My wife’s heart [the journalist Keely Shaye Smith]! When I was a kid, living in south London, I pocketed a cheap ID bracelet from Woolworth’s. I was thirteen. I hope you’ll forgive me. It was a long time ago!
Rodin statues! I fell in love with them when visiting the Rodin Museum in Paris. I couldn’t take my eyes off them, they were so beautiful. I was totally captivated. Rest assured, the only souvenir I took home was a series of postcards, but who’s to say one night I won’t be tempted! [laughs]. If you know anything about the alarm system, send me a memo! Rodin aside, I appreciate watches that are both beautiful and robust. Watches that suit my lifestyle. I’m Speake-Marin’s ambassador. Peter and I met on the set of Survivor. I was playing an English watchmaker caught up in an international spy ring and Peter had been brought in as a consultant. We quickly realised we shared the same passion for watchmaking. We became friends, and when Peter asked if I would become the ambassador for his timepieces, I said yes straight away.
Of course. Show me what’s on your wrist and I’ll tell you who you are. Think about it: the watch a character wears in a film has a function that goes beyond simply giving the time. They help build the character. In Thomas Crown, for example, the watch was a way of indicating his social status, and love of precision and efficiency. In the James Bond films, the watch is a vital object because the Commander uses it to get out of some tricky situations. It’s even saved his life. A watch reflects your personality and, to a certain extent, helps deliver a message. It’s really a form of non-verbal communication.
The one my wife gave me. A Blancpain she had engraved with the words, “Time travels on love’s wings”. Personally, I like to give my wife antique jewellery, real museum pieces. Her engagement ring comes to mind. It literally took her breath away. On the subject of jewellery, here’s a little story. Keely and I were attending an Oscars ceremony, and she was wearing two million dollars worth of jewellery in her ears. A million per lobe. At one point during the evening, I saw Keely suddenly get up. I thought, oh, there must be a standing ovation in honour of Sydney Poitier, but in fact Keely had just realised one of her earrings was missing. Talk about panic. She leapt out of her seat going, “Oh my God, one of my earrings has fallen off!” Ten seconds later we were on our hands and knees with Donald Trump and his girlfriend at the time, searching the carpet for the missing earring. Unforgettable!
International status, and a certain financial security. Wherever I go, whatever I do from now on, for the guy in the street I’ll always be James Bond. I live with it. No matter how often I tell my fans that my car doesn’t have a rocket-launcher, my watch isn’t a radio transmitter, my pen isn’t connected to geostationary satellites, and my secretary isn’t called Miss Moneypenny, the real diehards can’t separate Bond from the actor, sometimes with tragicomic results. Here’s another story. I was flying over Fiji in a small plane with my children, when suddenly the pilot turns to me and, as though it were the most natural thing in the world, says “Over to you Mr Bond, take control!” The guy honestly thought he was doing me a favour. You can imagine his disappointment when I explained I didn’t have the first idea how to fly a plane. To which he replied, “But I saw you flying a fighter plane in the opening scene to Tomorrow Never Dies“. I had to explain to him that it was a professional pilot who stood in for all the aerial shots. And you know what? He refused to believe me! He even thought I was making fun of him. Not that any of this has ever prevented me from being a huge fan of the Commander. I must have been about ten years old when I saw my first Bond film, Goldfinger. I remember it as though it were yesterday because it was also my first contact with London. I can see that girl, Shirley Eaton, covered in gold lying half-naked on a bed. So much emotion and forbidden innuendos! I fantasised a lot over that scene. Probably because the actress reminded me of my geography teacher, a gorgeous woman who wore mini skirts and tight sweaters. Strangely enough, the day I arrived in London was the day Ian Fleming died. Was it a sign?
I enjoy nature. Whenever I have my feet in soil, I feel connected to my surroundings. This probably comes from my Irish heritage. In Ireland, land is the land you build you house on, the land that will feed you and probably where you will be buried. There is no greater satisfaction for a man than to own a little piece of land.