Ben Whishaw on 007's gadgets and channelling Mark Zuckerberg for the role of Q in Skyfall

With Skyfall brimful of tech, we talk to 007's IT guru about James Bond's arsenal of explosive gadgetry

Q (that’s short for Quartermaster, FYI) returns to Bond in Skyfall. This time around he's played by British up-and-comer Ben Whishaw, who gives us the lowdown on a Bond gadget icon...

Q is a computer genius

“He’s obviously a much younger man than in previous Bond films. He’s inspired by people like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey – people who have become incredibly powerful in their own ways over the past decade. The Quartermaster is traditionally an army colonel and now it’s this boy with a laptop under his arm, which isn’t what Bond’s expecting, so he really has to win him over.”

Q comes into his own in Skyfall

“The villain is also a hacker, so Q meets his match. He doesn’t just deliver the gadget and disappear; he’s tested more than that. Bond really raises an eyebrow when introduced to Q because Q has a position of authority in this world that Bond isn’t trained in. Q’s function is always as a counterpoint and contrast to Bond, either because he’s older or, in Skyfall, much younger. He’s the brains, Bond is the brawn. They’re different kinds of brilliance.”

The gadgets aren’t about spectacle

“It’s more about realism. Apart from the gun that’s coded to Bond’s palmprint, there aren’t that many gadgets in the film. The writers have tried to find the humour in that; it’s about how much he can do with his laptop. There’s a tiny radio, but the idea is that it’s disappointing. Bond expects something impressive and gets given this radio the size of a postage stamp. There is still a streak of comedy in Q’s interaction with Bond, but he’s not entirely ridiculous.”

This is an abridged version of the full interview, available now in the November issue of Stuff magazine and Stuff iPad edition.

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