Saturday, 14 December 2019

We expected James Bond film director to talk — and he did

We expected James Bond film director to talk — and he did

An Evening with James Bond film director John Glen | Kenton Theatre | Thursday, June 6

GLEN, John Glen. You may or may not know his name, but you’ve almost certainly seen his work.

If, like me, you are a fan of the James Bond movies and you were born in the mid-Seventies, then not only did you grow up with the late Sir Roger Moore as the 007 of your youth, but — as in my case, a wide eyed pre-pubescent fascinated with the world of spies, outrageous gadgets, mind-blowing car chases and strangely fascinating, exotic and mysterious women — your interest would have peaked along with the career of film director John Glen.

Joined on stage by interviewer Jenny Hanley, herself a former Bond girl, Mr Glen, dressed as sharply as the world-famous secret agent in full tuxedo, began the evening with tales of his early beginnings in the British film industry.

He recalled jumping on his bike and cycling between film studios in search of a job and inadvertently setting fire to Shepperton Studios. Then it was on to Bond and Mr Glen spoiled us all with joyful anecdotes, firstly from his time as film editor on the series — a full-bodied Cubby Broccoli hurtling down a bobsleigh run at 70 miles per hour — then as full-time director.

John Glen directed more Bond films than anyone else — five between 1981 and 1989 — and he spoke fondly and with at times a certain wistfulness of working with Sir Roger (“a lovely man who you couldn’t imagine would kill anyone”).

We heard about the time John had cast Pierce Brosnan in the lead role in 1987, long before his debut in 1995’s Goldeneye, until a contract dispute with an American TV company derailed his casting just weeks before shooting had been due to start.

John eventually turned to experienced Shakespearean actor Timothy Dalton, who would star in Glen’s final two films in the franchise, 1987’s The Living Daylights and 1989’s Licence to Kill (which introduced the world to the talents of future Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro).

With this talk having been organised in aid of the Chiltern Centre, Mr Glen was incredibly generous in sharing his adventures of directing the most famous film franchise in the world and the evening was a huge treat for Bond fanatics and casual fans alike.

And for a man whose career in the film industry began as a 14-year-old school leaver, he bears not only a pleasant lack of cynicism but more satisfyingly an enthusiasm and a humble pride in his work.

He is as excited about the future of James Bond as we are. And although times — and the Bond films — have changed, Mr Glen happily reminded us there are many adventures yet to come.

Jamie Biggs

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