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Aston Martin Magazine 2013 22 


Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of the James Bond series, look back at their lives with 007, the partnership with Aston Martin and hint at how his character may evolve

Barbara Broccoli and her father, Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli on location in Austria for The Living Daylights

am magazine: How did the relationship between James Bond and Aston Martin begin?
Michael G wilson: Ian Fleming originally had Bond in a DB MKIII in Goldfinger and Cubby (Albert Broccoli) and Harry (Saltzman) got an updated version for the film. The DB5, with all its gadgets, became the signature car of Bond. It has become one of the great partnerships in film.

AM: What do you think makes the pairing such a good fit?
Barbara Broccoli: Bond is British and we want to keep his cars British. Bond and Aston Martin have been synonymous for decades now and we wouldn’t want him to drive anything other than an Aston Martin. When it comes to each new movie, we sit down with the director and we look at what opportunities there are to feature the cars.

AM: Tell us how the idea to feature the classic DB5 in Skyfall came about?
MGW: The idea arose from discussions with the director, Sam Mendes, and the writers. The film was very much about Bond coming home, being shot on location in London and then Scotland for much of it, so there was a lot of the old and the new and the low-tech and the high-tech. We wanted to go off the grid in some ways and avoid simply using the latest model.
BB: Aston Martin has been a wonderful partner and we have a great relationship. They understood our thinking and agreed it was a great idea. The most important thing is that it was a truly integrated part of the story. Over the course of the movies, the role that the cars play can vary from film to film—sometimes there are big action sequences, such as the famous car-rolling stunt in Casino Royale or the opening chase in Quantum of Solace, and sometimes they are more intimate scenes. Wherever we went in the world and watched Skyfall, there was a cheer when he pulled up the door of the lock-up to reveal the DB5. Everybody has a thrill when they see the DB5. I think it’s like being a boy again. I remember the toy Astons with the rockets and the bullet-shield at the back. It’s all part of the James Bond experience.

“Wherever we went in the world and watched Skyfall, there was a cheer when he pulled up the door of the lock-up to reveal the DB5 ”

AM: Are the car stunts in the movies real?
MGW: The stunt scenes take a lot of production and, yes, they are most definitely real.
BB: The team loved the scene in Casino Royale at the Millbrook Proving Ground, where we rolled the car seven times, which was confirmed as a world record by Guinness World Records.
AM: Do you ever get behind the wheels of the cars on set?
MGW: (laughing) We don’t let anybody on set drive the cars except for Daniel (Craig) and the stunt team.
BB: We have several picture cars, which we use for promotional use. We had a few different ones in Quantum of Solace and needed them as we were using up a lot of tyres and had stones going through the windscreens during the epic chase at the beginning of the film at Lake Garda. Aston Martin sent out their whole technical team to assist with the shoot.


Michael G Wilson in Aldershot to film exterior shots for Skyfall.

AM: Growing up with James Bond, how did you see the character?
BB: I thought that James Bond was a real person. It was only when I was 10 or 11 years old that I realised he was, in fact, fictional. As I grew up on the set, he loomed large in my life. As a character, I think he has evolved with the times and different actors have put their take on the role. I was lucky enough to know Sean (Connery) and George (Lazenby) and worked with Roger (Moore), then Timothy (Dalton), Pierce (Brosnan) and now Daniel. Each of them has re-interpreted the role to suit the times. The Bond as portrayed by Daniel is a 21st-century man. He has humanity and is also vulnerable. You get to see all of his inner conflicts and I think Daniel’s portrayal is spot on. When he first took on the role of Bond in Casino Royale, it was one of those moments when all the planets aligned—we had the right actor, the right role, at the right moment with the right script. He is somebody who can take Bond to these places that maybe we wouldn’t have realised possible before.
AM: Do you think the love affair between Bond and Aston Martin will continue?
BB: We’re very protective of our relationship with Aston Martin—it’s what the audience wants—so the answer is yes, we certainly hope so!

The French launch for The Living Daylights in 1987

AM: You don’t like to give away much about future films, but can you give any hints as to how Bond’s character may develop?
MGW: It’s hard to say—that’s a bit like gazing into the crystal ball! However, I’m sure Daniel will continue to develop the character. He has a lot of input into the way Bond is evolving and will continue to do so, along with the director of the next film (Sam Mendes again).
BB: Bond’s character is distinct: he’s British, he has a certain code that he lives by, he’s incorruptible but he’s also fallible. You have to remember with Daniel, the first film he did was Casino Royale, which was the first book. It explains a lot about his history and how he became the man he is. He knows he’s unable to really form a proper commitment with a woman because he may be captured, tortured, as he is in Casino Royale… he can put himself in that situation but he couldn’t put anyone else he loved, like a wife or a child, in that kind of jeopardy. So, I think with Daniel, it’s sort of come full circle and it puts us in a great position to move the character forward.

Sam Mendes introduces Barbara Broccoli and Michael at the UK premiere of Skyfall



AM Magazine is published on behalf of Aston Martin Lagonda by
Illustrated London News Limited



It’s hard to imagine James Bond behind the wheel of anything but an Aston Martin. It’s a love affair between two British icons that’s set to last, says Dave CALHOUn

Image 1:Pierce Brosnan gets ready for a close-up during Die Another Day.
Image 2: Shooting GoldenEye with Famke Janssen in a red Ferrari with Bond about to beat her in a race in his Aston Martin DB5.

The pages of Ian Fleming’s novel Goldfinger— the author’s seventh James Bond novel—are where the enduring romance between 007 and Aston Martin was born. In his bestselling 1959 book, Fleming wrote that his debonair, hard-as-nails British spy drove an Aston Martin DB3 while driving through Europe on the hunt for notorious villain Auric Goldfinger. Fleming explained that Bond’s car boasted only a few, subtle modifications to assist his work as a MI6 spy: the bumpers were reinforced and a secret compartment allowed him to hide a Colt 45 pistol. So began a love affair between a fictional character and a classic British car that’s thrived for over half a century. Although this romance began with the printed word, film affects a very special magic, and it was with the 1964 film version of Goldfinger starring Sean Connery that the iconic relationship between James Bond and Aston Martin was truly sealed.

When Bond producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman imported Bond’s car from Fleming’s book for the film, they upgraded him to the then latest model, the DB5. It was a wise choice: the combination of Sean Connery and the DB5 was too much for audiences to resist. Here you had a new kind of film star—suave, handsome but also brutish and with a hint of rough—coupled with an extremely beautiful and utterly modern car. “Where’s my Bentley?” Bond asks Desmond Llewelyn’s Q as he’s shown his gadgets and vehicle at the start of Goldfinger. “Oh, it’s had its day, I’m afraid,” replies Q. The DB5 has been at the heart of this pairing ever since. When the current producers of the Bond films, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, came to celebrate the series’ 50th anniversary in 2012 with Skyfall, it was the DB5 that made a storming reappearance with Daniel Craig’s Bond driving it to Scotland for the film’s explosive climax.

Of course, the beauty of all Bond’s cars has been that they are always so much more than they appear. Like so many of Bond’s love interests, they are attractive on the surface, but deadly beneath the bonnet. Bond’s silver DB5 in Goldfinger had its cutting-edge modifications courtesy of production designer Sir Ken Adam, whose work on Bond and with Stanley Kubrick would soon make him a movie legend. The car had revolving number plates, which meant he could drive through France and Switzerland without alerting anyone to the presence of a foreign car. One switch would cause an oil slick; another activated machine guns on the wings of the car; yet another allowed the driver to use tyre slashers that extended from the front wheels; and hidden in the gear stick was a button to activate the passenger ejector seat.

“Like Bond’s love interests, his cars are always more than they appear: attractive on the surface but deadly beneath the bonnet”

When the DB5 was later immortalised as a toy, its pièce de résistance was the ejector seat. Skyfall director Sam Mendes remembers playing with it as a boy: “I had the toy with the ejector seat. I lost the little man that flew out and spent the rest of my childhood looking for him behind various sofas. The DB5 is part of my boyhood.” When Goldfinger was released, the film-makers knew that the DB5 was well on the way to becoming an icon. Promoting the film in Paris, Sean Connery drove up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in the car, flanked by no fewer than 60 women painted from head to toe in gold like the model in the film’s now-legendary opening sequence and Jill Masterson’s infamous end in the film.

The original storyboard showing the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante executing a perfect ascent over a fence and soldiers in The Living Daylights


After Goldfinger, Aston Martin models would make nine more appearances in Bond films, although some were more fleeting than others. The DB5 returned in Thunderball (1965), now featuring a rear-facing water cannon and, most memorably, a jetpack in the boot that allowed Connery’s Bond to lift off at a crucial moment. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), the DBS plays a tragic role. At the end of the film, Bond and his new bride, Tracy, leave on their honeymoon in the DBS. When Bond stops on a mountain road to remove the wedding flowers, Tracy is tragically shot dead by Blofeld’s assistant, Irma Bunt.

Perhaps surprisingly, the one Bond actor who never had the joy of driving an Aston Martin—at least on screen—was Roger Moore. We have to leap to 1987 and Timothy Dalton’s first appearance as 007 in The Living Daylights to find him driving a 1985 Aston Martin V8 Vantage. “I had a few optional extras installed,” quips Bond as we discover that the car boasts spikes protruding from the wheels and the ability to launch rockets.

Sketches of the V8 Vantage Volante for The Living Daylights.

The film used both the coupe and volante versions of the car. The Bond films, of course, have always had to compete with the ever evolving technologies of other movie genres, so the car was also fitted with a laser straight from sci-fi that could destroy other vehicles from a distance. The DB5 made a long-awaited return in 1995 when Pierce Brosnan took over as Bond in GoldenEye. He races it against a Ferrari in the film’s opening scene (and wins, of course). It also appeared in the next Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies (1997): we see it parked outside a college at the University of Oxford (where 007 is busy romancing an academic) and later on the road when Bond arrives at the Ministry of Defence for a meeting.

In his last film as 007, Die Another Day (2002), Brosnan drives a new Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. The car was as stylish and iconic as ever and was equipped with some remarkable new gadgets. When Q (John Cleese) shows Bond the car (“the ultimate in British engineering”), he also reveals a cloaking device that makes the car disappear. “Aston Martin call it the Vanquish,” he deadpans. “We call it the Vanish.”

The original storyboard showing the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante executing a perfect ascent over a fence and soldiers in The Living Daylights


With Casino Royale in 2006, the producers took the Bond story back to the beginning, telling how Bond acquired the DB5 by winning the car in a poker game. Elsewhere in the film, he drives the brand new DBS—rolling it seven times in one record-breaking stunt (an air-pressure gun underneath the car did the trick). Two Aston Martin cars—one classic, one new—helped a rebooted Bond pull off the extraordinary trick of appearing both completely modern and undeniably traditional at the same time.


Daniel Craig fires a shotgun with the DB5 as cover as Skyfall approaches its dramatic climax 

David Brown, whose “DB” moniker still adorns Aston Martin’s flagship Grand Tourer today, was a charismatic individual with a love of machines and a hunger for life.

Fans will be delighted to hear that Daniel Craig will once again return as the legendary British secret agent in the 24th James Bond film. It is set for release in UK theatres on 23 October, 2015. Whatever this new adventure for 007 holds, we are hopeful that among the relationships that remain part of Bond’s life—his clashes with his boss M, his playful sparring with Q and his unfailing grip on a gun—the one with Aston Martin continues to endure and thrive.






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James Bond 007 Museum Nybro, Sweden .  
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