Michael G. Wilson says 007 is an anti-hero

Michael G. Wilson, co-boss of Eon Productions, which produces the James Bond films, gave an interview to USA Today that was published Feb. 1. This part caught our eye:

Though Bond has found competition of late in the form of Mission: Impossible installments, Liam Neeson’s action films and, particularly, Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne series, 007 continues to resonate.
(snip)
“There are plenty of imitators, but Bond really is the first one that was an anti-hero,” says Skyfall producer Michael Wilson.

What is an anti-hero? The definition at Dictionary.com reads thusly:

noun, plural -roes
a protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like.

Not all see Bond as an anti-hero. The 1965 television special The Incredible World of James Bond took the opposite position in describing Agent 007’s appeal. Here’s the narration (spoken over scenes of Goldfinger’s pre-titles sequence) at around the 8:50 mark:

“The secret of (Ian) Fleming’s success is that, in the age of the anti-hero, he has created a romantic hero. Neither helpless nor neurotic, James Bond transports us to a world where all things are possible: adventure, love and glory.”

The special, directed by Jack Haley Jr. was intended to promote the upcoming Thunderball.

To read the entire USA Today story JUST CLICK HERE.

9 Responses

  1. As with all things Bond, this depends on which iteration of the character you mean. Bond of the novels was definitely an anti-hero, in my opinion, as was the Connery Bond of the first two films:

    The Connery Bond softened over time, became more of a superhero (including flying off in a jet pack), but still shows moments that go against the traditional path of heroism (the death of Volpe, for instance). Roger Moore is a straight up, by the book, hero, which is why the films are more and more (and Moore?) disappointing to me as they go on. Dalton’s Bond was an anti-hero, not in the cruel sense of Connery’s Bond, but because he rejected the heroic path. Brosnan was like Moore with a slightly darker attitude, but was back to superheroics by the end. Daniel Craig is more of a traditional hero than I think they realize.

  2. And Lazenby was…Lazenby, of course.

  3. Maybe it’s because he considers him to be an anti-hero, under Wilson’s influence he often operates outside the remit of MI6.

    Or perhaps he considers he is an anti-hero BECAUSE he turned him into one.

    I don’t agree with the comment above that Fleming’s Bond was an anti-hero at all – just a cold war hero.

  4. Oddly enough, I always thought Wilson was to blame for some of the larger excesses of the Moore era, along with the second half of DAD. It is a comment that, to me, reveals a lack of understanding as to what anti-hero actually means.

  5. Let’s see: he drinks, he smokes (more often than not), he kills, he uses women

    Yeah, that’s totally heroic.

  6. The term is meaningless. Not only does it fail to recognize we’re not talking 1950s / 1960s society (and film), but also that the James Bond character has evolved – and succeeded in large part based on that evolution.

  7. That so many have used it wrongly doesn’t mean the term is meaningless. The term has it’s basis in literature studies, as a way to describe protagonists who broke the mold set forth by centuries of talespinning, of the epic and chivalric heroes. The very nature of a “Cold War hero,” is anti-heroic, a rejection of traditional heroic values (valor, military prowess, nobility, etc.), in favor of creating a character that reflects the sensibilities of the modern time.

    Fleming’s Bond doesn’t act according to chivalric principle, but undertakes his role as a job, sometimes not even approving of the actions he takes. I see Fleming’s (and especially Dalton’s) Bond as much more of a Byronic Hero, a class of anti-hero. Moore, aside from stacking the deck in Live and Let Die, is much more chivalrous, following naturally from a man who’d played Ivanhoe.

  8. […] on Feb. 1 WE DID A POST about Wilson’s remarks. It got a mixed reaction. One respondent wrote, “Bond of the […]

  9. I don’t think Fleming viewed Bond as a “hero” but the protagonist of virile male fantasies.

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