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Bond surroundings help define a hero

Art Directors Guild Awards 2013

James Bond is my kind of superhero.

Wait a minute, superhero? Most people would argue that the Bond films fall smack dab in the spy genre. But maybe you weren’t there a half-century ago when James Bond rolled into rural Bucks County, Pa., and rocked my world. My family piled into the station wagon, drove to the movie theater, and sat rapt in a crowded theater while Agent 007 saved us all from some unforeseen evil villain.

And so began a regular pilgrimage to the coolest of cinematic offerings I can recall.

Still, why was he my kind of superhero? He’s cool, witty, charming, and he would never be caught dead in capes, headgear suggestive of a rodent, or spandex of any kind. No, my superhero now wears Tom Ford suits, thank you.

James Bond doesn’t sulk around behind dark neuroses or masks. He’s a real man who jumps in with utter confidence, saving our world with direct and insanely inventive action. In between he can be found squiring beautiful women and sipping his trademark cocktail.

Sure, Bond can’t fly or fire powerful beams of energy. He doesn’t need to. At MI6’s Q Branch he has access to the best vehicles, weapons, and gadgets one could possibly imagine. And in the course of his work, he takes us to the most exotic and interesting places on our planet. He led me into a world where anything you can conceive, you can realize on screen — the world of production design. Ken Adam shared his gift for stylish production design, a gift lasting over half a century, which continues to evolve and flourish through the talented eyes of “Skyfall” production designer Dennis Gassner.

Thank you, James Bond, for opening my eyes to this amazing world. You are my hero.

Welch’s credits include “Men in Black 3.”

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