Translated by Emmellina De Feo
His is the largest European collection (and amongst the most important in the world) of all things “Bond”: posters, objects, books, gadgets, models, autographs, photos, puppets, masks, mementos and thousands of other things, all stuffed in dozens of display cases scattered throughout the premises of his hotel, the Admiral Hotel, located in the city center of Milan.
The author of seven papers about this world-famous character, Edward Coffrini Dell’Orto crafts reportages from Bond locations for various European fan clubs, advises movie studios, and in Casino Royale he even appears as an extra in the role of the doctor on the set of Villa del Balbianello.
He has met a long series of celebrities belonging to the Bond world, from Pierce Brosnan to Sean Connery, from Roger Moore to Daniel Craig, from Giancarlo Giannini to Ursula Andress, from Halle Berry to Caterina Murino, just to name a few.
How did this passion for 007 come about?
When I turned seven years old, I was gifted a Corgi Aston Martin DB5. The “270” for enthusiasts. From then on, it became like the first coin for Scrooge McDuck. I also played non-stop, 24 hours a day with that little toy car of James Bond’s, and that’s how it remained a legend to me.
Who is your favorite Bond girl?
Pussy Galore, for her ambiguous character that Bond succeeds in seducing, and then Monica Bellucci, that I waited a long time for.
Favorite actor in the role of Bond and why?
Roger Moore, because you never forget your first love. The best actor remains Sean Connery, but Moore must be recognized for his intelligence, class and irony with which he knew how to reinvent the figure of James Bond without imitating the inimitable original.
Favorite bad guy and why?
Adolfo Celi, a total genius, even at the international level. A legend, and elegant figure that in my memory will always remain Professor Sassaroli of My Friends (Amici Miei).
Favorite Bond punch line?
“Do you lose as gracefully as you win? I don’t know, I’ve never lost”. Or the response that Roger Moore gave to the BBC journalist that asked him: “Who has been the best actor of the series? Why, have there been others?”
An Italian actor, past or present, that could have played the role of Bond?
I would have seen Marcello Mastroianni, one of the greatest Italian actors, in that role.
They say that after Daniel Craig, the actor Idris Elba could be the future Bond. Could there be, then, a future 007 of color?
Ian Fleming has always been a snob, for him the English race has always been superior to others, therefore…Of course, never say never, they’ve been talking about it for years, but I believe that in the end they’re only rumors. For me, James Bond is, and always will be, white and English.
Which actor would you like to see in the role of Bond?
Rupert Everett would have been perfect, he has the face and the rebellious lock of hair just like the way Bond was described by Fleming and drawn by John McLusky, his first cartoonist. Before Daniel Craig, I could have seen Hugh Jackman in the role.
Daniel Craig has often stated that his 007 character is better because the ones before were misogynistic and sexist. Do you agree?
You can color Bond any way you like, he can be seen as a man held hostage by women or a sexist misogynist. He had a difficult childhood, he lost both his mother and father, his great loves ended tragically; of the two women that he loved, one was killed and the other committed suicide. He is a man that has become very hardened, and perhaps it is due to his profound pain that he covers himself in this sexism of his.
What do you feel has been the best Bond movie?
Mendes made the best movie that I’ve ever seen about 007 at the movie theater.
A piece that you would like to have in your collection?
The 1977 Lotus Esprit submarine car, but the real one, that was equipped with Lotus carburetors by my uncle.
What do mean?
My family has been making carburetors since 1933. My uncle, through a James Bond-type operation of espionage was able to mount our carburetors on the legendary Lotus driven by Roger Moore in the movie “The Spy Who Loved Me”.
How many pieces do you have in this collection dedicated to 007?
I’ve never counted them, I’m a “hoarder”; I may also have three or four identical objects. I find them in the street markets, I also search on the web for them, and I get them. I think I have thousands of pieces. Let’s say between six and seven thousand….
With all of these objects around…do you feel a bit like James Bond?
Certainly. How could I not?
Here’s a tough question…. Do you know exactly how old the character of James Bond is?
Easy. Thanks to his creator, the writer Ian Fleming, we know when he was born: In the second to last novel by the English author entitled, You Only Live Twice, the obituary written by Sir Miles Messervy, or rather M, Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) director, is brought back, from which it appears that Commander Bond was born on November 11, 1924. This year, then, our Secret Agent with a License to Kill will turn 94! And he doesn’t look it at all!