There’s a new James Bond film in the works but it isn’t what you think.
The Other Fellow, from first-time Australian feature film director Matthew Bowyer, is a documentary about real people named James Bond.
Filmed during the release of Skyfall, Bowyer has met with real life James Bonds, aged from 8-87, in the UK, Toronto, Texas, Gyana, Denver and Wyoming to talk about what it’s like living in the shadow of 007.
The idea came to Bowyer originally to speak to one James Bond and make it into a YouTube clip.
He hopped on Facebook and tracked down every James Bond he could find – “literally hundreds” – sent them a message and went to bed.
The next morning his inbox was flooded.
“I contacted hundreds of them, and got hundreds of replies,” Bowyer says. “The majority of them had the same story, all of them have problems booking a table at the restaurant and things like that. But then there were others… like our guy in the Caribbean was shot by police. There’s this huge joke down there that they’re the only police who have been successful in shooting James Bond.
“Before I knew it, I had ten of them. And I knew it wasn’t a YouTube clip – it was a documentary.”
On selecting the Bonds, Bowyer said it really came down to those with the best stories – and he still hasn’t finished hunting.
“We have an 87-year old James Bond, so he was James Bond before James Bond was James Bond. Life was going along quite normally (for him) and in 1962 things began to get a bit weird. There’s a gay James Bond in there. There are twists and turns.
“We’re still very open to getting one more James Bond somewhere. And if that’s in Bangladesh that’s fantastic, and if that’s in Australia that’s fantastic.
“It’s my dream to get an Australian James Bond. I want to find the Coober Pedy James Bond.”
The film’s title, The Other Fellow, comes from George Lazenby's famous first line in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) where after being abandoned by that film’s Bond girl he remarks to camera – "This never happened to the other fellow!" – in reference to his more famous predecessor Sean Connery.
According to Bowyer, whichever actor was playing James Bond at one particular time had a huge effect on the real-life Bonds.
“What it was like to be James Bond when he was Roger Moore as opposed to Pierce Brosnan was completely different,” he says.
“It’s the same with the films. Everyone loved Casino Royale but hated Quantam of Solace. (The real James Bonds) had a much better time when Casino Royale came out.
One James Bond, who has blonde hair and blue eyes, was subject to huge amounts of scrutiny when Daniel Craig controversially got the role.
“It was this crazy ripple effect,” Bowyer says.
“Everyone hated that for the first time James Bond was going to have blonde hair and blue eyes, and they blamed (the real James Bond) for it. He actually says, ‘people held me responsible for it.’”
The Other Fellow is scheduled to be released in mid-2013.