In 1967, the world saw the release of You Only Live Twice. It was the fifth film in the on-going James Bond franchise and, at the time, it was the last one to feature Sean Connery in the lead. Having grown tired of the role and (especially) the rabid press surrounding it, the actor decided to move on. Many thought the series would end with him, but that didn’t stop EON from pushing onward.
They ultimately signed male model turned actor, George Lazenby, and debuted him in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. That film has stood the test of time and now stands tall above most other entries in the series, sitting among the best the franchise has to offer. At the time, however, the film was a hit, but not a Connery-sized hit. This, along with some bad advice from friends and a manager, eventually coaxed Lazenby to walk out of his six film contract and leave Bond behind after only one film. It is a decision that paved the way for Connery to return for one more film (1971’s Diamonds Are Forever) and led to the casting of Roger Moore for 1973’s Live And Let Die, beginning a seven film run for the actor as 007 that has yet to be surpassed.
It is a decision that George Lazenby regrets to this very day and one he has spoken of on numerous occasions, from interviews about On Her Majesty’s Secret Service to documentaries and exposes about the franchise as a whole. Now we get a chance to look back on Lazenby’s time with the franchise more than we ever have before.
Writer/director Josh Greenbaum, reteaming with Hulu after their collaboration Behind the Mask, has crafted a new documentary specifically about the Lazenby era. Titled Becoming Bond, the documentary is a combination of interviews and dramatic recreations. A few of the actor choices for the latter are a bit odd (Jake Johnson? Dana Carvey?), but the product looks intriguing nonetheless. It drops on Hulu on May 20th and you can watch the trailer for it below.