James Bond Events have a reputation of being glamourous and exciting. Attendees dress up in elegant evening attire, Vesper Martinis are served and the legendary theme music occasionally rings out. When my plane touched down in Oslo, my main concern was if my tuxedo had survived the trip without being rumpled too much. Let me put it this way: there is nothing a steaming hot shower can´t fix!
I was so happy to be invited to “Bond Girls Are Forever”, a James Bond charity event for UNICEF which was organised by my very dear friend and colleague Morten Steingrimsen. Over the course of eight months, he had single-handedly arranged the entire event from scratch and formed a team of experts around him to make it a success – a gigantic task that not only involved long days of careful planning but also quite a few sleepless nights. Compared to that, my contribution was rather small but I felt blessed to be involved.
Naturally, the invited Bond Girls were the principal magnet of the event and their attendance made this night in beautiful Oslo truly unforgettable. As promised by the organiser, guests could really meet Bond´s gorgeous girls in a relaxed and friendly environment. There was much time for photos, autographs and personal conversation. The arrival of the girls already was a highlight when Luciana Paluzzi (played SPECTRE assassin Fiona Volpe in ‘THUNDERBALL’) drove a classic 1965 Ford Mustang onto the red carpet.
Paluzzi (78) was joined by fellow Bond Girls Carole Ashby (60), Martine Beswick (73), Maryam D´Abo (54), Tonia Sotiropoulou (29), Britt Ekland (72) and Carey Lowell (54) who happily posed for photos before mingling with guests over a champagne aperitive and admiring a daring motorcycle stunt show. Since Bond Girls are of course associated with glamour and style, a huge team of 10 hairdressers and 10 Make-Up Artists were tasked with making them look stunningly beautiful.
Once everybody was seated in the cinema, the charity auction and film screening were opened by a video tribute I had edited with Swiss composer Yannick Zenhäusern who contributed the official event song “Bond Girls Are Forever” performed by Connie Stadler. On stage, the Bond Girls were interviewed about their experiences with Bond after which Britt Ekland introduced a special video message from UNICEF ambassador Sir Roger Moore.
The following charity auction raised a total of 30,000 euros for UNICEF which is a fantastic achievement and indisputable proof that the event was a success for everyone involved. International sponsors such as L´Oreal, Breitling, Bentley, NetJets, Nordisk Film, Verite, Apanage, Clinicare, Elavon, Emirates, Adam og Eva, PropStore, PS Fashion and MyEvents lent their support to a memorable event. The screening of ‘THUNDERBALL’ in newly remastered 4K was a pure joy on the big screen. Never has a classic Bond film looked better and the audience reactions after the screening reflected that.
One of Oslos top chefs, Dag Tjersland, had prepared a wonderful Bond-themed buffet representing the very best of Norwegian and International cuisine which became a culinary meeting point for fans and Bond Girls after the film screening. I was very honored when my favourite Bond Girl Luciana Paluzzi sat down with me in the comfortable front row cinema seats and gave me a charming and humorous interview for my upcoming documentary “A Bond for Life“. She even demonstrated her German language skills which were quite impressive.
After sipping a glass of Bonds signature drink, the Vesper Martini, I also interviewed Tonia Sotiropoulou who appeared in a small role opposite Daniel Craig in ‘SKYFALL’ (2012) as well as Britt Ekland who starred with Roger Moore in ‘THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN’ (1975). My last encounter before this magical night drew to a close was with Martine Beswick who played a gypsy girl in ‘FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE’ (1963) and Paula in ‘THUNDERBALL’ (1965). We had a lot of fun during the interview and she once and for all made the point clear, that the recent renaming of “Bond Girls” to “Bond Women” was absolute nonsense. All attending Bond Girls are proud of their participation in the Bond film series and feel blessed to be part of this huge talented 007 family.
The Big Band was still delivering high-class renditions of Bond songs when sometime around 2.30am, the magnificent after party was slowly breaking up but there is always time for one last Vesper Martini with my fellow Bond friends. Together with Markus Hartmann, Wolfgang Thürauf and Alan More I saluted event organiser Morten Steingrimsen to this truly unique event he had put together. It was an honor to be part of it.
International media has also reacted very positively to the event with the news being spread over several countries from Norway to Spain, France, Mexico, Italy, Sweden, Indonesia and Germany where the BILD newspaper and popular lifestyle magazine GALA reported from Oslo. A total of 11 camera teams were covering the press conference held earlier on August 20. Here is an impressive selection of news articles covering the event:
THANK YOU MORTEN!
THANK YOU OSLO!