On James Bond

Why Do We Still Want to Be James Bond?

By Andrea Carlo Cappi

As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be James Bond– ever since I saw Dr. No as a little boy. My mother didn’t want me to be James Bond–not at that age, anyway. She wanted me to be a pianist. One of the first things I tried to play at the piano was–guess what–the “James Bond Theme.” When I chose a different keyboard and became a writer and translator (of Bond novels, and others), I interrupted a long line of musicians in my family. I chose to translate Bond novels because, if I couldn’t actually be James Bond, at least for Italian readers my name would be somehow associated with 007.

As a child I wanted to be a lot of things. I had a cowboy hat, a poncho, and a toy gun and pretended to be Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s movies. I loved Marvel Comics and I would have liked to be Captain America, too, though I never wore a red, white, and blue costume. I still see those movies and read those comics, but I no longer want to “be” those heroes. The trouble is . . . I never stopped wanting to be James Bond. Of course, it’s more socially acceptable to walk around in a three-piece suit or tuxedo; people tend to notice if you go out with a “nameless stranger” outfit or a star-and-stripes shield. Still, that particular hero, James Bond, remains an icon for me. And, I guess, for many people  …

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