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This guy’s name is Bond . . . James Bond. He’s one of several featured in the new doc ‘The Other Fellow.’

In real life, there are hundreds of ‘other fellows’ who share the name of one of cinema’s most enduring characters

A still from “The Other Fellow,” directed by Matthew Bauer. One Texan James Bond details the long, proud lineage of Bond men in his family called James.The Other Fellow Limited

In the opening scene of the 1969 James Bond film, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” the second man ever to play the part of the famous fictional spy calls explicit attention to the fact that he’s not Sean Connery.

“This never happened to the other fellow,” George Lazenby says, exhausted from brawling on a beach, his formal attire sopping wet.

Famously, Lazenby made just that one appearance as James Bond in a lineage that now stretches to six actors, most recently Daniel Craig. But never mind Hollywood: In real life, there are hundreds of “other fellows” who share the name of one of cinema’s most enduring characters.


A still from “The Other Fellow” directed by Matthew Bauer. Guyana’s James Bond is never far from the impact of his fictional namesake. The Other Fellow Limited

That’s the premise of Australian director Matthew Bauer’s new documentary, “The Other Fellow,” available on demand beginning Feb. 17. Bauer’s film introduces us to at least 10 ordinary people named James Bond, including a New York City theater director, a retired Texas oilman, and an Indiana inmate accused of murder.

These men have next to nothing in common, besides the fact that they’re routinely asked if they prefer their martinis shaken, not stirred.

Men want to be him. Women want to be with him. That tagline, says Bauer, puts undue pressure on the real-life Bonds . . . James Bonds.

“It’s almost like these guys have a twin James Bond who they can never match up to,” said Bauer, who earned his master’s degree in directing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where his mentors included Todd Solondz and Oliver Stone.

“As a real person, you’re constantly compared to this man with the same name who is the world’s greatest womanizer, the world’s greatest action hero,” said Bauer, who grew up in Australia obsessed with the Bond oeuvre and the documentaries of Errol Morris. “You know what car he drives, you know his taste in women, what he drinks — all these things about him that are these markers of modern masculinity.”


One of Bauer’s main Bonds — the theater director — is gay. (Bauer himself identifies as LGBTQ.) The New York James Bond is clearly exasperated by all the jokes about Bond’s way with the ladies, but not so much that he won’t accept an offer to film a tongue-in-cheek television commercial that plays on his name.

A still from “The Other Fellow” directed by Matthew Bauer. New York’s James Bond lends his name to a US casino commercial. The Other Fellow Limited

The documentary doesn’t simply introduce us to a bunch of dudes named Bond. Bauer creates some clever intrigue by overlaying each new city he visits with an ominous score and a transparent high-tech screen displaying some of his latest subject’s vitals, much as an actual Bond film might.

“I’m trying to convey this ether of James Bond information that exists out there in the media/technology sphere,” he explained on a Zoom call last week. “That is really what brings these people together, where they collide and interact with one another.”

The James Bond accused of murder, who is Black, is sometimes confused with another Bond from the same city, a white MAGA-loving gun enthusiast. There’s a Bond obsessive in Sweden who runs a 007 museum. He’s so committed to the character that he applies to legally change his name to James Bond.

A still from “The Other Fellow” directed by Matthew Bauer. An Indiana family’s own bond helps their James Bond navigate life. The Other Fellow Limited

Lacking a proper father figure, the Swedish Bond thinks of Ian Fleming — the British author who created the character — as his “second father.” He says so while visiting Fleming’s grave in southwestern England.


Bauer also uncovers the story of the real-life James Bond whose name Fleming appropriated for the character. While writing the first Bond novel, “Casino Royale,” at his home in Jamaica in 1952, Fleming picked up a reference book, “Birds of the West Indies.” The author, an ornithologist from Philadelphia, was named James Bond.

It was just the sort of “quiet name” Fleming was seeking for his character, so he nicked it. Years later, after the fictitious James Bond became an international icon, Mr. and Mrs. Bond of Philadelphia paid a surprise visit to Fleming to extract an apology.

“In the ‘60s, they did a couple of five-minute radio interviews,” Bauer said. “We heard they existed, and after three years we managed to track down these old reel-to-reel tapes of those original recordings.”

He and his team also discovered some brief black-and-white film footage of the Bonds’ visit to Goldeneye, Fleming’s Jamaican estate.

Despite all the notoriety, the name James Bond is still in essence “a quiet name,” Bauer said. He noted the prevalence of “JB” names in the realm of action film and television: Jack Bauer, Jason Bourne.

“One of my characters says, ‘It’s a good, strong name. It rolls off the tongue.’ It’s just that it’s brought all this other noise with it.”

Matthew Bauer directed “The Other Fellow.” The Other Fellow Limited

Like any good Bond film, there’s a bit of a mystery that goes unsolved until the closing minutes of “The Other Fellow.” Earlier, we meet an unidentified woman who tells a harrowing tale of having a child with a man who turns out to be dangerously violent. She goes undercover to escape. How James Bond fits into this particular story — well, it’s shocking. Positively shocking.


Tacey Adams as Mary Wickham Bond and Gregory Itzin as husband James in a reenactment in “The Other Fellow.”The Other Fellow Limited

Initially, Bauer says, he contacted at least 100 men named James Bond. Many of them had already talked to reporters about sharing their name with an action hero; plenty of them declined to participate.

But for the ones who agreed, he said, “I think they liked the idea that I wanted to make a feature film about them.

“Now they all have their own movie.”

From left: London's James Hart (formerly James Bond) and Sweden's Gunnar James Bond Schäfer in “The Other Fellow.”The Other Fellow Limited

E-mail James Sullivan at Follow him on Twitter @sullivanjames.

James Sullivan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @sullivanjames.