James Bond, or 007, is certainly a man who’s hard to forget. In particular, it would seem that Daniel Craig’s serious portrayal of Mr. Bond has resulted in positive financial rewards, with the likes of Skyfall grossing over $1.1billion. Clearly the new more serious Bond character has drawn in audiences across the globe.
Nonetheless, previous Bond films have also clearly made their mark as they still rank highly in consumer and critic reviews. It would seem that audiences equally enjoy a less serious Bond, but perhaps were also drawn in by fantastic by-characters… that is through the appeal of Bond villains and Bond girls.
However, unbeknown to audiences, the success of past villains and heroines is thanks to the work of magnificent voiceover artists.
In fact, many of the Bond girls and extra character roles in past Bond Films were indeed voiced by one talented individual- Nikki van der Zyl.
Nikki was in fact, the voice behind some of the sultriest characters in the Bond franchise. From Corinne Dufour in Moonraker to Chew Mee in the Man with the Golden Gun, the voice behind the characters was that of Nikki van der Zyl.
However, you would be mistaken in thinking that Nikki merely voiced the role of extras. Ms. Van der Zyl also voiced more central roles, such as that of Jill Masterson in the 1964 film ‘Goldfinger’. A film perhaps most well remembered for the scene where Bond girl Jill, played by actress Shirley Eaton, was brutally murdered by being coated in gold. So, Jill’s harrowing screams were in fact those of Nikki van der Zyl!
Nikki’s greatest voiceover success was perhaps that of Dr. No, where unbeknown to audiences, she successfully voiced three separate character roles, including Honey Ryder, played by Ursula Andress. Surely not an easy feat!
And Ms. van der Zyl was not alone in her Bond voiceover endeavors. In fact, many of the Bond villains were voiced by talented voiceover artist, Robert Rietti. English voiceover artist Rietti was first heard in the role as the eyepatch-wearing, Italian super villain Emilio Largo in the 1965 Bond film; ‘Thunderball’. Rietti was also behind the voice of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the 1981 film, ‘For Your Eyes Only’, proving that a wicked sounding voiceover can transcend the lifespans of fictional villains. However, audiences would be mistaken in thinking that Rietti only took on the role of Bond’s adversaries, as he was also Bond’s ally in the 1967 film ‘You Only Live Twice’, where he took on the role of the Japanese secret service chief Tiger Tanaka.
One thing is clear. Many a James Bond film is underpinned with fantastic voiceovers, which seems to have inspired some Bond actors to later move into voiceover work. The most well-known is perhaps that of Geoffrey Holder, who after his role as Bond villain Baron Samedi, moved on to provide the narration voiceover for Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate factory.
So while we are eagerly anticipating the release of the new Bond film, we should perhaps have a think back to our favorite Bond movies and maybe even re-watch past Bond films with a new-found ear, to listen out for the fantastic voiceovers we might have missed!