‘Bond, James Bond’ The Scene That Almost Never Was
The filming of the iconic Bond, James Bond scene that would go on to define the entire James Bond 007 franchise was a moment of terror and uncertainty for the young and inexperienced actor who played the iconic spy, Sean Connery.
The scene was shot at Pinewood Studios, and the director, Terence Young, was frustrated with Connery’s inability to perform, so he sent his co-star Eunice Gayson to get him drunk before they resumed filming.
Gayson, who played the first Bond girl Sylvia Trench, knew Connery from their work on stage, where he had been struggling to make a breakthrough. While he was hopeful but not expecting to land a major role, Gayson saw something in him and knew that he was destined for success.
Gayson said, “We all knew that one day that Sean would make it big, big time. He just needed that break… But none of us knew what a break this was going to be.”
Fluffed Lines, Wrong Colour Dress, Everything Went Wrong
The Bond, James Bond scene that was causing so much difficulty was when Bond first meets Gayson’s character, Sylvia Trench, in a casino. Bond introduces himself with the now-famous line, ‘Bond, James Bond,’ and of course it seems so natural. But according to Eunice Gayson, Connery struggled with the line and repeatedly fluffed it, causing tensions to build on set.
The frustration on set continued when Terence Young decided that Gayson’s dress was the wrong colour, and they had to find something else to wear. After a frantic search, the only option was a bright red dress that was too large for her.
The costume department had to cut it up and reassemble it with clothes pegs. Gayson said, ‘It was just a piece of fabric held together with clothes pegs. By this time, everybody was nervous, Sean above all, bless his heart.’
When filming resumed, Gayson took Connery to a restaurant and the two got drunk to calm his nerves. He had been sober for several months before filming, so Gayson was concerned about how alcohol would affect him. But after a few drinks, Connery returned to the set and delivered the line to perfection, and with it creating an iconic moment in cinema history.
Watch the iconic Bond, James Bond scene
Eunice Gayson a Pioneer for British Actresses
Eunice Gayson, who passed away in 2018 aged 90, spoke of how the success of the James Bond franchise changed the entire British film industry, opening up opportunities for British women to take on more prominent and sexy roles.
Along with Ursula Andress and Zena Marshall the three Bond girls opened up new avenues for female actresses. Back then, women were typically cast as homely characters in movies, but with the introduction of Bond girls – a new type of character emerged for women.
Sure enough the Bond girls from the 1960s were more dependent on 007 than those in recent times, but showcasing women’s beauty and seductiveness was a significant step for the Bond production team.
Eunice Gayson was the first Bond girl, Sylvia Trench, in Dr. No, and her character was also in the From Russia with Love cast a year later. She was originally cast as Bond’s on-off girlfriend, whose relationship was strained by Bond always being called away on duty. But the producers decided on other plans for Bond and so Sylvia Trench was written out of future movies.
While Trench was written out, her legacy lives on through her association with the Bond series, and her daughter Kate even appeared in the casino scene in Pierce Brosnan‘s first Bond film GoldenEye in 1995.