André Millard

 

On his book Equipping James Bond: Guns, Gadgets, and Technological Enthusiasm

Cover Interview of July 24, 2019

In a nutshell

This is a book about the equipment that James Bond uses: its origins, function, and the essential role it plays in Bond’s missions. The book also describes the role these gadgets play in the success of the entertainment brand based upon 007’s exploits. Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, included details about the equipment of espionage to make his stories appear more authentic. Then the producers of the Bond films found that audiences were so fascinated by the exploding briefcases and sports cars fitted with machine guns and ejector seats that they made the gadgets an essential part of the character. Audiences have always accepted that Bond’s power comes from his mastery of technology and the high-tech gadgets he uses, and over time the films have become a showcase of new, weaponized technology.

The book follows the development of espionage technology from the early twentieth century when the British secret service was established through to the twenty-first century and then into a future imagined in the Bond films. The inspiration for the character of 007 and the equipment he uses comes from Fleming’s experience as an intelligence operative during World War 2. Thus his hero starts his career with the simple, mechanical weapons and devices used in the war, such as single-shot weapons built into walking sticks or secret compartments in shoes or briefcases.

The first 007 films were made in the 1960s during a period of great technological advance and soon Bond’s equipment was at the leading edge of electronic, computing, and aerospace technology. The profits from the Bond films were so great that the producers were able to make bigger and more spectacular films, using some of the largest film sets ever built. They also had the resources and connections to acquire some of the very latest technology for Bond’s equipment.