Premiere, the story of George Lazenby, the Bond who disappeared, on Saturday May 20th, 2017
By Gabrielle Pantera
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Daily Star) 2017/5/20 – “It started a year and a half ago,” says Becoming Bond director-EP Josh Greenbaum. “A friend mine knows George Lazenby, the subject of the film. He said I’m producing, I think you should meet this guy because I’m a documentary filmmaker. I also do narrative stuff. He said to me, I think this guy has an incredible story.”
“I had heard of George playing James Bond,” says Greenbaum. “There’s an incredible amount of lore and legend around George. To be honest, when I first read about him, none of the stuff was believable. But I said I’ll have lunch with him, see what he’s all about. We had a 2 ½ hour lunch. Within five minutes I said, this guy is incredible.”
“Not only is the story of his life really fascinating and worthy of a film, but as you’ll see in the film, he’s an incredibly gifted storyteller,” says Greenbaum. “So the idea of film for me was born out of that. I only interview him. And I used an Interitron, which is this device that is basically talking directly to you. But for him, there was a screen. I only interview him, then I reenact. His stories are so visual. He’ll remember what he was wearing and what the room looked like. The idea to do a documentary this way came out of that very first meeting. I sat down with him for four different interviews or eight hours each, all video. Originally I had four to five lunches with him, but that was to get him to sign on because he was very reticent to do this. Which I thought was a good sign. People who are a little hesitant are I think more intriguing.”
Greenbaum did four interviews, eight hours each that they cut together. “We had to throw out a lot of amazing stories,” says Greenbaum. “I found the through line, the core of the story of who he was as a person, what led him to become James Bond, which is an insane story, and ultimately what led him to be the kind of person to turn it all down. Which is another kind a question. I was curious, what kind of person turns down all that money and fame?”
“He was offered a million-dollar signing bonus, on top of the deal, which is about $14 million today, and walked away from it,” says Greenbaum. “That’s crazy.”
Burnbaum started at a little TV station in Park City many years ago. “My first documentary was called The Short Game, which premiered at SXSW a few years ago,” says Burnbaum. “It won the Audience Award. Netflix bought it as their first original doc, so it’s on Netflix. This was my next feature. I did a docu-series for Hulu called Behind the Mask, which got them their first Emmy nomination. I created that show and directed that show all 20 episodes, two seasons, chasing around [sports team] mascots.”
“I’m doing The Dana Carvey Show, also for Hulu right now,” says Burnbaum. “I bounce back and forth. When I get tired of doc, I love narrative.” The next project Greenbaum is working on now is another documentary, called Too Funny to Fail. It will be out later this year.
Becoming Bond, a Hulu original documentary, won this year’s SXSW Audience Award.
This documentary takes a look George Lazenby and how he walked away from the role of James Bond. When you say the name Bond you immediately get the image of a rugged man who is suave, principled, has many sexual escapades and a martini shaken not stirred.
Lazenby, like Bond, couldn’t be bought. He didn’t want to be controlled. The documentary is Lazenby talking to the camera with reenactments and scenes from filming On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby has a sense of humor about most of his life, but there is some regret. Not for what you think when you start watching.
Lazenby followed Sean Connery as Bond and Connery came back to play Bond once more after Lazenby walked away. He turned down the opportunity to play Bond for six more films for $1 Million dollars in 1969. Lazenby was a bad boy in Australia who landed in London chasing his girlfriend Belinda who was sent there by her father to get her away from Lazenby.
- George Lazenby Principal Subject
- Josh Lawson Principal Subject
- Kassandra Clementi Principal Subject
- Jane Seymour Principal Subject
- Dana Carvey Principal Subject
- Jake Johnson Principal Subject
- Jeff Garlin Principal Subject
Becoming Bond producers are Christopher Leggett and Rafael Marmor. Josh Greenbaum director and executive producer.