The Face of the “Real” James Bond: Why the “Research” Sucks



Science and art…never the twain shall meet. As if Daniel Craig hadn’t already defined Ian Fleming‘s fictional spy anti-hero, researchers have attempted to get inside the late author’s head and determine the face of the “real” James Bond, reports The Times. Off the bat, the methodology used in the research is bogus. Using a technique called “prototyping,” researchers morphed the faces of seven actors Fleming originally wanted for Bond into one composite face.

Fleming’s first choice as Bond was Cary Grant but he was too expensive and the role eventually went to Sean Connery, whom many now believe to have been the best 007 of all. (…)

Others on Fleming’s 1961 list of actors with the right faces were David Niven, James Mason, Patrick McGoohan, Rex Harrison, Richard Burton, and Stewart Granger. (…)

“The image shows a clean-cut, classic-looking face which is far more Connery than Craig,” said Professor Richard Wiseman, who helped conduct the study. “Perhaps this is another way of resolving the question who is the best Bond.”

This research, while fun to read, resolves nothing and shows the limits of how much science and art can mix.

And, oooh, I love the smell of anti-Daniel Craig propaganda in the morning. Get over it, Wiseman: Daniel owns 007 now. Craig, with his “thug” face, has given Bond an internal life that I’ve certainly not seen in another actor playing the role. That’s not to say that any of Fleming’s original picks wouldn’t have been equally as brilliant as Daniel Craig. But they each would have brought something different, something unquantifiable, to the role. A Richard Burton Bond would appear like a whole different species of man next to a David Niven Bond. Fleming had initially been resistant to Sean Connery, but he eventually warmed up to Connery’s unique take on Bond.

Oddly, The Times notes that the composite Bond most resembles this much-derided 007 actor.

George Lazenby
How embarrassing.

As far as Craig’s looks are concerned, he quite resembles Patrick McGoohan, who was one of Fleming’s original choices. Although The Prisoner never looked quite like this…

Note: I can always find an excuse to post that photo.

If the English, the Scottish, the Welsh, and the Irish are all the same, why can’t they all just get along? That’s the question many are asking after yesterday’s New York Times article that cited research stating there are little, if any, genetic differences between the various British groups and the Irish.

Many are struck by the overall genetic similarities, leading some to claim that both Britain and Ireland have been inhabited for thousands of years by a single people that have remained in the majority, with only minor additions from later invaders like Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings, and Normans. The implication that the Irish, English, Scottish, and Welsh have a great deal in common with each other, at least from the geneticist’s point of view, seems likely to please no one.

But even the researchers themselves know that this will resolve none of the conflicts between the groups. Why would they think it would? Would the Englishman suddenly embrace his newfound Scottish brother? Hell no. He’d say, “Go feck yaself, ya sodding haggis eater.” Something along those lines…

In other news:

  • Police are investigating racist and anti-Semitic chants shouted during a football match between the West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur clubs. “This had the classic ingredients: a passionate match, a relegation-threatened club against one known as a Jewish club.”(Guardian)
  • Cheryl Cole of Girls Aloud thinks she can sort Britney Spears out. She told The Sun‘s Vicky Newton, “If someone would send her to me, I swear that in four weeks I would have her back to normal,” adding, “I can’t believe she shaved her hair off! It’s really upsetting me as I’m a fan. To see her like that is quite disturbing.” Perhaps Brit shoulda known, shoulda cared, shoulda hung around the kitchen in her underwear…
  • Meanwhile, Girls Aloud rivals All Saints have been dropped by their label. The Mirror laughs about it, posting the headline “They Saint Got a Deal.”
  • Scary Spice looks ready to drop and drop soon. Betcha Eddie Murphy‘s sweating pretty hard right now.(The Sun)
  • Robbie Williams‘ mum talks of her son’s private “hell.” (Contact Music)
  • Naomi Campbell is “maid” for community service. (Digital Spy)
  • Naomi Campbell went to a clinic two years ago for a “face glow” but emerged with “second-degree burns,” she claims.(Mirror)
  • That Ralph Fiennes. What are we gonna do with that young man? The Sun reports that the scandal-ridden star disturbed hotel guests when he stripped naked and “frolicked” with four young babes in the pool.
  • Coleen McLoughlin isn’t “asking” Wayne Rooney for a pre-nup, according to The Sun. I’m sure Wayne, who makes upwards of $20 miilion a year, appreciates the charity.
  • Mark McClelland, the former Snow Patrol bassist who is suing the band for songwriting credits, has started his own band.(NME)
  • Report: Prince William‘s marriage plans were revealed to a House of Commons committee.(Daily Mail)
  • Billie Piper hangs with her current squeeze, Laurence Fox, and her ex-husband, Chris Evans.(Daily Mail)
  • Photo: Charlotte Church employs baby-daddy Gavin Henson as a human shield against paparazzi.(Daily Mail)
  • Inspector Rebus, immortalized in the TV series by Ken Stott, will be sacked from the force in the final novel.(Mirror)
  • Bobby Gillespie wants back in The Jesus and Mary Chain. (Gigwise)
  • The boys of The Twang respond to the haters. (Gigwise)
  • The music of The Rolling Stones will be preserved in the National Recording Registry.
  • The Madness of Prince Charles: “the royal visited a wig shop and jived to reggae music” while his wife was in surgery.
  • Tanya Bower sent me these: Varsity BluesJames van der Beek has graduated to the pros as a rookie football player on the American version of Footballers Wive$. He joins Lucy Lawless (as the Tanya character!), Gabrielle Union, Kiele Sanchez, Ving Rhames, Eddie Cibrian (as Jason – I approve), Brian White, and Arielle Kebbel in the high-powered cast. Also: Steve Coogan will play a shrink on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
  • Taking the piss or losing the plot?: Chris Martin says the new Coldplay album is “genius.”
  • You can buy David Beckham‘s GMC Yukon Denali SUV for a bargain price of $60,000.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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