MEET JAMES BOND, AND CHECK OUT HIS MUSEUM TO CELEBRATE 007
years ago this October, James Bond hit the big screen for the first
time. “Dr. No,” which hit movie theaters four years after Ian Fleming’s
book of the same name, started a string of 26 movies featuring 007 that
have captivated millions of moviegoers all over the world.
One such fan was an eight-year-old Swedish boy named
Gunnar Schäfer, who was hooked when he saw “Goldfinger” in 1965. That
boy turned into arguably one of the biggest James Bond fans in the
These days known as James Bond Gunnar Schäfer – yes, he
changed his name to include James Bond – the Swede operates the James
Bond 007 Museum in Nybro, Sweden, the only museum of its kind.
We recently caught up with Mr. Bond to find out more
about his passion for the world’s most famous spy.
You have been a James Bond fan
from an early age. But there are millions of James Bond fans. What made
you want to open a James Bond museum to celebrate 007?
To honor Ian Fleming and my father Johannes Schäfer, who
was in the Navy for Germany during the Second World War. My father
disappeared under mysterious circumstances during the Cold War in 1959,
when he was going back to Germany. Interpol searched 10 years after [my]
father before being declared dead in 1969. I searched online since the
1990s but found no Bond museum to visit, so I thought I could start one
myself in the small town of Nybro, Sweden.
“Goldfinger” was the first Bond
movie you ever saw. What do you remember about it, and what was it that
drew you into James Bond?
I was 8 years old in 1965 and got into the cinema and
watched the Bond film “Goldfinger” with my two older brothers at the
Nybro cinema called Royal. I knew that dad had disappeared during the
Cold War in 1959, and when I saw Sean Connery as Agent 007, I thought of
seeing a character that reminded how Dad could have had it during World
I started reading Ian Fleming’s books and finding a
common person who had the same experience during the war as my dad,
started to understand that those who played James Bond had resembled
background like my father. What was new and cool was the Aston Martin
DB5 with all the features, as well as Jill Masterson laying naked, dead
and covered with gold paint.
Also, do not forget that a few years earlier, color films
were taken at the cinemas and the soundtrack by Shirley Bassey.
long has the museum been open, and what can you tell us about visitors?
Where do they come from? How many each year?
The James Bond 007 Museum in Nybro started in 2002 in
connection with the Bond film “Die Another Day.” We have had visitors
from New Zealand to China, USA, Japan, Jamaica from all over the world.
Some visitors have their own Bond history to tell, where they have
visited Bond places and met various Bond actors over the years. The
number of visitors to the Nybro 007 museum has grown from about 100
visitors in the beginning to today about 5,000 to 6,000 visitors each
year. On the www.007museum.com website,
we have over 30 million visitors and 200 countries each month visiting
You have a little bit of
everything on display, even some of the cars driven by Bond in the
movies. How did you go about obtaining the pieces for the museum? How
about the cars?
The various Bond cars, vehicles, boats, Gondolas,
Motorcycles, Cessna 172 Skyhawk Aircraft, etc., were purchased from
private collectors, some from Ebay.
You changed your name to James
Bond and play the role for visitors to your museum. How does that add to
the experience for a visitor?
I changed my name in 2007 and got it approved by the
Swedish tax office. [The year] 2(007) occurs only once per thousand
years…So the next one who wants to be renamed Bond … James Bond will be
first 3007. Since I have a mobile number and home number that ends with
007, registration plate on the Aston Martin [007 JB], seven degrees on
the fridge 007 over my door in my house in Kalmar called GOLDENEYE, I
want to feel the presence of Bond and Ian Fleming in my life all the
time. I tell my visitors that come, in the cinema I show a documentary
about my life and history for all visitors so that they understand my
situation in a serious and credible manner.
You named your home GoldenEye
after the Bond movie, so we guess that’s one of your favorites? If you
had to name your Top 5 Bond movies, what would they be?
That’s right Goldeneye is my No. 1 Bond movie.
No. 5 “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” 1969 with George
Lazenby (Bond was married once)…
No. 4 “The Living Daylights” 1987 Timothy Dalton. Try to be like Ian
Fleming hard and cold.
No. 3 “The Spy Who Loved Me” 1977 with Roger Moore. Moore only Moore…
No. 2 “Casino Royale” 2006 Daniel Craig. Well done with Vesper.
No. 1 “GoldenEye” 1995 Pierce Brosnan. Took Bond in to 21st Century.
Are there one or two Bond movies
that are your least favorite?
In my opinion, “Die Another Day” in 2002 was the worst
movie technically [with] sounds [like] tsunami waves and surfing
animated in a computer, really low and unimaginative script by producers
Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, who had lost the red thread. The
producer Albert “Romolo” Broccoli’s last Bond movie before he died
“License To Kill” in 1989 became the worst before he left, was too
violent with bloody shark scene, the opium cartel with violent scenes,
nothing like a Bond movie to show on the screen.
has had a handful of Bond girls. Do you have a
favorite Swedish Bond girl? What about overall, who is your favorite
Bond girl (Swedish or non-Swedish)?
When “GoldenEye” came to the cinema after six years from
1989-1995, Pierce Brosnan came in as Bond with the Swedish Bond girl
Izabella Scorupco, their scenes together mainly on the beach where Bond
tries to find himself were very emotional, it reminds me a lot about my
own life, it also became the start of my Bond museum. I had met my
girlfriend in the summer of 1995, I had found my great love. The first
movie we saw was “GoldenEye.” She died in 2011 in a fire accident. In
“Casino Royale (2006)”, Bond’s girlfriend Vesper dies at the end of the
movie in a lift in the water. In “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” Bond
gets married but his wife Tracy di Vicenzo is killed at the end of the
film. In a way, it’s the same feeling for me in my real life. My
What’s next for the museum?
I’m constantly being contacted by people from all over
the world who want to sell Bond props. The latest in the line is from
England. Warwick Jacobs who started the world’s only Hovercraft museum
in Portsmouth/Gosport [United Kingdom], he wants to sell a Hovercraft
Osprey that Pierce Brosnan drove in “Die Another Day.” Warwick received
the Hovercraft by EON for his work on film recording in 2002. It was
intended that they would use Ekranoplan in the 007 movie but there was
no one to get in England so it had to be Hovercraft instead. I have
visited Warwick in Portsmouth and will be there when we will test the
Hovercraft before being transported to Sweden and the Bond Museum in
July this summer. I try to expand and develop all the time every day
happens something new.