Fleming: The Man Who Would be Bond – Shaken & Stirred

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Dominic Cooper as Ian Fleming and Lara Pulver as Ann Rothermere

You should never let too much accuracy come between you and a good story… author Ian Fleming (1908 – 1964) is reported to have observed.

Written as a four part series by John Brownlow and Don MacPherson and directed by Mat Whitecross, the BBC America production of Fleming on ABC Australian TV, is an action packed sexually charged four part drama series sure to captivate many hearts as it screens over two weeks.

Fleming didn’t ever defuse a bomb, dodge bullets or bowler hats, but this series provides everything you could hope or wish for, including the famous ‘underwater’ scene shot in the alluring blue waters of the Caribbean.

The man behind the 007 legends would more than likely have been delighted with this opulent production made in many exotic locations.

Much in demand English actor Dominic Cooper stars as the debonair Fleming, a pleasure-seeking prototype for his fictional spy hero James Bond.

Cooper plays the creative Fleming as perhaps he saw himself to be, rather than who he actually was.

Fleming 2He’s a roguish rake, with just the right dash of devil may care attitude and charismatic charm to ensure beautiful ladies are forever falling at his feet.

The thrilling adventure novels Ian Fleming became famous for sold over 100 million books worldwide and to date billions have seen the James Bond movies, which have kept many people employed for over fifty years

He published some fourteen James Bond titles between 1953 and 1966 and lived to witness Sean Connery in the first two films, Dr No and From Russia with Love.

Bond & Flemming on setAt first Ian Fleming didn’t like Connery as Bond, however he grew to admire his results and so infused Bond’s character in later books with a ‘Scottish ancestry side’ as a way of thanking him for making his hero such a success.

The son of a Conservative MP who had a privileged upbringing, Ian Fleming wrote his first Bond novel after World War II in the early 50’s at “Goldeneye’ his house in Jamaica where he went to write for two months of every year.

His background did mean he mixed in just the right social circles and in the first episode of Fleming in a great example of name dropping it is Winston Churchill the great wartime British Prime Minister who mentions to Rear Admiral John Godfrey Fleming is a man of imagination who may help the war effort. Samuel West plays Godfrey, decidedly the prototype for M.

Moneypenny

The talented Anna Chancellor is Monday, the admiral’s right hand, has a practical no nonsense approach and down to earth witty repartee, such an important aspect of Moneypenny’s character.

CooperThe similarities between James Bond and Fleming as a ‘dissolute’ playboy are many. As war gets underway in this stylish affair, not to be taken too seriously, Fleming is enjoying his shaken not stirred martini. He’s also smoking custom made cigarettes, featuring three types of Turkish tobacco.

The series is lavishly made, a big budget production full of bikini clad girls, speedboats and skiers, roaring across snow-filled slopes. There’s lots of seduction, sex and swaggering going on, with Fleming showcasing his ‘healthy disregard for authority’.

Fleming can be found either lounging about in silk dressing gowns or Savile Row tailored suits as he visits Soho Jazz-clubs where free flowing booze and a great deal of chain smoking helps to create the hazy atmosphere.

LaraAnn Rothermere and Ian Fleming had a tumultuous love story, which is well played up as he seeks to steal her from her husband a Viscount.

Lara Pulver reprises her Irene Adler style role from her Sherlock character as Ann, to captivate, charm and catch him in the end.

The fabulous scene that best highlights the chemistry between them is where he and Ann are drawn into a passionate embrace, just as a bomb hits the building they are in, blowing out the windows around them.

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Cooper is dashing, daring and delightful as Fleming, living a louche lifestyle, he is truly a dysfunctional charmer,

Fleming 5The girls are all good with Annabelle Wallis shining as the lovely leather clad Muriel who is in love with Fleming.

MotherHe cannot possibly ever come up to the expectations of his mother, who dropping into his house one morning with his brother discovers him in bed with Muriel.

He has arrived back from his travels on the continent with his brother into the devil may care atmosphere of late 30’s London, where Jazz is the rage in all the clubs; it’s through his mother’s mentioning his name in the right places that that he secures his job in Naval Intelligence.

She wants him to stand proudly alongside his dead war hero father and very successful writer brother and blazingly reveals her disrespect for the man he has become.

The series begins on the verge of World War II where his fluency with the  German language assists his habit of ‘collecting’ rare first edition books.

Fleming 6It’s an ability that will prove useful throughout the war.

While this series may contain many oddities on the true Ian Fleming story, there is no way he would not have approved of this series wholeheartedly, for in the end it is filmed in true Bondesque style.

Fleming 9Fleming in reality did marry Anne Rothermere played by Lara Pulver in 1952 the year their only son, Caspar was born.

While convalescing from a heart attack in 1962, he wrote a short story about a flying car for Caspar – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

It is truly great entertainment not meant to be taken too seriously.

Cooper is a powerhouse as James Bond’s creator, looking up from playing cards and smirking gloriously as he says ‘The name is… Fleming, Ian Fleming.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014

FLEMING: The Man Who Would Be Bond

 

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