The creator of the James Bond stories, Ian Fleming, reportedly “loved drinking gin – sometimes a bottle a day – but was converted to bourbon at the suggestion of his doctor who thought it might be marginally less damaging for his health.”
Another news story reports that a letter from his wife Ann Fleming to a friend in the early ‘60s, after his first heart attack, said: “Ian’s life hangs by a thread. Such recovery as he can make depends on his self-control with cigarettes and alcohol.”
The article adds, “Such self-control wasn’t possible. Neither was Fleming’s enslavement to a gruelling writing regimen that was also killing him. On Aug. 12, 1964, he died of another heart attack at the age of 56. In a sense, Ian Fleming was destroyed by James Bond.”
Daniel Craig, currently playing James Bond again in “Skyfall,” thinks his character is “a borderline alcoholic, he always was!”
He notes many of Bond’s traits are similar to those of Ian Fleming, who “fought a lot of pain through his life. He anaesthetised himself with alcohol and painkillers.”
The director of “Skyfall,” Sam Mendes said in a radio interview with NPR’s Morning Edition program that he recalled running into Craig at a party a few years ago and began talking.
“We both had a couple of drinks and I asked him when he was doing the new Bond movie. And he said, ‘I don’t know.’ And I said, ‘And who’s going to direct it?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know. Why don’t you do it?’“ Mendes said.
“I hadn’t any particular agenda in asking him. I was just making small talk, literally. But it never occurred to me until he said it. I think Daniel sobered up the next day, realized that he’d offered me the job, and it wasn’t really his position to do that. So he called the producers, and two weeks later I met them.”
From Sam Mendes Owes ‘Skyfall’ Gig to Daniel Craig – and, Possibly, Alcohol, By Leah Rozen, BBC America, November 9th, 2012.
Some years ago, when he heard that he was chosen to be the new Bond, Daniel Craig said,”I was shopping, and I dropped what I was carrying. I went straight to the alcohol section and got myself a bottle of vodka and a bottle of vermouth and went back and made myself a Martini – or two.” [The Sunday Herald, Oct. 16, 2005]
Acclaimed for his toned look as the new James Bond, Craig has commented about his training regime: “I’m not obsessive about fitness. I work out three or four times a week but I take the weekends off and drink as much Guinness as I can get down my neck.” [mi6.co.uk]
A number of people with exceptional abilities have used drugs, alcohol and other substances – perhaps as self-medication to ease the pain and overwhelm of their sensitivity, or perhaps as a way to enhance thinking and creativity. Sometimes they risk addiction. More often, they limit their health and mental clarity needed for creative excellence.
Alcohol And Drugs ‘Stifle Artistic Creativity’ by Medical News Today