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Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond – Dominic Cooper on portraying class

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Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond - Dominic Cooper
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond - Ian Fleming (Dominic Cooper) ©2014 Matt Holyoak

Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), who stars as Ian Fleming in BBC America’s new drama Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, visited with journalists at the TV Critics tour this month to talk about his new series, which premieres on January 29th, 2014.

The story is set before James Bond’s exciting escapades hit bookstores all over the world, its writer, Ian Fleming, was experiencing his own adventures in World War II, when he was recruited by the Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral John Godfrey, to help them defeat the Nazis.

How much did you know about Ian Fleming before you did this, and what kind of research did you do?

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, 1 - Nora Horich and Dominic Cooper
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, 101 – Storm (Nora Horich) and Ian Fleming (Dominic Cooper) ©2014 Kata Vermes for Sky Atlantic/Ecosse Films

I didn’t know a great deal about him, I have to admit.

There are two very comprehensive biographies about his life that I had the pleasure of reading, when I found out about the project.

And the script told me a lot about him.

Do you resemble him when he was young?

I look nothing like him. There’s no way I could possibly ever, ever be him.

So I was at liberty to make him, in many ways, what I thought he probably would have wanted to be, or how he would have wanted to be perceived, which gave me a lot of freedom in terms of what I could do with the character.

Were you able to relate to him?

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, 1 - Dominic Cooper
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, 101 – Ian Fleming (Dominic Cooper) ©2014 Ecosse

I come from a very different world than he came from. There’s a class system in England, a very specific one. He’s from a very specific background, and what comes with that is an extraordinary confidence and arrogance and a feeling of self-righteousness, that you deserve entitlements.

I don’t know what it’s like to be part of that group, but I can understand how they function. That was what was fun about it and the challenge of it. I had to get that right. Ultimately, he had a massive impact on the war and, as a result, the world as we know it.

He wished he was James Bond, and that’s why he wrote him, and it’s very revealing that he writes about him where he’s in awe of a man who is quite a brute and quite awful to women. He’s given us this wonderful character who will exist for all time. It’s pretty impressive.

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond - Dominic Cooper
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond – Ian Fleming (Dominic Cooper) ©2014 Matt Holyoak

Were you a James Bond fan?

Yeah, growing up in the UK, you can’t help but be a Bond fan,

Any particular one?

Well, I loved the (Sean) Connery films. I really enjoyed From Russia With Love.

I really have enjoyed the recent ones. It’s an amazing franchise that keeps redefining itself so cleverly and brilliantly.

I’m always amazed how it’s spread across generations who still love it so much.

After the panel I asked Dominic if he had found any film footage of Ian Fleming to help him with his characterization. Click here to listen to his reply.

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