As the latest James Bond adventure, Skyfall, is set to debut in U.S. theatres this weekend, you might have noticed some familiar ESPN personalities shedding some light on all things 007.
Football analysts Desmond Howard and Trent Dilfer are featured as part of an ESPN multimedia campaign, including part of a two-page spread in the latest ESPN The Magazine. It’s the result of a multimedia collaboration between ESPN and Sony Pictures, said Ashley Smith, senior director, Creative Works, part of ESPN’s Marketing Solutions department.
“Our approach to this campaign was unique as we wanted to take our fans inside one of the most iconic franchises in pop culture history, with a perspective from two familiar ESPN analysts,” Smith said.
“ESPN and Sony riffed on the concept together developing what ultimately would be entertaining for our fans, yet what the Bond folks were comfortable revealing behind the scenes.”
With the film scheduled for a premiere during football season, Howard and Dilfer were ideal candidates to reach the action film’s target audience.
Earlier this year, they spent three days at Pinewood Studios in London. They drove the iconic Aston Martin car that Bond, portrayed by Daniel Craig, uses. They met with Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes; Dilfer met with the film’s stunt coordinator, and Howard had a chance to interview Craig’s co-stars Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe.
“My role was a lot of work,” said Howard, a longtime member of College GameDay Built By The Home Depot crew.
“We would meet in the evening at dinner and map out the next day. I had to interview two of the Bond girls. I observed the casino scene they filmed. I also spoke with the head of wardrobe.”
Howard raved about driving the Aston Martin while wearing a tux, Bond-style.
“It’s a really odd drive because everything is on the opposite side, so I was shifting with my left hand,” he said.
“The car didn’t stall on me, but believe me, I definitely gunned it a couple of times.”
Neither Howard or Dilfer makes a cameo in the film.
“All I’m saying is, if you have me out there, you might as well just throw me in the background during the casino scene,” Howard joked. “I don’t need a speaking part. Just hand me some chips.”
ESPN Communications publicists Keri Potts and Amy Phillips contributed to this post.