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Thread: BOND... JAMES BOND.

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  1. #11
    Earlier, in talking about your childhood in the boarding house run by Eileen, you mentioned specifically "a green curtain." Tell me about that curtain.

    The green curtain. Oh, God bless her, Eileen. Well, because the room had lodgers—she had these lodgers, working men who would come up from the countryside to work in town—there were three beds. And it was just a little kind of wrought-iron bed with a horsehair mattress and a green, shiny curtain around it. And she would pin the newspapers to it so the light wouldn't come through. And that was my room; that was my bed for a number of years. And they were really happy times, because she had a son and a daughter, and for the first time in my life, I was surrounded by a family that was really loving and fun. And it was in a place called St. Finian's Terrace. And very poor, and yet alive with humanity. And Eileen had a dog named Chip, and Chip became my dog, and I suddenly had friends. Whereas, when I lived across the river, there was no one there. There was just the house, the little bungalow. And the friends there were nuns; I used to go down to the convent and help make butter with the nuns, milk the cows.... That was another side of life. And my grandmother used to give the field to the Crutchee family—there was a woman called Old Ma Crutchee and she had two sons; they were tinkers—and they were my friends when I was on that side of the river. They were amazing. And she was incredible; she had the horse and the cart, a beautiful old wagon that she painted, and the boys would go into the woods; they made the best bow-and-arrows, they made great catapults in a tube of tires, catch frogs, catch fish. So I had the tinkers over here, and the nuns, and then I went into the town and had all the lads up in St. Finian's Terrace, who were a great tribe of kids. But the bed, the curtain—that sounds lonely, but it was heavenly. I was very comfortable.

    Well, I think you make the best with what you've got, you know? Sometimes you have very little. And you just always try to rise to higher ground, because you're going to suffer one way or the other, so you just hope that you have strength and perseverance and good friends and faith, some kind of faith, to endure and move on to greener pastures. I don't know. I don't know. I love what I do as an actor. The life of an actor, it's been great to me. America, you know, was my savior. Came here thirty years ago, got off the plane, felt lucky, was lucky. I managed to stay employed. Ever since, I've always had.... You know, "What am I going to do?" "How am I going to make a living?" "How am I going to get by?"—and I've managed it.

    Is there anything in your possession from those years ago that still means something to you?

    There are boxing gloves. My mother gave me boxing gloves; I wanted boxing gloves. I liked to box. So I still have them. They're still in my bookcase, very old, tattered, and they were cherished. When I got them that Christmas, my grandmother was dying; I was living in Kells. My mother couldn't come home that Christmas because she had to work as a nurse. But the boxing gloves were a brilliant distraction from the pain in the heart.

    Do you look at them every day?

    Oh, I look at them. I see them. They're there. Just: the gloves are on; the gloves are off. In November Man, the gloves are off. It's like, "Come on; let's shake it up, here." Because when the curtain fell unexpectedly on James Bond and, to my surprise, there was this kind of void that was left: this itch of unfinished business. And so that's where November Man came from. I wanted to create an action hero character. I could do all the things that I didn't get to do in Bond, so to speak. Because when I played Bond, it'd been dormant for six years; it was a huge undertaking on the part of everyone involved to get it right. And so I was kind of caught somewhere in between the Roger Moore and the Sean Connery of it all. And both men, I adored as James Bond. But it never felt—I don't know—real. I felt like I was in a period-piece sometimes.

    When you were doing it, it never felt real?

    When I was doing it, yes. Because I could hear echoes or sensations of Connery or of Roger, which I didn't try to censor; I'd just allow them to come in. But I never.... Anyway, they were successful, and in doing the GoldenEye, that was the ticket and the key into creating my own company, Irish DreamTime.

    Would you change anything about those performances?

    No. I don't allow myself. I haven't gone over that terrain, really. All I know is that GoldenEye came out and it was a wonderful film; I think it still stands up, there. I haven't seen it in a long time, but...

    Are there hurts that have shaped you? Personally or professionally?

    Oh, yeah, yeah, there are numerous blows to the heart, the psyche, and the spirit. And Bond figures significantly in some of those disappointments.

  2. #12
    ^^^ (Cont'd)

    When it ended?

    But more than anything, it is the gift that keeps giving, and it was just a really incredible decade of life. You know, when it happened and it didn't happen and then it happened and it didn't happen, you know, it always came in and out of my life with great trauma. In 1986, Remington got canceled, they offered me the movie James Bond, and then I couldn't get out of the contract, and they played it out until the sixtieth day. They had sixty days in which to resell the show, and I was assured that everything was going to be just fine, but it wasn't. And on the sixtieth day as I was walking out to the beach with a bottle of Cristal Champagne to my late wife, the phone rang and I thought, "Hmm, better answer it." It was Fred Specktor, my agent, saying, "The deal's fallen through. It's not gonna happen." Because Cubby [Broccoli; the film producer who owned the Bond franchise] had said to them, "Look, it happened for six episodes. Then no more; then he's mine." And the network came back on the sixtieth day on the eleventh hour and said, "We want the option of twenty-two." And Cubby said, "No way. Deal's off." And that was it. So that was a blow.

    How do you navigate that? How do you not let that crush you?

    Well, your mind works fast, you know? You take the blow and you move on.

    Some people don't.

    Well, you know: the gloves are on, the gloves are off. You take the blow, you've got to come in with the next blow. You've got to think ahead of the game, you've got to jump ahead and say, "OK, I've lost it. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em all. But I'm gonna work. I know how to work. I know how to work." As I'm walking out with a bottle of champagne, about to tell my wife it ain't happening. And we had relocated our children to school in England; I mean, we had moved, in our minds, out of L.A.

    You'd made moves.

    It's all going according to plan: I've come to America, beautiful hit show, respected show, it gets canceled, and now I go off and become an international movie star. This is just the way it should go. But it wasn't meant to be. So in those awful heartbeat moments, you just think ahead. And you get on with work. And I think the next thing I did was a miniseries called Noble House. I read it, I liked it, the price was good; I went straight to work. Straight to work. Kept working. And then it came back around, and then I did my full contract, which was for four movies; they invited me back, and I remember distinctly being in the beach house in Malibu and the phone rang, and Michael and Barbara [Cubby's heirs] said, "We'd love you to do the fifth." And I said, "I'd love to." I put the phone down; I said to my wife, Keeley, I said, "OK. Go build your dream-house. Because I'm doing a movie. They've just invited me back." And then I went off to do a movie in that interim time, After the Sunset, and one day I was going out onto the set, and the phone rang, and it was my agent, and they said, "Listen. They've started negotiations on the film." I said, "OK, what does that mean?" He says, "Well, they don't want to negotiate anymore. They'll call you next Thursday." I said, "OK." So I waited a whole week, and then the next Thursday came, and I was in the Bahamas—I think I was staying at Richard Harris's house with Richard and his family; there's an interconnectedness there. And Michael and Barbara said they'd rethought the character and were putting it on hold and we said goodbye. And that was it. Alright. You were a good Bond. So that's how it went down that time. And that certainly dug into the solar plexus of life, just because it was pretty gut-wrenching and because it had been somewhat heralded that I was coming back. So, it's just business. And you're the one caught in the crosshairs. And, you know, my press agent at the time said, "You should resign. You should resign." And I said, "No, I don't want to do that, because that's a lie. It's a lie onto myself; it's their decision. Let it be their decision, and however you want to look at it, however it will be defined, then let it find its own course." So you get on and you work. You just get back in the ring, and try to define yourself and not let there be angst over it. Head up, shoulders back. So yeah, there's those kind of blows. And then it's well-documented: the loss of my wife and my daughter. Those are deep. Those leave you rudderless, adrift, and gasping for air, that pain.

    What do you believe?

    What do I believe? I believe in God. I believe in my God; I believe in the God in myself; I believe in myself as a man, as an actor. It gets tested and tried often, and sometimes I lose the way. But I believe in my children.

    Are there words you live by?

    Are there words? Just "Be kind." "Be good." "Do good things."

    Well, kindness. Kindness, I think, goes along way. Being kind to yourself and being kind to others. Give it away. Just give it away; all that's not given is lost. So that's as good as it gets.

    Did you ever see your father again after he left the family?

    I did meet him, in the end. I met Tom. I met Tom Brosnan. He came to visit me when I was Remington Steele. Came out of the woods looking for me. It was kind of too late, really. Too late. We sat and had a cup of tea. It was on a Sunday. Talked about this and that, and downstairs, I met a few first cousins who I didn't know, had pints of Guinness and he got on the minibus and drove away and...

    That was it?

    That was it. Ah, well. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  3. #13
    ^^^ (Cont'd)

    When it ended?

    But more than anything, it is the gift that keeps giving, and it was just a really incredible decade of life. You know, when it happened and it didn't happen and then it happened and it didn't happen, you know, it always came in and out of my life with great trauma. In 1986, Remington got canceled, they offered me the movie James Bond, and then I couldn't get out of the contract, and they played it out until the sixtieth day. They had sixty days in which to resell the show, and I was assured that everything was going to be just fine, but it wasn't. And on the sixtieth day as I was walking out to the beach with a bottle of Cristal Champagne to my late wife, the phone rang and I thought, "Hmm, better answer it." It was Fred Specktor, my agent, saying, "The deal's fallen through. It's not gonna happen." Because Cubby [Broccoli; the film producer who owned the Bond franchise] had said to them, "Look, it happened for six episodes. Then no more; then he's mine." And the network came back on the sixtieth day on the eleventh hour and said, "We want the option of twenty-two." And Cubby said, "No way. Deal's off." And that was it. So that was a blow.

    How do you navigate that? How do you not let that crush you?

    Well, your mind works fast, you know? You take the blow and you move on.

    Some people don't.

    Well, you know: the gloves are on, the gloves are off. You take the blow, you've got to come in with the next blow. You've got to think ahead of the game, you've got to jump ahead and say, "OK, I've lost it. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em all. But I'm gonna work. I know how to work. I know how to work." As I'm walking out with a bottle of champagne, about to tell my wife it ain't happening. And we had relocated our children to school in England; I mean, we had moved, in our minds, out of L.A.

    You'd made moves.

    It's all going according to plan: I've come to America, beautiful hit show, respected show, it gets canceled, and now I go off and become an international movie star. This is just the way it should go. But it wasn't meant to be. So in those awful heartbeat moments, you just think ahead. And you get on with work. And I think the next thing I did was a miniseries called Noble House. I read it, I liked it, the price was good; I went straight to work. Straight to work. Kept working. And then it came back around, and then I did my full contract, which was for four movies; they invited me back, and I remember distinctly being in the beach house in Malibu and the phone rang, and Michael and Barbara [Cubby's heirs] said, "We'd love you to do the fifth." And I said, "I'd love to." I put the phone down; I said to my wife, Keeley, I said, "OK. Go build your dream-house. Because I'm doing a movie. They've just invited me back." And then I went off to do a movie in that interim time, After the Sunset, and one day I was going out onto the set, and the phone rang, and it was my agent, and they said, "Listen. They've started negotiations on the film." I said, "OK, what does that mean?" He says, "Well, they don't want to negotiate anymore. They'll call you next Thursday." I said, "OK." So I waited a whole week, and then the next Thursday came, and I was in the Bahamas—I think I was staying at Richard Harris's house with Richard and his family; there's an interconnectedness there. And Michael and Barbara said they'd rethought the character and were putting it on hold and we said goodbye. And that was it. Alright. You were a good Bond. So that's how it went down that time. And that certainly dug into the solar plexus of life, just because it was pretty gut-wrenching and because it had been somewhat heralded that I was coming back. So, it's just business. And you're the one caught in the crosshairs. And, you know, my press agent at the time said, "You should resign. You should resign." And I said, "No, I don't want to do that, because that's a lie. It's a lie onto myself; it's their decision. Let it be their decision, and however you want to look at it, however it will be defined, then let it find its own course." So you get on and you work. You just get back in the ring, and try to define yourself and not let there be angst over it. Head up, shoulders back. So yeah, there's those kind of blows. And then it's well-documented: the loss of my wife and my daughter. Those are deep. Those leave you rudderless, adrift, and gasping for air, that pain.

    What do you believe?

    What do I believe? I believe in God. I believe in my God; I believe in the God in myself; I believe in myself as a man, as an actor. It gets tested and tried often, and sometimes I lose the way. But I believe in my children.

    Are there words you live by?

    Are there words? Just "Be kind." "Be good." "Do good things."

    Well, kindness. Kindness, I think, goes along way. Being kind to yourself and being kind to others. Give it away. Just give it away; all that's not given is lost. So that's as good as it gets.

    Did you ever see your father again after he left the family?

    I did meet him, in the end. I met Tom. I met Tom Brosnan. He came to visit me when I was Remington Steele. Came out of the woods looking for me. It was kind of too late, really. Too late. We sat and had a cup of tea. It was on a Sunday. Talked about this and that, and downstairs, I met a few first cousins who I didn't know, had pints of Guinness and he got on the minibus and drove away and...

    That was it?

    That was it. Ah, well. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  4. #14
    From the Vintage News ...

    In "Dr. No," Jack Lord won praise as a suave and smart CIA agent, but he bowed out of Bond series because he wanted Felix Leiter and James Bond to be equals

    Glamour Instant Articles Dec 9, 2017 Nancy Bilyeau

    The film is 1962's Dr. No and James Bond is in a corner. He's gotten the better of a knife-wielding Jamaican fisherman-turned-spy named Quarrel with the help of his Walther PPK and is demanding answers from Quarrel when another voice comes from behind. "Hold it," says a man emerging from the shadows wearing sunglasses. "Gently, gently. Let's not get excited."

    The man takes Bond's gun, orders Quarrel to frisk him, and only then introduces himself: "Felix Leiter. Central Intelligence Agency. You must be James Bond."

    A relieved Bond says, "You mean we're fighting the same war?"

    And so James Bond, played by 32-year-old Sean Connery, meets his American counterpart Felix Leiter, played by 41-year-old Jack Lord. The smooth CIA agent who when necessary coordinates with Bond on his missions was created by Ian Fleming in Casino Royale. In fact, he salvages Bond's mission in the first novel of the series, supplying him with 32 million francs after Bond has lost to Le Chiffre at the gambling table.

    Fleming, with his usual flare for character portrayal, describes Leiter like this in Casino Royale:

    "Felix Leiter was about thirty-five. He was tall with a thin, bony frame, and his lightweight, tan-colored suit hung loosely from his shoulders like the clothes of Frank Sinatra. His movements and speech were slow, but one had the feeling that there was plenty of speed and strength in him and he would be a tough and cruel fighter. As he sat hunched over the table, he seemed to have some of the jack-knife quality of a falcon."

    When Saltzman and Broccoli were developing the James Bond series, they selected the Dr. No. novel to be the first adaptation instead of Casino Royale. In that book, Felix Leiter does not appear, so the screenwriter inserted him into the plot. He is the one who briefs Bond on the situation with a "Chinese cat" on the mysterious island of Crab Key named "Dr. No."

    Jack Lord, who was billed fourth in Dr. No, plays Leiter very closely to how the character was conceptualized by Fleming, and he was rewarded with positive reviews. Many responded to his cool, slithering moves and his suave suits and dark glasses. According to the Bond wikia, Lord played Leiter in a "swaggering" fashion and was an "effective American version of James Bond."

    In a movie known for its visuals, and the genius of designer Ken Adam, Jack Lord's look won special notice.

    "His most well-known accessory is his pair of cat-eye sunglasses, which have since become primarily worn by women," purrs a James Bond fashion site. "Nevertheless, Felix Leiter looks hipper than Bond with his sunglasses, which he places in his outer breast pocket when he removes them. No Felix Leiter other than Jack Lord, except perhaps Jeffrey Wright, comes close to having a competing screen presence with Bond, and his cool look has a large part to do with it."

    Yes, some devoted Bond watchers consider Jack Lord to be an excellent Felix Leiter. Yet Lord only played him once.

    Born with the name John Joseph Patrick Ryan on January 2, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York, the man who took the stage name Jack Lord just might have selected the name because he had a lordly sense of his own importance. And it worked for him. It was that tough, dominating, cool, by-the-book persona that made his Steve McGarrett, the head of the state police in Hawaii, such a fantastic character in Hawaii Five-0, which premiered in 1968 and ran for 12 seasons. The persona of McGarrett still vibrates, and not just in continual reruns on cable TV. Whether it's the catchphrase "Book em, Danno. Murder One" or the huge wave cascading in the show credits, the series is a core part of popular culture, not as huge as the Bond films but important nonetheless. As seen in the HBO series The Wire, when criminals want to warn one another that police are visible, they yell "5-0!"

    Jack Lord was not a well known actor before Dr. No. A merchant marine veteran, he was regarded as a solid actor with TV, film and stage credits. The success of Dr. No vaulted him forward. But when the Bond producers approached Lord to play Leiter in Goldfinger and sign a long-term contract like the actors playing M and Moneypenny, Jack Lord pushed back. He asked for much more money - and for Leiter to be a more significant character, functioning as a partner for Bond, not a sidekick.

    The answer to that was a firm no. Perhaps to make the point clear, in Goldfinger, the actor who plays Leiter is gray-haired, paunchy, and inferior to Bond in spying skills. A conga line of actors have rotated in and out of the Bond series to play Leiter and they?re never memorable. Some have speculated that the Bond producers have an ambivalent feeling toward the CIA's part in Bond?s missions. Even though in reality the Cambridge Five had made a shambles of British intelligence by giving secrets to the Soviets, in the Bond series MI-6 is the leading spy agency in the Western world. When Blofeld submits a demand for money or else he'll blow up the planet, he delivers it to London, not Washington. D.C.

    Before signing on to Steve McGarrett, Jack Lord came close to starring in two other important TV series stars. He was considered for Eliot Ness in The Untouchables and was actually offered the part of James T. Kirk in Star Trek. Reportedly, he asked for too much money, once again. Kirk went to William Shatner.

    In Hawaii Five-0, Lord found his calling. Although his perfectionism could be hard on costars and producers, he fought for a quality show and delivered it. A lover of poetry and an accomplished painter, he was devoted to Hawaii. When he died, a significant portion of his money went to charities and causes in Hawaii.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI


 
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