Becoming Bond Directed by Josh Greenbaum

Becoming Bond Directed by Josh Greenbaum
Courtesy of Hot Docs
8
For nearly 50 years, George Lazenby has been considered a bit of a joke. His name has been used in one-liners on late-night TV to describe spectacular failures, odd career choices and regretful decision-making. But in reality, the one-time James Bond's story is one of a life lived to the fullest, filled with sex, lies, drugs, and even more sex (lots, and lots of sex).
 
The Australian model-turned-movie star is the subject of The Short Game/sometimes-New Girl director Josh Greenbaum's latest film, a story so unbelievable (and so short on early archival footage) that they had to hire actors like former Bond girl Jane Seymour, Dana Carvy, Jeff Garlin, Jake Johnson and underrated Australian actor Josh Lawson (who plays the adult Lazenby himself) to fill in the gaps.
 
Serious and stuffy cinephiles may call bullshit, but Lazenby's life story is too good to not eat up. Here, we have an Australian horn dog who discovered sex at an early age, became an auto mechanic, then a car salesman who moved to London for love, fell into modeling, and told "a pack of lies" to get some one-on-one time with a Hollywood producer, got the role of a lifetime, and then turned down a six-picture, $2 million deal after fame proved to be a little too much.
 
Its preposterousness is confronted by the director early on, who asks his subject how much of the preceding narrative has been true. Lazenby's answer is as straightforward as the man himself: all of it must be, because if it wasn't so crazy, how would he remember any of it?
 
It would be quick to dismiss Lazenby as someone who thought a little too much with his dick and not enough with his brain, but by the end of the movie his true character becomes abundantly clear.
 
"I may not be great," he says in one of the film's final moments, "but I'm an original." And that's more than can be said for most Bonds.