With the sad news of his death yesterday aged 52, I was reminded of an interview I did in 2006 with the late Soundgarden and Audioslave singer Chris Cornell.
He was chosen to perform singing duties on that year’s Bond film, Casino Royale, which also saw a new actor cast as the iconic spy.
You could not wish to meet a nicer and more urbane rock star and my initial scepticism about a former grunge singer performing duties on a Bond film were immediately wiped away.
The subsequent doubts about the 007 reboot (a lot was riding on it) were wiped away as Daniel Craig triumphed as the British secret agent and the film garnered rave reviews and a massive worldwide gross of $599m.
Listen to the interview here:
> Find out more about Casino Royale (2006)
> BBC News on Chris Cornell’s death, aged 52
My favourite part of this Bond split-screen video is the sound of 22 MGM lions roaring in unison.
For audiences of different generations, both the Leo the lion and the Bond theme are iconic.
So when somebody had the idea of doing the first 22 James Bond intros at the same time, you get two for the price of one.
It’s an interesting visual experiment as you can see how little has changed since Dr. No (1962).
That Bond film still has the best opening titles, which were designed by Maurice Binder.
> Find out more about MGM and the James Bond franchise at Wikipedia
> Art of the Title
Composer John Barry has died in New York of a heart attack aged 77.
One of the best-known composers of soundtrack music since the 1960s, he worked on several James Bond films, Born Free (1966), The Lion in Winter (1968), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Out of Africa (1985) and Dances With Wolves (1990).
The winner of five Academy Awards, he also received a BAFTA fellowship award in 2005.
For the Bond franchise, it was his arrangement of Monty Norman’s iconic theme that led to him working on the scores for 11 films in the series, including Goldfinger (1964) and You Only Live Twice (1968).
Part of his signature style was the use of strings, orchestral swells and distinctive melodies.
He also wrote for television and among his most notable work in the medium included themes for Juke Box Jury and The Persuaders.
Barry, who lived in Long Island, is survived by his wife Laurie and four children and five grandchildren.
> John Barry at Wikipedia
> More links on John Barry at MUBi
> BBC News audio slideshow of John Barry’s music
> 1995 BBC programme on the Bond themes
This is footage of Sam Neill doing a screen test for the role of James Bond with Fiona Fullerton back in the mid-80s.
It was for The Living Daylights (1987), although the scene is actually from From Russia With Love.
Current Bond Daniel Craig told me back in 2006 that the Bond producers always make potential 007s audition with this scene.
Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan go head to head in this ‘Battle of the Bonds’ mashup.