James Bond in Panama




When I first heard that they'd be filming segments of the new James Bond flick in Panama, I was half asleep and subconsciously wove the thread into a dream I was having. It came to involve me as a sidekick to Bond himself; going everywhere he went and doing everything he did, all the while offering small snacks as well as a pen to jot down some notes he didn't want to forget.

The dream scene wound down with Bond and me closing in on the evil villain in an abandoned warehouse which was wired by an intricate network of explosives, and controlled by a small capuchin monkey in camouflage. It was weird because the monkey spoke fluent French. Just before the final shootout, the action was halted with a phone call in real life from my mother asking if the sunburn on my back had gotten any worse. Mom, I wanted to tell her. Can't you see we're busy? Gosh!  

As long as I can remember, I've hated movies. The torture of having to sit in the same spot for two hours, combined with an acute fear of knees in the head kept me out of movie theaters for the majority of my first twenty five years. While there are exceptions of films I have enjoyed, the general theater-going experience was and is not something I'm terribly fond of.

This loathing, time and time again, proved me relatively naive when it came to talking about the film industry with friends, co-workers, and the occasional trout. I only fully realized this ignorance recently when, on a list of the 100 Best Movies of All Time, I recognized the name of just one-The Clockwork Orange-which, for the longest time, I could have sworn was the name of a juice company.

So it should come as no surprise that when the news sunk in about Bond in Panama, I was completely and utterly clueless as to what to expect.

I pieced together that which I knew about Bond, having seen various images and clips in commercials and magazines. I knew there was some sort of token drink in the picture (shaken not stirred) and I also knew the famous introduction (Bond, James Bond), but that was about it. My knowledge of James Bond was much like my waterskiing ability; characterized by a list of ‘almosts'.

In an effort to research the hero further, I rented the most recent one called James Bond: Casino Royale in which Bond flies around the globe trying to catch a guy with a glass eye. I also took careful note of any gaps in the movie, which I could then attempt to fill during the Panama shoot. A small, athletic Jewish boy, I thought to myself. Now that's what the series has been missing.

The Bond crew will be shooting over the course of a few weeks and thanks to some good contacts, I've secured a role-albeit a small one-in the movie. While on set, I plan to deliver my well-researched elevator pitch to Bond himself between takes; asking him just how he might feel about my ideas of warehouses and monkeys and dangerously, yet striking, sunburned men.