Phyllis talks Goldeneye
His co-star, Phyllis Logan, thinks Dance is ideal for the role of Fleming. “He looks so much like him it’s uncanny and he has that enigmatic image that fits in with Fleming’s,” she says. But she hastens to add that Dance is really nothing like the man he plays. “When he lived round the corner from me in north London I used to pop into his house and he’s a normal man with a normal family, a wife and two kids – nothing toffee-nosed about him,” she says.
lan Fleming was certainly not a normal man with a normal family. Born into very privileged circles and brought up by his mother, he became a journalist and, almost certainly, a secret agent as well. Something of a black sheep, he told a friend at the age of 23: “From now on, I’m going to be quite bloody-minded about women. I’m just going to take what I want without any scruples at all.” And he proceeded to do just that. He was seeing his wife when she was married to another man and, when her first husband died and she married Lord Rothermere, the rumour was that they still continued to be lovers. Even after Fleming married Ann in 1952, they both continued to have affairs. Goldeneye deals, in part, with this period of their lives, when Fleming spent the winter months on his Jamaican estate of Goldeneye, tapping out James Bond novels at a rate of 2,000 words a day and hobnobbing with high society.
“I cannot make the Flemings out,” says Logan, herself happily married for the past 10 years to TV writer Paul Tender (note: wrong!). “Within months of marrying, they were both having flings. Ann had a callous streak and her humour was based on tearing people to bits. But in her private correspondence, to people like Evelyn Waugh and Noel Coward, she revealed her inner sadness.”