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: DOUBLE-07: I'm the real Bond..not Pierce says star's stuntman Douglas.

Byline: REBECCA SMITH

FILM legend James Bond's body double boasted yesterday: "I am the real 007."

Professional lookalike Douglas James has been Irish superstar Pierce Brosnan's stuntman for eight years.

And since landing the lucrative job, he has enjoyed the jetset lifestyle of his on-screen alter ego - fast cars, top hotels and designer clothes.

Mr James - as he likes to be known - has just come back from Korea where he was filming the new Bond film Die Another Day.

He said: "I was driving a hovercraft. As we are in Bond's 40th anniversary the film is extra special."

But Douglas, who has appeared in the last three Bond films, reckons he is more like the suave 007 than family man Pierce Brosnan.

He said: "As I am a bachelor, play high adrenaline sports, and drive sports cars, I'm just like Bond, apart from the secret agent part. I travel all over the world - last month I was in my own bed for only seven nights.

"Sometimes I am flown across the pond on Concorde by companies for personal appearances and I'm going to Monte Carlo this week.

Polo player Douglas is slightly shorter than Pierce, 5ft 11in, and three years younger at 45. But his dark-haired Irish looks, for which he thanks his grandmother, make the pair look almost identical and he is often mistaken for the real Bond.

He said: "Being a double for Ireland's biggest film star means I am recognised all over the place. I was in Blackpool just before Pierce got married when two elderly Irish women came and said, 'Good luck with your wedding'.

"I just played along and said, 'Thanks,' otherwise they might think I was being arrogant."

Navan-born Pierce was first cast as 007 in 1984 but his contract would not allow him to accept the part.

But when he was approached again a decade later he was free to take the role - which is when Douglas stepped in.

He said: "You could say I waited 10 years to play Bond and it is a dream come true.

"It is glamorous, and I spend most of my time in a tux.

"The action scenes such as racing the cars are all things I would do in my spare time.

"One of the more outrageous things I have done was jumping out of a plane at 16,000 feet and plummeting at 125mph over Florida."

The fast living has paid off. Douglas earns a six-figure salary, drives a BMW Z3 - registration J 8OND - a Jaguar XJS and a Range Rover.

Douglas was picked for his likeness to Pierce and appeared in the pre-title sequence of Tomorrow Never Dies.

But unlike playboy Bond, he doesn't see himself as the eternal bachelor and is hoping to settle down soon.

Douglas said: "I have travelled everywhere - from Jakarta to Paris to all over America.

"But I've realised that if the right woman comes along then maybe it will be time to get married."

CAPTION(S):

ON A ROLE: Stars Halle and Pierce; IN ON THE ACT: Bond double Douglas James and Halle Berry lookalike perform dangerous roles which daredevil Douglas says he was born to play
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2002
Words:529
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