Interview with Roger Moore

The following interview was taken from "The Incredible World of 007" by Lee Pfeiffer and Philip Lisa.

Q:  Is it true that you were originally considered for the role of James Bond by Ian Fleming?

A:  I have no idea.  I never met Ian Fleming, but I remember when the search for Bond was going on.  I really wasn't aware of Bond until then.  I was doing The Saint and The Daily Express was conducting a search for Bond.  However since I was involved with The Saint I would not have been available, although Cubby told me later I had been on "the short list."

Q:  You were asked, however to play the rolde on subsequent occasions.

A:  Yes, before George Lazenby took over.  At that time they were talking about going to Cambodia, and all hell broke loose and things got postponed.  Lew Grade decided to sell a series Tony Curtis and I did- The Persuaders- which sort of precluded me from doing Bond.  They then had the search and came up with George Lazenby.

Q:  Although that was an excellent series, it wasn't a hit in the U.S.  Is that why you were unexpectantly free to play Bond in Live and Let Die?

A:  Well, the show was an enormous hit in Europe and is still quite popular there.  However, its cancellation did allow me to do the Bond film.

Q:  Did you have any reservations about following in Connery's footsteps?

A:  I didn't have any reservations, because, as I said at the time, four or five thousand actors have played Hamlet!  Everyone had their own interpretation.  The only time I had any nervousness about what was going to happen occurred after I had finished the film.  I was in a car heading to London for our first big press conference prior to the opening, and the nerves lasted about three minutes.  I realized it was rather like being on the way to a delivery room, and that kid's going to come out one way or another!

Q:  Did you consciously try to give the character your own individual style, as opposed to Lazenby, who adopted Connery's methods?

A:  Well, Lazenby had a big disadvantage in that he hadn't been an actor before, but he was a model.  He did look good, and that is how he came into the role.  I was already fairly established, so I didn't have that disadvantage.  For OHMSS, I think Peter Hunt did an excellent job.  I think the film was a very good episode in the Bond series.  Guy Hamilton learned from the experiences on that film, however, and later said we would avoid doing anything that would result in my being directly compared with Sean.  I never said anything like "A martini - shaken, not stirred."

Q:  Is it true you "ad-libbed" much of your dialogue?

A:  They were well rehearsed "ad-libs"!  They were particularly prevalent on the films Lewis Gilbert directed.  We used to have a great fun with Desmond Llewelyn, although I later had the co-operation of John Glen.  For example, Desmond always hated wearing shorts!  I would always allow him to overhear me say that the script should call for Desmond to wear shorts.  It used to drive him mad!  Most of the ad-libs were discussed in advance with the writer, the director and Cubby.   We would sometimes shoot two or three versions, and whichever one worked, we would use.  One of the best one-liners was written by Tom Mankiewicz for Diamonds are Forever.  Sean meets Lana Wood at a craps table in Las Vegas, and she says "My name is O'Toole - Plenty O'Toole."  Sean replies "After your father perhaps?"  Mankiewicz gave me a great line, which I loved as well, in Man with the Golden Gun.  When I hold the sights of the rifle down on the gunmaker and say "Speak now or forever hold your piece!"

Q:  We understand there was always a spirit of cooperation among everyone on the set.

A:  Yes, the series could not have gone on for this length of time without that cooperation.  A lot of the original team have stayed with the series all the way through.  For instance, Cubby was always very avuncular, and absolutely lovely to have around.  He would always have the backgammon board ready.  We had a running game going from my first film to my last.

Q:  When you first signed on as 007, did you envision you would be playing the role through seven films over a period of 12 years?

A:  I didn't think I would go beyond two!  I figured the films would have run their course.  As it went on, people would ask me "How does it keep running?"  Well, it was like a fairy tale for kids - basically the same story, and it must never change.  People know what to expect when they go to see a Bond film.  They pay their money, and get their money's worth.  The set are beautiful, the locations are glamorous, the ladies are lovely, the action is there -tongue in cheek, and very spectacular.

Q:  Can you recall any stunts that placed you in personal danger?

A:  All of them - like getting up out of a chair!  In fact, in The Spy Who Loved Me a stunt involving a chair left me with 3 holes in my backside where most people only have one!  Originally, I was supposed to be behind the chair, which was protected with steel lining.  An explosion was to go on in front of it.  I said there really wasn't any suspense, and it would be much more effective if I was sitting down.  So I did.  The explosion went off just a bit too soon, and now I need 3 toilets!  It was painful and embarrassing. I had to go twice a day down to the studio nurse and have the dressings changed on my backside!

Q:  Were you an admirer of the series prior to taking over the role of Bond?

A:  I hadn't seen all of them.  Cubby and Harry were friends of mine.  We used to sit around the (gambling) tables like real life James Bonds, and that's how we met.  They would sometimes show me the films in the Audley Square screening room.  I think Sean was terrific.  Years later when we were both doing our Bond films simultaneously, we would see each other and commiserate with the discomfort of it all - you know, what they were doing to him and what they were doing to me in terms of stunts, and all that.  Sean and I are now trying to find a film in which Michael Caine could be involved.  I think it would be a mistake for Sean and I to play up "The Two James Bonds", however.

Q:  Do you have an opinion of Timothy Dalton's interpretation of 007?

A:  I must tell you the truth - I have not seen them, and for a very good reason.  Knowing that I would et asked questions like that, I'm always desperately honest.  If I didn't like the performance, I don't know how I would answer.  I do know Timothy, and he is a very, very pleasant chap and a good actor.

Q:  Do you have a personal favorite among the films in the series?

A:  Among the ones I did, The Spy Who Loved Me was the one I enjoyed best.  I think it was the one where all the elements worked.  It had the right balance of locations and humor.  I also enjoyed working with Lewis Gilbert tremendously.

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