The evolution of James Bond and the inspirations Ian Fleming relied on

Backstory

Nearly seven decades ago, author Ian Fleming drew inspiration from the real world of espionage and brought the secrets out of the shadows.

Spectacular stunts and narrow escapes may seem far-fetched, but the creators of James Bond have always rooted their stories in reality. Whether it was video games in the 1980s or weapons of mass destruction in Thunderball in 1965.

But who is James Bond?

After World War II, Britain needed a hero.

“There was a malaise in Britain. And I think Fleming was doing his thing to put Britain on top — a patriotic thing. Let’s give the world a British guy who saved the world,” said Raymond Benson, a leading 007 expert.

John F. Kennedy would go on to play a part in bringing 007’s popularity to the United States.

“The Life Magazine interview in 1961. He named 9 non fiction political books and one novel – “From Russia with Love” by Ian Fleming and everyone said ‘Let’s go buy a book,’” said Benson.

Although eight actors have portrayed James Bond, a new conversation about casting is taking place.

“Do I think audiences would accept a black James Bond? Yes. Do I think a studio would pump $250 million into a gamble like that? I’m not sure. I don’t know the answer to that,” said Doug Redenius, president of the Ian Fleming Foundation.

Backstory with Larry Potash airs Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. on WGN-TV.

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