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
"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
"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
"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.
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