Julien Neaves – Editor
Next April I will receive an early Christmas present with the release of the 25th James Bond film No Time to Die; I’d call myself a huuuge Bond fan but that would be an understatement. Daniel Craig returns for his fifth (and likely final outing) as the iconic super spy and the film finds him in retirement on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. But as you can guess Bond’s days of sipping Red Stripe on the beach while listening to Bob Marley’s “Jammin’” will not last very long.
The cast includes English actress of Jamaican descent Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) as Double O agent Nomi and some Jamaican actors as well. And this new film, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation), is not the first to be partly set in Jamaica, nor is it the only Caribbean-related piece of trivia associated with the more than 50-year-old franchise. So here are the Top 5 Bond Caribbean Connections:
#5 Jamaica, Kingston Jamaica
Fine, this one is a little bit obvious but I needed five facts (I’m anal that way) so whayuhgodo? The original Bond film Dr No was mostly set in Jamaica and was shot on location on the island, specifically in Oracabessa, a small town in the north east parish of St Mary, with additional scenes on the Palisadoes strip and Port Royal in St Andrew. Some of the shooting took place not too far from Bond author Ian Fleming’s Goldeneye estate (more on that later). The film was released in October 1962, just two months after the country (and the second Caribbean country later on this list) gained independence from Britain.
The fact that Bond is returning to JA for his latest film has increased speculation that Rami Malek’s (Bohemain Rhapsody, Mr Robot) villain will be Dr No himself. But we’ll just have to wait and see if that theory pans out.
#4 Trinis are forever
And now for a Redmangoreviews tidbit: yours truly is from the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago (the red mango is a preservative snack from my beautiful twin-island state). #themoreyouknow.
But you know who else has Trini roots? The villainous Baron Samedi in 1973’s Live and Let Die is played by late Trinidadian-American actor Geoffrey Holder. Ms Moneypenny herself Naomie Harris (Skyfall, Spectre and No Time to Die) was born to a Trini father (fashion designer Brian Clarke who also has Grenadian and Guyanese ancestry) as well as a Jamaican mother (Liddell Kayla). Skyfall and Spectre director Sam Mendes also has a Trini father and is the grandson of British Trinidadian writer Albert Hughes Mendes. So are we going to see a Bond film set in sweet TT at some point? Somebody get on that.
#3 The Beach Who Loved Me
If you are a big Bond fan and happen to be visiting Jamaica you should check out James Bond Beach, also known as Laughing Waters Beach or Roaring River Beach. It is located in Orcabessa Bay where Dr No was filmed, has a bar called Moonraker with Bond-themed drinks and is in the vicinity of the Goldeneye estate. Next time I hit JA I am definitely visiting, and you should put it on your travel calendar as well. NB – This entry was in no way sponsored by the Jamaica Tourist Board.
#2 Nobody Sang it Better
We head back to Trinidad and Tobago for this next entry. And if you are knowledgeable about Caribbean literature you may be wondering what the cover of the 1961 novel A House For Mr Biswas, written by Nobel prize-winning TT-born British writer Sir V.S. Naipaul, has to do with facts about 007. Well wonder no more dear reader.
Singer and composer Monty Norman had composed a song called “Bad Sign, Good Sign” for a planned musical based on A House for Mr Biswas. When the musical fell through he cut the lyrics and reworked the composition into the now iconic James Bond theme. So have a listen to the Bond theme here:
And here is Bad Sign, Good Sign:
Can you pick up the similarities?
#1 Jamaica is Where We Start
While the previous Bond film Skyfall saw the character return to his physical home in Scotland, the new film will see the franchise return to its spiritual home. Bond writer Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908-1964) was a high-ranking British intelligence officer in World War II and after the war he spent winters in Jamaica. It was on the Caribbean island he did most of his writing including Casino Royale, the first of his 12 novels featuring the super spy, and specifically at the aforementioned Goldeneye estate pictured below.
Fleming even took the name from American ornithologist James Bond, a Caribbean bird expert and author of the definitive field guide Birds of the West Indies. A birdwatcher himself, the author found the name to be “brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine”.
I don’t know about you but this last fact is for the birds. Nothing? Not even a chirp? Okay then.
So what was your favourite Bond Caribbean connection? And if you’re from the Caribbean why not comment and tell us where you’re from? For my Top 6 Bond Actors you can click here.
Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel but dreams of being Batman. Also loves creating board games and is an aspiring Caribbean sci-fi author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.