Archive for Tom Mankiewicz

Cubby Broccoli and Racism

Posted in James Bond with tags , , , , , on November 19, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Here’s a great story told by Tom Mankiewicz during his video-interview at the Hofstra event.

The boat chase in Live and Let Die, and related scenes, were filmed in Louisiana about fifty miles outside of New Orleans in 1972–73. Mankiewicz was amazed to discover it’s like a completely different world when you get a little ways away from the city. The parish sheriffs have all the power in their communities; state police defer to them entirely.

Now, when a Bond film shows up at a location, they spend a lot of money; Eon would be spending about a million and a half dollars (that’s 1972 dollars) in the parish where they filmed. Well, during the conversation about how filming will proceed, the sheriff says to Cubby “We don’t want to see no nigras driving cars around here.”

Yes. Exact quote.

And Cubby says, “Okay then, we’ll take our million and a half dollars to another parish.” And starts to walk away.

The sheriff calls him back, “Now wait a minute, wait a minute,” he says. “Just keep it down to a dull roar.”

So they agreed to film there, and Cubby issued the order: All cars and trucks would be driven by African-Americans.

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Event Report: Bond Symposium at Hofstra University

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Did you know Robert Davi is an almnus of Hofstra? So is Christopher Walken! Only one of these illustrious Bond villains appeared at the Bond Symposium I attended yesterday.

Hempstead, Long Island is less than an hour and a half from home, and I was within two miles of the place when I got lost. Really hopelessly lost. Lost like, 45 minutes late. And I wasn’t the only one either. Another attendee took a cab from about the spot that I got lost to the conference two miles away, and it took 25 minutes. Long Island is some kind of black hole.

Anyway, I only attended four of the many wonderful symposium events.

First, Lee Pfeiffer interviewed Robert Davi. It was a sit-down on a theater stage, very much a chat with microphones, and very informative. Davi pointed out that he, Benicio del Toro, and Timothy Dalton were in Mexico City during the making of Licence to Kill with nothing to do with their evenings that didn’t involve tequilla, but he refrained from telling the juicier stories. He talked about how important it was to find sympathy in his character, and you can tell, as he speaks, that he still sympathizes with Sanchez. ‘None of the killings were my fault,’ he says, ‘My character was provoked every time.’ And again, ‘He could have whipped Lupe sadistically, as a fetish, but I did it in a ‘hurts me more than it hurts you’ way, as if I was sad to do it.’ He also explained the casting of Talisa Soto: “It wasn’t about the acting,” he said, “Which was what it was. It was about choosing the girl that Sanchez would risk his life to get back.” And Davi and Cubby Broccoli agreed that only Soto could be that to Sanchez.

The next event was the panel, “Writing Bond.” Participating were

I definitely had the “little ol’ me” feeling, being with such illustrious co-panelists, and I had a blast! We discussed a lot of different things, from what was hard and easy and confusing about writing Bond, to the advantages and disadvantages of being authorized (Pfeiffer and Benson) or unauthorized (the rest of us). Benson talked about the unique task of creating Bond fiction, and Pfeiffer shared his unusual relationship with the late Cubby Broccoli. I think the panel was fun, informative, and diverse. I know, I was on it so I’m biased, but I learned a lot and enjoyed myself, and I hope I also contributed.

Next up, Lee Pfeiffer interviewed the amazing Tom Mankiewicz via videophone conference. Way high-tech, and what a great interview it was! Mankiewicz is a real raconteur, and he could have filled the whole time with just one question, because he had so many wonderful stories to tell. From confronting racism in a Louisiana parish during the making of Live and Let Die, to secretly polishing Christopher Wood’s script for The Spy Who Loved Me (and getting totally caught by Roger Moore) to meeting John Wayne on his very first job, everything he recounted was fun, funny, and fascinating.

After that was a dinner banquet. Again, so much fun. So many wonderful people to meet, so many interesting stories to here. Pfeiffer and Benson did a presentation during dessert of “Myths of Bond” (like, no one ever died of being painted gold), and then Benson did a wonderful piano medley of James Bond music.

And, big surprise! Representatives of Aston Martin of Long Island were there with a car, a beautiful silver coupe (lower right picture in the link). Not only did I get photographed sitting in it (ohmigodz ohmigodz), I sent the gentlemen home with a copy of my book, so I photographed it sitting in the trunk. Photos to follow.

I was sorry to have to leave.