any Bond since has done as well.

Comments

  • Myself I prefer Moore as Bond to GL. I don’t have anything again Laz, but he just isn’t the strongest actor. Moore sometimes doesn’t deserve enough credit for the more serious/somber moments in his tenure.
  • Posts: 1,707
    Myself I prefer Moore as Bond to GL. I don’t have anything again Laz, but he just isn’t the strongest actor. Moore sometimes doesn’t deserve enough credit for the more serious/somber moments in his tenure.

    Not the strongest in what way? How does Moore project those qualities you feel he doesn't receive credit for? Bond actors with a tenure have a bag of tricks. What did Moore do that other Bonds didn't?
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited November 2023 Posts: 3,451
    For me Moore is what I consider the built in type of actor, in that he played the same, usual way all over again.
    That's for me, he basically played it with no effort, no genuinity, and not truly felt, his acting was just two dimensional, if one may asked me, even if he tried (which I know he did), but I just don't feel it, let alone buying it, for me, I'm just watching him without feeling anything regarding the scene that he's trying to depict.
    I liked Moore as a person and I liked him in The Persuaders (well, I liked the show in general), but not just as Bond, or maybe as an actor, he's fun though, but that's all.

    Also, this applies to me in Bond Girls as well: for me, there are Bond Girls that they're actresses but the writing failed them, except on two: Barbara Bach and Carole Bouquet, like really? I don't get what people liked in them, they're not acting at all, mostly stiff, monotone, and one note, they didn't have much facial expressions, obvious line readings, and they're not naturally moving, yet people liked them, despite of their performances?

    For me, it's pretty sexist, that people just liked them for their beauty, look at this Reddit rant: https://www.reddit.com/r/JamesBond/comments/uxinhv/whenever_people_talk_about_a_bond_girls_looks/

    That's why Anya Amasova and Melina Havelock now sits in my bottom 5 of my Bond Girl rankings because both are ruined by acting, Melina was at least an interesting character so may be ahead a bit, but Anya Amasova is a combination of bad writing and bad acting.

    For me, it's not just about beauty, it's about the believability, the plausibility and how convincing they are in the role that they're playing.

    I actually liked Lazenby as Bond because he's natural and his performance was raw that really fits the film, I find him to be a miles much better actor than Barbara Bach and Carole Bouquet or the guys who played Ferrara and Locque in FYEO, while Lazenby's performance was still flawed, at least the guy had the potential, unlike the other ones I've mentioned.

    For me Lazenby was heavily criticized in the same way as Lois Chiles' Holly Goodhead does, both are criticized for their acting, some for their character, but I think they've both played their roles great, and their characters' worked because they've shown it,we knew their performances and their characters inside and out, far more dimensional.

    And is Denise Richards really the worst acting of any Bond Girl?! No, she's not, there are far more worse!
  • CrabKey wrote: »
    Myself I prefer Moore as Bond to GL. I don’t have anything again Laz, but he just isn’t the strongest actor. Moore sometimes doesn’t deserve enough credit for the more serious/somber moments in his tenure.

    Not the strongest in what way? How does Moore project those qualities you feel he doesn't receive credit for? Bond actors with a tenure have a bag of tricks. What did Moore do that other Bonds didn't?

    Lazenby wasn’t the strongest actor in terms of his skills period, and I say this as somebody who used to be a huge defender of George. Anytime that he’s on screen with the likes of Rigg or Savalas, he struggles to hold his own ground when sharing the screen with these larger than life personalities. He doesn’t really have much of a personality himself either in the role. He’s kind of just doing what Connery did just without the magnetism/charm.

    Moore’s Bond on the other hand knew how to come across as more serious and grounded in scenes when he absolutely needed to be. The scene where he confesses to killing Anya’s boyfriend in TSWLM is a perfect example. He’s blunt about what he did, and his expression really sells it. In Octopussy we see a similar moment where he’s confronting General Orlov over the hidden bomb on the train. Moore’s anger is just subtly seeping through the cracks as he wants to do nothing more than just shoot Orlov there and then, but needs to have the Bomb disarmed first. Granted Moore isn’t my favorite Bond, but I was merely replying to your views on both actors. My personal favorite is Pierce Brosnan.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited November 2023 Posts: 3,451
    CrabKey wrote: »
    Myself I prefer Moore as Bond to GL. I don’t have anything again Laz, but he just isn’t the strongest actor. Moore sometimes doesn’t deserve enough credit for the more serious/somber moments in his tenure.

    Not the strongest in what way? How does Moore project those qualities you feel he doesn't receive credit for? Bond actors with a tenure have a bag of tricks. What did Moore do that other Bonds didn't?

    Lazenby wasn’t the strongest actor in terms of his skills period, and I say this as somebody who used to be a huge defender of George. Anytime that he’s on screen with the likes of Rigg or Savalas, he struggles to hold his own ground when sharing the screen with these larger than life personalities. He doesn’t really have much of a personality himself either in the role. He’s kind of just doing what Connery did just without the magnetism/charm.

    Moore’s Bond on the other hand knew how to come across as more serious and grounded in scenes when he absolutely needed to be. The scene where he confesses to killing Anya’s boyfriend in TSWLM is a perfect example. He’s blunt about what he did, and his expression really sells it. In Octopussy we see a similar moment where he’s confronting General Orlov over the hidden bomb on the train. Moore’s anger is just subtly seeping through the cracks as he wants to do nothing more than just shoot Orlov there and then, but needs to have the Bomb disarmed first. Granted Moore isn’t my favorite Bond, but I was merely replying to your views on both actors. My personal favorite is Pierce Brosnan.

    But all of those scenes that you've mentioned regarding Moore comes off as flat to me.
    Moore in OP felt like he's just delivering expositions, and I may one to think of his performance in TSWLM as a bit stiff and it's mainly due to the fact that he had no facial expressions, or reactions, and his line deliveries came off as forced or phoned in, just like Connery in YOLT, some lines were meant to be funny but Moore's delivery of those lines killed the mood.

    I actually prefer his performance in Moonraker more, more natural, he's much more comfortable to the role, he showed range in that film too compared to TSWLM.

    Regarding George playing Connery, it's what the Producers and the director wanted him to do at the time, but if he's given enough chance, I think he had the potential, though he showed enough natural vulnerability that makes me separate him from Connery's portrayal, I think there's a potential in Lazenby's performance, had he just guided better and directed better.

    He's just unfairly maligned to me just like Lois Chiles as Holly Goodhead, some here are calling out her acting, calling it dull? When they overlook the far more worse like Barbara Bach or Carole Bouquet?
  • Posts: 1,707
    Opinions about acting often come down to who we like and what we like. As GL was a one off, it's impossible to say how his tenure would have played. Obviously he would have grown in the role. We see quite a difference in Connery moving from DN to FRWL. He hits his stride in GF. A lot of what happens on screen depends on the writing and directing. The edge and humorlessness we saw in DN is mostly gone by FRWL. SC's expressions always seem genuine to me. It could well be his dark, almost cruel countenance and dark eyes had more to do with that than his acting technique. The two television celebrities who succeeded SC always seemed to have to work at what seemed to come naturally to SC. If one studies actors, that bag of tricks becomes predictable. For example, Steve McQueen often resorted to that dumb, 'Huh?' look. Watch an actor carefully and certain techniques become predictable.
  • CrabKey wrote: »
    The two television celebrities who succeeded SC always seemed to have to work at what seemed to come naturally to SC.

    Referring to Moore and Brosnan? I certainly don’t think they had to do any of that. Keep in mind Moore isn’t meant to be playing Bond in the same way that Connery is. So to claim he always had to work on what came natural to Connery is a bit inaccurate considering it was a different approach to the character entirely.

    Brosnan on the other hand is the only other Bond actor to juggle all the crucial elements needed for Bond perfectly, and he didn’t start letting his business relationship with the producers interfere with his work, which is more than Connery could say considering how bored and pissed off he looked in YOLT. In that sense, I’d make the argument that I prefer Brosnan to Connery as Bond.
  • Posts: 1,707
    CrabKey wrote: »
    The two television celebrities who succeeded SC always seemed to have to work at what seemed to come naturally to SC.

    Referring to Moore and Brosnan? I certainly don’t think they had to do any of that. Keep in mind Moore isn’t meant to be playing Bond in the same way that Connery is. So to claim he always had to work on what came natural to Connery is a bit inaccurate considering it was a different approach to the character entirely.

    Brosnan on the other hand is the only other Bond actor to juggle all the crucial elements needed for Bond perfectly, and he didn’t start letting his business relationship with the producers interfere with his work, which is more than Connery could say considering how bored and pissed off he looked in YOLT. In that sense, I’d make the argument that I prefer Brosnan to Connery as Bond.

    My take on Moore is not inaccurate. Your opinion differs from mine. That Moore plays a different Bond from Connery does not negate my opinion. I've never found him a convincing Bond. You do. As for Brosnan juggling all the crucial elements, I have no idea what you mean. What did he juggle? What elements? That he didn't get crossways in his business relationship as Connery did doesn't tell me about Brosnan's approach to playing the role. What made his Bond unique?
  • CrabKey wrote: »
    CrabKey wrote: »
    The two television celebrities who succeeded SC always seemed to have to work at what seemed to come naturally to SC.

    Referring to Moore and Brosnan? I certainly don’t think they had to do any of that. Keep in mind Moore isn’t meant to be playing Bond in the same way that Connery is. So to claim he always had to work on what came natural to Connery is a bit inaccurate considering it was a different approach to the character entirely.

    Brosnan on the other hand is the only other Bond actor to juggle all the crucial elements needed for Bond perfectly, and he didn’t start letting his business relationship with the producers interfere with his work, which is more than Connery could say considering how bored and pissed off he looked in YOLT. In that sense, I’d make the argument that I prefer Brosnan to Connery as Bond.

    My take on Moore is not inaccurate. Your opinion differs from mine. That Moore plays a different Bond from Connery does not negate my opinion. I've never found him a convincing Bond. You do. As for Brosnan juggling all the crucial elements, I have no idea what you mean. What did he juggle? What elements? That he didn't get crossways in his business relationship as Connery did doesn't tell me about Brosnan's approach to playing the role. What made his Bond unique?

    Ah but your statement on Moore was not prefaced as an opinion! It would have been one thing if you stated “My opinion on Moore and Brosnan is that they had to work on what came naturally to SC” but you didn’t really phrase the statement like that. You called them “TV celebrities” as if thats some kind of remark about how their abilities, before making a somewhat inaccurate statement on their acting abilities, so yeah I do think what you said about Moore in particular was wrong. It may be your opinion, but it’s one that I don’t find much weight in.

    As for Brosnan, what exactly did you need me to explain that I haven’t before? I think it was pretty self explanatory.
  • Posts: 340
    I love Lazenby's Bond. He's not a refined or as mean as Connery but that just gives way for a more natural performance. The fact is to me is still embodies the role and all I see is James Bond.

    Obviously it helps that I've never seen him in anything else.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,451
    M_Blaise wrote: »
    I love Lazenby's Bond. He's not a refined or as mean as Connery but that just gives way for a more natural performance. The fact is to me is still embodies the role and all I see is James Bond.

    Obviously it helps that I've never seen him in anything else.

    I agree.
  • Posts: 1,707
    @007ClassicBondFan -- Almost everything on these threads is opinion, so it isn't necessary to state, 'In my opinion.' Whether you find weight in my opinions or not is immaterial.

    As to your opinion, I am interested in the acting specifics of what Brosnan brings to the role of Bond that convinces you he's a great Bond.
  • edited November 2023 Posts: 3,367
    I think a big chunk of what makes a great Bond is how well the actor mixes the fundamental traits of the character with their own natural strengths. Add to that the so called ‘x-factor’ (call it screen presence or charisma if you want) and I believe that’s what makes the best Bond actors.

    In regards to Lazenby over Moore, I think it’s a matter of preference (more to do with Moore’s approach to the character - I know that and the tone of some of his films aren’t for everyone, and many simply prefer OHMSS). For me personally I think even with Lazenby’s lack of acting experience/talent he simply didn’t have that ‘something’ about him that keeps you watching and engaged. Moore did, like him or not.
  • CrabKey wrote: »
    @007ClassicBondFan -- Almost everything on these threads is opinion, so it isn't necessary to state, 'In my opinion.' Whether you find weight in my opinions or not is immaterial.

    As to your opinion, I am interested in the acting specifics of what Brosnan brings to the role of Bond that convinces you he's a great Bond.

    His confidence and sophistication. He could just as serious as Connery, just as humorous as Moore, and just as deadly as Dalton. People use those qualities as a criticism against him, always calling him a “Jack of all trades; King of None” but I don’t buy any of that. To me that’s the everything I want out of a Bond actor, and Pierce always gave it 100%.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,451
    Well, I prefer Brosnan over Moore, so there's it.
    He just got stuck with weak materials to worked with.
    I think had he given a strong script, he could've unleashed his full potential.
    Yes, he had a wider range than Moore in terms of acting, I mean he could've made it convincing and natural, but again, he's given such weak scripts to worked with, hence why his Bond never worked for me, either.
    Moore doing such scenes far removed from his built in persona just felt awkward and odd and not at all convincing, I know he tried, but that's it, it's not natural, because I've never felt it.
  • Posts: 3,367
    See, personally I’d argue the opposite. For me it’s Brosnan who had a more limited acting range and struggled with some of the stuff he was given in his last two films.

    I think Moore tends to get looked down upon as an actor, but he really does have some great moments which shows his range in his Bond films. I’d say he was by far the better actor than Brosnan.
  • peterpeter Toronto
    Posts: 9,048
    Agreed @007HallY ... It's not even a contest.
  • 007HallY wrote: »
    See, personally I’d argue the opposite. For me it’s Brosnan who had a more limited acting range and struggled with some of the stuff he was given in his last two films.

    I think Moore tends to get looked down upon as an actor, but he really does have some great moments which shows his range in his Bond films. I’d say he was by far the better actor than Brosnan.
    peter wrote: »
    Agreed @007HallY ... It's not even a contest.


    See this is where I disagree with the both of you. I agree that Moore does get looked down a lot, but I still think that Brosnan is the stronger actor, and the stronger Bond. It also helps that a lot of the roles Pierce was doing outside of Bond showcased a whole range of emotions that he could do. Moore may get some unfair flack at times, but he gets no where near the amount of flack that Brosnan gets, and at the end of the day, that’s who I think is the better actor of the two of them.
  • Posts: 3,367
    007HallY wrote: »
    See, personally I’d argue the opposite. For me it’s Brosnan who had a more limited acting range and struggled with some of the stuff he was given in his last two films.

    I think Moore tends to get looked down upon as an actor, but he really does have some great moments which shows his range in his Bond films. I’d say he was by far the better actor than Brosnan.
    peter wrote: »
    Agreed @007HallY ... It's not even a contest.


    See this is where I disagree with the both of you. I agree that Moore does get looked down a lot, but I still think that Brosnan is the stronger actor, and the stronger Bond. It also helps that a lot of the roles Pierce was doing outside of Bond showcased a whole range of emotions that he could do. Moore may get some unfair flack at times, but he gets no where near the amount of flack that Brosnan gets, and at the end of the day, that’s who I think is the better actor of the two of them.

    Brosnan isn’t a bad actor. Just a limited one. I always get a strong whiff of it in his performance in TWINE. He tends to overact in that film during the more emotionally charged scenes in a way which comes off as soap opera-ish. I think it’s because he’s not an actor who has that natural ability to convey exactly what he wants to the audience. Some actors are just great at that to the point where a little change in expression or well placed look can tell you exactly what their characters are thinking.

    Moore is an actor who had that ability in my opinion. I always see it during the scene in TSWLM where he reveals to Anya he killed her boyfriend. You get a sense he’s figuring out what to say, debating whether to even tell her. I think he plays that scene well.
  • 007HallY wrote: »
    007HallY wrote: »
    See, personally I’d argue the opposite. For me it’s Brosnan who had a more limited acting range and struggled with some of the stuff he was given in his last two films.

    I think Moore tends to get looked down upon as an actor, but he really does have some great moments which shows his range in his Bond films. I’d say he was by far the better actor than Brosnan.
    peter wrote: »
    Agreed @007HallY ... It's not even a contest.


    See this is where I disagree with the both of you. I agree that Moore does get looked down a lot, but I still think that Brosnan is the stronger actor, and the stronger Bond. It also helps that a lot of the roles Pierce was doing outside of Bond showcased a whole range of emotions that he could do. Moore may get some unfair flack at times, but he gets no where near the amount of flack that Brosnan gets, and at the end of the day, that’s who I think is the better actor of the two of them.

    Brosnan isn’t a bad actor. Just a limited one. I always get a strong whiff of it in his performance in TWINE. He tends to overact in that film during the more emotionally charged scenes in a way which comes off as soap opera-ish. I think it’s because he’s not an actor who has that natural ability to convey exactly what he wants to the audience. Some actors are just great at that to the point where a little change in expression or well placed look can tell you exactly what their characters are thinking.

    Moore is an actor who had that ability in my opinion. I always see it during the scene in TSWLM where he reveals to Anya he killed her boyfriend. You get a sense he’s figuring out what to say, debating whether to even tell her. I think he plays that scene well.

    I don’t think Brosnan’s limited still. I think that just means that he needs a good director to really get a good performance out of him, such is the case with many actors. I’ll admit that on a whole, the style of acting in TWINE from all of the cast is unique to say the least. There are moments that I do find to be incredibly odd, one of which being the torture scene, and also the scene where Elektra reveals her true motivations to M. But other than that I felt Brosnan put forth another strong performance in the film, and he does the best he can with questionable material. The soap oprea criticism is something that I personally put down more on Michael Apted than any of the actors. At the end of the day, the director is ultimately in charge of performance, and although I’m not as familiar with Apted’s work as I’d like to be, it seems his background came from doing drama/soap oprea’s. Apted should’ve reigned in the actors a bit more, and perhaps the producers should’ve reigned in both Apted and Purvis/Wade.
  • Posts: 3,367
    007HallY wrote: »
    007HallY wrote: »
    See, personally I’d argue the opposite. For me it’s Brosnan who had a more limited acting range and struggled with some of the stuff he was given in his last two films.

    I think Moore tends to get looked down upon as an actor, but he really does have some great moments which shows his range in his Bond films. I’d say he was by far the better actor than Brosnan.
    peter wrote: »
    Agreed @007HallY ... It's not even a contest.


    See this is where I disagree with the both of you. I agree that Moore does get looked down a lot, but I still think that Brosnan is the stronger actor, and the stronger Bond. It also helps that a lot of the roles Pierce was doing outside of Bond showcased a whole range of emotions that he could do. Moore may get some unfair flack at times, but he gets no where near the amount of flack that Brosnan gets, and at the end of the day, that’s who I think is the better actor of the two of them.

    Brosnan isn’t a bad actor. Just a limited one. I always get a strong whiff of it in his performance in TWINE. He tends to overact in that film during the more emotionally charged scenes in a way which comes off as soap opera-ish. I think it’s because he’s not an actor who has that natural ability to convey exactly what he wants to the audience. Some actors are just great at that to the point where a little change in expression or well placed look can tell you exactly what their characters are thinking.

    Moore is an actor who had that ability in my opinion. I always see it during the scene in TSWLM where he reveals to Anya he killed her boyfriend. You get a sense he’s figuring out what to say, debating whether to even tell her. I think he plays that scene well.

    I don’t think Brosnan’s limited still. I think that just means that he needs a good director to really get a good performance out of him, such is the case with many actors. I’ll admit that on a whole, the style of acting in TWINE from all of the cast is unique to say the least. There are moments that I do find to be incredibly odd, one of which being the torture scene, and also the scene where Elektra reveals her true motivations to M. But other than that I felt Brosnan put forth another strong performance in the film, and he does the best he can with questionable material. The soap oprea criticism is something that I personally put down more on Michael Apted than any of the actors. At the end of the day, the director is ultimately in charge of performance, and although I’m not as familiar with Apted’s work as I’d like to be, it seems his background came from doing drama/soap oprea’s. Apted should’ve reigned in the actors a bit more, and perhaps the producers should’ve reigned in both Apted and Purvis/Wade.

    I don’t think any director can truly make an actor give a good or bad performance. They can at best adjust things to highlight their strengths/downplay their weaknesses, and ideally the right actor would be cast in the role, but ultimately the actor’s performance is theirs. I’ve never worked with a director who would claim that they alone were responsible for an actor’s performance. It’s just not how it works.

    Honestly, Brosnan’s over exaggeration was always there to some extent. His infamous ‘pain face’ is an example. TWINE isn’t helped by Apted (who yes, had an early career in soap operas) nor the material, but it’s very much Brosnan’s performance. I mean, Craig had his share of dodgy lines as Bond and he always came off better.
  • edited November 2023 Posts: 2,155
    007HallY wrote: »
    I don’t think any director can truly make an actor give a good or bad performance. They can at best adjust things to highlight their strengths/downplay their weaknesses, and ideally the right actor would be cast in the role, but ultimately the actor’s performance is theirs. I’ve never worked with a director who would claim that they alone were responsible for an actor’s performance. It’s just not how it works.

    Again I’m not too sure. Directors may not have 100% complete control over an actors performance, but someone like Hitchcock always got his actors to bring out the best in themselves, whether it was Jimmy Stewart, or Cary Grant. Martin Scorcesse always seemed to know how to get great performances out of DeNiro. Heck even for all his faults, so did Stanley Kubrick. He tortured poor Shelly Duvall to get that performance from her, tragic as it may have ended up for her in the long run, that’s still a great role she did! Granted I’m not proclaiming everyone is on the level of those men as a director, but a good director can help bring out the best in his stars.

    007HallY wrote: »
    I mean, Craig had his share of dodgy lines as Bond and he always came off better.

    Did he though? I certainly thought his performances in both SPECTRE and NTTD were filled to the brim with cringeworthy moments. Moments which I found myself thinking “this isn’t Bond.” Heck he even had his own “pain face” during the torture scene in SP.
  • Posts: 3,367
    007HallY wrote: »
    I don’t think any director can truly make an actor give a good or bad performance. They can at best adjust things to highlight their strengths/downplay their weaknesses, and ideally the right actor would be cast in the role, but ultimately the actor’s performance is theirs. I’ve never worked with a director who would claim that they alone were responsible for an actor’s performance. It’s just not how it works.

    Again I’m not too sure. Directors may not have 100% complete control over an actors performance, but someone like Hitchcock always got his actors to bring out the best in themselves, whether it was Jimmy Stewart, or Cary Grant. Martin Scorcesse always seemed to know how to get great performances out of DeNiro. Heck even for all his faults, so did Stanley Kubrick. He tortured poor Shelly Duvall to get that performance from her, tragic as it may have ended up for her in the long run, that’s still a great role she did! Granted I’m not proclaiming everyone is on the level of those men as a director, but a good director can help bring out the best in his stars.

    A good director knows how to work with the individual actor. They know who to cast for the role. But no, ultimately they don’t control the performance. Guide it perhaps, but at the end of the day actors aren’t puppets (or cattle to paraphrase Hitchcock). If they’re miscast or are not capable of playing the role no director can turn that around. Even the likes of Kubrick had his share of performances which missed the mark (ie. His earliest films contained some pretty strange performances from lesser known actors, and people even criticise Ryan O’Neal in Barry Lyndon as a weak link. The best performances from his films came from heavy hitters such as Jack Nicholson, Malcolm McDowell and Peter Sellers, all of whom were even given the freedom to improvise).

    Like I said, it comes down to getting the casting right, and knowing how to work with the individual actor. The best director I ever worked for even went as far to say that he disliked directing actors. His view was once he cast the right person for the role his job with them amounted to discussing the script and working on blocking with them, but ultimately he preferred to just let them do their thing performance-wise and keep the camera/takes rolling.
    007HallY wrote: »
    I mean, Craig had his share of dodgy lines as Bond and he always came off better.

    Did he though? I certainly thought his performances in both SPECTRE and NTTD were filled to the brim with cringeworthy moments. Moments which I found myself thinking “this isn’t Bond.” Heck he even had his own “pain face” during the torture scene in SP.

    Maybe it’s just a thing of personal opinion then. I’ve never thought any of those things with Craig. Even when he gets ropey lines like the ‘little finger’ one from CR his actual performance is pretty solid.
  • 007HallY wrote: »

    A good director knows how to work with the individual actor. They know who to cast for the role. But no, ultimately they don’t control the performance. Guide it perhaps, but at the end of the day actors aren’t puppets (or cattle to paraphrase Hitchcock). If they’re miscast or are not capable of playing the role no director can turn that around. Even the likes of Kubrick had his share of performances which missed the mark (ie. His earliest films contained some pretty strange performances from lesser known actors, and people even criticise Ryan O’Neal in Barry Lyndon as a weak link. The best performances from his films came from heavy hitters such as Jack Nicholson, Malcolm McDowell and Peter Sellers, all of whom were even given the freedom to improvise).

    Like I said, it comes down to getting the casting right, and knowing how to work with the individual actor. The best director I ever worked for even went as far to say that he disliked directing actors. His view was once he cast the right person for the role his job with them amounted to discussing the script and working on blocking with them, but ultimately he preferred to just let them do their thing performance-wise and keep the camera/takes rolling.

    I agree that actors can certainly be miscast, and I don’t doubt that there are directors like the one you’ve worked for who prefer to let actors do their thing. But not every director is like that. I’m sure you know as well as anyone else in the industry that some directors can be real control freaks, and sometimes that results in managing actors a certain way that’s desired. Also not every actor is on the level of Jack Nicholson, Malcom McDowell, or Peter Sellers. Some actors need to be reigned in a bit to prevent their performances from being either over the top, or outright bad. But I don’t make movies, I just watch them 😁

    007HallY wrote: »
    Maybe it’s just a thing of personal opinion then. I’ve never thought any of those things with Craig. Even when he gets ropey lines like the ‘little finger’ one from CR his actual performance is pretty solid.

    The ‘Little Finger’ line is great, and Craig’s delivery of it is great. But it’s moments like the scene between Bond and Blofeld in NTTD that makes me scratch my head at the approach Craig is taking to Bond. He seems to be more swarmy and jokey in that scene than he ever has been before in any of his previous Bonds, almost to where it felt a bit out of character, then for him to suddenly grind his teeth and strangle Blofeld seemed like a complete 360 in terms of his emotions. It was very off putting for me to say the least, and the line “Die Blofeld Die!!!” should’ve been cut entirely.

    Honestly all of this is just my opinion, but you could find cringeworthy moments from all of the Bond actors if you look closely enough. In fact the cringiest moment of all Bond actors comes not from Brosnan or Craig, but from Connery dry humping a table in TB! I can’t watch that scene with inexplicably laughing.
  • Posts: 3,367
    007HallY wrote: »

    A good director knows how to work with the individual actor. They know who to cast for the role. But no, ultimately they don’t control the performance. Guide it perhaps, but at the end of the day actors aren’t puppets (or cattle to paraphrase Hitchcock). If they’re miscast or are not capable of playing the role no director can turn that around. Even the likes of Kubrick had his share of performances which missed the mark (ie. His earliest films contained some pretty strange performances from lesser known actors, and people even criticise Ryan O’Neal in Barry Lyndon as a weak link. The best performances from his films came from heavy hitters such as Jack Nicholson, Malcolm McDowell and Peter Sellers, all of whom were even given the freedom to improvise).

    Like I said, it comes down to getting the casting right, and knowing how to work with the individual actor. The best director I ever worked for even went as far to say that he disliked directing actors. His view was once he cast the right person for the role his job with them amounted to discussing the script and working on blocking with them, but ultimately he preferred to just let them do their thing performance-wise and keep the camera/takes rolling.

    I agree that actors can certainly be miscast, and I don’t doubt that there are directors like the one you’ve worked for who prefer to let actors do their thing. But not every director is like that. I’m sure you know as well as anyone else in the industry that some directors can be real control freaks, and sometimes that results in managing actors a certain way that’s desired. Also not every actor is on the level of Jack Nicholson, Malcom McDowell, or Peter Sellers. Some actors need to be reigned in a bit to prevent their performances from being either over the top, or outright bad. But I don’t make movies, I just watch them 😁

    There certainly can be more ‘hands on’ directors with their actors, but I think even then they maintain some level of distance from the performance.

    It’s not useful, for instance, for any director to recite lines in the way they want the actor to. It would either embarrass the actor as they can’t do it in the way the director wants, or the director will embarrass themselves by not reciting the line well. Same for vague directions (ie. ‘I need you to be bigger!’) or directions that are way too specific (ie. ‘I want you to open your mouth and raise your eyebrows a bit more’). They don’t want to create conflict or embarrass the actor, and an actor giving a more, let’s say ‘over the top’ performance won’t be reigned in as much as the director will make sure they get enough varied takes. Any director worth their salt knows you can’t micromanage a performance, and in order to get the actors to give their best performance they have to be able to know how to work with them as individuals.
    007HallY wrote: »
    Maybe it’s just a thing of personal opinion then. I’ve never thought any of those things with Craig. Even when he gets ropey lines like the ‘little finger’ one from CR his actual performance is pretty solid.

    The ‘Little Finger’ line is great, and Craig’s delivery of it is great. But it’s moments like the scene between Bond and Blofeld in NTTD that makes me scratch my head at the approach Craig is taking to Bond. He seems to be more swarmy and jokey in that scene than he ever has been before in any of his previous Bonds, almost to where it felt a bit out of character, then for him to suddenly grind his teeth and strangle Blofeld seemed like a complete 360 in terms of his emotions. It was very off putting for me to say the least, and the line “Die Blofeld Die!!!” should’ve been cut entirely.

    Honestly all of this is just my opinion, but you could find cringeworthy moments from all of the Bond actors if you look closely enough. In fact the cringiest moment of all Bond actors comes not from Brosnan or Craig, but from Connery dry humping a table in TB! I can’t watch that scene with inexplicably laughing.

    For me the weirdest moment in the Craig era is when he randomly tries to tackle Blofeld when he shows Madeline the footage of White dying. Craig’s performance is good, and in a different context it’d be fine, but it just comes off as random. Same for the interrogation scene - for me it’s less Craig and more the fact that the music swells when he says ‘die’. It’s a random moment, not very well done.

    I will say the little finger line is awful though. CR is a cool film but it’s got some rubbish dialogue.

    The spinal rack scene in TB is pretty funny to me too. In the book it’s very tense but it comes off as ridiculous in the film. Like, what’s the worst it could do, pull a muscle? And yes, it looks a bit… well odd, haha.
  • 007HallY wrote: »

    For me the weirdest moment in the Craig era is when he randomly tries to tackle Blofeld when he shows Madeline the footage of White dying. Craig’s performance is good, and in a different context it’d be fine, but it just comes off as random. Same for the interrogation scene

    I actually kind of like that moment to a degree haha. It is sort of random, but I totally understand the motivation from Bond’s end. He wants to spare Madeline from the sight of watching what happened to her father. What I don’t like is how quickly they move on from that.

    007HallY wrote: »
    I will say the little finger line is awful though. CR is a cool film but it’s got some rubbish dialogue.

    Yeah it does, but I always get a little chuckle out of that line. It’s the kind of sleazy line I could picture Connery, or Brosnan saying, and it sort of highlights how “naughty” (for lack of a better term) Bond can be, even in the most intimate of moments.
    007HallY wrote: »
    The spinal rack scene in TB is pretty funny to me too. In the book it’s very tense but it comes off as ridiculous in the film. Like, what’s the worst it could do, pull a muscle? And yes, it looks a bit… well odd, haha.

    So that was actually a piece lifted from Fleming then? Oh my, I’ll have to read the book just to see how it plays out. My goal for next year is go through all the novels and short stories, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for any outrageous moments!
  • Posts: 3,367
    007HallY wrote: »

    For me the weirdest moment in the Craig era is when he randomly tries to tackle Blofeld when he shows Madeline the footage of White dying. Craig’s performance is good, and in a different context it’d be fine, but it just comes off as random. Same for the interrogation scene

    I actually kind of like that moment to a degree haha. It is sort of random, but I totally understand the motivation from Bond’s end. He wants to spare Madeline from the sight of watching what happened to her father. What I don’t like is how quickly they move on from that.

    007HallY wrote: »
    I will say the little finger line is awful though. CR is a cool film but it’s got some rubbish dialogue.

    Yeah it does, but I always get a little chuckle out of that line. It’s the kind of sleazy line I could picture Connery, or Brosnan saying, and it sort of highlights how “naughty” (for lack of a better term) Bond can be, even in the most intimate of moments.
    007HallY wrote: »
    The spinal rack scene in TB is pretty funny to me too. In the book it’s very tense but it comes off as ridiculous in the film. Like, what’s the worst it could do, pull a muscle? And yes, it looks a bit… well odd, haha.

    So that was actually a piece lifted from Fleming then? Oh my, I’ll have to read the book just to see how it plays out. My goal for next year is go through all the novels and short stories, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for any outrageous moments!

    Not to worry, there’s definitely some ridiculous stuff in Fleming! But they’re great reads.
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