JBR listener Paul Jamieson recently caught up with the man behind James Bond Down Under, James Roberts to ask him a few questions.
PAUL: What’s your favourite Bond film, actor and why?
JAMES: My Favourite Bond film is Goldfinger, It sounds cliche, but I think it is the quintessential Bond film. Connery and Guy Hamilton nailed it third time, now saying this you’d think Connery is my favourite actor, yes I think he is the best, but my favourite actor has to be Timothy Dalton, I’m glad to see others recognise his talent and portrayal as Ian Fleming’s 007 in recent years, I think its been an effect from the harder style played by Daniel Craig that this conversation has begun, he just played it so bloody well, Too well that the world probably wasn’t ready for it back in the late eighties, especially after Roger’s era perhaps.
PAUL: Whats the one film that got you into Bond, why and hold old were you?
JAMES: I recollect watching a few films when I was young on TV with my dad, probably from 5 onwards, I remember vividly the ever lasting astoundment and awe of Blofeld’s volcano lair, Roger in FYEO, The Man with the Golden Gun and the voodoo of Live and Let Die, they were the early ones that I can remember (Love Rog as Bond!), but of course cinematically aged 9 it was GoldenEye that would change everything, first Bond film on the Big Screen at Hoyts, Warringah Mall. I was hooked!
PAUL: Do you have a favourite era of the franchise that you find yourself going back to
JAMES: The classics; Sean’s films 1962-1967, They are outside of Timothy’s films the one’s I watch the most, Dr. No is probably the most played with FRWL and Licence to Kill a close second.
PAUL: Where are you with the Craig films and how do you view EON’s direction?
JAMES: Personally I have very much enjoyed Daniel’s films, I love the majority of Casino Royale, Quantum is a good escapism film (but too short), Skyfall is an epic feast, Spectre I absolutely adored when it came out, however has gone down the pecking order since, albeit I haven’t watched it for some time so need to give it a watch again, I loved the classic moments more specifically, the train fight, Blofeld’s observatory scene, Q in Austria and the pre-titles, although the whole brother thing now doesn’t look terrific and I think this has become a problem that EON have over done it attempting to connect his films etc. I sincerely hope they do it well in NTTD as it sounds like it is to wrap it all up. I wish for them to hark back to individual films and missions, a more classic take on the recipe for B26 and the next guy going forward
PAUL: Aside from the films do you have any other Bond loves (soundtracks, clothes, books etc?)
JAMES: Yes, the posters, and more specifically the niche of the Australian posters, Over the last few years I have been able to build up quite a collection of Australian only posters, from first release daybills, one sheets to the larger three sheet size. I have some real favourites amongst this collection, I started a separate Instagram page to showcase them @australian007postercollector, although I haven’t posted in a while and will have to start again. Means getting some of the posters out, always on the hunt, eBay, gumtree, auctions sites and other collectors are the best place to start if anyone is wanting to start collecting.
Funny however one of my favourite poster designs isn’t an Australian one, its the US one sheet for Licence to Kill, this is the only US original version I own so far
PAUL: On JBDU, what made you set this up and how have you managed the growth over the years?
JAMES: In the lead up to Spectre coming out five years ago, I thought I needed to stop having my friends and family bombarded by my constant posting of all things James Bond, I knew that most liked 007 and could bare it but didn’t share the same level of passion for Bond. So I thought why not join the likes of other Bond pages and create something that was a page from Australia that I would want to follow, and that has been my ethos ever since as an Instagrammer.
Later this year it will be five years on Instagram and of course a bit of a profile has grown. In that time I have had various looks into other social sites like Twitter, Facebook remains for now and ran a website for a few years (currently defunct, just focusing on Instagram and the odd Facebook post/ share)
I feel the most important thing is to remain true to my original mentality of being a page I would want to follow as a Bond fan, with an Australian perspective. There is a lot I’d like to do with the page, but alot of the time work commitments take over.
PAUL: What’s the biggest scoop you’ve been in front of and the most exciting/surprising news that you’ve published?
JAMES: After the release of Spectre, I had some brief interviews via email with the likes of Alessandro Cremona, Brigitte Millar, title sequence model Pip Philips, then later I had a Q and A that I posted with one of my childhood favourite Bond girls Britt Ekland
In terms of scoops, I think the only real scoop was when I was the one to break the news that Costume designer Jany Temime would not return to costume Bond 25, I thought she had done a terrific job on her two films, but sadly she was contracted to Black widow at the time of B25 filming.
Recently interviewed Nicholas Buc who conducted SKYFALL in Concert in Sydney and will also be doing so in Melbourne soon.
As well I had info from a close counterpart a few weeks before Billie Eilish was confirmed that she would be singing the NTTD theme, I had slightly teased this, however did not want to announce anything
PAUL: Being close to the fan base, have you seen this change over time and observations when you compare to other franchise fan bases?
JAMES: I think the Bond fan base is a muted one, one that is not out there like Star Wars or Harry Potter, I think it has certainly grown over the last few years thanks to Social media. You could say it has evolved as well from the old days of magazines etc, I know the forums have always been strong, not my sort of thing to be honest, but alot of fans are on there.
But also this includes things like merchandise and so on, although we are seeing a little bit of growth by EON with the 007 store expanding range of late.
PAUL: Where do you see JBDU going in the future and how do you view the cultural impact Bond has had in Australia (compared to other countries)?
JAMES: I hope I can continue for years and films to come, I anticipate a little bit of a break post No Time to Die however, I’d love to see a bit more of a community built up, The beauty of having JBDU, I have built up online relationships with fellow fans around the county and the world. I’d like to have events, like special screenings and catch-ups. It’s always nice to see the same people like and comment on posts etc.
At one stage in the near future I’d like to run an exhibition of my Bond poster collection, I think its a vital part of pop culture and Australian cinema history for these designs to be seen and appreciated.
In terms of impact Bond has had, I think its a big one, like the rest of the world a film release of a 007 film is always a big occasion and has been since the 1960’s. Its always been a family occasion also. Australia consistently had been in the top 5 Box office taking regions for Bond.
I think a large part of that particularly early on was the country’s link and familiarity/ similarity to Great Britain.