Bond is back, but in a slightly different way then you might expect. This time the superhero is played by a Dutchy and the episode is called ‘Never Chick Out’. The film is produced, written and directed by Arjen van Lith. Say goodbye to Brosnan or Connery, because here is the very impressive Oscar Haffmans, who gained 10 kgs for this role.
James Bond is a lonesome knight in a society which is rapidly going downhill. The Netherlands are urgently in need of a well integrated superhero. Only a sophisticated Dutch Bond can save the Low Countries from going even lower. Van Lith denies allegations that today’s policital climate in The Netherlands is the reason why the enemy in Never Chick Out is a foreigner (played by the enigmatic Patrick Healy): “Foreign is a matter of perspective, of self-obsession,” Van Lith told your correspondent, “I wanted the villain to be a scholar on Joycean Tragedy. He happens to be Irish, but we are all in the Union now, so we’re fucked anyway. I will stay away from politics until I run for office.” Asked what office he meant exactly, Van Lith looked at me like only Van Lith can look at me.
Why did you choose Haffmans to play Bond?
“I really wanted Oscar to play the part. For years he has been living according to the books of Ian Fleming. The fact that this lifestyle has brought him into serious financial troubles, makes his acting only more powerful. Casting Directors willl line up and his excessive way of living will finally pay itself back. Play who you want to be and you will become this person in the end.”
One of Van Lith’s previous projects was turning the plastic bags of Dutch supermarket chain Dirk van de Broek into a highly fashionable collection of clothing and interior objects. How did he come up with the idea of a Bond homage? Wasn’t he able to come up with a superhero himself? Van Lith:”James bond is an idol with the power and the interest of a multinational. He is an institution and the distance with the audience is therefore large. But icons and brands, whether it is Harry Potter, Dirk van den Broek or James Bond are common possession. We can play with them and use them to create our own world, our own heroic feats.”
Never Chick Out has been produced in a unique way. Contrary to the avalanche of Christmas blockbusters, this film had no prewritten dialogues, no marketing plan, and no previews with carefully selected test panels. Aren’t you afraid the film will become a flop?
Van Lith: “It’s of course a risk, the film might fail. But I am not interested in that. I didn’t want any studio execs to alter the story line. And that’s the reason Never Chick Out has become a real Bond-movie: nobody will be able to make head nor tail of it. During the shoot everyone asked me: ?Why is he doing this?”. It’s simple: because we liked doing it. Film used to be an exclusive product, but with today’s techniques everyone can make a movie. Never Chick Out was made with a budget of €5.000 and a pneumothorax, but it was worth absolutely every sacrifice.”
Is Never Chick Out the beginning of a new franchise and will you use Oscar again?
“There will definitely be another James Bond episode. With Oscar? I’d rather live to die another day.”