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Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (right), has the undivided attention of Businessman, Christopher Blackwell, at the recent launch of the new James Bond movie in Oracabessa, St. Mary, slated for a 2020 release. Segments will be filmed in Jamaica.
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • The town of Port Antonio, Portland, no stranger to big movies and Hollywood celebrities, is once again in the international spotlight, thanks to the 25th and latest in the iconic James Bond movie series.
  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who participated at the recent launch of ‘James Bond 25’, at the Golden Eye Resort in Oracabessa, St. Mary, “the spiritual home” of James Bond creator and British author, Ian Fleming, said Port Antonio, where a significant portion of the new movie will be filmed, “is one of the most worthy of choices”.
  • “Port Antonio has had a long and rich history of being the home of some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities and is always a first-choice destination for movie producers. The great Hollywood legend, Errol Flynn, and his actress wife, Patrice Wymore-Flynn, lived in the resort town for most of their adult lives, bringing along many of their movie star friends for extended visits,” the Minister told JIS News.

The town of Port Antonio, Portland, no stranger to big movies and Hollywood celebrities, is once again in the international spotlight, thanks to the 25th and latest in the iconic James Bond movie series.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who participated at the recent launch of ‘James Bond 25’, at the Golden Eye Resort in Oracabessa, St. Mary, “the spiritual home” of James Bond creator and British author, Ian Fleming, said Port Antonio, where a significant portion of the new movie will be filmed, “is one of the most worthy of choices”.

“Port Antonio has had a long and rich history of being the home of some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities and is always a first-choice destination for movie producers. The great Hollywood legend, Errol Flynn, and his actress wife, Patrice Wymore-Flynn, lived in the resort town for most of their adult lives, bringing along many of their movie star friends for extended visits,” the Minister told JIS News.

“From a tourism standpoint and also from an economic standpoint, this is very good for residents and stakeholders in the entire parish of Portland, and from this day forward, I can see only good things happening from what is undisputedly one of the most beautiful parts of the island,” Mr. Bartlett added.

He said that in dialogue with the production team at the launch, there was little doubt as to “their overall feeling” about Port Antonio, adding that the town can no longer be called “Jamaica’s best kept secret”.

“That secret is out… and out in a big way. You don’t get much bigger than James Bond – one of the greatest movie franchises ever – and we all know the love affair its founder, Ian Fleming, had with Jamaica over the years,” the Minister said.

Mr. Fleming, the British intelligence officer turned newspaper man and spy novelist, born 111 years ago this year, spent winters on his Caribbean getaway for almost two decades.

It was in Jamaica that he wrote more than a dozen novels and short stories featuring Agent 007, with ‘Dr. No’, ‘Live and Let Die’, ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’, and the short story, ‘Octopussy’, largely or partly set in Jamaica, and the films based on the first two were also shot here.

With a release date slated for April 2020 in cinemas throughout the United Kingdom, a large portion of the 007 (code number for James Bond) expected thriller will be filmed in the resort town, much to the delight of natives, both at home and throughout the diaspora, who are already predicting a major boost for Portland’s economic activities.

“Just like Cocktail with Tom Cruise and Club Paradise with that outstanding cast led by the late Robin Williams and Peter O’Toole, we expect this James Bond 25 to do wonders for Port Antonio,” said businesswoman and former President of the town’s resort Board, Marcia Lawrence, in an interview with JIS News.

“It will be great for the town and by extension, the parish – massive trickle-down benefits – from the supermarkets, gas stations, bars, bed and breakfast, and even considering the extras that are required for various shoots and those that are employed as part of the filming crew,” she said.

“We welcome the film-makers of the new James Bond movie and definitely encourage them to make time to enjoy the parish as well,” Ms. Lawrence said.

For her part, Port Antonio native, Nurse and Wellness Coordinator, Laura McGann, who currently resides in the United States, said “there is no better place in Jamaica to shoot a movie”.

“The beauty of Portland experienced through any movie will place it on everyone’s bucket list,” she said.

Entrepreneur and Tourism Consultant, Eunice Rashford, who is also from Port Antonio and resides in the United States, said there is no doubt the new James Bond movie will put Port Antonio on the map in a big way, reigniting memories of the past and where the town was “a haven for celebrities”.

Ms. Rashford, whose annual ‘Portland Paradise’ initiative, aimed at connecting overseas-based Portlanders with their local counterparts and with the long-term goal being to improve the economic situation in the parish through public-private sector partnerships, added that “any initiative that boosts our local economy while highlighting our parish, is a win-win”.