Ian Fleming created epic fictional adventures for James Bond ... and apparently lived some semi-epic ones in real life. Now the story will be told in a four-week mini-series starting Wednesday (Jan. 29). Here's the story I sent to papers:
By MIKE HUGHES
Manantr Fleld ming ’s role in life seemed clear: He was the other brother,
the one people forgot.
“Ian’s brother Peter was good at everything,” recalled
Douglas Rae, producer of the “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” mini-series.
He was “good at university, good in the army, a great writer.”
And the other brother? Ian Fleming’s only resemblance to the
character he created (James Bond) was a fondness for women and alcohol. Then
“The war really made Fleming, in a sense,” said actress Lara
Pulver. “It forced him to find his niche.”
That niche will forever be debated. Fleming later said he
played a huge role in British spying; others aren’t so sure. “The biographies …
all kind of contradict each other,” said director Mat Whitecross. Some repeat
Fleming’s account, others “are kind of more skeptical about some of his tales.”
The real Fleming was “an enigmatic, chameleon kind of
character,” Rae said. As played by Dominic Cooper, he “desperately wanted to be
somebody else, his alter-ego, this … action hero.
That started with his disapproving, upper-crust mother,
Whitecross said. “Probably, Fleming used his mother as the archetypal Bond
villain, the lady with spikes.”
That may have colored his view of an entire sex, Whitecross
said. “I think his relationship with women was, by modern standards, quite
problematic. I think he was quite misogynistic.”
He met his match in Ann O’Neil – upper-crust and daring.
“These two people were so dysfunctional and really kind of pushed each other’s
buttons,” said Pulver, who plays her.
There may have been a darkness to Fleming’s soul and, for a
while, to Bond’s. At first, Whitecross said, Bond was “a very dark, kind of
depressive, quite twisted character. (He’s) reactive most of the time.”
Gradually, that darkness faded. In the novels – and, for a
time, the movies – Bond became lighter, brighter, more dashing. He became like
the author’s maybe-semi-fictional view of himself.
“Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond,” 10 p.m.
for four Wednesdays, BBC America.
Opener, Jan. 29, is preceded at 7:30 p.m. by the
Bond film “Goldfinger” (1964).
Opener repeats that night at 1:30 a.m.; then
Friday night at 2 a.m., Saturday at 4 p.m.