My first response to Bill Desowitz‘s James Bond Unmasked was “what in particular has been masked about the Bond series, or about the actors who’ve played him over the last 50 years? Haven’t they all spoken out at one time or another, and with a fair amount of candor?”

But after reading his interviews with all six Bond guys — Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig — a satisfying sense of summation or completion kicks in. A finality as far as it goes. The gang’s all here. Has anyone spoken to all six and put them together in a single volume?

The book is well written, well observed, rich, rewarding.

Desowitz and I spoke a day or two ago, or just after seeing Skyfall at the Grove. We covered most of the basics, the lore, the stories. Connery, Lazenby, Moore, etc. (I even mentioned my visit with Moore on the Pinewood Studios set of For Your Eyes Only.) Here’s the mp3.

It took Desowitz ten years to interview everyone and write it just so, proofread, pull the art together and so on. He’s been telling me about it for a long while. I was sent a copy a few weeks back, but I didn’t start reading until Skyfall was fast approaching.

Desowitz spoke to Connery on the set of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or about ten years ago. He reports that Connery, normally unenthused about discussing the Bond series and evasive for the most part, was in a receptive frame of mind because it mentally took him away from the frustration and unhappiness of working on Gentlemen, and particularly under director Stephen Norrington. A ten year-old interview obviously can’t be called fresh or new, but has Connery spoken to anyone about Bond since?