Directed by Josh Greenbaum
Starring George Lazenby, Josh Lawson, Kassandra Clementi
There’s no doubting that George Lazenby is a good storyteller. It would be churlish to question his veracity, even if he admits that events may have been stretched to make it more entertaining, and Becoming Bond is certainly entertaining. It’s the life story of the Australian that played James Bond, aka 007, and played him just once. Becoming Bond tells that tale in a colourful and fun fashion.
Lazenby’s life is told as a series of recollections, strung together in chronological order, and enriched by comprehensive re-enactments. Lazenby provides the main narration for the re-enactments throughout the film, but these are also supplemented by interviews, film footage, photographs, and adverts (from his male model days). It follows him from his early scrape with terminal illness (that left him with a teenage expiry date, and half a kidney), through to his careers as mechanic, model, and movie star. Through this, audiences are not only given a window into his life, but also a time machine to the Australia of the 50s, the happening London of the 60s, and the surreal behind the scenes world of a Hollywood blockbuster.
With it’s colourful aesthetics and playful re-enactments, Becoming Bond is a joy to watch. That larrikin sense of humour that epitomises the man is threaded throughout this story (complete with a dictionary definition of the term in the beginning chapter of the film). Each segment is captioned with a Bond pun, telling a different part of the star’s life, working its way up to the filming of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Lazenby’s “one and done” decision. All with it’s tongue firmly planted in its cheek. It is an epic tale, crammed full of sex, drugs, romance, exotic locations, the occasional fist fight, and male modelling.
Continuing his run of portraying iconic Australian actors, Josh Lawson (The Little Death, Hoges), makes a surprisingly good Lazenby during the re-enactments. Not necessarily the closest in terms of physical resemblance, he still captures the confidence and the comedy of the piece remarkably well. Lawson seems ever ready to wink at the audience and assure them not to take things too seriously, and just to enjoy the ride.
Not a definitive account of Lazenby’s tilt at Bond, and his decision not to continue, but it is one that is straight from the source. It may not be unbiased, but it is certainly entertaining, and that’s really what it sets out to be.