George Lazenby was a good Bond.
That is not a popular opinion, and his one-and-done turn as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a semi-obscure pop culture punch line for the “worst career decision ever”. The full story is not so cut-and-dried… And now, a new documentary/melodrama tells that story.
Becoming Bond debuted on Hulu a couple of months back, and as a piece of entertainment it is exemplary. The film features Lazenby, interviewed by an off-screen voice, as he recounts his life and how he became the world’s most famous secret agent. As he tells his (potentially – and probably – exaggerated) tale, we see actors recreate the moments over Lazenby’s narration. The mix of fictionalized footage and Lazenby’s interview footage works extremely well, and the choice of actors (including Jane Seymour, former Bond girl, and Dana Carvey, playing Johnny Carson) are superb.
Lazenby does not shy away from his mistakes, and he shows a remarkable sense of humor about himself. And as he speaks about the way he loved, lost, and then lost again a key woman in his life is sadly moving.
At the end, Lazenby turned down a multi-film contract to play Bond because he wanted to be his own man. Lazenby was an Australian through-and-through – and I lived in Sydney for two years, so I’ve seen the strong-headed culture folks there have. Because of that, he didn’t take kindly to the idea of signing a “slave contract” and so he said no – and lived a full, happy life afterwards. He may have some regrets, but in the end he made the choice that was right for him and was able to make his own path.
His attitude is that he walked away from international fame and millions, but so what? He built – and had – a great life. We need more people in this world who holds similar principles.
Worth checking out, specially if you are a Bond fan. Be aware this is an adult film, and there is some language and nudity.