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From NZ With Love

James Bond's kiwi connections

The dashing English secret agent may seem a world away from your typical Kiwi bloke but New Zealanders have made significant contributions to 007 on film.

Behind the camera is where New Zealand has made the most impact on the James Bond film franchise. Three James Bond films have been produced by NZ directors so far.
Kiwi Martin Campbell was first brought on to direct Goldeneye in 1995 and came back ten years later to direct the well received revamp Casino Royale.

Campbell's success in re-launching the 007 franchise twice has made him one of the most popular directors amongst Bond fans. You can see Campbell talking about making Bond on Breakfast here .

007 producer Michael G Wilson said of hiring Campbell for Goldeneye - "He' excellent director when it comes to working with actors, and he's certainly good with action. He was a natural choice."

Once Were Warriors director Lee Tamahori took the helm of Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan's last outing as 007. Critical reviews were mixed but it was a smash at the box office and is the third highest grossing Bond film so far. 

Second generation Bond producer Barbara Broccoli had nothing but praise for the Kiwi director. "Lee Tamahori's body of work is amazing...He has great energy and visual sense. We felt he had a strong vision for the film and could take it to another level."

Tamahori made sure Aotearoa was represented on screen as well casting Maori actor Lawrence Makoare as the villanous henchman Mr Kil.

Oscar winner Peter Jackson was even considered to direct 007 at one stage.

The Australians may have beaten us to it, but James Bond could have been played by a Kiwi.

Sam Neill screen tested as Bond to replace Roger Moore in 1987's The Living Daylights. He was one of the main contenders after Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. Check out his screen test here.

And he wasn't the last Kiwi to be considered for Bond. Reportedly director Martin Campbell and Bond producers had former Shortland Street-er Martin Henderson, Outrageous Fortune's Anthony Starr and Karl Urban on their shortlist of 17 actors to replace Pierce Brosnan in Casino Royale. 

Of course it went to Daniel Craig.  But while our kiwi actors didn't get to don the famous tux, the man behind the action does hail from our shores. 

Daniel Craig's stunt double is New Zealander, Ben Cooke.

UK born and New Zealand raised, Ben Cooke worked on home grown series like Shortland Street and Xena: Warrior Princess before breaking into Hollywood.

He's worked on other big budget franchises like Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Batman Begins.

Cooke doubled for Daniel Craig in both Casino Royal and Quantum of Solace and he picked up an international stunt award for the death defying jump between two cranes from Casino Royale. 

Who knows, we might just have a New Zealander playing Bond one day but for now we can enjoy the contribution Kiwis have made behind the scenes to bring Bond to life.