Lluis Abbou, author of James Bond: The Man Behind The Tuxedo

21-01-2018

Roger Moore and Daniel Craig are the favourite James Bonds, to date, for 18-year-old Lluis Abbou Planisi. Born in Manacor, but now living in London, Lluis came across Bond at a relatively late age, he had not seen a Bond film until he was 16, but he has certainly made up for it over the past two years and has recently published a 555 page book: James Bond: The Man Behind The Tuxedo.

His fascination and the first book, which was much slimmer and in Spanish, all came about thanks to a casual meeting with actress Dame Judi Dench in Harrods and he became a great fan of James Bond.

"In order to improve my English I would often go over to the UK for a few weeks, and during one of those periods my parents came over and we went shopping. They spotted Dame Judi and had a picture taken with her. To be honest I didn’t know who she was and I now regret not having my picture taken too. But she was a lovely woman, very kind and open and spoke to us, or rather my parents, for a while. It was then that I decided to watch the latest instalment of Bond, Skyfall, and I was hooked.

"I also realised that, especially in Spanish, there were not too many books about the history of Bond behind the scenes. So I set about writing one in Spanish and last year I published my first book about 007: Detrás del smoking, one hundred and fifty pages about James Bond with the cover sleeve by painter Michele Massari."

However, as he researched the book, he realised that there were so many behind the scenes tales, stories and anecdotes to be told and scores of key behind the scenes people to interview that he decided to publish a much more in-depth book in English, and that was published in the run-up to Christmas. James Bond: Behind the Tuxedo is the story of the British spy.

"From Fleming’s desk in Jamaica to that of EON Productions in London, this new project explains how James Bond was created by Ian Fleming and how - and with who - 007 has been on the big screen for more than 55 years and counting. Everything and everybody has a chapter is this book: biographies, Bond Girls, post-Fleming books, gadgets, directors, cars, songs, websites, events, objects. But the remarkable things in this book are the interviews.

"Also, from a Spanish point of view, there is an added interest because a number of Spanish actors have starred in Bond films. Ironically, the first was Simon Andreu, who is from Sa Pobla and was in Die Another Day with Halle Berry. Other Spanish Bond stars for the book include Fernando Guillén Cuervo (Quantum of Solace), Manolo Caro (Die Another Day) and Carlos Leal (Casino Royale). Sadly, I could not track down Javier Bardem.

Lluis also interviewed Dame Judi Dench and Bond Girls Bérénice Marlohe (Skyfall), Martine Beswick (From Russia with Love and Thunderball), Sylvana Henriques - the first coloured girl on a Bond film (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) - Caroline Munro (The Spy Who Loved Me), Valerie Leon (Never Say Never Again, The Spy Who Loved Me) and Maddie Smith (Live and Let Die). There were also interviews with stunt department coordinators Gary Powell and Léa Seydoux, stunt artists Gemita Samarra (Spectre), Daniel Bobby Holland (Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre), BAFTA-awarded costume designer Jany Tamime (Skyfall) and makeup artist Naomi Donne (Skyfall, Spectre, Quantum of Solace, The Living Daylights).

Lluis also managed to get access to the late Sir Roger Moore’s director and editor John Glen, who also contributed to or directed films with George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton (Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Licence to Kill, The Living Daylights, A View To A Kill, Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only, The Italian Job). And he admits that researching and writing the book took him on a wonderful journey and opened the doors to some great places and fascinating people.

"Last year when I was in Majorca, I met Britt Ekland and Frank, the son of the late Bond director Guy Hamilton, who lived and died in Majorca. He was extremely helpful and I also bumped into and spoke with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson in Palma, the producers of the saga and without whom we would not have James Bond.

"I think the secret to Bond is that the characters have moved with the times. We’ve seen Bond in the Cold War, fighting cybre crime, international villains, the Koreans, global terrorism, the films have all been adapted for the present. Not only that, they continue to be shot in the most idyllic locations in the world that many of us can only dream about visiting and, of course, James Bond is always accompanied, in one way or another, by beautiful women. And then we have all the great gadgets, impressive cars, unforgettable sound tracks and title themes, breathtaking stunts and great scripts. Why do you think it has been going for 55 years and is going to continue?

"The next film, Daniel Craig’s last, is out in two years and now the producers have to start planning for a post-Craig Bond. A few names have been mentioned, but nothing appears set in stone yet. I know a few actors have been interviewed. But we shall have to wait and see. There has also been talk about a female Bond, but that would not work. Fleming didn’t write it that way. Fine, create a spin-off but I don’t think casting an actress as Bond would work. Fleming’s very close friend and neighbour Jeremy Vaughan made that quite clear to me, he was extremely helpful in the writing of the book.

"A coloured James Bond will I think become a reality and my favourite actor for that would be Idris Elba, who is best known for playing DCI John Luther on the BBC One series Luther as well as the narcotrafficker Stringer Bell in the HBO series The Wire and Nelson Mandela in the biographical film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

"Craig didn’t actually intend to make another Bond film. He vowed that Spectre was going to be his last, but in the end he changed his mind and I cannot wait to see him as Bond one more time.

"I have also come to realise that Majorca would make the perfect location to shoot a Bond film. As a location it has got everything."
Never say never...

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Henry James / Hace 10 months

I hope that your book is a best seller,Lluis.

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