Last night, 1 September 2016, George Lazenby – the 76-year-old former ex-James Bond from Australia – visited Oslo, the capital of Norway. James Bond•O•Rama.dk reports from the event.
The event "James Bond in Oslo" featured a gala showing of George Lazenby's only James Bond film, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969), digitally restored in 4K.
Before the gala screening at Vika Kino, George Lazenby participated in an onstage Q&A moderated by former Bond girl Maryam d'Abo (Kara Milovy in "The Living Daylights", 1987).
On September 1, Bond•O•Rama will be interviewing George Lazenby in Oslo, Norway. The following report chronicles our previous meeting with the former James Bond 007 at the SciFiWorld fair 2014 in Malmö, Sweden.
Being a film journalist and lifelong James Bond 007 fan, I have had the pleasure of shaking hands with Pierce Brosnan and locking eyes with Daniel Craig's steely blue glare. But I never dreamed that I would get to meet the anomaly that is George Lazenby: The man who played the part just once, only to spend his entire life trying in vain to distance himself from it.
George Robert Lazenby was born on 5 September 1939. The brown-eyed Aussie made film history as the male model who filled in for Sean Connery as James Bond 007 in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the sixth film in the EON Productions series.
I'd never been an actor before. I became James Bond through my arrogance and ignorance and not knowing I couldn't do it.
- George Lazenby
From 19 to 25 May 2001, The Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen performed three contemporary ballet choreographies as an end of season show called "Shaken Not Stirred".
The flyer, pictured below, was heavily influenced by the James Bond films, as was the third and final part of the performance, entitled "Off the Record". Artistic director Aage Thordal-Christensen choreographed this "highly dramatic and strongly sensual dance inspired by 70's spy thrillers".
The use of original music scores from EON Productions' film franchise was nixed due to rights issues. Instead, Norwegian-Danish DJ duo Ben Horn (Mikkas and Lars B) put together a suite of "classical music with elements of new electronic genres such as electronica, two-step and drum'n' bass".
"The Program", a French-British co-production directed by Stephen Frears ("The Queen", "Philomena"), is released in Danish cinemas today.
"The Program", which premiered in the UK on 16 October, tells the story of professional cyclist Lance Armstrong (played by Ben Foster) and his fall from grace. Armstrong defeated his early cancer diagnosis and went on to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles, all the while denying his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
A special point of interest for fans of James Bond 007 comes during a brief sequence in which Lance Armstrong receives some hard-hitting news from an oncologist at an American clinic.
The doctor is played by none other than Michael Gregg Wilson, who is of course best known as one of the two main producers behind EON Productions' James Bond film franchise. Wilson is credited in the end crawl of "The Program" for his performance as "Lance's Doctor".
The 73-year old Michael G. Wilson has been involved as a writer and/or producer on every James Bond film from EON Productions since "Moonraker" in 1979.
"Listen, you have to suck up to anyone you can!" Stephen Frears joked, when Bond•O•Rama.dk asked him about Michael G. Wilson's cameo part in "The Program" during Toronto International Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere in September 2015.
Stephen Frears continued:
"Lance Armstrong went to a hospital in America. It was a very, very distinguished doctor who treated Lance, and I thought I'd better find somebody substantial to play him. I just didn't want to be frivolous about the doctor."
At the Danish gala premiere of "SPECTRE" at the Imperial cinema in Copenhagen 27 October 2015, Bond•O•Rama.dk had the chance to ask Michael G. Wilson himself about his guest appearance in "The Program" (watch video below).
"Well, he asked me to play a doctor, yes. The oncologist. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it," Michael G. Wilson said. He then inquired if I had seen "The Program", which I confirmed.
"Oh, good. Well, alright. Don't give me any reviews," Wilson added, laughing.
Michael G. Wilson also reminisced about his brief cameo apperances in the James Bond film series. To date, Wilson has appeared as an extra or a bit player in 16 of the EON Bond films, starting when he was a teenager helping out his stepfather, Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, on the American leg of the "Goldfinger" shoot in 1964.
"I was only there for three weeks. We went to Fort Knox, and I worked there as a runner. Third assistant director kind of thing," Michael G. Wilson told Bond•O•Rama.dk.
"It was a necessity at one time, when I was in "Goldfinger", I had to appear just to fill out the background. But you know, it became sort of something that we did; [it] became a tradition".
In the current Bond smash "SPECTRE" (2015), Michael G. Wilson has a "blink-and-miss-it" walk-on part. He can be glimpsed shaking hands with Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott). The young man accompanying Wilson in this sequence is his son, Gregg Wilson, who is also the film's associate producer. If Michael G. Wilson should ever choose to retire, Gregg Wilson is expected to carry on the EON Productions' James Bond franchise as Barbara Broccoli's main producing partner.
The relationship between Michael G. Wilson and Stephen Frears goes back to 2003, when Wilson and his half-sister and fellow producer, Barbara Broccoli, considered doing a spinoff movie starring Jinx, the Halle Berry character from "Die Another Day" (2002).
Stephen Frears was slated to direct "Jinx" for a short while ("About ten minutes!" Frears chuckled when Bond•O•Rama.dk asked him about it). EON's regular writing duo Robert Wade and Neal Purvis delivered a first draft in 2003, but MGM decided not to go forward with the project, apparently to the dismay of Wilson and Broccoli.
● Read Variety's original news item about "Jinx" (October 2003)
During the weekend of 5 to 7 November 1999, BioCity Odense screened all of EON Productions' by then 18 Bond films in a row. The goal was to secure an entry in Guiness' Book of Records, and this writer ["Brie" from James Bond•O•Rama.dk] perservered to the bitter end with notepad in hand
By Brian Iskov
Friday, 5th November, 7:08 PM – The screen in BioCity's Cinema 1 is said to be the largest in Denmark, even bigger than the one in Imperial in Copenhagen. On the other hand, the theatre only seats 433 people, and around a fifth of the seats are empty to ensure proper spacing between the audience members. It's a sound arrangement.
The manager of the cinema informs us that 55 kilometers of celluloid await us, that free coffee will be served ad lib, and that a local brewery is serving Christmas beer (the latter bit of news sets off the weekend's first roar of approval). Two Funen reporters will be present as adjudicators for the Guiness' Book of Records. Along with the projectionist and two customer service assistants, they will show solidarity with the paying customers and hang around until the projector spits out the last bit of film on Sunday afternoon.
9:07 PM – "Dr. No" (1962). The very first glimpse of Sean Connery's tuxedo-attired back makes the crowd go wild, and the applause thunders as he introduces himself for the first time: "Bond ... James Bond". It turns out that every time this line is repeated, it has the exact same effect. During the intermission, jaunty renditions of ”The James Bond Theme” are whistled in corners, and in a small group by the door, someone asks the question: "When does Q turn up?"
11:14 PM – "From Russia with Love" (1963). And then he came. Q, the quartermaster with the delightful technological gadgetry, receives a hearty welcome. In the span of just one year, Connery has improved significantly as an actor; Terence Young's staging is a lot more refined too than in the previous film. Even now, the audience tends to cheer the male chauvinist remarks that once in a while pass Bond's lips up there on the screen.