Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More Than a Pretty Face...Day 27 of Bond 365

John Hopkins
Born this day in 1931
Screenplay for Thunderball

British writer John Hopkins had a career writing for television, stage and film that spanned almost 40 years. He shared screenplay credit with Richard Maibaum, while Jack Whittingham had original screenplay credit. I’m curious what if any issues arose from the tension that might have surrounded the story given the suit between Kevin McClory and Ian Fleming. According to Wikipedia, Hopkins was involved with “finishing touches” to the script.

Happy Birthday English Rose, Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike
Born this day in 1979
Miranda Frost in Die Another Day

“When you’re dressed up like Miranda Frost, people assume you have a similar character, but I was 21 and quaking inside,” according to an IMDB quote by Rosamund Pike on her role in Die Another Day. It was her first film role and I think this English rose was amazing as the icy double agent. She may have been quaking beneath her cold character exterior, but that is what a great actor is all about. She won Empire’s Award for Best Debut for the Bond Girl role. And while it is not surprising that she has gotten an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress (Gone Girl), I’m shocked it has taken so long.

Pike is an only child and well traveled across Europe. Hence, she is fluent in French and German. She attended Oxford University’s Wadham College and graduated Magna Cum Laude in English Literature. She can even play the piano and cello. An all around renaissance woman! Oh, and she’s on the cover of Vanity Fair this month.

I have made a point to watch her films, however looking at her filmography, I have some catching up to do. Here’s a recap of what I have seen from her list. The Libertine (2004) in which she played Elizabeth Malet and honestly, I did not enjoy this film and intentionally remember very little of it. However, Pike moved onto director Joe Wright’s vision of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (2005). Pike played eldest daughter Jane Bennet – I’m a chick and yes, I loved this movie. The same year, she had a meaty science role as Samantha Grimm in Doom. She had flirtatious banter with Duke (Razaaq Adoti), which was leading into a positive portrayal of an interracial relationship, well, if Duke had not become monster fodder. Jumping ahead to 2012, she was the smart district attorney Helen (and five months pregnant!) in Jack Reacher, starring opposite Tom Cruise. Another solid performance and even Cruise was alright. Yeah, so kind of a short list – I better get busy!

Stuntman extraordinaire, Martin Grace
Martin Grace
Passed away this day in 2010
Stunts in You Only Live Twice, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View To a Kill

Martin Grace was a prolific stuntman and action sequence choreographer from Ireland. Grace was active in sports that included boxing and weight lifting. He studied acting and joined a stunt agency. His early stunt work was for Cadbury’s Milk Tray commercials – I never chocolate could solicit such dangerous endeavors! – capitalized on Grace completing jumps. His first stunt movie credit was on the set of You Only Live Twice and his last was in 2007 for The Number 23.

During his career, he made a lot of stars look great, either as their stunt double or as part of the stunt crew supporting the star: Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Richard Kiel, Oliver Reed, Kirk Douglas, Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones franchise and other Ford films), and many others. In all, he had 73 credits to his name.

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