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Question Time – In conversation with Nicolás Suszczyk

Although James Bond has never been to Argentina in one of his cinematic missions, the film franchise has a solid fan base in the country. One of them is Nicolás Suszczyk, editor of ‘The GoldenEye Dossier’, a fan website dedicated to the 17th James Bond film. Currently in the process of re-designing his website, Nicolás kindly took the time to chat to us about his fan life, GoldenEye and what motives an Argentinian villain would pursue.

The Bond Bulletin: Nicolás, with ‘The GoldenEye Dossier’ you run one of the most comprehensive fan websites dedicated to the seventeenth Bond film GoldenEye. What is your motivation behind it all and how time-consuming is the project?

Nicolás Suszczyk: The project began out of my admiration to Drummond Grieve’s old ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ fan site which was very popular in the late 1990s/early 2000s. I simply thought that GoldenEye –my most loved James Bond film– deserved to be explored in full. In the past years it wasn’t very much time consuming because I barely updated it, but it’ll come back with a vengeance in 2020 to tie in with the 25th anniversary of the film and Bond 25.

The Bond Bulletin: Do you find it difficult to focus on just this one film of the franchise? Are you afraid, you could run out of things to write at some point? Where do you get new stories?

Nicolás Suszczyk: Well, that’s exactly one of the problems with the “news feed” style, which will be changed in the new update. Sometimes you can’t be everywhere, covering everything the cast and crew of the film does or just dealing with the same subject once and again. GoldenEye has the advantage of being tied to four videogames already so there are many things to talk about if we expand it to the games as I did. I could also contemplate “Goldeneye” as Ian Fleming’s Jamaican estate, as well.

The Bond Bulletin: You could have chosen to dedicate a website to any other of the 23 remaining Bond films. What fascinates you about GoldenEye in particular? What sets the film apart from the rest of the franchise?

Nicolás Suszczyk: Well, it’s not just professional – it’s personal! First of all, it was the first Bond I ever saw, a life-changing movie to me. Even when my first time was on TV and not on the big screen, the film has mind-blinded me. But I do think GoldenEye is the best film of the franchise, I love every bit of it: the visual impact of Phil Méheux’s cinematography was more than welcome after some “standard” looking Bond films, as well as Terry Rawling’s editing which was sublime (Bond and Natalya’s kiss fading into the fire of the hearth, for example). On hindsight, it was the perfect combination between the classic Bond with a new touch for the 1990s. The cast is perfect. Martin Campbell is an excellent director and this film also introduced me to his short but interesting career. I even love Eric Serra’s music, which is untraditional but fits the film perfectly.

“My idea of an Argentinean Bond villain would be a sort of Ian Fleming’s Hugo Drax…”
Nicolás Suszczyk, Editor of ‘The GoldenEye Dossier’

The Bond Bulletin: As mentioned in the introduction, you live in Argentina, far from where Bond films get made. Can you give an estimate on how big the fan community is in your country? Are there any other websites focusing on James Bond? I understand it can also be quite problematic for you to collect/order Bond items from overseas. Why do you think that is?

Nicolás Suszczyk: I dare say there’s a big Bond community in Argentina, but they are closet fans that don’t get together as in Spain or Germany. As I started running my other site Bond En Argentina I was glad to see there is a huge number of James Bond fans around of all ages. What the country would need is to make important 007-related events here, like screenings or big premieres (nowadays, premieres offer little to you other than the chance of watching the film before its release date). We would need something like ‘Casino Royale In Concert’, but from a business point of view, I wonder if people would pay an expensive fee to attend events like that. In other words, I say there are many Bond fans over here but I don’t know how big their passion for 007 is to spend their money (and that’s my guess on why we do not get exhibitions or things like that).

The Bond Bulletin: I understand it can also be quite problematic for you to collect/order Bond items from overseas. Why do you think that is?

Nicolás Suszczyk: As for the collectables, yes, it’s quite difficult. The current government has made buying abroad slightly easier in the sense that things like books or magazines go straight to your door, but things are still wrong. If I wanted to buy Blu-Ray’s, CDs or bigger things like action figures or vehicle replicas, I would have to fill out a lot of paperwork, visit the customs offices and pay extra fees to the already expensive product and shipping price. Plus, one dollar is around 40 Argentine pesos by 2019. So, whenever I can buy something, I stick to books and magazines or I try to find second handed stuff in local stores.

The Bond Bulletin: Politics in Argentina has always been, let’s say “challenging”. As the Bond films have often picked up a political theme of the times, what, from your perspective, would Bond battle in Argentina? What political motives would an Argentinian Bond villain pursue?

Nicolás Suszczyk: The Falklands War for sure. My idea of an Argentinean Bond villain would be a sort of Ian Fleming’s Hugo Drax who wants to retaliate against Great Britain. Of course, the conflict was in 1982 but I would imagine a madman who would like to take the islands by force after making a deal with other allies in the region – yet the political aspect would only be a part of him and he would be a man equally dangerous for both Argentinean and British, sort of General Orlov from Octopussy. Exactly that would be what Bond would battle in Argentina: plans would involve killing the PM, attacking British representatives as well. Other than that, I can’t really imagine much more for 007 to battle here.

The Bond Bulletin: Let’s speak about Bond as a life-changing influence. How has James Bond influenced your daily way of life? What have you learned from the films that made you go through a change?

Nicolás Suszczyk: James Bond helped me to learn English and to learn a little of history and geography. Everyone was surprised of an eight-year-old boy speaking of the Cold War, Lenin or the Lienz Cossacks in Primary School. Other than that, Bond helped me to dress well, too.

The Bond Bulletin: Going back to GoldenEye, you have surely spent years playing the famed N64 game which set the standards for modern FPS shooters. Do you still play it once in a while? How would you rate the Multiplayer Online Game ‘GoldenEye: Source’ ? You are surely also looking forward to the single player port ‘GoldenEye 25’ currently in development?

Nicolás Suszczyk: Oh yes, back in the day my dad rented me a N64 console with the game and it was a wonderful and funny experience. Many years later, I bought the console and the original game, but unfortunately, it doesn’t look good in today’s TV so I use emulators very often. Regarding GoldenEye: Source I think is so far the best GoldenEye gaming experience out there if you want to relive the old days with modern graphics. Plus it shows some of the map designers are Bond fans and even homage other films such as Casino Royale. I’m not a very good gamer and I’m often beaten by the experts, but once in a while, I could win a few rounds too.

The Bond Bulletin: You are surely also looking forward to the single player port ‘GoldenEye 25’ currently in development by Ben Colclough and Yannick Zenhäusern?

Nicolás Suszczyk: I’m not only looking forward to GoldenEye 25 very much, but I’m helping Ben and Yannick as much as I can with anything I can offer: suggestions, retweets and even subtitling the making-of videos to Spanish so they can reach a broader audience.

“Pierce Brosnan is my favourite James Bond. He is my Bond, period.”

The Bond Bulletin: Having grown up with Pierce Brosnan as Bond, would you say that his tenure is your favourite era of Bond? If so, why? Or do you prefer another period in 007 history?

Nicolás Suszczyk: As I have said many times: rationally, every Bond is the best Bond because one should take into consideration more than just the actor: there are decisions taken by the production which go beyond the star and narrative takes on Bond related to the historical era in which the film is released. Now, being very subjective, Pierce Brosnan is my favourite James Bond. He is my Bond, period. I have to say I have a distant relationship with Die Another Day, but the trilogy of GoldenEyeTomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough is my religion. I will have those three films in my heart forever.

The Bond Bulletin: If you had complete creative control over a future Bond film, what would you do with it? Where would you let Bond travel? What car or gadget would you tailor to his needs? How would you balance humour, action and drama to keep it all relevant?

Nicolás Suszczyk: I think, I would be very traditional and try to mix Fleming’s Bond with EON’s Bond. I’d follow the Martin Campbell style: well-developed action scenes with high scale stunts, humoristic situations and some scenes where you could feel the influence of Fleming: Bond questioning himself or suffering from something, but rapidly overcoming it, unlike the latest Craig films. I want an emotional Bond, but not a depressive Bond. As for the locations, I’d like Bond back in Jamaica (hopefully that will happen in Bond 25) or Eastern Europe: Ukraine or Belarus could also be locations. I’m not an expert in cars but it is always a pleasure to see the Aston Martin DB5 and watch gadgets. Other than that, I’d cast Stuart Wilson or Gary Oldman as the leading Bond villain and bring Shirley Bassey back for a last title song. And of course, standalone “Bond on a mission with nothing personal” plot that begins with the gunbarrel and ends with him getting the girl.

The Bond Bulletin: Final question: Slappers only or rocket launcher?

Nicolás Suszczyk: Rocket launcher all the way! “Just fire and forget”, as Brad Withaker said.

The Bond Bulletin wishes to thank Nicolás for his time in answering our questions and wish him all the best for the relaunch of ‘The GoldenEye Dossier’.

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