Her bite is fatal, her touch is deadly. She is "Octopussy."
The sensuous star returns to the superspy series-putting the squeeze on Roger Moore and trapping 007 in her tentacles in this, the biggest Bond year of them all!
By RICHARD HOLLISS & DAVID MCDONNELL
If looks could kill, Maud Adams would be sitting in the electric chair.
Instead, she’s in the catbird seat, so to speak, relaxing in a well-furnished hotel room after a quick trip, her first, on the supersonic Concorde from Europe to America. Surprisingly, she isn’t tired but smiling, still as strikingly lovely as during those days when she was a high-fashion model, her face peering from the covers of a dozen different magazines.
And what a face. High cheekbones. Piercing blue eyes. A shock of gorgeous brown hair. And a smile which hints at something dazzling and dangerous.
This could be the face of evil, beautiful and seductive.. .or, perhaps, not. It’s a question underscored in Maud Adam’s latest role as the mysterious woman who may mean both a night of love and an eternity of death for James Bond in Octopussy. In point of fact, Adams is Octopussy.
“ It’s the first time in the Bond series that a woman is playing the title role,” she says. “And Octopussy is a wonderfully extravagant character, a fascinating woman involved in many businesses: hotels, carnivals, circuses. Many of these pursuits are only cover operations for her real career as an international smuggler.
“Born and educated in India, Octopussy has inherited a palace and an empire which is spreading worldwide. She’s very rich, involved in a large hotel group, but, being highly adventurous, she lives a double life as a smuggler. It is during one of the most important deals she has ever set up that her partner, Kamal Khan [Louis Jourdan] double-crosses her. So, she decides to help Bond. She begins as a-villainess, but she comes through with flying colors at the end!”
She Only Lives Twice
Octopussy marks another milestone in the 21-year cinematic history of Ian Fleming’s suave hero. Although various supporting actors have reappeared—sometimes as different characters—in subsequent films, a leading actress has never been allowed to live twice in the Bond series. Until now.
And Adams, who portrayed the ill-fated Andrea, lover to The Man With The Golden Gun in 1974, is back in another guise. “It’s part of being in the right place at the right time,” she notes. “When the casting director first told my agent that they were really interested in me for Octopussy, I thought she doesn’t know, obviously, that I’ve already done a Bond movie. Then, they brought me to London to discuss it. I said, ‘What’s this all about? Don’t they know the rules?’
“But they wanted me to do it and, later, I asked the producer [Albert] ‘Cubby’ Broccoli why. ‘What made you change your mind?’
RICHARD HOLLISS, London-based freelancer, visited the set of Octopussy in STARLOG #71. DAVID McDONNELL is STARLOG’s Managing Editor.
Cubby said, ‘I didn’t really change my mind. It’s true, we’ve had that no-retum policy for a long time, but I really liked you in The Man With The Golden Gun.'
“When I performed my first part, it was very much a minor role in a minor movie. I had only done three sparsely distributed films when I got Golden Gun, so Cubby feels responsible, to a great extent, for my career. He feels that he was the man who helped me launch a screen career—and I think that’s quite accurate.
“Ever since then, he has closely followed my career and it’s partly thanks to him that I’ve done so well in the last few years. Cubby had even mentioned that when the right part came along, he would work with me again,” she smiles. “And apparently,when he read the first draft of Octopussy, he said, ‘This is the part for Maud.’ ”
The differences between the two Bond women Adams has portrayed are more extensive than mere names. As Andrea, in 1972’s The Man With The Golden Gun, she was a plot prop, a plaything for Scaramanga (Christopher Lee). “It was a nice part to play, but a very typical, almost stereotyped Bond woman,” she comments. “In Octopussy, naturally, I have a much better role. I’m given much more responsibility. She’s a character who is almost equal to James Bond in the sense that she is a woman with tremendous power. She is good-looking, a great businesswoman, and the equal to any man.
“As a matter of fact, when Octopussy meets Bond for the first time, she recognizes that they’re two of a kind and tries to get him to join her organizaton. Using stronger female characters in the Bond films has been a trend for a long time. Certainly, Russian agent Barbara Bach in The Spy Who Loved Me, Lois Chiles as the astronaut/scientist in Moonraker and Carole Bouquet in For Your Eyes Only were all capable, skilled women. But, Octopussy is absolutely the strongest woman character of all.”
This slight alteration in the 007 formula hasn’t affected the box-office revenues of the superspy’s latest espionage adventures. Whatever the changes, Adams thinks the series will continue to prosper. “The Bond movies are pure entertainment,” she says. “ People are always reassured when they go to see a Bond movie. They know they’ll get their money’s worth, so they can forget all their problems, just sit back and enjoy. Because the Bond films deliver.
“They’ve been done for such a long time that it seems like we’ve all grown up watching them. And every installment from Dr. No on has delivered. People had already accepted Octopussy before it even came out. ‘Here’s another one,’ they say, ‘I’m going to have a great deal of fun!’
“Every James Bond movie, no matter how good the script is—and I think we have an excellent one—is more or less a variation on the same theme. James Bond is always going to engage in exciting and daring adventures. The women will always be beautiful. And the bad guys will always be really bad and always get it in the end. That’s what the audience loves about Bond—and that’s what they want.”
She Risks the Dangers
One of the bywords of an 007 movie mission is action, and Octopussy is no exception. There are thrilling chases by car, taxi, and pachyderm; and chilling fights atop both trains and planes. Such action is usually the province of the expert team of stuntmen led by Bond series veteran Bob Simmons. Occasionally, the actors, like Maud Adams, also get into the act.
“I do some stunts in the film myself,” she reveals. “I sword fight, scale walls, climb elephants
“At one point, when Octopussy and her band of female smugglers scale a wall to get into Kamal Khan’s fortress, I really did climb an elephant to get over the wall. Later, I have to get up to an even higher place, so I take this pole and pole vault. Except I didn’t do all of that stunt myself. I hung on at the bottom for the camera and then, at the top. Somebody else did the in-between.”
She laughs. “I’m not thaaat crazy.
“Of course, scaling walls, sneaking around and clambering across elephants aren’t the sort of thing that an actress is usually called upon to do. The swordfighting was a problem for me, not so much doing it as conditioning myself to believe that I wasn’t going to hurt anyone. That was my immediate—and only—concern. My god! I’m slashing away with a sword. What if I kill someone?
“The stunt coordinator, however, managed to convince me that there was no way I would kill anyone for real. We rehearsed it all very carefully, and in the end that became my favorite scene in Octopussy. There I am, slashing away at people. It was fun. Sometimes, acting is like that, just playing, indulging in the fun, becoming a child again.”
Although Adams had pondered the safety of the sword duel, it was another sequence, consisting of “talky” expositional dialogue, which gave the actress the most problems. “It simply became ridiculous,” she admits, “because the scene which shows Bond and Octopussy meeting for the first time became so complicated. Roger Moore has snuck into my quarters, not knowing the whole place is monitored by video cameras. So, I invite him to have a drink, ‘A martini shaken not stirred,’ because that’s how he likes it.
“We did the whole scene, several bits of action and lots of dialogue. Finally, we’re down to a shot of me pouring the martini. And it didn’t work. I shook the pitcher just a little and water poured out everywhere. Another take. I picked it up and the pitcher top fell off. Then, I shook it and water splashed all over me. Something went wrong with every single take and I think we did 20—just so Roger could get something to drink. I guess I’m not very good at mixing martinis. Or shaking them.”
In another segment of the same sequence, the demands of filmmaking proved slightly more unhealthy. To add a bit of action and visual flourish to a static, dialogue-heavy scene, director John Glen asked Adams to light up and smoke a cigarette. Hesitantly, Adams agreed. “Every time I must smoke for a film, I curse myself afterwards,” she says, “because even though you’re only seen on screen smoking for a few seconds, you’re smoking for three-hours non-stop during shooting. For every take, your cigarette must be matched, so that it looks consistent and the exact same amount of cigarette is consumed from shot to shot. So, you smoke continuously—and you get sick. It’s all part of acting.”
She Loves a Superspy
Beyond the stunts and super-action of each new 007 adventure, there are the beautiful women. In Octopussy, lucky Roger Moore gets to dally with two lovely ladies: Kristina (Moviola) Waybom, who plays Magda, and Maud Adams, the smuggling mastermind and Magda’s mysterious employer.
“Octopussy has a huge ‘love’ barge which she sails up and down the river in India,” Adams says. “She is a lady who lives in style. And the love scene with Roger? It was very difficult to stay serious while doing it.
“It’s also very difficult to discuss a movie of this type on a serious level because you don’t necessarily talk about your acting; that’s something which is up on the screen for the audience to judge. Octopussy isn’t a serious type of role, like the part I played in Playing for Time, but if you look beyond the obvious, you can see that the actor is playing a part. When it’s only supposed to be entertainment, people don’t necessarily think that anyone has to act. And Roger, particularly, is underrated as an actor. He really does a wonderful job.
‘ ‘Obviously, we all take our parts very seriously when we’re doing them—even though the characters are what they are, you can’t go too far with them. These are characters, not caricatures.”
Bom in Sweden, Adams started out not as an actress, but as a model in both Stockholm and Paris, before moving to New York and glamour girl stardom on the cover of almost every major magazine. Then, she made the jump to acting, etching her first screen role, opposite Beau Bridges, in the little-seen The Christian Licorice Store. Her first 007 stint in The Man With The Golden Gun followed as did a small role in Rollerball, a cinematic tournament of science-fiction gamesplay starring James Caan.
“Rollerball was a very interesting film,” Adams says. “At the time, particularly in the United States, it was perceived mainly as an action-adventure film with an emphasis on violence. Many of the underlying issues were never fully appreciated or discussed, even though some have already come true in professional sports. The idea of corporations running the world, which is not far from the truth; how little individuals have to say in their lives, how easily they can be crushed.
“It was a very heroic type of film and did very well in Europe, but for some reason, American audiences didn’t take to it as much. If it had been released two years later or five years later or even today, Rollerball would do very well. That’s the kind of heroism we want to see today.”
Finally, in 1979, Adams entirely gave up modeling, abandoning her lucrative career with “no regrets” in order to fully concentrate on acting. A number of memorable guest roles, including a deadly spy on Hawaii Five-O, in episodic television and in such films as Killer Force, The Hostage Tower and Tattoo followed. She was acclaimed for her performance in the controversial telefilm Playing for Time and won plaudits as the doctor in the TV series, Chicago Story.
Despite her credits, Maud Adams wasn’t always taken seriously as an actress by producers and directors. That attitude seems to have changed.
“It’s very hard when you’re sitting here and talking about yourself in those terms, because you never know until someone hires you,” she says. “I feel that in the last few years, I have had the opportunity to play other kinds of roles, things which weren’t the typical characters I played years ago. My agent says that filmmakers don’t say, ‘Maud Adams? Oh yes, that’s the model. ’ They treat me seriously, as an actress.
“After Playing for Time, Chicago Story and Tattoo, people started to discuss my work seriously. And even though I’m back playing an entertaining role in an entertaining movie as Octopussy, I don’t think it’s wrong. Octopussy is strong, glamourous, powerful. I don’t think playing her will hurt me with other producers and directors; at least, I hope it won’t.”
She Laughs at Life
Now, months after the completion of her second 007 adventure, Maud Adams is quite happy. “Doing the first Bond film eight years ago was a great experience and since then, I haven’t been in a film which was as much fun as Octopussy. I even got to go to the circus.
Photos: Maud Adams as the luscious and mysterious Octopussy / From Adams’ first Bond adventure— The Man With The Golden Gun.
“I love the circus. I lived in a small town in Sweden as a young girl and we didn’t have too much entertainment—movies now and then, no TV until I was 13. But we did have the cir-(continued on page 67)
(continued from page 37) cus, and of course, it was a very big event when it came to town once each summer. One year, I remember, my two cousins—both girls—and I were inspired by the circus. We all decided to become trapeze artists, made ourselves little dresses, put a trapeze in a tree and hung around it. We played the trapeze game for the whole summer.
“It was so much fun. And starring in a Bond movie is just like that, it’s like going to camp for the whole summer. There aren’t many films being made where so much money is spent and you go to such wonderful locations as India and Thailand. And Roger Moore is the leader of all the fun.”
Since Adams is one of the few lovely ladies who has courted Moore on screen more than once, her assessment of the dashing actor is particularly interesting. “Roger and his wife, Luisa, are good friends and we often went to dinner while shooting in London,” Adams explains. “The most wonderful thing about Roger is his sense of humor. He really keeps the mood on the set happy and jolly all the time. He always manages to keep everyone, cast and crew, in high spirits. And Roger loves to play jokes, which helps to break the ice on occasion.”
She smiles. “He played many jokes on me,” she confesses. “The only problem is I can’t talk about them. None are printable. But the outtakes we have on Octopussy”
Nevertheless, the brown-haired actress enjoyed working with Moore (STARLOG #72) again as well as with debonair co-star Louis Jourdan and director John Glen (STARLOG #68). “With John, there was more of an exchange than there was between Guy Hamilton [who directed The Man with the Golden Gun] and me. At that time, I was rather a novice in this business and did more or less what Guy told me to do.
“Now, I’m more confident as an actress. If there was something I thought was right for a scene in Octopussy, John and I discussed my idea. My performance was a collaboration between us and that particularly pleased me. I knew that John had been around the 007 films for a long time, shooting second unit and serving as editor. I wasn’t sure he would be easy to communicate with on an acting level, but we had a marvelous time.”
She pauses, sitting back on the sofa, looking mysterious and seductive, not unlike the beautiful women she plays in Octopussy. There is satisfaction in her voice as she folds her hands and announces, “For the first time in my life, I have scripts coming into me, more scripts than I have time to read. It’s so wonderful because it hasn’t always been that way, believe me.
“For the first time in my career, I’m not worried. I’ll be back—though probably not in another James Bond film. I don’t think they could ask me back a third time, though I would love to do another one. But I’m rather confident, for the first time, that there is going to be another film for me.”
[Source: Starlog #73 August 1983, P.54-57. Copyright © 1983 O'Quinn Studios, Inc. All rights reserved. Starlog is a registered trademark of O'Quinn Studios, Inc.]