Wednesday, October 3, 2012

British Actor of the Month: Double O-dition

On October 5, 1962, two things happened that would have a profound impact on the music world. 

The first was that The Beatles released "Love Me Do."

The second was that, with the premier of Dr No, audiences were introduced to one of the most iconic movie themes ever. 

The last one also might be a bit important for the film world.  Just a bit. 

So to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, we're profiling the five British actors who have wowed cinema audiences as 007.  And we might as well include George Lazenby while we're at it. 

Do you ecshpect me to talk?
Sean Connery
A former Edinburgh milkman, Connery was the first actor to play Bond.  Longtime fan favorite, Connery made a huge impact on the character (even inspiring Ian Flemming to give his creation a Scottish heritage), something subsequent Bonds have had to deal with.  Highlights:  Dr No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball  Lowlights:  You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, and the "unofficial" Never Say Never Again  Also Known For:  Playing the (Scottish) Spaniard in Highlander and the (Scottish) Russian submarine captain in The Hunt for Red October.  Is also Indiana Jones's father and an Oscar winner for The Untouchables.

No, you're not the other guy
George Lazenby
Australian actor Lazenby was the first to take over after Connery left.  Fearing typecasting, he left after one go.  Not too many fans were disappointed.  Highlights:  On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  Really, it's one of the better Bond films.  Lowlights:  On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  Really, he is the worst Bond to date.  Also Known For:  Being the "George Lazenby" of the Bond franchise.

[Insert double entendre here]
Roger Moore
The first actor to take over after Connery's brief return, Moore has been the longest-running Bond and appeared in the most official Bond movies.  Moore played the role a bit more tongue-in-cheek than his predecessors, and his era was also known for its ridculously overblown plots.  Highlights:  The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only  Lowlights:  Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Octopussy, A View to a Kill  Also Known For:  Starring in the TV series The Saint.

Needs ice cream
Timothy Dalton 
Reportedly the choice producers had to replace Connery even as far back as On Her Majesty's, Dalton has perhaps been the most "serious" Bond to date.  The plots from his era were more concerned with "real world" spy senarios.  Highlights:  The Living Daylights, even though Bond does end up helping the Taliban fight the Soviets.  Lowlights:  Licence to Kill  Also Known For:  Argueably the only actor to be better known for not playing Bond, Dalton is a highly respected Shakesperian actor who played Rochester in the BBC's 1980s version of Jane Eyre and the Time Lord president in David Tennant's last episode of Doctor Who.  You might also have recognized him in Hot Fuzz.

Shaken, not stirred
Pierce Brosnan
Reportedly the producers' choice to replace Moore, Brosnan was unavailable, so they went with Dalton.  His performance tended to blend Dalton's grittiness with Moore's sense of humor, and, likewise, the films were the right balance of realistic and riddiculous.  Highlights:  Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough  Lowlights:  Die Another Day  Also Known For:  Starring in the TV series Remmington Steele

Blonde Bond?!?

Daniel Craig
Though the color of his hair created a stir when his casting was announced, Craig is fast becoming as much a fan favorite as Sean Connery.  The franchise has gone through a bit of a reboot lately to focuse on how Bond became Bond, which some have seen as a rejuvenation, and others as a rip-off of the Jason Bourne franchise.  Highlights:  Casino Royale (2006), and this  Lowlights:  Quantum of Solace  Upcoming:  Skyfall, later this year  Also Known For:  Starring in the English-language remakes of Stig Larson's Millenium series

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