HOLLYWOOD – Talking EXCLUSIVELY for the first time, James Bond sniper Arthur Whistle spills the beans on his job.
Arthur Whistler is in every James Bond movie though you’ve never seen his face. He’s the sniper who has followed the pacing secret agent that began every film except Dr No. This is an extract from his autobiography License to Be Shot.
I began working at Elstree in 1964 just after I got out of the library. I knew Maurice Binder from his brother who was a wall hanger. In those days walls weren’t built from the ground up but were hung on hooks. And he did that. Maurice said to me ‘How do you fancy shooting someone Wednesday?’ I was free so I took the job. It was supposed to be Sean Connery, but he couldn’t be arsed, so tried to shoot the stunt double. I was all set up. Maurice had his camera aligned using mirrors so he could get a view right down the gun barrel. But then at the last minute the blighter swiveled and shot directly at me. I was so surprised I got a nose bleed and the blood ran down the camera lens. Maurice was not a very forgiving man and swore extravagantly at me. Yet when I went to see Dr No, they’d kept the blood in.
Different Bonds, James Bonds.
We didn’t film a new sequence for every movie. But we did re-do it when there was a new Bond and Sean Connery finally pulled his finger out to do one. Each time Maurice swore that I’d be able to get a shot away and yet each time it was I that got shot. It became a bit of a game. Roger Moore practiced his hip swivel for days. Timothy Dalton came from the theatre so he alway projected! Pierce Brosnan was Irish so he spent half the day facing in the wrong direction. Because he was Irish. That is to say stupid.
Now we have Daniel Craig and he’s very modern and gritty, but he’s also very sweet. When he came in to film his sequence, he brought jam doughnuts for everyone. The crew and everyone. I’m 91 now so I do tend to shake a little and my memory isn’t what it used to be. I told him that I was sorry about making him do it again and again and then someone realized I’d put live rounds in the rifle. I always do, I told them. For realism. Daniel was a bit upset. And I didn’t get a second jam doughnut.