Good evening, class, I’ve been expecting you. And now imagine I’m in a chair that swiveled around as I spoke. Excellent.Today we’re going to talk about how to make a James Bond movie. Usually these classes are about tropes and genres so it’s interesting to have a movie series that is both. James Bond is synonymous with so many movie tropes, and the international spy genre owes a lot to the series whether the movie is a homage to Bond or one trying to distance itself from the franchise at all costs.
In order to James Bond you need a dashing actor to play the role. Alas, it can’t be any actor apparently, it has to be a certain type of actor. Specifically a white male aged between 30 and 57, or the age George Lazenby when he took the role, and Roger Moore when he left it. Feel free to mention that there are a variety of super talented actors of other ethnicities who would be great to play the role by all means and be prepared to hear grown ass people moan about the race of a fictional character until your ears bleed. The same applies if you should mention that a female take on the character would also be interesting.
Story-wise Bond usually needs to pay lip service to the world around him. A majority of the earlier plots focused upon the Cold War while some later ones targeted the War on Drugs, terrorism, water shortages, cyber terrorism, and how media magnates might be untrustworthy. However, should you want to avoid anything topical you can just do something with diamonds and laser satellites but be careful as that plot has already been used twice.
Structurally you can’t really go wrong ending the story in the villain’s immense base that can be on the water, underwater, underground, on an island, in the desert, in space, in a volcano, on an oil rig, on a mountain, in a plane, on a dish array, or in a blimp. Bond can either find his own way there or be captured and taken there, either way just get him there.
And not just him, he will need to travel there with a beautiful woman with an improbable name. If you can find an excuse for her to be there in just a bikini then that is apparently acceptable as well. The woman – or Bond girl because why shouldn’t we infantilise our hero’s love interest? – will need to be in peril even if up until that point she has shown herself to be completely capable. Even if she is a kick ass spy she’ll still need to be rescued.
And rescued from whom? Our villain, of course. Unlike Bond casting, villain casting allows you a much higher degree of freedom. Still a lot of men in these roles but you can go a bit wilder with ethnicity and age. You can also cast women in these roles and, because we need someone for Bond to kill you can have quite a few villains as well. The other thing with villains is that, for the most part, they’ll need a gimmick. Something like metal hands, metal teeth, love of gold, diamonds in the face, bleeding eye, a bullet in the brain that renders him impervious to pain, a third nipple, or just being Christopher Walken. The villain gets the joy of having a bunch of cool lines, getting to kill people in creative ways and once the movie is over they can cash their check and leave.
Back to structure, it’s simple really. You have a big opening full of stunts and action that ties into the main plot in some way (though not necessarily as Roger Moore proved again and again). From there we can have Bond go to work to get a rundown on what just happened after some flirting with Moneypenny. For bonus points have M ask Bond if he knows anything about a particular subject and then have Bond reel off an expert amount of information about that subject. Bond will then meet Q who will, after some banter, give him the exact gadgets he will need for this particular mission with nothing superfluous or repeated from a previous movie. Bond will then be sent to an exotic locale where he will a) meet and bed a beautiful woman after a cursory conversation or b) meet his contact who knows the local area and characters, or some combination of the two.
Unfortunately, one or both of these characters will die, though the contact’s death is guaranteed. Bond will find the contact dead and be pretty cut up about it. In some movies he will find the killer and make reference to the contact’s name before taking revenge, in others the contact will never be mentioned again. Same goes for the beautiful woman. Bond will then bounce from location to location with action beats along the way, and if girl 1 is dead then a second girl will be recruited, until he ends up at the above mentioned base. Here he will save the girl, thwart the villain’s plot, and destroy the base and or kill the villain.
His reward for this will be a pretty girl with whom he will finish the movie with and who will never be heard from again once the next movie begins. Repeat this formula for fifty years or until it becomes painfully stale and needs rebooting. Any questions?