Dr. No Trivia: 11 Surprising Facts About Bond’s First Outing

The first theatrical outing for James Bond, Dr No paved the way for one of the most treasured film series in history. Hitting cinemas way back in 1962, we saw 007 travel to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a fellow agent, and to explore the mysterious Crab Key…

Here are 11 surprising pieces of Dr. No trivia…

1) Sean Connery isn’t in the gun barrel opening clip 

The gun barrel opener – where Bond wants into the centre of frame, turns, shoots, and we watch blood pour down the screen – is an iconic part of every Bond film. It’s as iconic as the scrolling yellow text in Star Wars. However, it isn’t Sean Connery you see walking into the centre of the gun barrel in Dr. No. It’s stuntman Bob Simmons. Connery didn’t appear in the gun barrel until Thunderball. 

2) Thunderball was nearly the first Bond film 

Producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman wanted their first Bond movie to be based on Ian Fleming’s novel Thunderball, but there was an ongoing legal dispute over the screenplay. They ended up settling on Dr No because it was a straightforward plot, with very few locations, and Dr. No’s lair was the only complicated set piece. It was much less of a risk for the studio, who weren’t sure if audiences wanted to see a James Bond film. 

United Artists / EON Productions

3) Sean Connery is terrified of spiders 

Connery was extremely afraid of spiders, and was so anxious during the scene where a tarantula crawls over him in bed, that they had to lay a sheet of glass on him for the spider to crawl up. You can see the glass flattening his skin, in the final version of the movie. For the close ups, stuntman Bob Simmons stepped in. He, too, was scared of spiders, and said it was  the most terrifying thing he had ever filmed. 

4) Ian Fleming wanted his cousin, Christopher Lee, to play Dr. No

Ian Fleming’s cousin, Christopher Lee, was celebrated for his performance in 1958’s Dracula at the time of casting Dr. No. Fleming wanted him to play the titular villain in the first Bond movie, but it never came to be. Of course, Lee did eventually play a Bond villain – talented hitman Scaramanga, in 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun. 

United Artists / EON Productions

5) Ian Fleming didn’t want Sean Connery as Bond

Ian Fleming had written Bond as an upper class, educated English man. He felt that Sean Connery was too rugged and too Scottish. Cubby tasked the film’s director, Terrence Young, with teaching Connery some style and sophistication. 

6) Lois Maxwell was intended to play Sylvia Trench 

Actress Lois Maxwell was actually lined up to play Bond’s love interest Sylvia Trench. But she wasn’t comfortable with the role when she found out that in one scene, she’d have to wear nothing but Bond’s shirt and a pair of high heels. So, instead, Lois Maxwell was given the role of M’s secretary Eve Moneypenny. She went on to appear in this role in a total of 14 Bond films. The character of Sylvia Trench, played by Eunice Gayson, only appeared in 2 films – Dr. No and From Russia With Love. 

7) Another eventual Bond villain turned down the role

Max Van Sydow also passed up the opportunity to play Dr. No in the spy caper. He would later go up against Sean Connery as the villain in the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again. Sydow played criminal mastermind and head of Spectre Blofeld in this 1983 remake of Thunderball. 

8) Corners had to be cut to save money 

Because Dr. No only had a budget of $1,000,000, the set designer had to make savings everywhere he could. The paintings in M’s office are cardboard, and Dr. No’s aquarium was just a screen displaying enlarged stock footage of goldfish swimming around.

United Artists / EON Productions

9) The producers wanted Roger Moore 

Well spoken and sophisticated, Roger Moore was a perfect fit to play 007 from day one. Cubby Broccoli had him high up on his list of potential actors to play Bond. However, at the time, Moore was contractually obligated to star in the TV series The Saint, and so he had to pass up the opportunity to play the secret agent at this early point. 

10) Connery kept fluffing the famous line

Once Connery started to realise that the success or failure of the film hinged on his performance, the pressure started to give him terrible anxiety during filming. It came to a head during the casino scene where he had to deliver his signature line: ‘Bond, James Bond.’ He fluffed it so many times, that the producers had to take him off set to talk to him and calm him down. Eunice Gayson joked that they must have given him something strong, because when he came back on set, he was stony calm. 

United Artists / EON Productions

11) A golden pen 

The movie’s art director Syd Cain was accidentally felt out of the credits. When he complained to Cubby Brocolli, the producer said that they couldn’t afford to re-make the credits. However, he gifted a golden pen to the art director by way of an apology and reparation. 

There you have it – some awesome Dr. No trivia that have might not have known! Now you’ve made your way through that, check out this original theatrical trailer…

Watch the Dr. No trailer


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