Bond: “Yeah, why not?”
Q: “Because you’ll release this section of the roof, and engage and then fire the passenger ejector seat.”
Bond: “Ejector seat? You’re joking!”
Q (dramatic pause): “I never joke about my work, Double O Seven.”
There’s a nice nod to that scene in “Die Another Day,” in which Cleese has replaced Llewelyn as Q, and is giving Bond an “invisible” Aston Martin V12 Vanquish.
Bond: “You’re joking!”
Q: “As I learned from my predecessor, Bond, I never joke about my work.”
A goofy scene in “Octopussy” has Q and Bond together in a hot air balloon.
Bond: “I trust you can handle this contraption, Q?”
Q: “It goes by hot air.”
Bond: “Oh, then you can.”
Whishaw’s performance as Q retains the often dry and witty humor between the two men, but there’s also an added friction.
“I am replacing an older Q, so Bond is meeting me for the first time,” said Whishaw. “It starts fairly adversarially because obviously Bond is not expecting Q to be this young guy. The film plays with a tension between us because of my being younger, and the relationship between us being sort of reversed. It’s the experienced one versus the young turk, the relatively inexperienced one, who has the latest knowledge and information.”
In playing the iconic part, Whishaw tried his best to give Q his own stamp.
“I’d seen the other Bond films,” he said. “But I didn’t watch them again. I thought I needed to come to this fresh. The writers had done a brilliant job of capturing the quality that Q traditionally has, whilst reimagining him as this very contemporary young man. So I felt like it was all there on the page, and I suppose I wanted it to be mine and to have the opportunity to reinvent it to some extent.”
But don’t worry. The old relationship between the characters lives on. When Bond and Q first meet in “Skyfall,” the conversation goes like this.
Q: “I’m your new quartermaster.”
Bond: “You must be joking.”
Ed Symkus can be reached at email@example.com.