How to be a Bond villain

Odd List Mark Harrison 6 Nov 2012 - 06:57

As 007’s cinematic adventures top the box office again, Mark presents a five-point guide to becoming a classic Bond villain…

Oh, hi, I didn't see you there. Have you ever found that debonair secret agents really get your gander? Do the antics of suave tossers like James Bond provoke you into a howling rage? Are you convinced that you have the moxie for a career that doesn't require qualifications, a CRB check, or any noticeable impulse control? Then, perhaps you (yes, you) could menace 007 too. 

With the Bond 50 Blu-ray boxset showing off half a century of everyone's favourite magnificent bastard over the course of 22 cinematic outings, many of them in high definition for the first time, you have a valuable set text on the course that shall be described henceforth. If you're already starting with a predisposition for megalomania, just follow these steps – maybe you too could follow in the footsteps of men who began humbly, as spoilt heirs, or Nazi experiments, or Russian oligarchs, and get yourself killed by MI6’s 600-time employee of the month. Javier Bardem doesn't follow too many of these in Skyfall, to be fair, but we've still got some key points on how to do battle with 007...

Step one: get yourself a gruesome deformity

Let me look at that face of yours. Blimey, Charlie, you're no looker – you might have what it takes after all. But more importantly, any good enemy of James Bond is going to have something or other to help them stand out. Dr No had fake hands, Francesco Scaramanga had a third nipple, and Zao had a... face full of diamonds. 

It's best to have some cool scars, in order to scare your adversaries and make you appear more memorable. This will insure you against obscurity, in the event of your plan being a little bit shit. If you can get some kind of deformity that doubles as a superpower, like having a bullet in your brain that is slowly killing you, but also renders you immune to pain for some reason, then all the better.

But don't worry about romance, ugly. Plenty of women will flock around you, often with supermodel looks, wardrobes full of skimpy clothing and a voice that has been dubbed over for English audiences. Never mind that you've deformed yourself in some backstory-building incident, and you have dreams of taking over and/or destroying the world for personal gain – women love a project.

The potential drawback of deforming yourself especially for this purpose is that James Bond is going to make fun of it. The man is a complete bastard, and his penchant for punnery knows no restraints of taste or good humour. More than likely, he's going to sleep with one of those women I mentioned, and turn them onto the side of right and good, just in time to save his own arse.

Exemption: if you are one of the lady folk who wants to get into villainy, we're all for equal opportunities. If you so choose, then no deformity is needed in advance, because 007 always thinks with his dick. Statistically, you're actually more likely to be successful than your male counterparts. However, you might want to have a plan for after you make your heel turn. One fun idea could be to perform your heel turn while wearing a shoe with a blade concealed in the front of it, so you've got a better shot of fighting him off thereafter. We repeat: he is a complete bastard. 

Step two: spare no expense

The first law of villain economics is that you have to spend money. Not necessarily to make money in return, it's simply that you have to spend money. Financing is not covered in this guide, mostly because the best villains seldom divulge the source of their fabulous wealth. We presume it's for tax reasons, so make sure you have a good avoidance scheme in place. Tax evasion charges are usually the least of your worries, when your adversaries in government are far more interested in taking you on with espionage.

If you're not spending enough money on your project, you can't be sure that it will attract Bond's attention. He has a number of demands on his time, and you can't be certain that they won't just send another 00 agent, or even a member of your local constabulary. There is nothing more embarrassing than PC Peacock showing up at your state-of-the-art sky-base to notify you of noise complaints, because you haven't yet paid for the parts that will keep it airborne while you prepare your death ray.

You'll also want to employ a reliable army of henchmen, who will not only carry out your bidding without question on a day to day basis, but also act as human shields, should 007 invade your skybase with more armed bastards. Morale can be a problem amongst nameless employees who are almost certain to be killed in battle towards the end of the tax year, so do make sure you invest in health insurance plans and a banging Christmas party. 

It also helps to have a human resources manager on the payroll: someone who will motivate the workforce with a mix of personality and fear. Take refuge in audacity on this one, and hire someone whose CV emphasises their own physical quirks - while that Business Studies and Management graduate may have good inter-personal skills, he's not seven feet tall, he can't bench press a bus, and he's frankly unlikely to hold off Bond for long. Think of your HR man (or woman) as a more interesting version of you, and delegate any big fights to them, so that you can keep working at your master plan without too many distractions.

Of course, Bond villainy has been hit hardest by the recession. Given the way that bankers are demonised, you'd think that evil businesses would have suffered less, but alas, everyone, from Auric Enterprises to Zorin Industries, is tightening their belts. If you can afford to hold off on that plan to build a solar weapon on another planet for a few years, you might pass the time with a high-stakes poker game that uses other people's money to fund terrorism, or an elaborate/nonsensical (delete as appropriate) plan to steal South America's water supply.

Step three: forget common sense

Don't let the amount of money you're piling into your plan put you off the trail to successful antagonism of the Earth. Your inner critic may protest when you sink millions into nerve gas and a nuclear bomb, with the goal of irradiating the world's wealth. Don't worry about such quibbles – you are your own worst critic. (Bond notwithstanding.)

Suggestion: write down any potential problems with your plan, and stow them away in a drawer, so that you can reflect upon them when the project is complete. Then, if/when it fails, at least you have some of your reservations stored away for posterity so that you don't appear to be a total lunatic.

If at any point, you're feeling unsure of your plan, just remember that a lack of practicality and common sense are time-honoured features in the kind of crises against which Bond is usually pitted. Let's take a look at a case study, involving Bond's arch-nemesis and three-time big winner at Nickelodeon's Evil Teen Choice Awards, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. 

SPECTRE's number one man, most commonly unseen in a wheelchair, is most famous for pioneering a classic villain plot – provoking war between the superpowers by pilfering their stuff and framing other nations for the theft. Even he had a bash at some weird plans: what was that diamond laser all about? And we can all marvel at the cheese dream that was his most splendid plan, to brainwash scantily-clad women with allergies into spreading a sterility virus.

His most famous plan, of provoking nations into destroying one another, has been tried time and time again by mere pretenders, of course. Elliott Carver did it, with the distinctively unambitious goal of selling newspapers (he wrote a book on this topic, under the pseudonym of Mupert Rurdoch) and even Karl Stromberg gave it a bash, with the daffy plan of rebuilding civilisation under the sea – not the smartest, but at least he fully committed to step two with his expensive sea-base.

Still, the high watermark of nonsensical plotting is not in the water at all, but in outer space, where Hugo Drax plotted to wipe out the population of Earth with a deadly nerve agent, and repopulate it with a race of selected really ridiculously good-looking people. This was so stupid, that even the response was proportionately dopey, with the one and only deployment of America's space laser cops. This is level 11 daffy-ness, and we advise you to garner experience in minor villainy over many years, before indulging in such whooping and idiotic ambition.

Step four: corrupt ecological causes and technologies wherever possible 

If you're truly going to dedicate yourself to making the planet slightly less enjoyable for everyone, you need not be entirely selfish, nor should you adhere too closely to expectations. For many years, there's been a reliance on nuclear weapons in villainy, and you might stand out from your peers by actively misusing technology that's intended for the complete opposite of your plan. 

While it's all very well to smuggle cocaine into America by dissolving it in petrol, or gaining a monopoly on heroin, those are both selfish plans, involving substances and materials that we already knew were bad in some way or another. Now, look at Scaramanga, for instance, who wanted to get his mitts on a Solex Agitator, to use clean solar energy as a weapon he could sell to the highest bidder.

Could you bring yourself to use a solar-powered toaster after that, without thinking of nipples? An entire clean energy source, ruined in the eyes of the bleeding hearts who might try and save this wretched planet. Later, Gustav Graves used solar power to blow up a bunch of minefields between North and South Korea, but we don't advise that you rely on CGI in your plans. 

Drax used a rare orchid to distil his nerve gas. Blofeld tried to spread sterility through women in bikinis. Dominic Greene stole, er... water. Ruining some good things is the key to being really evil. Even if you merely run over a puppy in a Toyota Prius, the enterprising megalomaniac is always looking to make the world a little worse for everyone else, instead of just making it better for himself.

Step five: get killed by James Bond

Regrettably, this is an essential part of the five-point plan, and it's part of why this guide is so frequently read by so many who are destined to be killed by James Bond. You don't get many people sitting around in bars, talking about the time they got away. The odds are, your plan will end in failure, and as your sky-base crashes towards the ground, you'll be eulogised with an awful quip as he escapes and gets lost with your girlfriend, probably at sea.

We can at least promise that you're probably going to have a memorable death. On a boring day, he's just going to shoot you a couple of times and have done with it. Or worse, one of his mates will kill you ignominiously. But if you're lucky enough, you'll be that guy they talk about in hushed tones, about how you fell off the Golden Gate Bridge, or got crushed by a radar dish, or swallowed compressed gas and exploded. 

Worse still, you don't really count as a Bond villain if you ever actually succeed in killing James Bond yourself. After all that work you've put into the plan, it's only sporting to boast about it while he's under your power, and test how airtight your preparations have been. If you do feel the need for catharsis, you can have a go at torturing him a bit, or trying to kill him a couple of times and just assuming he's out of your hair, without actually looking for the body. This is all standard protocol when tangling with Bond.

Did we mention that he's a complete bastard? Because other than that, you have to admire his success rate. Whatever he doesn't kill, he shags, and our best men are still researching his apparent natural immunity to all sexually transmitted diseases. He's ruthless, he gambles too much, and he drinks too much. He's just awful, really. And mean.

Still, if you've read all of this and still want to take him on, then congratulations! You're definitely on your way to the cool, calculated lunacy that it takes to pick a fight with 007. We wish you the very best of luck.

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Seems like quite a few Bond baddies fail at this then, as a surprising number are not killed by 007:

Rosa Klebb
Largo
Blofeld (main baddie for three movies)
Kristatos
Khan & Orlov
Gogol & Koskov
Le Chiffre
Greene & Mr White

Then there's Zorin and Goldfinger who are only presumed to be dead after a fight with Bond. Up for debate whether they died or whether Bond "killed" them.

Not forgetting the secondary baddies who just get away (Irma Bunt) or reform: Jaws, Pussy Galore.

It's arguable that Blofeld was killed at the beginning of For Your Eyes Only. They may not call him Blofeld, but clearly it's meant to be Blofeld. So it just took Bond a bit longer than usual.

This is a fantastic article! Love the fact Bond is "an utter bastard", really sums up 50 years of character well. :L brilliant.

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