Movie Feature

When Jane Bond meets the James Bonds

By Sylvia Toh Paik ChooMovies - 01 November 2012 11:00 AM

When Jane Bond meets the James Bonds

The name's Bond... Jane Bond. Photo: FrenchTohst

Bond, James Bond. A man to die for.

I have died four times, having met Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery, and Daniel Craig, four of the six actors who have brought Ian Fleming’s secret agent to life onscreen. Moore bedded the most women, Connery ordered the most vodka martinis, and Dalton is the least popular Bond.

When Roger Moore came to Singapore in 1970, he was a saint. He was then Simon Templar aka ‘The Saint’ on British television. He was ensconced in the Marco Polo hotel in Tanglin, back in the day when ‘net’ was what you caught fish with and ‘web’ something spiders designed. A bevy of local beauties was fetched up to pose with Moore in the lounge and I distinctly recall one sarong-kebaya-ed lovely stretching her arm until one finger touched Moore.

Two decades later I met Moore in the south of France. By then he had notched 12 years as a gun-in-cheeky Bond, and was now in a Michael Winner movie. We were in a hotel salon for the press conference and I was tempted to clap my hands with a ‘bang!’ behind him (the actor is famous for being easily startled at loud noises) but held back. Because Moore was in a skirt. He and co-star Michael Caine were wearing kilts for their film ‘Bullseye’. And I’d have been a silly girl to do that to a man in a skirt.

sean connery
Sylvia's most precious and valuable (to only her apparently) picture, a 1999 shot of sean connery in his 'Entrapment' year. Photo: FrenchTohst

Timothy Dalton, tall dark and handsome; and least interesting of the Bonds. We met on the French Riviera, where he was in talks to do a Christopher Columbus biopic, scripted by Mario Puzo. Puzo and the Salkinds (father and son director and producer) were far more riveting. An arrogant trio who insisted their Columbus feature would be the real McCoy. All I could think was, Vanessa Redgrave, you lucky woman. (She hadDaltonas a partner.)

From the split second Sean Connery appeared in ‘Dr No’ (screened in Singapore in 1963) I wished, hoped, dreamed, to meet him. I waited and waited and 36 years later, I did. In the most exclusive piece of property in the Cote d’Azur, hotel Du Cap (no plastic, strictly cash).

Now, here was a real man. Older, greyer, balder, paunchier, but who cared.

Connery was in the Mediterranean to promote ‘Entrapment’ with Catherine Zeta-Jones (we all hated her immediately). No bar, no gaming tables, no tuxedo, he was in a ditchwater coloured sweater, we were on the rooftop terrace, and the mistral was in full force (if only Charlton Heston had been around to still it).

Three men and I were interviewing Connery, and as I had choped the seat closest to my beloved, I ended up holding down the rattling gigantesque umbrella over our table.

As the wind fought against me, Connery asked ‘Are you all right?’ I grinned and bore it.

Rattle, swoosh, rattle, clang clang, and Connery gave my arm a squeeze, ‘Oh you are all right!’ Sean Connery touched me, he touched me, he held my arm! Go away all of you.

(My life has since gone downhill—after you have met Sean Connery what else is left?)

In the noughties, I met the latest incarnation of James Bond, Daniel Craig, in London and was struck by how insecure, unsure, uncertain he was. Understandably Craig was nervous. It was his first outing as James Bond and he had an almighty tough act to follow in the footsteps of Pierce Brosnan, never mind the Bonds of the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s.

He was hoping for everyone’s sake, especially his own, that ‘Casino Royale’ would hit the jackpot at the box-office. He said he would like to collect some artwork which he had been unable to thus far because he didn’t have the money.

One expects he and Rachel Weisz are pretty busy these days straightening pictures on the wall.

 ‘Skyfall’ opens in theatres 1 November


Sylvia Toh Paik Choo, failed TV actor, well-known author, writer, celebrity journalist, popular humorist, is now in sync with