The debate over the best James Bond actor has been raging for years, inevitably heightened whenever a new actor dons the debonair, devil-may-care 007 persona for a new film in the British spy series.
Whether your preference is the dashing Daniel Craig or the magnetism of Pierce Brosnan, there is no arguing the fact that the creator of the character was fully and completely in love and inspired by the island of Jamaica.
Like many other creatives, British actor and journalist Ian Fleming discovered the beauty of Jamaica and fed off its aura, which fueled his creativity for many years.
Fleming penned all 14 novels in his bungalow in Oracabessa, St Ann, and the stories have come to life with superb cinematography that captures some of Jamaica’s most picturesque landscapes, one of the most noteworthy being Dr No, starring the recently deceased actor Sean Connery.
Some easily recognisable cultural pieces in the film are Dunn’s River Falls, the streets of Kingston and bottles of the iconic Red Stripe Beer.
The 1995 blockbuster GoldenEye was so named as a nod to the GoldenEye estate where Fleming lived during his time on the island.
Jamaica’s involvement with the franchise has since continued and has been used as a filming location.
The Bond film Live and Let Die featured a cottage at Half Moon and the latest instalment in the franchise No Time to Die scheduled for a 2021 release, was filmed in part in Jamaica.
Over the years, Jamaica has been featured in other major Hollywood flicks, including the 1988 picture The Cocktail with actor Tom Cruise playing the leading man; and the 1993 thriller/drama The Firm also starring Tom Cruise, featuring a scene where he and Gene Hackman enjoy bottles of Red Stripe beer.
The groundbreaking film The Harder They Come, which also featured the local brand, brought cultural exposure for the island.
The film was the first of its kind to have a soundtrack entirely of reggae music, and the international appeal of the film helped the genre explode in mainstream media.
In fact, movies filmed in Jamaica or those that aspire to depict authentic Jamaican culture usually feature iconic elements such as reggae and the Great Jamaican Beer as movie producers and directors try to capture the essence of the culture.
‘The pride that comes when we see our products being featured in critically acclaimed movies starring world-renowned actors is tremendous.’
It is certainly flattering and humbling to know that we are representing Jamaica on an international scale with a product that is synonymous with Jamaica,’ according to Dianne Ashton-Smith, head of corporate affairs at Red Stripe.
‘We relish any opportunity to boast of our country and all it can offer to the world.’
‘Opportunities for exposure’, she continued, ‘such as those provided by an appearance in a film, are truly special and unique.’
‘We will always use the power of Red Stripe, the Great Jamaican Beer to push Brand Jamaica into the spotlight using whatever resources we have at our disposal.’
The relatability and recognition of Brand Jamaica throughout the world is a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage and the power of cultural icons, like Red Stripe that have crossed over into the international sphere to make true the saying ‘wi likkle but wi tallawah’.