James Bond Headliners of 2000

Bond Honoured By Queen

January 4, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

Bond legend Sean Connery is among those honoured by HRH The Queen in the first honours list of the new millennium, with a knighthood that makes him Sir Sean Connery. A lady who also has a Bond connection - Diamonds are Forever singer Shirley Bassey, has been made a Dame, while actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Julie Andrews have also been made Dames. An honour was also granted to Monty Python star Michael Palin, who is now Michael Palin CBE - Commander of the British Empire.

Q Laid To Rest

January 7, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

Bond actor Desmond Llewelyn, the man who played genius inventor Q in 17 of the 19 Bond movies, was been laid to rest in the East Sussex town of Hastings yesterday (January 6). Llewelyn died in a motor accident near his home on December 19, when travelling home from a book signing. Shortly before the cremation ceremony, a huge crowd paid their respects as Llewelyn's coffin was carried to the memorial service at the church of St Mary The Version in the nearby town of Battle.

Family, friends and former co-stars of the 85-year attended the service, where his friend the Right Reverend John Duggan told the congregation, "Desmond was a very loving husband, father and grandfather. When he was not at work as an actor, he would always be found digging in the garden or cutting hedges. He was also a wonderful host and gave wonderful parties. He was a dear friend and it is a tremendous honour for me to speak on this occasion."

James Bond Meets Blockbuster

January 19, 2000 - by Emily Farache for "E" Online

A new deal between MGM and Blockbuster could spell doom to the local video store and bring the latest James Bond flick to a computer near you.

The two companies have just announced they will test and develop a model under which Blockbuster would make available certain MGM films for digital streaming and downloading on the Internet at the same time the titles would go on sale on video or DVD.

Many industry analysts believe that once streaming video is perfected, it will become the de facto standard for video delivery, eventually replacing video stores. The deal, therefore, ensures Blockbuster will still be a viable player in video in the future.

"Access to video-streaming rights for a portion of the world's largest modern film library underscores our goal as a company to provide quality, in-home entertainment in whatever form our consumers want it delivered, whether through our stores or other channels such as electronic delivery," John Antioco, Blockbuster's CEO, said in a statement.

"We are excited to be at the forefront of technology with Blockbuster, as we forge new paths in the digital arena and significantly enhance the movie-watching experience in the home," said David Bishop, president of MGM.

In addition to making its films available on its own Website (www.mgm.com), MGM said some films would also be available for download through Blockbuster's site (www.blockbuster.com) for a fee.

No specific movies were mentioned by either company, but MGM's massive, 4,100-title library includes such classics as West Side Story, The Graduate, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Raging Bull, Yellow Submarine and the entire James Bond catalog. Financial terms of the MGM-Blockbuster pact were not disclosed.

Toronto Can Bond With Sean Connery

January 24, 2000 - by Bob Thompson for Toronto Sun

Everyone's favourite Bond will star in the film, Finding Forrester, which will start shooting here in April.

Directed by Gus Van Sant, the movie is about an author, played by Connery, who is a recluse along the lines of J.D. Salinger.

The film's producer, Laurence Mark, said that initially Toronto as a location didn't seem ideal because the film requires some specific New York references, but they later decided Toronto could work.

Mark describes Finding Forrester as the "evil twin" of Good Will Hunting, the film about a maladjusted math whiz that won Matt Damon and Ben Affleck an Oscar for screenwriting. It was also directed by Van Sant.

Producer Mark won an Oscar for Jerry Maguire, and was executive producer of As Good As It Gets, Anywhere But Here and Bicentennial Man.

Bond Heads For Emerald Isle?

January 25, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

Rumour has it that the next James Bond film will be partially shot in Ireland - the birthplace of 007 star Pierce Brosnan, who was recently granted the Freedom of the City in his birthplace of Navan. Apparently Brosnan pleaded with producers to send his screen spy on an Irish mission to follow up the box-office smash The World is Not Enough - perhaps he's feeling a little homesick. And several stunning locations around the country have already been picked for the as-yet unnamed film, slated for a 2003 release, which also looks like being Brosnan's last Bond spy caper. Meanwhile the UK's Pinewood Studios, just outside London, may not be used for the indoor scenes for the next outing even though the complex is the traditional home of James Bond. Germany's Magic Media consortium is making a bid to woo the filmmakers away from Britain.

Brosnan To Keep Bond? Pierce In Talks With 007 Makers

January 27, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

When Pierce Brosnan announced last year that he'd only do one more Bond film after The World is Not Enough, a million women were heartbroken. But now it looks as though the grief was premature, as rumour has it that Pierce is negotiating further Bond movies.

The talk is that Brosnan will abandon Bond after setting an unmatchable record - by releasing his seventh 007 film in the year 2007. The star is apparently in secret negotiations to make another four spy spectaculars in a bid to become the definitive Bond, and match the number of 007 films notched up by Sean Connery and Roger Moore. Both ex-Bonds starred in seven 007 adventures. Brosnan's pal and Bond movie double Douglas James says, "He wants to do seven films in all, equalling Roger's record and - if you count Never Say Never Again - matching Sean's total. But his record will be the best - his seventh film will be released in 2007, making it 007 in 007."

£50 Million Bid For Pinewood

February 14, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

Refusing to be put off by an earlier failure, former Channel 4 boss Michael Grade has bid up to £50 million for Pinewood Studios, according to press reports this weekend. Although Grade's plans for the legendary British studios have not been revealed, sources believe that the media mogul has plans both to produce films there and turn part of the site into a theme park.

Given that every one of the Bond films have been made at Pinewood, it doesn't take a genius to work out what the park's theme might be, but Grade will still be up against the might of Buckinghamshire Country Council whose planning committee has already vetoed plans to turn the studios into an amusement park.

The 97 acres site to the North West of London has played host to many blockbusters including Mission Impossible and Stnanley Kubrick's last movie Eyes Wide Shut. The celluloid adventures of Lara Croft are currently being filmed there.

Fleming's Passport Sells for £15k

February 25, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

A sale of memorabilia at Sotheby's London yesterday netted £15, 525 for a temporary passport issued to 007 creator Ian Fleming. The writer used the document during his stint on the Goldeneye operation when he worked for HRM's secret service, a caper which later lent its name to Fleming's Jamaican home.

The sale also included a book of love poems written by Graham Greene, which fetched a healthy £20,700. The book, privately published in a limited edition, is called After Two Years, and contains poems written by a lovestruck Greene during his relationship with his married lover Catherine Walston in the late 1940's and early 1950's. The relationship inspired Greene's novel The End of the Affair, in turn adapted by movie director Neil Jordan.

Charles Gray Obit

March 3, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

The announcement today of the death of Charles Gray, best known for his role as Blofeld in Diamonds are Forever, has left movie lovers stunned. Coming fast on the heels of the death of Desmond Llewelyn, who played Q the news is another blow to Bond fans in particular.

Gray, born in 1928 in Bournemouth has a vast wealth of roles behind him. While his most memorable role will be as Blofeld in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, the actor also became part of a cult legend for his potrayal of the criminologist narrator of The Rocky Horror Show. Other film credits include The Mirror Crack’d and The Tichborne Claimant.

Gray also stepped in to provide the voice of fellow thespian Jack Hawkins when Hawkins’ throat cancer began affecting his speech.

His most recent role was in the Channel 4 adaptation of the best-selling Longitude which has yet to be released in the States.

James Bond's Tribute To 'Q'

March 27, 2000 - BBC News Online

Former James Bond actor Roger Moore led a tribute to his long-time screen colleague Desmond Llewelyn telling a packed memorial service how 007 films would never be the same again.

Moore and a host of Bond stars joined family and friends of the 85-year-old actor to bid an emotional final farewell, three months after he died in a car crash.

But while Moore, Bond number three, was in attendance, the four other 007s - Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan - were unable to be there.

Stars such as Christopher Lee and Lisa Stansfield attended the one-hour service at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, central London.

Calling Llewelyn - who played the inventive gadget master Q - "a wonderful man" - Moore said the actor had never taken himself too seriously.

He told the 250-strong congregation: "I was the bane of his life. He had to say probably the worst gobbledegook that any actor could be asked to perform.

"He had technical words to say that never seemed to make any sense."

Moore revealed how he used to tease Llewelyn by rewriting his lines on the prompt boards, to make him say silly things.

"He was a wonderful man to work with," said Moore. "He had a wonderful sense of humour.

"No Bond film was complete without Q and his gadgets. "I would go further and say I do not think a Bond film would be complete without Desmond Llewelyn."

Llewelyn starred with Moore in six of Moore's seven Bond films, and played Q in 17 out of the 19 movies to date.

The actor once said the "curse" of his role as gadget king was that he was useless with real gadgets and even had difficulty using a bank cash machine.

His son Justin, 45, said his father had loved to talk about Bond and had always had time to talk to fans and sign autographs.

"I think I can safely say that until letters and e-mails began arriving from all over the world after his death, we had no idea how many lives he touched.

"Although they had never met him, he was a part of their lives."

He said his father had passionately believed in Wales and had been one of Welsh rugby's biggest fans.

Llewelyn's elder son Ivor, 50, told the service his father had been deeply saddened by the gradual demise of Pamela, his wife of 61 years, who has Alzheimer's and has been in a nursing home for the past three-and-a-half years. She was not at the service. He said: "My parents never lost their love for each other."

He said letters from his father's fans showed how he had had a natural gift for friendship, kindness and generosity.

"Above all, to his family, he was quite simply a marvellous father, father-in-law and grandfather," he said.

There were tears shed by some when one of the most memorable Bond scenes - All The Time In The World, sung by Louis Armstrong for the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service - was played through loudspeakers.

Four large screens showed images from Llewelyn's life, including pictures of his time in the Royal Welch Fusiliers during the war, on the set of various Bond movies and with his family.

Christopher Lee who starred opposite Roger Moore as Bond villain Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, said afterwards: "He had the sort of personality that transferred itself from the screen to the audience. "That does not often happen in this day and age."

"You immediately wanted to shake his hand and talk to him and have a beer with him. He exuded such warmth on the screen and that was how he was in real life."

Samantha Bond, who played Moneypenny in the last 007 movie, The World Is Not Enough gave a reading at the service - after the Lord's Prayer - of Peace by Henry Vaughan and Crossing The Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The congregation then sat in silence as the church filled with the sounds of the male voice choir of the Lucknow Band of the Prince of Wales' Division singing Sospan Fach and Ar Hyd y Nos.

Bond Battle Over

April 3, 2000 - by Emily Farache for "E" Online

A federal judge has revoked producer Kevin McClory license to Bond, James Bond.
After some 40 tedious years of litigation, which saw McClory, a producer and coscreenwriter of Thunderball, attempt to claim a piece of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's $1 billion James Bond franchise, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Rafeedie ruled Friday in favor of the studio.
Rafeedie said McClory waited way too long in bringing to court his suit, which alleged he cocreated the suave spy with novelist Ian Fleming.
Briefly outlining the 40-year history of this Bond litigation, the judge pointed out that there have been at least three major lawsuits involving McClory and the Bond rights, but that it was not until 1997 that McClory alleged he was the co-owner of the Bond character.
An MGM attorney said the ruling was "a total vindication" for the studio. "Today's ruling closes the book on the dispute surrounding the James Bond films," MGM said in a statement.
"Sony's settlement agreement last year, and the judge's decision today...reaffirm, once and for all, our position that MGM and Danjaq (the Bond production company)...are the true home of the James Bond movies."
Back in 1997, Sony said it had purchased McClory's Bond rights and was going to use them to launch a competing Bond franchise. MGM sued, winning last March with a settlement that put a stop to Sony's Bond days. But McClory still insisted he was cocreator and continued his part of the suit, which the judge just dismissed.
McClory worked with Fleming on 10 Thunderball scripts in 1960. United Artists released Thunderball in 1965. Eighteen years later, McClory used his Thunderball claim to remake the film at Warner Bros. as Never Say Never Again. (MGM later acquired rights to that movie.)
MGM had been offering McClory settlement offers, all of which he refused.
No comment from McClory's lawyers.

Miss Moneypenny’s Thoughts On 007
a retired star muses on her oft-repeated role

April 14, 2000 - by Steven Kent for MSNBC Online

On May 16th, MGM will unleash a most fiendish plot involving British intelligence agent James Bond. The film studio is making two Bond releases that day.

MGM IS RELEASING a new five-movie set of classic Bond movies, and it is releasing The World is Not Enough, Pierce Brosnan’s latest outing as Agent 007. What it is not doing is including The World is Not Enough in the boxed set. The boxed set, which will include Dr. No, The Man with the Golden Gun, Moonraker, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and The Spy Who Loved Me, will retail for $62.98 in VHS and $149.98 on DVD. The World is Not Enough will sell for $19.98 in VHS and $34.98 on DVD. (For brief reviews of these movies, click here.)
There are only two actors who appear in all the movies in the boxed set — Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny and the late Bernard Lee as M. (Desmond Llewelyn was not in Dr. No.) Lois Maxwell agreed to do an interview with MSNBC to discuss her career and the tradition of Bond.


Lois Maxwell, best known as Miss Moneypenny in the first 14 Bond films, did not flare into existence with Dr. No. A veteran actress, she began her career at age 17 and won a Golden Globe award for “Most Promising Newcomer” at age 19.

MSNBC: When did you break into show business?

Maxwell: I ran away from home and joined the Army to join the Army show (a traveling review that performed for the soldiers) when I was 16. (This was during World War II.) At that time, it was the biggest musical that had ever been produced in Canada. It was really quite something. And they took me along with the show to England when I was only 16. Eventually, before I was shipped out to Italy, a psychologist discovered that I was only 17, and I should have been at least 21. That was when I managed to get a pass and go to the Royal Academy of Arts audition for Sir Kenneth Barnes, and become the first winner of the Lady Mountbatten scholarship. I didn’t complete my studies because I was offered a very interesting part in a play that went to the West End. I then did repertory and did a screen test, and it was that screen test that Sophie Rosenstein and Jack Warner saw, and they offered me a contract at Warner Bros. in Hollywood.

MSNBC: It’s funny, before doing some research, I always thought your first film was Dr. No.

Maxwell: Have you never seen the film version of the opera Aida?

MSNBC: I was going to ask you about that next. Are you trained in opera?

Maxwell: No, no, no. We sang to playback; but I went to a teacher at the Romer opera house for about a month so that I could get the breathing right and look as though I really was singing.

MSNBC: How was your experience working with Stanley Kubrick on Lolita?

Maxwell: I think he was… In fact, there has been quite a lot about Kubrick in the paper recently and it was all I could do to not write a letter to the paper telling about my experience with him. He was a nice enough guy, but he was weird, and James Mason was off his rocker as far as I was concerned. He [Mason] used to look at his fingers, and peer at his fingernails, and if he had the teeniest hangnail around his fingernails, he would jerk and pull until his skin went ripping down and blood poured out, and his dresser would come running with flesh-colored bandages. And I thought, uh-oh, this man … umm. Then I had to do the fight scene with him, and I was so frightened. The two hospital orderlies who were supposed to come in and rescue me were supposed to come in on a cue-light, and he’d nearly strangled me in rehearsal. I went home and called my insurance agent and said, “For the love of God, insure me against injury for one-half million pounds before tomorrow.” And he did. The following day in makeup, I said to the actors who were playing the orderlies — one was a Jamaican boxing champion — “Listen here. I am terrified of James Mason. He’s going to try and put my head through that glass window. I’ll fight him; but if you hear me say ‘help,’ don’t wait for the light.” And we started shooting, and sure enough, James Mason started digging his thumbs in my throat and I managed to kick him in the shins and yell help, and the two young men came galloping in, and we fought him to the floor.

MSNBC: What was going on with Mason?

Maxwell: He was nuts. It was just when Pamela Mason was suing him for $1.5 million in the divorce, and he was nuts. He was a weird man. He really, really frightened me.

MSNBC: I’ve got to get to Bond. You’d had quite a career by the time you did Dr. No. Were you excited about the part?

Maxwell: I married, and I had two children, one right after the other, and so I did some films for television. Then on my little boy’s second birthday my husband had a near-fatal double coronary, and it was desperate times. So I called five directors I had worked with before, one of whom was Terrance Young (director of Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, and other Bond movies), and we knew Cubby Broccoli (co-producer of the Bond movies)… and I said, “Peter is desperately ill and we’re broke, and I’ll play anything.” Peter was allowed home just before Christmas, and in January Terrance called and said, “Look, Cubby wants you to come in and talk to us because we’re going to make a James Bond, Dr. No.” So I went in and they said, “There are two parts. You can play Miss Moneypenny or you can play this other part.” I always forget the name of the part, the part that Eunice Grayson played. [Sylvia Trench, played by Grayson, appeared in the first two Bond films.] I read them and said, “I don’t fancy myself in Bond’s pajama top; and I’m ambidextrous, so I couldn’t hit a golf ball straight … If you do not oblige me to put my long hair into a bun and wear horn-rimmed glasses with a pencil over my ear, I’d like to play Moneypenny. If I can give her some background. And they said, “Sure, do whatever you like.” Advertisement So when I came on to the set, I said to Sean [Connery], ‘What if you were a playboy and I was in the secretarial pool, and we went away for the August bank holiday together and we really enjoyed each others’ qualities, but I knew that if I fell in love with you that you would break my heart and you knew that if you fell in love with me that you would never get your double Os?’ And it came across, didn’t it?

MSNBC: Which was your favorite Bond movie?

Maxwell: Strangely enough, it is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. If it was just a movie standing alone, instead of part of the series, it was beautifully constructed and the dialog was there, the excitement was there, and Diana Rigg was there. It’s a terrific movie.

MSNBC: Truth be known, it was my favorite movie, too.

Maxwell: George didn’t do too badly either. Roger Moore brought so much wit and humor in all of his films. He just broke me up all the time. When I went to the Royal Academy of Arts, I was in the same class as Roger. We’ve known each other since I was 17, and we’re now 73. At the time when they were looking for a new Bond, after Sean said he would certainly not go on to do another, I was interviewed by BBC Radio, and asked who I would have as my next James Bond. I said, “There is only one man in my opinion, one actor who is talented enough, handsome enough, and has the sense of humor to make another James Bond, and that is Roger Moore.” A couple days later my telephone rang and it was Roger. And he says, “Oh what a darling you are to say all those things about me. Unfortunately, I have just signed a contract to make The Persuaders with Tony Curtis.”

MSNBC: How was George Lazenby?

Maxwell: George is a nice person, but he was very badly advised, in my opinion. He wouldn’t sign a five-picture contract, and he could have. He was offered. As I understood from George, he was offered the five-picture deal, and they started shooting On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and he still hadn’t signed it. I mean, Cubby would only take so much.

MSNBC: How was Sean Connery?

Maxwell: The last time I saw Sean was at the memorial for Terence Young. And he came up to me and gave me this big hug and almost broke my ribs. He is a very nice man.

MSNBC: Who was your favorite of the Bond women?

Maxwell: So many of them were such poor actresses, and so many of them had so little to do. I mean, they had more words than Miss Moneypenny; but they were really mono-syllabic, weren’t they. I would think Ursula (Ursula Andress from Dr. No) and Diana Rigg were the best.

MSNBC: I think Lois Chile (from Moonraker) takes the prize for not much to do and not doing a very good job with it.

Maxwell: Strangely enough, Roger disliked her immensely.

MSNBC: I heard that Moore and Jane Seymour did not get along well.

Maxwell: Roger was very, very critical of all of his women stars.

MSNBC: Who made the best Bond?

Maxwell: Oh, Sean Connery. But then, he didn’t have to follow anyone. I think Roger did a splendid job. I mean, after the adulation for Sean, Roger did a splendid job. And I like Pierce Brosnan. And they’re doing better things for the women in the Brosnan films. They’re giving them sort of interesting parts instead of making them dumdums.

MSNBC: Did you ever meet Ian Fleming?

Maxwell: Oh, yes. We were quite attracted to each other actually, because he was rather like my husband. He was witty and sardonic, and cynical. I think he was a very unhappy man. I don’t think that marriage with Lady Ann was as happy as it might be.

MSNBC: What do you think of the new Miss Moneypenny?

Maxwell: I must say, I approve of Samantha Bond. She looks rather like my young second cousin because she has freckles and bluish-green eyes, and she has ruddy-blondie-brown hair as I have. And we get along like a house on fire. I see her a couple of times a year.

Back To Work For Brosnan

May 5, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

Just over a week since his son was hospitalised in a car accident, Pierce Brosnan is heading back to Ireland to continue filming on The Tailor of Panama.

Although initial reports indicated that Brosnan Jnr's injuries were potentially life-threatening, the teenager appears to have improved remarkably over the course of the week. The result is that the crew on Brosnan's current film - who have just moved production from the Panama Canal to Aardmore Studios outside Dublin - are expecting to see him in Ireland this week.

'We had to re-jig the schedules by a day or two,' unit publicist Susan D'Arcy told Empire Online, 'but we're expecting him early rather than late this week.

Bond's New Boss?

May 18, 2000 - by Joshua Grossberg for "E" Online

Veteran British actor Edward Woodward, best known as TV's The Equalizer, has reportedly been tapped to play 007's superspy boss, M.

"It was felt Edward was brilliant in The Professionals remake [a British series] and it was decided he would fit the role of M perfectly," an unnamed member of the Bond production team tells London's Mirror tabloid.

There's no official confirmation from MGM, the studio behind Bond.

Woodward, 70, starred from 1985 to '89 in the popular detective drama, The Equalizer, as a no-nonsense, but ultimately compassionate, private detective for people with problems they didn't know how to solve.

The 70-year-old actor would become only the fourth thespian to portray M, the head of the M16 branch of Britain's secret service, in MGM's Bond franchise.

The original, Bernard Lee, bossed around Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore in Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker before his death in 1981.

His replacement, Robert Brown, was Moore and Timothy Dalton's chief in Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights and License to Kill. (Edward Fox played M in Never Say Never Again, which was not a sanctioned Bond flick; For Your Eyes Only is the only M-less Bond film--producers decided to respect Lee by not replacing him right away.)

Most recently, Dame Judi Dench played M in the three Pierce Brosnan Bond films, The World Is Not Enough, GoldenEye and Tommorow Never Dies. There is no word on why Dench, who won an Oscar for her supporting role in Shakespeare in Love, would leave the series.

Reigning 007 Brosnan, hot off the record-shattering box-office success of The World Is Not Enough, is aboard once again to play the suave super-agent in the 20th Bond adventure, tentatively titled, according to the Mirror, Beyond the Ice.

The film is currently in preproduction.

'I said: Cubby, he's fabulous!'

May 29, 2000 - Electronic Telegraph

In her first newspaper interview, Dana Broccoli talks to Maureen Paton about life with the 007 producer - and Sean Connery TAKING afternoon tea with the widow of the James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli is almost as knuckle-whitening a prospect as being trapped in a ski-lift with 007's sleekest adversary, the cat-stroking Blofeld. With the Broccolis, it seems, there was tough (Cubby) and tougher (Dana).

Dana won't remarry. 'We went through so much... but it has been a fabulous journey'
This, after all, is the woman whose own husband described her as "formidable" several times in his autobiography, published after his death in 1996 at the age of 87. "Dana," wrote Cubby, who adored his fiercely loyal wife, "takes no prisoners... she does not have the gift of forgiveness."

And in a life of legal wrangles and personal feuds over the most successful series in film history, Dana - pronounced Dayna - has had a lot not to forgive. A former stage actress turned screenwriter, she was once married to Hollywood's first Batman, actor Lewis Wilson, but learnt self-reliance when he was called up for service in the Second World War and left her alone with their young son, Michael.

Dana was always more than a mere consort to Cubby, the American-born "godfather" who settled in Britain and created the indestructible screen hero seen by half the world's population; she even had a hand in the writing of the first six Bond films.

Crucially, it was also Dana who decided that an unknown Scottish actor named Sean Connery had enough sex appeal to play Ian Fleming's secret agent in his first, definitive incarnation. And it was she who chose the Welsh-born Timothy Dalton as the fourth Bond, in part because his dark Celtic looks were so reminiscent of Connery's - which makes the cold war with the chippy Connery over his notorious 1966 remark about "fat-slob producers living off the backs of lean actors" all the more unfortunate.

The hardest thing she has ever had to do, she says, was to talk to 2,000 people at the memorial service for Cubby attended by Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton - but not Sean Connery.

As the dark horse behind James Bond, Dana Broccoli surrenders her privacy reluctantly. Only the impending world premiere in London of a musical, La Cava, based upon her own historical novel, which she began researching in Spain while on location with Cubby for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, has prodded her into giving her first newspaper interview.

She fixes our rendezvous in the looking-glass world of the Dorchester Hotel bar, where Dalton was summoned when Dana decided he should play cinema's ultimate action man after Roger Moore, the third and most urbane Bond, hung up his safari suits. Somehow, I sense it's a good idea to arrive early, a suspicion confirmed when Dana arrives sharp on 3pm and mentions, in her dry little Dolly Parton voice, that she has a thing about punctuality.

Under a gleaming helmet of ebony hair, the beautifully preserved Mrs Broccoli has a doll-like prettiness reminiscent of that equally tough Hollywood operator Debbie Reynolds. What stops this chic, black-clad grandmother-of-five from being completely terrifying is her sense of humour; but then you could say the same about Donald Pleasence's Blofeld.

"Formidable?" she says, flashing a snow-white smile. "I have a woman's instinct about people. I was a dark horse because I was very happy taking care of Cubby and I didn't want to be That Wife, pushing herself on the creative team, because there might have been resentment.

"I just liked to have pillow talk with Cubby every night; we had the same interests and we sorted out the early films. One day, Cubby called me and said: 'Could you come down and look at this Disney leprechaun film, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, at the Goldwyn Studios? I don't know if this Sean Connery guy has any sex appeal.' I saw that face and the way he moved and talked and I said: 'Cubby, he's fabulous!' He was just perfect, he had such presence; I thought he was star material right there."

It seems that this steel magnolia has a soft centre after all, with her feminine weakness for the all-powerful fantasy hero and her abiding belief in fate ("Cubby and I discovered we had been at the same airport on the same dates through the years before we met each other - as if we were tracking each other all the time"). Their first brief encounter, in Los Angeles, had been a pure movie moment - the well-connected, unattainable Dana bought a Christmas tree from Cubby, who was a street trader at the time; when they unexpectedly met again socially, 12 years later, it took him quite a while to woo the woman whose aloofness was her armour.

Like Connery, a former milkman, Cubby was a self-made man. The son of Italian immigrants and a one-time teaboy at 20th Century Fox, he became Dana's own superman over 37 happy years of marriage.

Dana has, it seems, always been drawn to larger-than-life characters: during the filming in Istanbul of From Russia With Love, she would go sightseeing "up and down the Bosphorus" with the enigmatic Ian Fleming.

"Ian had a Scottish background, like Sean, but I found him a lovely man, charming and intelligent," she reminisces. "I think he felt he was Bond, and in a way he was."

Now she has indulged her action man fantasy still further by writing the book for La Cava, based upon her 1977 novel Florinda, about the eighth-century Spanish King Roderic's fatal obsession with a young beauty.

"Cubby always, always wanted me to do this as a play. And now, at my age, I'm starting a new career," marvels Dana, who coyly calls herself a senior citizen. There is even a James Bond connection with the musical's leading man Oliver Tobias, who tested for the role of 007 in the early Eighties but was considered by Cubby and Dana to be too young.

In the hunk-like Tobias, who made his name on stage in Hair and on screen in The Stud, Dana has found the epic quality she admires. "Oliver had that same animal instinct; we women don't fall for pretty faces, we want masculine men who are going to protect us for ever. With La Cava, we're trying to go against the trend and bring back storyline, romance and all those things we've dropped for a while.

"James Bond is not really politically correct - he's far from that. He has a magnetism, sophistication and earthiness; most women are looking for that all their lives. A great, beautiful dream; and in my case, it was true. I had an exceptional marriage."

They married in 1959, with Cary Grant - "Cubby would have loved to have Cary play Bond" - as Cubby's best man. Almost immediately, the newly-weds faced financial meltdown when Cubby's 1960 film The Trials of Oscar Wilde, for which Peter Finch won a British Academy Award in the title role, was turned down for general release in America because of its homosexual theme.

"So we went into a real slump right after we were married; we were saved from bankruptcy by James Bond when the first film, Dr No, became a hit in 1962."

According to Cubby's ghost writer Donald Zec, Dana was always "the source of Cubby's resilience under fire". A bullet-proof tenacity was certainly needed in facing down Cubby's difficult, combative co-producer Harry Saltzman; thanks to the two men's differing attitudes towards Bond, their relationship became increasingly fractious. Saltzman sold his share of the rights to Bond in 1975. Then there was Connery, who felt in retrospect that he had been underpaid and issued a multi-million dollar lawsuit in 1984 against Broccoli and the Bond distributors MGM/UA.

Although Connery secured a share of the lucrative merchandising rights, he eventually abandoned his case in the American courts against Cubby.

Dana laughs and says: "It's true, I don't have the gift of forgiveness like Cubby did. I'm half-Irish and half-Italian - not a good combination. With the Irish, it's turf wars - absolutely.

"My grandmother emigrated to America from County Wicklow; and that sense of being able to keep something going all those years is very Irish. I'm not a revenge-seeker in any way; I'm just bloody-minded.

"There were some terrible things that went on, you know. Cubby could forgive people, but I would say to him: 'How can you?' He would always say: 'They've got their own problems, their own needs.' We had a friend who was a priest and he said to Cubby one day: 'You know, you should have been the priest and I should have been the producer.'

"I find it difficult to understand Sean, why he has been so angry. It's very strange. I never did understand it; I guess he has his own route. He did call me from Europe when Cubby died and said: 'I'm so sorry'; I appreciated that. But the distributors were the people who had his money. Cubby did everything to make him happy; we had a contract for Sean to do a non-Bond film and Cubby gave that up to let him do Marnie with Hitchcock.

"Cubby was very fair with him. But I don't have to understand Sean and he doesn't need my understanding; he's doing very well without my understanding."

The last survivor from the early 007 team has been persuaded by her daughter, Barbara Broccoli, to do a series of DVD (digital-versatile-disc) interviews in America about the Bond heritage. Barbara and Dana's son, Michael Wilson, now run the Bond company Danjak, a conflation of Dana's name and that of Harry Saltzman's first wife, Jacqueline.

"I'm chairman of the board now - Michael and Barbara kicked me upstairs," Dana says, and laughs merrily again. "They just come to me and say: 'What do you think?' But they don't need my input any more."

I doubt that. She seems closest in style to Bond's tart-tongued superior, M, as played by Dame Judi Dench, an actress whom Dana much admires. In matriarchy, she has found her strength: she even adopted Cubby's two children, Tony and Tina, from his second marriage after their mother, Nedra, died.

"I would never marry again; Cubby was irreplaceable. We went through so much together, ups and downs, but it has been a fabulous journey. Nothing has been bigger than Bond. I've got a wonderful family and that helps tremendously; we all carry Cubby's life with us. I hate to sound Pollyannaish, but that's the way it is."

A big man in every sense - he was once Jane Russell's bodyguard - the pasta-cooking Cubby would rule over his stars with what Donald Zec wittily called a ladle of iron. Dana, who keeps a brownstone in New York and a flat in the West End of London, has residency in Britain and still plays hostess to all the British Bonds - bar one.

"It was all family, that was a large part of our success; the big, extended family is very Irish as well as Italian. We still see a lot of Timothy Dalton, and Roger [Moore] is always popping in. Roger always liked the pasta and the backgammon."

And what did Sean Connery like? Dana hesitates almost imperceptibly. "I think we'll leave Sean to rest," says Mrs Broccoli, with stateswomanlike sweetness.

La Cava opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London SW1, on June 8th 2000.

Edward Woodward Rumor A Hoax

June 6, 2000


MGM are happy to report that they have been advised by Eon Productions there is no truth in the recent rumours started by a British tabloid newspaper that DAME JUDI DENCH will be replaced by Edward Woodward in the part of "M" in the next James Bond movie. - Source: www.JamesBond.com

Wartime Spymaster Vera Atkins Dies

June 27, 2000 - Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- Vera Atkins, the World War II British spymaster who inspired the efficient and unflappable Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond series, has died. She was 92. Atkins died Saturday, her family said. No cause of death was given.

Born Vera Maria Rosenberg in Bucharest in 1908, she moved to England in 1933, later adopting the surname of her English mother.

Atkins was educated at the Sorbonne, and her knowledge of France led to her recruitment into the French section of Britain's Special Operations Executive, the organization responsible for supporting the resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe.

She was principal assistant to Col. Maurice Buckmaster, director of the Special Operations Executive, work said to have inspired the character of Miss Moneypenny, secretary to James Bond's boss.

In her work for Buckmaster, Atkins coordinated a network of close to 500 spies across Nazi-occupied France -- briefing them on the life that awaited them, helping concoct elaborate cover stories and false identities, and communicating with the families they left behind.

Once in France, they were kept informed by the British Broadcasting Corp.'s French Service in a series of coded messages after the evening news broadcasts.

Some 118 agents never returned. A few were known to have been killed in action, but most were reported to have been arrested by the Germans and some disappeared into interrogation centers and concentration camps.

One of the most famous, Violette Szabo, was shot, and a few survived torture by the Germans.

Atkins felt a strong personal responsibility toward her charges, and traveled to Germany after the war to investigate the fate of the missing agents. She managed to trace all but one of them, and the evidence she gathered helped bring their killers to court for war crimes.

"I could not just abandon their memory,'' she once said.

The information she gleaned formed the basis of the roll of honor listing 91 men and 13 women of the French section on a memorial unveiled at Valencay in the Loire Valley in 1991.

The French section of the Special Operations Executive was accused by some critics of amateurism, but President Dwight D. Eisenhower later credited it with shortening the war by six months, calling it "the equivalent of 15 (troop) divisions.''

Atkins eventually settled into a quiet life in an English seaside cottage, but her war work was not forgotten. The French government named her a commander of the French Legion of Honor, and she was made a commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Atkins never married. A private funeral was to be held July 3, with a later public memorial service to be announced.

Bond To Do Irish Jig?

June 29, 2000 - Carlton.com

Pierce Brosnan has always said he'd like to film the next James Bond in his native Ireland, and it seems he might just get the chance.

Showbizireland.com says they've had it confirmed from two sources that the scriptwriter for the last three Bond movies, Bruce Feirstein, has been seen round and about Dublin and has confirmed that part of the film will be shot in the city.

With the 20th film in the franchise not due to appear until 2002, it's unlikely any script has been put together yet, although the latest rumours claim it will involve a heavily decommissioned IRA allying itself with the British government after the Prime Minister is kidnapped by dissident republicans (hmm, pass us that extremely large pinch of salt).

There might be some opposition from the real British and Irish governments if the rumours are true, considering the delicate position of peace talks at present, but the folk at Showbizireland say portraying the IRA in a positive light would boost the film's popularity over in the US, where there's a strong 'United Ireland' lobby.

Where In The Hell Is My Jetpack?

June 30, 2000 - by Brian Malow

Buck Rogers, James Bond and Jonny Quest. What do these three men -- or, two men and a smooth young animated boy -- have in common? Well, besides their badass names, in the course of their fantastic adventures, each had the opportunity to fly a jetpack. Aren't you jealous? We know you are; don't lie. Every kid on Earth, from Rhode Island to Yugoslavia, has fantasized about tooling around in a jetpack. We've done it. You've done it. It's genetic.

Not to pour salt on the wound, but let's add one more rocket man to that list: Bill Suitor. If his name doesn't ring a bell, that's understandable -- he doesn't have quite the PR department the other guys have. But he has one very significant thing over all of them: He's not fictional, and neither is the Bell Labs Rocket Belt that he's flown over 1200 times.

How does somebody get a job like that?

According to Suitor, "It was nepotism personified. The inventor, Wendell Moore, was a neighbor of ours. I used to cut his lawn." Could it be that simple?

Wendell Moore was an engineer at Bell Aerospace. He'd previously come up with the idea of putting small rocket thrusters on the nose and wingtips of the Bell X-1 and X-2 rocket planes, the ones Chuck Yeager used to break the sound barrier. The thrusters were necessary for altitude control because in the thin air of the upper atmosphere, the flight control surfaces weren't reacting like they should. While working on that project, he imagined taking a couple of those small rocket motors and strapping them to a man's body. Bell obtained a contract to develop the technology.

"The army contract that the original rocket belt was being developed for stated that they had to take someone of average draft age with no flight experience and teach them to fly it. In 1964," explains Suitor, "I was 19 years old and going to school but not happy with school. Wendell said, 'How would you like a job doing this?' and it sure beat everything else I was doing at the time."

So, basically, his qualifications were his young age and a complete lack of experience. Talk about your lucky breaks. Bill Suitor was about to become one of a handful of men who know what it's like to fly.

The belt itself is a backpacklike contraption that weighs about 120 pounds and has tanks of hydrogen peroxide and nitrogen. The nitrogen pushes the hydrogen peroxide propellant into a chamber where it mixes violently with a catalyst, producing a high-pressure steam that flows out the twin nozzles to provide thrust. The rocket tubes are about a foot away from the pilot, on each side, slightly angled away from the body. The steam exits the tubes at about 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, so, "You learn in a helluva hurry to keep your feet out of there."

The machine is also extremely loud, generating a shrill, ear-piercing 130-decibel whine, and it is all but impossible to control. "About the best way to describe it is standing on a big beach ball in a swimming pool. Once you get the hang of it, it's like anything else. It's like riding a bicycle, you know, if you can remember how hard that was at first. And then, all of a sudden, you catch on, and that's it."

Bill Suitor's training began in an aircraft hangar with approximately 60 feet of headroom. Until he learned how to balance and fly the belt, he was on a tether: a small steel cable and a pulley system. The cable is hooked to a bracket on the belt and goes up to a trolley far overhead. Then the cable is fed down to a couple of big strong men who act as spotters.

Even on a tether, the rocket belt could be dangerous. "The very first fella to try it was Wendell, but before the steel cable on the tether, they used a small nylon rope. And he got into a wild gyration in the hangar while he was trying the very first one and got tangled up in the rope when he was about 8 or 10 feet off the concrete floor. The hot rocket tube melted the rope, and he dropped to the floor and broke his knees."

During his years at Bell, from 1964 to 1970, Bill Suitor was one of three pilots that traveled around demonstrating the belt and testing the different versions, which all had one severe limitation: the amount of fuel they could carry.

"Twenty-one and a half seconds was the maximum flight duration," Suitor explains. "It used up about six gallons of fuel in that time. The rocket motor consumes a quart and a half per second, so it doesn't win any EPA mileage awards."

Impractical for most purposes, the rocket belt was put to spectacular use in the entertainment business. Still relatively new to the public, it appeared in the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball. In the opening teaser, Bond straps it on, saying, "No well-dressed man should be without one." He then proceeds to blast off in a maelstrom of swirling dust.

Of course, it wasn't Sean Connery performing the flight. It was Bill Suitor and fellow stunt man Gordon Yeager. Multiple takes were used to make it appear to be a longer flight. Suitor says, "I get all the credit all the time for that Thunderball flight, but what you see there is some of Gordon and some of myself. There were six flights made, and he did three and I did three."

They also dubbed in the sound of a CO2 fire extinguisher instead of using the actual high-pitched whine.

The true era of the rocket belt was brief. By 1969, the country was caught up in Vietnam and the Apollo Program, and Bell Labs was going under. Funding for the rocket belt -- and a later air-breathing jet engine device that could run for 20 minutes -- was no longer available. In Suitor's words, "It just died on the vine. Kinda sad."

But in 1970, Bill Suitor was contacted by another brilliant and eccentric engineer, Nelson Tyler, inventor of the vibration-free helicopter camera mount that has been used extensively in the film and television industries, earning him an Academy Award for technical achievement.

Tyler had built his own rocket belt, a duplicate of the Bell device, and he wanted Suitor to fly it.

"We did the first halftime show for the first Superbowl, and then the first Pro Bowl, but the best one for me was the Olympics, the Opening Ceremony in the '84 Olympics."

By 1984, Suitor hadn't flown in some four years and had gained about 20 pounds. He tried to pass the job off on someone else, a younger pilot that he had trained, but Nelson wanted him. "So we took a couple practice hops in a park the day before the rehearsal, and then Thursday we did the rehearsal flight, and it went well, but I could really feel the difference with carrying the extra weight and being rusty."

Although he'd never had an accident, with 110,000 people sitting in the LA Coliseum -- including Ronald Reagan up in the press booth -- and a television audience of two and a half billion, Suitor started to get a bit nervous. "I said to myself, 'Aw, jeez, not now, stupid. Don't go on your ass now... of all the times...' I started thinking about that, but I made it."

The response, as always, was tremendous because "not only was the thing very loud, but it's just such a shock to see someone flying through the air with no visible means of support."

Bill flew again in 1995, at a celebration party for the Houston Rockets during the NBA Championship series. The company that hired him, American Flying Belt, had big future plans, but they ended scandalously. One of the partners was murdered. Another partner was a suspect in the crime. There were lawsuits, and the rocket belt itself disappeared.

And that's about where the story ends. Two of the original Bell Labs Rocket Belts are now gathering dust in New York. One is exhibited -- along with photos, jumpsuits and other equipment -- at the Science Museum of Buffalo, the other at the Engineering Department of the University of Buffalo.

With its limited flight time, it seems the personal consumer model rocket belt is destined to remain a pipe dream (along with the flying car, giant mechanical hands and a good Star Wars prequel), barring some unforeseen breakthroughs in miniature rocket technology.

But if somebody out there would like to build the next-generation jetpack, you're gonna need a seasoned pilot. Let us recommend Bill Suitor, the most experienced Rocket Man on planet Earth. His 1200 flights over the past 35 years have given him about six and a half hours of rocket belt flight time.

What's it like? "For me, the greatest thrill flying the thing is to see my shadow on the ground beneath me. Chasing my shadow. I always got a big kick out of that."

Now It's Sean. Sir Sean

July 5, 2000 - AltaVista Wire Report

EDINBURGH, Scotland - Veteran James Bond actor Sean Connery was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth Wednesday, two years after he was reportedly denied a knighthood because of his passionate Scottish nationalism.

In an hour-long ceremony at Edinburgh's Holyrood Palace, Connery knelt while the queen touched his shoulders lightly with a sword and then rose and bowed as she placed a small red sash bearing his medal around his neck.

During the brief conversation that ensued, Connery said, "She just asked how often I come up here.''

Though Connery is a native of Scotland and sports a ``Scotland Forever'' tattoo, he now resides in Marbella, Spain.

After the ceremony, 'Sir Sean,' wearing full highland dress in the dark green MacLeod tartan and accompanied by his wife Micheline and brother Neil, meet reporters and cheering crowds.

Asked if he would be coming back to Scotland, he broke into a grin and said, "I haven't gone yet."

Said a beaming Connery: ``It's one of the proudest days of my life. It means a great deal for it to happen in Scotland.''

Wednesday's ceremony was the only time in the year that the queen awards honors in Scotland.

Connery's knighthood was announced in the queen's New Year's Honors list. But many believe the Hollywood star should have been honored before now.

In 1998, he was at the heart of a bitter political row after it was widely reported the ruling Labor party had blocked plans to award him a knighthood.

The 007 actor is a high-profile supporter of the Scottish National Party, now the official opposition in the Scottish Parliament, and a vocal campaigner for an independent Scotland.

But Sir Sean refused to comment about his long wait.

The return to his native Edinburgh for the knighthood is a poignant reminder of Connery's extraordinary rise from a poor upbringing to global superstardom as the suave British secret agent, James Bond.

He grew up in a four-story tenement in Edinburgh, working as a milkman on a horse-drawn float before serving a three-year stint in the Royal Navy.

His move into acting followed and he quickly shot to stardom 40 years ago in the first Bond film, Dr No.

Among the other 88 people receiving honors was British 800 meters Olympic gold medallist Steve Ovett, who was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his services to athletics.

Former Scots rugby scrum half and captain Gary Armstrong, won an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his services to the sport.

Star Wars" Casts Christopher Lee

July 11, 2000 - by Josh Grossberg for "E" Online

Legendary master of the macabre Christopher Lee has joined the Force. But the question is, will it be the dark side?

Following in the footsteps of fellow British horrormeister Peter Cushing (who played evil Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars), the baritone-voiced Lee is set to join the cast of George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode II.

Lee, 78, who costarred with Cushing in many of the Hammer Studios horror films of the '50s and '60s, including The Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula, as well as several Sherlock Holmes flicks, will play a "charismatic separatist" (oooh, sounds exciting!) in the prequel, according to an announcement Tuesday on the Star Wars official Website (www.starwars.com).

"[The Star Wars films] created a whole new era in the cinema," the B-movie maven tells the Star Wars site. "The scale of imagination and the scale of production and the impact that it had on the entire world was a first. It created an impact in the cinema that was unique. This particular series of film will be a mythic saga on a vast scale."

" 'Fun' is a word you don't hear very often in the film industry these days, sadly," he adds. "It's increasingly rare. One of the things that George Lucas said to me was, 'We'll have a lot of fun.' And that, believe me, is very good to hear."

While this will be Lee's first appearance in a Star Wars movie, he did haunt last year's Sleepy Hollow with Star Wars regular Ian McDiarmid (Senator Palpatine/The Emperor). He also once collaborated with Lucas on an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in the role of an Austrian Count who tries to prevent Young Indy from secretly negotiating a peaceful end to World War I.

Lee's vast résumé also includes a stint as a James Bond baddie to Roger Moore's 007 in The Man With the Golden Gun, and as a swashbuckling villain in The Three Musketeers.

Lee will also be seen as Saruman the White in the upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is currently in production in New Zealand--just a pod ride away from where the actor will work on Episode II, which is now shooting at Fox Studios in Australia.

Singer Shirley Bassey Made a Dame

July 19, 2000 - Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- Even after a 45-year career, singer Shirley Bassey is not immune to stage fright, and she got a bad case of butterflies Wednesday. She wasn't at a concert. She was made a dame by Queen Elizabeth II.

"I am shaking more now than I was before,'' said Bassey, 63, after the ceremony at Buckingham Palace. "I have got a lump in my throat and I am nearly in tears.''

Bassey, best-known for crooning the sultry theme song to the 1964 James Bond film "Goldfinger,'' began her career singing in Welsh workingmen's clubs and went on to score 10 British top-10 hits.

British fans regard her as a national institution, and some lined up outside the palace with banners proclaiming "Congratulations, Dame Shirley.''

Robbie Ditches Bond Ambition

July 24, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

Robbie Williams has stamped out rumours that he has been eyeing the part of James Bond in the event that Pierce Brosnan should step down from his role as 007.

Despite imitating Bond in the music video Millennium, the singer, talking to ShowBiz Ireland, turned his nose up at the notion of filling Bond's considerable shoes. Williams seems to feel that he might not meet the smooth sophistication needed to continue Brosnan’s legacy as our nation’s favourite spy: "I don't want to play James Bond," he says. "Pierce is suave and sophisticated while I pee off balconies from hotel rooms."

New Brosnan Baby On The Way

August 1, 2000 - ShowBiz Ireland News

News wire services in Ireland are reporting that Irish actor and James Bond star PIERCE BROSNAN together with his girlfriend Keely Shay Smith, are expecting their second child next spring. Due to this the couple have rescheduled their wedding for next summer friends of the couple are saying.

They had planned to marry earlier this year in Ashford Castle in Co Mayo but cancelled the ceremony only a week beforehand when Brosnan's son Sean, 16, was in a serious car accident.

He is now recovered fully. Brosnan and Smith's have one son together already called Dylan Thomas who is now aged three.

CIA Exhibits Hollywood Spy Gadgetry

August 13, 2000 - by Robert Burns - Associated Press

LANGLEY, Va. (AP) -- The CIA is offering its employees a fanciful look back at the "good old days.'' In brightly lit corridors of its suburban Washington headquarters, the Central Intelligence Agency is displaying "spy-fi archives'' -- a one-of-a-kind collection of Hollywood spy gadgetry and memorabilia from 1960s television series and movies that romanticized and glamorized the spy business.

There's Maxwell Smart's shoe phone from the hit TV show "Get Smart.''

There's the pen Robert Vaughn used as a secret communicator in the series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.''

There's a mock tarantula used as a prop in a famous scene from the 1962 James Bond film "Dr. No.''

And there's much more -- all from the private collection of Hollywood screenwriter and author Danny Biederman.

Keeping secrets, of course, is more important in the real world, and thus it happens that only people cleared for entry to CIA headquarters -- not the general public -- can see the Biederman collection. It was first shown to employees on Thursday and will be kept through the end of the year.

As a child, Biederman adored everything about the spy business. Still, he never dreamed his carefully preserved movie props, costumes, scripts, photographs and posters would end up at CIA headquarters.

"It's like freaky, bringing these two universes together. It's like beyond fiction,'' Biederman said as he strolled through the agency where some real-life -- but still secret -- tools of the spy trade may be not entirely unlike those that U.N.C.L.E. agents (the good guys) used to foil T.H.R.U.S.H. agents (the bad guys).

Take the pen communicator used by Napoleon Solo, the fictional hero played by Vaughn on "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.''

It looks like an ordinary, if slightly oversized, pen. From the bottom you pull out a hidden transmitter, and from the top you open a short antenna. Just like that, instant communications. Good for use anywhere in the world. Might the CIA's agents have something similar?

"It's not out of the realm of possibility that very similar items existed -- or continue to exist,'' said CIA spokesman Tom Crispell, dutifully careful to safeguard the spy agency's valuable "sources and methods.''

It's that fuzzy connection between fact and fiction that makes Biederman's collection a natural fit for CIA headquarters.

"Illusion in the real world is as important as it is in Hollywood,'' Crispell said.

Among the display items:

--The "stereophonic gun'' with two barrels and a single trigger used by a KAOS agent in a "Get Smart'' episode.

--From the 1966 movie, "Our Man Flint,'' a jacket worn by a member of the Galaxy, the cadre of villainy that plots to take over the world. The movie starred James Coburn as ultra sophisticated spy Derek Flint.

--A Walther PPK pistol used in the James Bond films.

--Original storyboards for the title sequence of the "I Spy'' TV show starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby.

--Actor Martin Landau's copy of the script for the first episode of the TV show "Mission: Impossible'' in September 1966.

Those were the "good old days,'' when the line between good and evil was cut clearly, when the "bad guys'' were easily defined and demonized -- in short, the heyday of the CIA.

When the Cold War ended and communism collapsed as a threat, the spy business lost some of its luster. Morale at the CIA sagged and the agency shifted its focus to less glamorous threats like drug runners and computer hackers.

Rachel Apple, a member of the CIA's Fine Arts Commission, said the agency heard about Biederman's collection and approached him last year. The idea was to give CIA employees a look at 1960s-era Hollywood shows that, for some, were the source of their interest in spying.

"This is the fictional counterpart to what we really do,'' Apple said. During the Cold War, when the CIA was even more secretive than today, it was left to Hollywood to imagine what spying was really about.

"They did us a favor because they portrayed us very favorably -- as heroes,'' she said.

Dame Judi Dench Toots Her Own Horn

August 21, 2000 - by Matt Wolf - Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- Judi Dench is hardly one to blow her own horn, but that's exactly what she does -- the tenor sax, to be precise -- in the new TV movie "The Last of the Blonde Bombshells.''

"A lot of people gave me a funny look,'' says the legendary British actress, whose illustrious career has never before required such an assignment.

Dench has spent more time of late playing big-screen queens -- Victoria in "Mrs. Brown'' and Elizabeth I in "Shakespeare in Love.'' But "Blonde Bombshells'' allowed her to forsake royalty to work alongside a friend and colleague, Sir Ian Holm, whom Dench, now 65, has known for nearly 40 years.

"What attracts me is that a script should be totally different, so you can get your teeth into it,'' she says, adding deadpan, "No more queens for a bit.''

"The Last of the Blonde Bombshells,'' which HBO airs Saturday (Aug. 26) at 9 p.m. EDT, is directed by Gillies Mackinnon, the Scot whose feature films include "Hideous Kinky'' and "The Playboys.''

But it's the cast -- veterans all -- that is its undeniable calling card. Joining Dench as the Blonde Bombshells, an all-girl World War II swing band reconstituted for one final hurrah, are Olympia Dukakis and Leslie Caron, alongside beloved Britons such as Billie Whitelaw, Dame Cleo Laine, Joan Sims and June Whitfield.

Holm plays the aging roue Patrick, who was the Bombshells' drummer all those years ago -- appearing in drag so as to become one of the girls.

"This is a joyous event, really,'' says Holm, London's recent, and much celebrated, stage and TV King Lear.

The twinkly-eyed actor, mustachioed for the occasion, could be found one brisk afternoon in a trailer adjoining Dench's.

"It's wonderful to be working again with Dench, J.'' -- as Holm refers to his co-star -- "because we go back a long way.'' Specifically, their friendship dates back to a 1962 theater revival of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard,'' when Holm played the student Trofimov to Dench's lovesick Anya.

As for this latest role, Holm says of his character's cross-dressing past, "that's a first.'' He adds with a laugh, "I've always wanted to play a camp Hamlet.''

Instead, he and the ladies are learning some fancy fingering.

"None of us can play any instruments at all,'' he acknowledges with a smile. "I'm on the drums, so I'm kind of lucky; they're in the back anyway.''

Says Dench, "I learned to play a scale. That was pretty hairy.''

"Bombshells'' requires Dench to strut her stuff on tenor sax while her colleagues field the alto sax (Whitelaw), double bass (Caron), trombone (Whitfield) and trumpet (Dukakis), among other instruments. Their material embraces standards such as "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)'' and "Mairzy Doats.''

The performers are scarcely less nervous than their characters. As Alan Plater's script has it, Dench's widowed Elizabeth has to do some fairly deft persuading -- not to mention traveling the length of Britain -- to reassemble the Bombshells for one last, roisterous performance.

"All she's after is a kind of life,'' Dench says of the wistful free spirit that is Elizabeth, "the kind of life she once had. That's why the younger generation think she's gone mad -- she's regaining something she thought was over.''

Dench's own life has changed enormously in the two years since "Mrs. Brown'' -- a BBC venture originally intended purely for television -- brought her an Oscar nomination. John Madden's small-scale movie introduced an exalted theater actress to that large, international public who might otherwise only have known her as James Bond's tart-tongued boss, M.

In 1999, Dench's eight minutes in "Shakespeare in Love'' brought her the supporting actress Oscar, followed 10 weeks later by the best actress Tony Award for her return to Broadway in "Amy's View.''

Now, she is smitten with New York, as is her 27-year-old daughter, Finty.

"Any time Finty and I even see a picture or a film of New York, it catches my heart terribly,'' she says. "Finty and I have completely gone bananas; I love it so much.''

Since Broadway, Dench has narrated "Into the Arms of Strangers,'' a documentary opening in the United States on Sept. 15, and filmed a supporting role in "Chocolat,'' a Lasse Hallstrom movie set in rural France in 1959.

Next year, she will star in a film biography of novelist Iris Murdoch, who died last year of Alzheimer's at age 79.

"I have a lot of natural energy, the energy my mother had,'' Dench says of her appetite for work. "I'm very lucky: It's no good in this business if you're tired.''

Sean Connery Turns 70

August 25, 2000 - by Sinead O'Hanlon - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Sean Connery, the gravelly voiced Scottish actor who shot to stardom as British secret agent 007 in the James Bond films, turns 70 Friday.

Tall, handsome and possessing a famously gruff personality, Connery has often been described as Scotland's favorite Scot and the world's sexiest man.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in July, two years after he was reportedly denied a knighthood because of his Scottish nationalism.

Connery is a high-profile supporter of the Scottish National Party, now the official opposition in the home-rule Scottish parliament, and a vocal campaigner for an independent Scotland.

But for millions of film fans, Connery will always be remembered as James Bond, the character he immortalized in the first Bond film ``Dr. No'' in 1962.

Connery, who grew up in the slums of Edinburgh and once worked as a coffin polisher, played the character created by novelist Ian Fleming in seven Bond films.

They included ``From Russia With Love,'' ``Goldfinger'' (both made in 1964), ``Thunderball'' (1965) and ``You Only Live Twice'' (1967).

The lavishly produced movies packed with hi-tech gadgetry and spectacular effects broke box office records and grossed hundreds of millions of dollars in more than 50 countries.

The success made Connery Britain's most popular film actor for four consecutive years in the mid-60s and he was the number one box office attraction in American cinemas in 1966.

But Connery was a very different type from the suave, sophisticated Bond with his impeccable social background and connoisseur's taste in wine and women.

Born Thomas Connery on August 25, 1930, he was brought up in near-poverty, never attempted to disguise his raw Scottish accent and preferred beer to Bond's vodka martini cocktails that are ``shaken not stirred.''

At the age of 17, two years after the end of World War Two, Connery was drafted into the Royal Navy and served three years as an ordinary seaman. He hated it.

A chance meeting with a friend resulted in him joining the chorus of the American stage musical ``South Pacific'' -- after 48 hours of dancing and singing lessons.

``I grew up with no notion of a career, much less acting,'' he once said. ``I certainly never have plotted it out. It was all happenstance, really.''

Connery married Frenchwoman Micheline Roquebrune, whom he met playing golf, in 1975. They have homes in the Spanish resort of Marbella and in the Bahamas.

Britt Ekland Hurt at Chaotic Awards

August 30, 2000 - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Actress Britt Ekland was left with a fractured ankle and a broken wrist amid chaotic scenes of celebration at heavy metal music's equivalent of the Oscars. Ekland fell as she headed on stage to present a trophy to American Marilyn Manson at the Kerrang! Awards at London's Hammersmith Palais Tuesday night.

The Swedish-born star was taken to the nearby Charing Cross Hospital where she is expected to remain until later this week.

``Her injuries, which are more serious than onlookers first suspected, include a compound fracture to her ankle and damage to her achilles tendon. Her wrist was also broken in the fall,'' said a statement released on behalf of the 57-year-old actress, once married to the late British comic Peter Sellers.

``The injury to her ankle has proven complicated and has had to be reset several times by the medical staff at Charing Cross.''

According to nme.com, Ekland slipped on a watermelon thrown during a food fight which had broken out earlier.

Despite being in pain, she was carried to the stage where she presented Manson with his Hall of Fame award while sitting on a chair.

Mayhem was the order of the night with tables set on fire and chairs and glasses smashed.

American group Slipknot walked off with the night's top awards. The band won Best International Live Act, Single of the Year with the song 'Wait and Bleed' and Best Band In The World, and acknowledged their triumph by wrecking the stage.

Amid the chaotic scenes, Queens of the Stone Age arrived to collect their Best International Newcomer award dressed in white and accompanied by two midgets.

``It's a showbiz do, so we've come as lines of cocaine,'' they told nme.com.

Other top metal acts at the Kerrang! ceremony, hosted by the UK metal magazine, included Iron Maiden, Napalm Death, Foofighters, and Motorhead.

But unlike at the Oscars, not everyone was keen to heap praise on the winners.

Lemmy, Motorhead's lead singer, told the Daily Mail newspaper: ''I haven't heard anything by Slipknot -- I have heard of them though and I think it's disgusting.''

Plaque Will Honour Bond's Q

September 8, 2000 - BBC News

Desmond Llewelyn died on his way to a book signing

James Bond star Desmond Llewelyn will be honoured at his birthplace in Wales. The 007 star - who played long-suffering boffin Q in 17 Bond movies - will be remembered on a memorial plaque in Newport.

Llewelyn - who was killed in a car crash in East Sussex last December at the age of 85 - was much-loved by a host of Bond stars such as Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.

And his fans hope that a former 007 star - possibly fellow Welshman Timothy Dalton - will unveil the plaque.

The decision to mark his birth place at Blaen-y-Pant House in Malpas, Newport, comes after a campaign to honour his contribution to acting.

A spokeswoman for Newport council said: "We can confirm that we will be installing a plaque in memory of Desmond Llewelyn."

The news was greeted with joy by Emma Kenney, who has campaigned for a memorial.

She said: "That is great. It is incredible. I am thrilled that he is going to get some sort of recognition in Newport.

"I have always said that he should always have something at his place of birth. It has been worth all the hard work. I hope there is some sort of ceremony. I would like to be there."

Members of the Bettws in Bloom committee want to build a memorial garden to go with the plaque.

Edna Evans, of Bettws in Bloom, said: "It will be tasteful and encourage butterflies.It would be wonderful if we could get one of 007 stars to unveil it."

Desmond Llewelyn died despite efforts by hospital doctors to save him after he was cut from the wreckage of his Renault Megane.

He was returning to his home at Bexley, East Sussex, after a book-signing session.

His last film - The World Is Not Enough starring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond - was Llewelyn's 17th film as Q since his debut in 1963.

Walken Back To Happiness?

September 14, 2000 - Carlton.com Entertainment News

He may be famous for playing psychologically-disturbed gangsters and mobsters, but it seems Christopher Walken has an unlikely ambition... he wants to be a TV chef! The 57-year-old actor - last seen menacing Johnny Depp in 'Sleepy Hollow' - has been trying to pitch a TV cookery programme to several American stations, including MTV and Bravo. For some reason, however, they refused to bite.

Walken tells the New York Observer that his vision - "I wanted it to be a little like 'Pee Wee's Playhouse'" - has now switched to setting up broadcasting facilities in his own kitchen and broadcasting his culinary skills over the web.

"You know, turn it on whenever I felt like it," he explains. "And it would just be me cooking. Once in a while I'd have a mystery guest. Maybe Joe Pesci comes over and, you know, makes his tomato sauce. Don't you think that might be amusing?"

Watch this space for more recipes, er, details.

MI6 Spy HQ Hit By Missile

September 21, 2000 - by Bill Rosato - Reuters

LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - British police said on Thursday they had found part of a rocket launcher in a search for clues to a missile attack on the MI6 spy headquarters. The small missile struck the eighth floor of the building on Wednesday night, slightly damaging the facade but causing no injuries. Police believe renegade Irish guerrillas opposed to Northern Ireland's fragile peace process may be responsible.

The launcher part was found in a park near the high-tech, bomb-proofed building by the River Thames as special police teams scoured the area for forensic evidence.

``While carrying out a detailed search...officers recovered part of a rocket propelled grenade launcher,'' a Scotland Yard spokesman told Reuters.

``At this stage it is not possible to say if the launcher was fired at the location where (the part) was found,'' he added.

Alan Fry, head of the police's anti-terrorist branch said earlier he could not rule out dissident Irish republican guerrillas -- blamed for other abortive attacks on London earlier this year.

One witness said he heard an explosion as he passed the scene in his car, adding: ``I was shaking. My car was shaking.''

The futuristic MI6 building is famous for having featured in the last James Bond film ``The World is not Enough,'' where it exploded in the opening scene.

But in Wednesday's real-life attack, the damage was limited to a smashed window.

While the damage was minimal, the fact that an attacker could hit MI6 headquarters with a shoulder-launched missile from between 200 and 500 metres (yards) raised questions about security, political sources said.


No warning had been given and no group has claimed responsibility but experts pointed at the Real IRA, a renegade republican group behind the 1998 Omagh bombing, which killed 29 people in Northern Ireland's worst single guerrilla attack.

``It does look like this has all the hallmarks of the Real IRA. They have access to weapons including rocket propelled grenades,'' defence expert Paul Beaver told Sky Television.

Police on both sides of the Irish Sea believe the Real IRA -- which has weaponry smuggled from Croatia -- has an ``active service unit'' in London that staged attacks on a river bridge and a rail track in the capital over the summer.

``Security sources were expecting further attacks because the two attacks in June and July proved beyond doubt that they had a unit there,'' said Tom Brady, security editor of Dublin's Irish Independent newspaper.

Northern Irish guerrillas have a long history of bomb attacks in Britain. In 1991, the Irish Republican Army, who are now observing a ceasefire, attacked the prime minister's Downing Street office with home-made mortars launched from a van parked nearby.

The latest security embarrassment comes at a time when Prime Minister Tony Blair has been rocked by massive protests by truckers over the price of fuel and the ruling Labour party has been battered by slumping opinion poll ratings.

London drivers faced further chaos as their drive into work was disrupted by police cordons and more of the same was expected for the evening.

Even Queen Elizabeth was late for an official engagement in London due to the traffic jams.

MI6, which deals with foreign intelligence, is the responsibility of the Foreign Office. The domestic intelligence service, MI5, is the responsibility of the Home Office.

Minnie Bond

October 2, 2000 - ShowBiz Ireland News

Hollywood actress Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting and Circle of Friends) has dramatically pulled out of a role where she was to star opposite the world famous Irish dancer Michael Flatley in his upcoming film. Sources told ShowBizIreland.com that Driver will instead be looking at staring as Bond girl opposite Irish actor Pierce Brosnan in the next Bond movie.

An interesting fact is that Driver has already played a 'Bond girl' of sorts when she had a 20 second appearance as Robbie Coltrane's dancing girl in Golden Eye.

The World is Not Enough Preview

October 11, 2000 - by Garrett Kenyon for DailyRadar.com

We give EA's true sequel to GoldenEye 007 a serious once-over.

What can be said about GoldenEye that hasn't been said already? Though it was released years ago, it remains the best first-person shooter available for a console to this day. The game sold 7.5 million copies worldwide and is even played today, in an atmosphere where the average new release holds our attention for a month or two and is then forgotten. All this is for good reason: GoldenEye is extremely functional and extremely fun. Recently, Rare released Perfect Dark for the N64, which took the console shooter to new levels simply by merit of the number of options it gives players. Perfect Dark is a great game in its own right, but for those of us who long to return to the Golden Age of GoldenEye, we have The World is Not Enough, Electronic Art's official sequel. We recently got a chance to give the game some serious playing, and we're happy to report that the version we received was everything we expected. The game has the exact look and feel of the original classic. The controls have been slightly changed from GoldenEye, namely the up and down buttons on the control pad, which now make Bond jump and crouch. This comes in handy several times in the one-player levels, but in multiplayer Deathmatches, it can really slow down aiming. Of course there are other controller styles available, including one that matches the default controller setup for GoldenEye.

The multiplayer mode features a number of the same options that were covered in Perfect Dark and left out of GoldenEye. The addition of bots allows players who enjoy Deathmatch-style play to shoot it out without having any friends over. Other types of multiplayer games have been added as well, including Capture the Flag, King of the Hill and an interesting addition, Last Man Standing. While the version we got doesn't have quite as many options as Perfect Dark, there is definitely enough here to keep players happy for a while. Unfortunately, EA didn't opt for the "give it all to 'em no matter how much it slows down the game" ideology of Rare -- only four players can compete at the same time, whether its with four human players or one human and three bots. There aren't any 12-player deathmatches here.

The single-player missions are so similar to GoldenEye that we aren't sure whether it's a strength or a weakness. On one hand, players could argue that the years since GoldenEye was released should have been time enough for some real innovations in the way the game is played. Truly, EA's sequel looks as if it could have been released just scant months after the original. However, it could also be argued that the consistency of the look and feel of the missions is a good thing. For diehard GoldenEye fans, it certainly will be nice to be able to go back to the classic real-life weapons and levels after delving into the quasi-science fiction atmosphere of Perfect Dark.

Another new addition is the gadget screen, which players can pull up as a screen or cycle through while in the game. Each mission sees James using different gadgets to complete his objective. His new watch has a grappling hook and a few other features to get James out of trouble, and characters are always handing him new gadgets like exploding pens.

The game has 10 unique arenas and levels that may initially look a little scant. Most of the multiplayer levels have little detail and seem kind of boring at first sight. However, one of the strengths of GoldenEye, and one of the reasons why some still argue that it was better than Perfect Dark, is the game's simplicity. Sometimes detail translates to muddy textures on the N64, and EA seemed to be concentrating on presenting a clear picture with The World Is Not Enough. We can't say for sure whether or not the game will look the same when it's released, but we don't see any real problem with the simplicity of levels. Who has time to look at pictures on the wall and excessive details when you're smoking terrorists and civilians?

No Deal For Bond

October 11, 2000 - EMPIRE Online

With almost three years to go before another Bond movie hits the big screen the rumour machine has gone into overdrive trying to fill the gap. Today comes yet another rehashed rumour - this time claiming that James Bond will be driving a £200,000 Aston Martin car in Bond 20.

'It's completely untrue,' says Anne Bennett, Director of Marketing at Eon Productions - the company responsible for the Bond movies. Speaking to Empire Online this afternoon she said; 'Everything is up on the air at the moment. The production hasn't begun and no deal has been done with any particular company.'

The Aston Martin story comes in a week that has seen countless other Bond rumours surface including claims that a certain pop star will be singing the title song. 'It's all so boring, says Anne, 'Robbie Williams is not singing the Bond song, Judy Dench is returning for the next film - honestly, it would take forever to refute all the rumours.'

'There's nothing I can tell you,' Bennett goes on to say, 'except that there will be a three year break between Bond movies, instead of the usual two. The next film will come out at the end of 2002.'

Bond Backs British

October 11, 2000 - Carlton.com

After three movies and three very lush German cars it seems James Bond is coming to his senses and backing British once more. According to the Daily Mail the gentleman super spy will be swapping his BMW for the very swanky £200,000 Aston Martin Vanquish.

Traditionally Bond had always been associated with Aston Martin until 1995's 'Goldeneye' when BMW agreed to hand over a cool £80m to have its cars featured.

Ford, the current owners of Aston Martin, have since upped the stakes, offering a staggering £100m to ensure the Vanquish will be seen in the next movie.

And it is definitely a car that Q would be proud of. As well as being able to accelerate from 0 to 60mph in less than five seconds, the car does just 16 miles to the gallon. As for the clutch and gear stick, they're just so passé darling, as this car uses Formula 1 push button technology. Eight cows also have to make the ultimate sacrifice to furnish one car's leather interior.

But if you were thinking of getting your hands on one of these babies, then be warned there's a year's waiting list already.

James Bond Star Moved by African Slum Poverty

October 11, 2000 - Reuters

ACCRA, Ghana - James Bond star Sir Roger Moore has launched a polio campaign in an urban slum in Ghana, admitting that while filming in exotic locations in his Hollywood heyday he was blind to the poverty that sometimes surrounded him.

``The most tiring thing was changing my shirt 45 times a day and wearing six different suits, all (of) the same cut, because they got sweaty,'' he told Reuters in the slum in Ghana's capital Accra.

``Now I see what was around me, but was not affecting me.''

Moore, a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), starred as the suave, sophisticated and unflappable secret agent James Bond in films in the 1970s and 1980s.

He said Thursday that the sight of pregnant women cracking stones in a makeshift quarry in the northern town of Tamale had brought home the depth of African poverty to him.

``A mother, eight months pregnant, sits on a rock cracking stones all day for perhaps $4 a week, and the children are having to work -- no education and no play,'' he said.

``Mothers with babies on their backs carried pans full of stones on their heads, and sometimes a stone would fall and hit the baby.''

Several West African nations have organized campaigns this week to immunize children under five against polio, which is cheap to prevent but cripples for life if not caught.

The World Health Organization had hoped to eradicate polio by 2000 but conflicts disrupted its vaccination campaigns in various parts of the world. The target has now been put back to 2005.

Of the 17 countries that still have polio, 11 are in Africa.

Brosnan: Hollywood Lazy And Unimaginative

November 2, 2000 - by Paul Majendie for Reuters

LONDON - Pierce Brosnan accused Hollywood bosses of being lazy and unimaginative after they decided not to release his latest movie -- ``Gray Owl'' -- in U.S. cinemas.

Director Richard Attenborough agreed, saying the film about an Englishman who hides his true identity to live the life of a Canadian Indian was snubbed because it did not contain violence or sex.

Brosnan, best known for his James Bond roles, was furious that the $28.95 million film went straight to the video market in the United States because distributors said they did not know how to market the picture.

``It was made for the cinema, it should have been presented in theaters here in America,'' he told BBC radio in an interview at his Californian beach home in Malibu.

``People's sensitivities have been deadened and I think they backed themselves into a corner in this town called Hollywood,'' he said.

Brosnan accused Hollywood executives of being ``lazy and lacking in imagination'' over the film which goes on release in British cinemas on Friday.

For his role in Gray Owl, Brosnan swapped Bond's dapper suits for a trapper's furs and a feather head-dress.

The film tells the true story of Englishman Archie Belaney who grew up in a cloistered and repressed Victorian home while dreaming of becoming a Canadian Indian. He did just that, traveling the world preaching about environmental issues.

The impostor reinvented himself as the son of an Apache to help save the beaver and forests of Canada.


Brosnan conceded that the film had flaws but he believed it was ``head and shoulders above'' the quality of many other movies currently coming out of Hollywood.

He admires the complex character he played.

``Archie was a young man who hitched his way to Canada with a dream of living in the wilderness and becoming an Indian. He was running from childhood.

``He was a lonely boy and he was a lonelier man. I think Archie Belaney stood for everything that is relevant today.''

The 77-year-old Attenborough, whose epic ``Gandhi'' was garlanded with Oscars, strongly defended his latest film.

He said: ``It does not have a sufficient scale, does not have sufficient special effects and does not demonstrate or illustrate either the pornography of violence or sex.''

Asked by the BBC if he thought it would have got a distribution deal if there had been more fighting sequences or more explicit sex, Attenborough said: ``Oh yes, there's no question.''

Brosnan Has GQ Style

November 3, 2000 - ShowBiz Ireland News

Irish actor Pierce Brosnan, the star of Bond and The Thomas Crown Affair has been voted most stylish man of the year by the men’s magazine GQ. The smooth 007 actor won the GQ Most Stylish Man of The Year award in New York beating Gladiator star Russell Crowe who won the actor’s category.

Brosnan was presented with his award by the actress Leonor Valera who stars with him in the partly Irish made The Tailor of Panama.

Also winning awards at the GQ ceremony was singer Elton John who won Most Humanitarian Man of the Year. Friends star Matthew Perry won the Comedy Man of the Year. While Back to the Future star Michael J Fox won an award for his courage in fighting Parkinson’s Disease.

Brosnan To Become US Citizen

November 5, 2000 - ShowBiz Ireland News

Irish born actor Pierce Brosnan, star of three James Bond movies, has applied to become an American citizen. Brosnan told the Sunday Express newspaper he had already started the naturalisation process and regretted not becoming a U.S. passport-holder in time to vote in the presidential elections.

"I would like to be an American. I've enjoyed my time here. It's a very, very fine country," he told the paper. Fellow actor Anthony Hopkins, who grew up in Wales, provoked a storm of protest in the media when he became an American citizen in April this year.

Brosnan also said he would wed his long-term girlfriend Keely Shaye Smith next year, by which time his son, who was injured in a car accident near his California home in April, would be well enough to dance at the party.

Earlier last week, Brosnan accused Hollywood bosses of being lazy and unimaginative after they decided not to release his latest movie "Grey Owl" in US cinemas.

Brosnan was furious that the 20 million pound film went straight to the video market in the United States because distributors said they did not know how to market the picture. He told BBC radio that Hollywood executives were "lazy and lacking in imagination" for not releasing the film, which tells the true story of Englishman Archie Belaney.

Belaney grew up in a cloistered and repressed Victorian home dreaming of becoming a Canadian Indian. As an adult he reinvented himself as the son of an Apache to help save the beaver and forests of Canada, and travelled the world preaching about environmental issues.

The film's director, Richard Attenborough, said he agreed with Brosnan's claims about Hollywood. "It ("Grey Owl") does not have a sufficient scale, does not have sufficient special effects and does not demonstrate or illustrate either the pornography of violence or sex," the director said.

Asked by the BBC if he thought it would have got a distribution deal if there had been more fighting sequences or more explicit sex, Attenborough said: "Oh yes, there's no question".

Sony Review: 007 Racing

November 22, 2000 - by David Chen for DailyRadar.com

The story -- well, it's classic James Bond stuff, with diabolical schemes, hijacked weaponry, international action, beautiful women and explosions. A fair enough start, but that logic could be used to describe most any James Bond flick, and we all know how smooth that ride's been. In any case, it's simply a vehicle (pun intended) for putting the super-suave agent in a number of auto-based scenarios -- rescuing beautiful women and shooting up a wide array of terrorists and other unsavory types. Because it's a Bond game, the action takes place around the globe, and each environment -- from the back roads of Bavaria to the streets of New York -- features a different vehicle.

Seeing as how they're the only thing that ties this game to the James Bond world in any relevant way, the game's designers have chosen a handsome selection of cars - all of them European, naturally. These include such prestigious machines as the Aston Martin DB7, the Lotus Esprit and a pair of BMWs, all of which played no small part in making 007's exploits so memorable. The cars control well enough, although they're mostly a little loose for our liking, and for the most part don't vary significantly. While the models won't garner any awards, they're nice enough -- with some simple lighting effects and nice details such as interchangeable parts (the shield) and a mini-Mr. Bond at the wheel. As far as steering goes, the controls are suitably simple -- just hit the gas, slam down on the brakes and use the handbrake for some slick powersliding action. It's with the actual combat part of things, though, that the game hits some snags.

To help James along, the cars come replete with a small arsenal of weapons, including the standard machinegun, shields, missiles and the mostly useless oil slicks and smokescreens. One trigger cycles through them, the other fires -- once again, an appropriately simple setup. However, during our first look at the game, we lamented the inclusion of the auto-switching feature -- meaning every weapon acquired (touched) becomes armed. A first-person shooter fan's worst nightmare, this handy little feature puts weapons such as the shield (it only has an on and off mode -- which would you rather set it at?) and the Stinger missile (only useful against airborne opponents) right at your fingertips -- like it or not. Now imagine trying to cycle back to the weapon you'd just armed while careening through fields of mines, dodging tank fire and trying to run over as many bad guys as possible. Turning it off is not an option; how this got through testing, we can't even imagine.

Visually, the game is actually rather improved from the last copy that came around, and while the graphics are still mighty pixilated, at least the framerate seems to have been improved -- making it a little bit less of a mess than before. Still, it's not the sort of game you'd want to impress a date with -- especially considering that the awkward cutscenes feature a sallow 007 sporting the goofiest British accent we've ever heard. There are a lot of things about this game that suggest it might have been rushed out the door -- or simply abandoned, and never fully tuned.

As far as details go, plenty of buggy problems abound, with issues that normally go hand-in-hand with gameplay (touchy controls, severe slowdown) that even affect the menus. Sound balancing is all spotty, and the in-game voiceovers such as big hick sheriff John Wade and John Cleese's Q are blatantly scripted, popping up at the same point every time you play through a level. The multiplayer mode draws the limit at two (no bots or the like), and while it features two different modes, they're pretty bland and not likely to maintain your interest. A goofily gratuitous feature provides a special CG scene proffered up as a challenge by various voluptuous Bond girls. Completing (or re-completing) each mission under a certain set of parameters unlocks it -- a nice touch, but bonus features such as these should come standard, and this isn't enough to sell us. We wanted this game to be great, but we would have settled for just good.

The Bottom Line: We once asked whether this game racer would be tight ride or clunker? It's no lemon, but lease before you buy.

Dench Joins The Herd

November 29, 2000 - Carlton.com

Judi Dench has agreed to lend her voice to Disney's latest animated adventure.

'Sweating Bullets' is being described as a Western musical feature about a herd of cows who band together to save their farm. Has someone been watching a bit too much 'Chicken Run'?

In fact, the project has been in development at the Mouse House for several years but has yet to start production.

Cuba Gooding Jr and Sarah Jessica Parker have also agreed to provide mooing vocals to the project. Randy Quaid is still in talks to join the hoedown.

Judi Dench recently finished work on the big screen adaptation of Joanne Harris's novel 'Chocolat'. Directed by Lasse Halleström ('The Cider House Rules'), the story follows a French woman who sets up a chocolate shop, much to the horror of some of the villagers.

Halleström looks set to make a trip to the Academy Awards ceremony next year, as the buzz around the movie suggests it's definitely worthy of a nomination or two.

Cuba Gooding Jr, meanwhile, has been a very busy man. His navy movie 'Men Of Honor' is due for release on April 20, which will be followed by the World War II epic 'Pearl Harbor' and the comedy 'Rat Race'.

Onatopp Of Arnie

November 30, 2000 - Carlton.com

With Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong locked into the 'Terminator 3' project, all rumours have now turned to the proposed female terminator. Just a week after Carrie-Anne Moss was thought to be the hot favourite to take the role, Variety has thrown a different name into the ring.

According to the trade magazine, Famke Janssen has emerged as the frontrunner to face off with Arnie. Janssen has, of course, had some experience dealing with hard men. She first made waves in Hollywood starring as the rather forceful Xenia Onatopp in 'Goldeneye'.

Since then Janssen has managed to avoid the Bond girl curse and scored a variety of different jobs, including 'Deep Rising', 'Celebrity', 'The Faculty' and the schlock horror 'House On Haunted Hill'. But if Variety is correct, then this will be the actress's biggest role (and best pay day) to date.

Moss and Janssen aren't the only names doing the rounds, though. According to aint-it-cool-news, WWF wrestling star Chyna, 'X-Men' star Rebecca Romijn Stamos and Natasha Henstridge ('Species') have all been linked to the project.

By 'Eck I Am Bad!

December 5, 2000 - Carlton.com

Yorkshire's favourite son - Sean Bean - is returning to his villainous ways for a new thriller with Michael Douglas. In 'Don't Say A Word', Bean - who first made an impact on the big screen as a psycho Irish terrorist in 'Patriot Games' and a rogue British agent in 'Goldeneye' - will take the role of a criminal mastermind whose heist goes belly up. He can only get to the stolen cash if a psychiatrist (Douglas) can get vital information from one of his near-catatonic patients.

The movie is based on a novel by Andrew Klavan, who also had a hand in the script, and will be directed by Gary Felder (who's best known for 'Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead').

Bean is currently working on Peter Jackson's 'Lord Of The Rings' in the 'good guy' role of Boromir, and will appear with Christian Bale and Emily Watson in futuristic thriller 'Librium'.

'Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring' is scheduled for a UK release on December 14, 2001. 'Librium' has yet to receive a release date.

Connery Angry At Wait For New Film Centre

December 8, 2000 - Ananova

Sir Sean Connery is fuming over delays to building a new filming complex near Edinburgh.

The no-nonsense Scottish knight believed he had the full backing of Sony Pictures who control Columbia Films.

And he is concerned the hold-up may be political because of his long association with Scottish Nationalists.

Connery said: "We had the land. We had Sony with us, and I thought we had everything in place except permission to build, and we are still waiting on that.

"Our site is located just outside of Edinburgh by the main road which would be great for the airport and therefore easy access to Pinewood and Shepperton studios.

"Now there's talk, and I'm not sure where it is coming from, of Sony wanting to get together with the BBC and do something quite different. Something scaled down on the banks of the Clyde.

"The whole thing is just drifting. We have all these interested parties and until we get the clearance from the authorities in Scotland and a clear indication of where our partners want to go, we cannot raise any money.

"It is very frustrating. But then, to get things done in Scotland when outsiders have been involved has always been tricky."

Connery's new film Finding Forrester is being released in the UK in February .

Brosnan Plans 'Larceny'

December 11, 2000 - Carlton.com

Pierce Brosnan is in final negotiations to star in the romantic comedy 'Larceny For Lovers'. The project is thought to be a 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'-style movie about a master con-man who travels round Europe with his sister/business partner. On his travels he meets a beautiful woman who just happens to be in the con business as well.

The project sounds perfect for Brosnan, who enjoyed huge success with the remake of 'The Thomas Crown Affair'. His twinkle-eyed millionaire with a penchant for nicking paintings for the hell of it, proved there was more than just a few martinis to the James Bond actor.

The actor will next be seen in the big screen adaptation of John Le Carré's 'The Tailor Of Panama', opposite Geoffrey Rush and Jamie Lee Curtis. He is expected to pick up his Bond mantle again sometime in the next two years.

'Larceny For Lovers' is expected to go before the cameras early next year.

Bond Man Moore To Buy London Home

December 14, 2000 - Reuters

LONDON - Former Bond star Roger Moore was reported on Thursday to be the latest in a long line of Hollywood stars to set up home in London. The man with the golden wallet snapped up a 2.6 million pound ($3.8 million) flat in the capital's regenerated docklands, the area's local Wharf newspaper reported.

It said the British actor, who split with his third wife to marry Kiki Tholstrup, hopes to spend two days a week with his Swedish wife-to-be in the Canary Riverside apartment.

``The apartment is really plush. He (Moore) is a nice friendly guy and Kiki is lovely -- very elegant, really talkative and so down-to-earth,'' one Canary Riverside source said.

The four-bedroom apartment boasts one of the best Thames views in London.

But it is not for Moore's eyes only -- the area proved a magnet for Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro, who reportedly bought a 3.2 million pound penthouse apartment in the same block.

``One of De Niro's agents was here last week, and signed the deal on his behalf,'' The Wharf said.

A one-bedroom flat in Canary Riverside costs around 245,000 pounds ($360,000), according to local estate agent Zahid Majid.

``It is to Docklands what Mayfair is to London,'' he said, adding that several British celebrities have already been lured to the area.

The two heavyweight actors join a growing influx of big name stars to pour cash into a buoyant London property market.

Madonna has bought a seven million pound villa in the trendy Notting Hill area with her soon-to-be husband, British film director Guy Ritchie.

Moore's publicity spokesman declined to comment on reports he had bought the London apartment.

Yeoh Joining 'Matrix'?

December 19, 2000 - Carlton.com

Michelle Yeoh is being wooed to join the cast of the two 'Matrix' sequels. According to Variety, the Hong Kong star is in talks to take on a role originally destined for Jet Li.

It seems Li decided not to take the role offered to him by the movie's directors, the Wachowski brothers, because they could not afford his asking price. The rising Chinese star is thought to have wanted $13m, but was only offered $3m to spend 11 months on two movies in which he wouldn't receive any goodies from the box office takings. He would also have had his likeness used in a videogame.

The reason for the low figure is due to the demands of leading 'Matrix' players. Keanu Reeves, whose career was looking dead in the water before the original 'Matrix' came along, has agreed to play Neo in both sequels for the bargain price of $30m, plus 15 per cent of the box office gross. Producer Joel Silver and the Wachowskis are all picking up gross profits as well.

Michelle Yeoh is currently starring in Ang Lee's Chinese-language 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon', although she made her Hollywood name as Pierce Brosnan's counterpart in 'Tomorrow Never Dies'.

Brosnan To Chase Dinos

December 19, 2000 - Carlton.com

Pierce Brosnan is in talks to star in an adaptation of Ray Bradbury's short story 'A Sound Of Thunder'. The fantastical story follows a game hunter who goes on a time-travelling safari to hunt dinosaurs in a prehistoric time zone.

The trouble is, when the man comes face to face with a tyrannosaurus he loses his bottle, stumbles off the appointed safari path and inadvertently changes the course of history.

'Deep Blue Sea' director Renny Harlin is also in negotiations to helm 'Thunder'. The movie is tentatively set to begin filming before the summer actors' strike.

Brosnan is currently working on a big screen adaptation of John Le Carré's spy thriller 'The Tailor Of Panama', alongside Geoffrey Rush and Jamie Lee Curtis. The Bond star is also in final negotiations to star in the romantic comedy 'Larceny For Lovers'.

Eyes Only: Espionage Museum Planned for D.C.

December 21, 2000 - by Paul Farhi for The Washington Post

Fans of the spy game will be stirred, not shaken by the news: A Cleveland-based company said yesterday it intends to open "the largest permanent exhibit dedicated to the history of espionage" in downtown Washington by the spring of 2002.

The firm, Malrite Co., intends to house the International Spy Museum in 58,000 square feet of renovated space near the National Portrait Gallery at Eighth and F streets NW. The tourist-friendly project has the endorsement of the D.C. Council (and $6.9 million in city loans), plus an advisory board packed with historians and former spooks from both sides of the Wall. It's now in the process of pulling together exhibits from a 600-piece collection of spy memorabilia.

Why a spy museum?

"Spying has a resonance, a mystique about it," says Dennis Barrie, a former Smithsonian curator and founding director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who's heading the effort. "We want to peel away that surface. . . . We intend to give a historical perspective, but we also want to immerse people in a sense of time and space."

Think Berlin, circa 1962. Or Bletchley Park, 1942, as British code breakers rushed to crack the German Enigma codes. Think Claus Fuchs, Kim Philby, Aldrich Ames. You could also think Bond, James Bond; the museum intends to acknowledge the influence of fake spies on the real ones at the CIA and KGB.

Spying -- or at least a museum about it -- might even be a good business, Malrite thinks. Unlike most museums in Washington, the privately owned project will be a for-profit venture. Visitors will be charged admission (about $8).

Malrite, which is supplying most of the financing for the $28 million project, thinks it can attract 500,000 people a year, about what the National Portrait Gallery draws in a good year. In addition to the exhibits, there will be a themed restaurant and cafe, a spy-stuff store and a role-playing game called "Spy Adventure."

Some details remain, shall we say, top secret. At the moment, the most visible thing about the museum is its logo depicting a shadowy, trench-coated figure. Other than an original Enigma machine, the company isn't saying precisely which objects will be on display.

Some of the items will be on loan from H. Keith Melton, an espionage-artifacts collector, historian and technical adviser on the project. "The general public really has no idea about real spying," says Melton. "Unfortunately, they've seen too many Oliver Stone movies and think the CIA's a big shooting gallery where they train assassins. . . . We want to show how the world we live in has been crafted through the work of spies."

There are at least two museums of spying in America, but you have to know the password to get into them. Melton, who has a 6,000-piece collection of spy stuff, maintains a private museum in South Florida that visitors can see by invitation only. The CIA also has a small museum at its headquarters, but you have to be a CIA employee or have connections to get in.

The CIA has been kept abreast of the Malrite project, but has not officially endorsed it, spokesman Mark Mansfield said yesterday. The project did, however, involve an actual CIA employee -- Carlos D. Davis, the chairman of the CIA's Fine Arts Commission (who knew?), who acted as a private consultant.

The idea for a spy museum was hatched four years ago in, of all places, Cleveland. Broadcasting mogul Milton Maltz, the founder of Malrite, had been involved with the development of that city's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and sought to develop other specialty museums. His development company was formed after he sold off his portfolio of 35 radio and TV stations in 1996 and 1997.

Originally, Maltz wasn't sure what kind of museum to develop. So he gathered together designers and finance people to brainstorm. It was Maltz, a former code breaker with the National Security Agency, who came up with the idea of a museum dedicated to spying, Barrie says.

The next question was where to put it. Cleveland wasn't exactly a logical first choice. London, Berlin and Moscow seemed more natural locales, although each presented logistical or business impediments. The obvious default location: Washington. Says Barrie, "This is a great espionage town."

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