In 2009 author Charles Helfenstein dropped the book equivalent of a nuclear bomb on James Bond fans:
The Making of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The Bond experts took notice: Bond author, historian, and DVD producer John Cork was “Stunned” by what Helfenstein had uncovered. Bond author Raymond Benson described the research as “Jaw dropping.” 007 magazine‘s Graham Rye described the book as “Breathtaking, matching the movie in its scope and detail.”
The cast and crew took notice. OHMSS Cinematographer Michael Reed described the book as “Wonderfully well written and illustrated.” OHMSS cameraman Alec Mills was also impressed, summing up the book in a single word: “Wonderful.” 2nd unit director and OHMSS editor John Glen, the most prolific of all Bond directors, praised the book as “Beautifully produced.”
The entertainment industry took notice: The Motion Picture Editor’s Guild described the book as “A fitting tribute to Peter Hunt”, the man who so radically altered their industry. The book’s influence extended in a highly unlikely direction: The BBC’s Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Producer Mark Gatiss is a huge OHMSS fan, and he praised the “Exhaustive” book and described how the unused OHMSS scenes influence “A Scandal in Belgravia” in the audio commentary of that episode.
But we as Bond fans are always wanting more.
Did this Vulcan have just a single nuke on board? No.
The phrase, I believe, is “Better make that two.”
To mark the 50th anniversary of the James Bond series, Helfenstein turned his sights on the half way point of the franchise, the 25th anniversary film, The Living Daylights. In an exclusive excerpt from The Making of The Living Daylights, Helfenstein describes the first day of filming for the first unit, and its fascinating tie-in to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and For Your Eyes Only:
The very first scene shot by the first unit on the first day of filming on The Living Daylights was a close-up of a parrot once owned by Diana Rigg. The actress had bought the blue, green, and gold macaw, named Chrome, in the late 60s, and the bird caused her some distress during the filming of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Rigg would rehearse her lines of dialog at home, and the parrot would repeat them, which wasn’t a problem when they were alone, but Rigg realized that the words the bird was repeating gave away plot details when she had guests over to her house.
Parrots are social animals and eventually Rigg realized that because of her busy schedule she could not give the bird the companionship it deserved, so she looked for a friend to give Chrome to. The first person she tried did not work out, so the bird then went to Rigg’s stunt double on The Avengers, Cyd Child. The stuntwoman was a magnet for strays, as she recalled in an interview with Avengers historian Dave Rogers: “Gradually I earned this reputation for being a ‘mug’ who takes the strays. I ended up with three cats, Emma the dog and then Diana asked me if I would have the parrot.”
Chrome went from repeating lines of dialog to actually appearing on screen in 1976, in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Child had stunt doubled for Catherine Schell in the previous entry Return of the Pink Panther, and the fact that she owned a parrot came up in conversation with the film’s bird loving director, Blake Edwards, who then asked if Child could bring in the macaw so he could see it. Strikes Again featured a scene where Inspector Closeau has a messy encounter with a parrot, so Edwards remembered Child and Chrome and hired them for the film.
Child was hired for stunt work in John Glen’s Bond directorial debut, For Your Eyes Only in 1981, and Chrome was hired to play Max, the Havelock family parrot who provides the crucial information about the ATAC’s location at St. Cyril’s, as well as the comic relief at the end of the film.
The animal loving Glen wanted a parrot for the safe house kitchen scene in Daylights, and brought back Chrome once again for the part. One of the reasons Glen had to film the parrot instead of James Bond was due to the fact that the casting delay with Timothy Dalton meant he had to shoot around the lead actor.
Dalton finished filming Brenda Starr on Saturday September 27, flew from Miami to London Heathrow on the 28th, and reported to the set on Monday the 29th for hair, makeup, and wardrobe tests.
Glen recalled that Dalton had lost weight while filming in the hot Florida sun, and so adjustments needed to be made: “When he arrived his hair wasn’t the right length to do anything with and he had lost a lot of weight because he had been working so hard. He needed a bit of building up.” Dalton asked that Naomi Dunne, a makeup artist he had worked with on The Doctor and The Devils, be in charge of his makeup for Daylights, which Glen agreed to, and the two newcomers soon became welcome members of the extended Bond family.
While Dalton got squared away, Glen filmed the strangulation of the Blayden cook…
To continue reading about The Making of The Living Daylights, buy the book:
The following seem to be having some issues keeping the book in stock, but you can order and it will ship when available:
The following have the book in stock for immediate shipment:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/ZdVb8F
The Book Depository: http://bit.ly/VMlZF7 (Ships to 70 countries, including some that Amazon doesn’t ship to)
Discuss the book in the CBn forums in this thread.