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Our story of the month: October 2006

"I am an excellent lover"

© James Cameron-Wilson

It was glitter time again. For Your Eyes Only, the twelfth James Bond film, was having the United Artists publicity treatment. Prior to the starry Royal premiere, with His Royal Highness Prince Charles and HRH Princess Diana (then Lady Diana Spencer) in attendance, the press en masse were granted an advance screening and a reception to meet the stars, producers and those all-leggy, voluptuous "Bond beauties". The last-named were there by the harmful. Blondes, blacks, brunettes, with pouting rouged lips, billowing sleeves, plateaux of exposed mahogany flesh - enough female ammunition to cause a journalist to forget his notes.

And then you see him. Towering above the throng, calm and self-composed, protected behind a Carribean tan, a Havan cigar and a half-mocking smile. Roger Moore, the perfect English gentleman and arguably England's most popular film property, is back as Bond - for the fifth time.

Introduced by Julian Glover, the latest "Bond villain", Roger took my hand firmly, his clear blue eyes studying mine. After exchanging the customary niceties, the actor's studied aloofness melted into genuine interest when I told him I lived in Denham, Buckinghamshire, Roger's English home for many years.

"Whereabouts?" he asked, his Bond facade slipping completly. "In Denham Village". "How near are you to where Sir Johnny Mills lives" ?, he enquired further. So I explained, hedge by hedge, in order to satiate his interest.

Denham, once the home of Denham studios and until recently the dwelling for many a star name, boasted among its residents Roger Moore, John Mills, James Mason and Cilla Black. Now Moore lives in Switzerland, itself a mini-Hollywood of celebrities, far from the sharp sting of English taxes.

"Why should I fork out most of what I earn ?", Roger demanded. "Worse still, why should my children have to pay my death duties? When I die, the government will take 70 per cent of all the money I made in order to support my children. I don't see why I shoudn't be allowed to help my offspring, do you ? I'm certainly not a socialist.

Talking of politics, there is a scene at the end of For Your Eyes Only that features Britain's Prime Minister in a particular amusing moment, as interpreted by Janet Brown.During the conclusion to North Sea Hijack, Moore's film before last, we saw Faith Brook as the British Prime Minister. neither sequence can be said to flatter England's head of office. I wondered if Roger Moore had ever actually met our female premier ?

"I'm certainly not likely to in the future, not after For Your Eyes Only. I did meet her, though, when she was Minister for Education, and then she took the glass of milk out of my hand. Actually, when we filmed that scene with Faith Brook in Hijack, Mrs Thatcher wasn't even Prime Minister. It was entirely prophetic on our part.

Returning to the subject of the new Bond film, with its fair share of action sequences and bonecrunching stunts, I asked him what was the most dangerous stunt he attempted in the film - without a double. "Asking Cubby Broccoli for my cheque when it was late", he replied, deadpan, referring to the film's producer.

"Ah. But those keel-hauling scenes underwater seemed pretty strenuous, not to say dangerous" I persevered, "Didn't you find it incredibly hard to hold your breath for so long?"

"I have very good breath control", he replied, "You seen I'm an excellent lover". Still no smile. "I heard that Carole Bouquet, your leading lady, actually passed out during one scene", I continued. "I understand it was because she's inclined to hyperventilate". "I heard it was because her underwear was too tight". "Er, how do you keep fit? Do you run?" I prodded. "No, I have a car. But I do do exercises to keep myself trim, yes". Thankfully a slow grin ripped through Roger's cool, and he flashed a set of ultra-white teeth, setting his dimples into place. You can't take Roger Moore very seriously for very long.

Currently to bee seen in The Cannonball Run, playing a character who thinks he's Roger Moore (!), and For Your Eyes Only, the actor has yet another film due for release, Sunday Lovers. A quartet of short comedies dealing with les amours of the English, the French, Italians and Americans, the film also stars Lino Ventura, Ugo Tognazzi and Gene Wilder. But after that there appears to be a vacuum in Roger's career, although several lucrative vehicles have been discussed. I asked him about them.

"Is it true you're goingto appear in Gunga Din with Sean Connery?" "Oh, I'm supposed to be doing that next, am I? I'll answer your question when I've signed the contract". "What about Tai Pan then, with Anthony Quinn?" . "That would be interesting. But nobody'd told me anything about it."

Obviously Roger is biding his time, putting his feet up and enjoying the popularity his current films are affording him. There's even a newly-released double-bill of The Wild Geese and The Sea Wolves to add to his coffers. But the impassioned question of the day must be whether he will play 007 in the film version of the final Ian Fleming James Bond book "Octopussy".

"Who knows?" the actor asked, raising a somewhat quizzical right eyebrow.

 

Read our previous stories of the month

August - September - October - November - December 2003

January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December 2004

January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - Sept/october - November - December 2005

January - February - March - April - May - June - July/August - September 2006

 
 
 

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