This issue of Starlog is packed with 1980s nostalgia - it teases a new film starring Michael J Fox, called Back to the Future, delves into The Goonies, Cocoon, Red Sonja, the 'V' television show, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, reveals some more of the Special Effects tricks involved in the making of Star Wars Return of the Jedi, and on top of all this, the magazine interviews Roger Moore about his latest James Bond film, A View To A Kill.
At the end of the interview Moore discusses a number of upcoming projects that in the end would never happen - he mentions scripts that pair him with Sean Connery and Michael Caine or both, and that his next project would be to reprise his role as Simon Templar in a movie version of the Saint, but in fact Moore largely disappeared for a decade after retiring from the role of James Bond. The next movie I saw him in was the Jean Claude Van Damme movie, The Quest in 1996.
In more recent interviews he has expressed his desire to play a Bond Villain, so it was interesting to see him bring that up here too. And it would have been fun to see him wink at Sean Connery's Bond in a cameo in Never Say Never Again.
Finally, I also clipped the ad for the Viking James Bond Role Playing Games. Love the cover art on these, Bond looks more like Roger Moore than Sean Connery, even on the Connery Titles, which makes sense since that's how we pictured Bond in the 1980s. I have most of these books but I have never played the games.
His Name is Bond
Debonair and dashing, this British star embarks on his seventh mission as superspy, with tongue in cheek, Walther PPK in hand and "A View To A Kill"
By Lee Goldberg
Roger Moore made his name in television, playing quick-witted, debonair adventurers like the ever-gallant Ivanhoe, smooth-talking gambler Beau Maverick, globe-trotting adventurer Simon “The Saint” Templar, and notorious playboy Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders. Somewhere along the line, the roles and the actor who plays them, became one.
When Moore replaced Sean Connery as James Bond, he didn't just continue the role as George Lazenby had. Moore absorbed it. James Bond became yet another extension of himself. Beginning with Live And Let Die (1973), he imbued James Bond with the same playful, coy charm that typified his TV characters, radically transforming the style of the series and making Agent 007 undeniably his own.
It’s been 11 years and six superspy adventures. He has weathered lackluster box-office (The Man With The Golden Gun), enormous success (The Spy Who Loved Me), critical failure (Moonraker), pressure to toughen his character (For Your Eyes Only), and faced a new incarnation of Sean Conery’s “original” James Bond (Never Say Never Again). And, despite it all, he's still having a great time.
LEE GOLDBERG, veteran STARLOG correspondent, is the author (as “Ian Ludlow”) of.357 Vigilante, the first in a new Pinnacle Books action/adventure series.
The 56-year-old actor had just beaten Bond series producer Albert (“Cubby”) R. Broccoli at backgammon and was feeling good, clad in a purple sweatsuit and smoking a cigar in his trailer outside San Francisco ’s City Hall. With a mischievous grin, he motions his visitor into the trailer with a broad sweep of his arm, as if to say “this is my palace. ”
Shaking hands with Roger Moore is an awkward formality after meeting him on the screen. He should know you by now.
He slides behind the tiny formica table and flashes his naughty grin, a grin which doesn’t fade through the entire conversation.
STARLOG: Why are you back playing James Bond?
ROGER MOORE: I feel sorry for Cubby [Broccoli] because he’ll have a terrible job finding anybody else who will work as cheap as I do. Actually, I enjoy the work. I’m glad people are still misguided enough to employ me.
STARLOG: Have you ever regretted assuming the role in the first place?
MOORE: Yes, every time the explosions start.
STARLOG: How much of the role is a reflection of you?
MOORE: I’m encouraged to impersonate myself.
STARLOG: And how doesn’t it reflect you?
MOORE: I don’t carry a Walther PPK in private life.
STARLOG: I bet when the fans are around you wish you did.
MOORE: It isn’t legal for actors to shoot their fans.
STARLOG: How do you deal with all the autograph hunters, TV crews and reporters and still stay so friendly?
MOORE: It’s easy, easier than saying dialogue. Actually, I’m running for Governor of California. Wait, I can’t, I’m not American-born. I could become dictator...
STARLOG: What sets A View To A Kill apart from your other 007 films?
MOORE: They are all different, each story is different. There is a formula—you know, a white knight riding out to combat evil, with evil in different shapes. In this one, it’s Christopher Walken with his aide May Day, Grace Jones.
STARLOG: It must be fun working with Grace Jones.
MOORE: Well, if you keep out of the way of her feet and her handbag, yes.
STARLOG: Are you tired of the Bond films? It seems as if in each one, Bond is battling a megalomaniac and his bizarre henchmen. Wouldn’t you like to see Bond do something a little different?
MOORE: How could you do it differently? That is the formula. He has to combat something. The more evil the villains are the better it is, and the more the audience roots for 007.
STARLOG: Well, is there anything deep down you would like to do in the Bond films?
MOORE: Yeah, I would like to play the villain.
MOORE: Yes, they are the best parts.
STARLOG: At one point, weren’t you considering playing the Spectre head, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in Never Say Never Again!
MOORE: No. They had an idea that I might walk through a scene. Sean would say to somebody that he was getting tired and didn’t want to be a spy anymore and I would walk past and wink at him. But, it was a rival production.
STARLOG: I guess your current employers wouldn’t have liked that idea much.
MOORE: No, they would have been rather unhappy about it.
STARLOG: If The Curse of the Pink Panther had been successful, would you have gone on to play Inspector Clouseau?
MOORE: No, but at MGM, they did say that they wish I had been Clouseau all the way through that film. They wanted Dudley Moore to be Clouseau when Peter Sellers died, you know. [Pink Panther series creator/producer/director/writer] Blake Edwards, a neighbor of mine in Switzerland, came over one day with Tony Adams and said he had this idea, would I play it and l said yeah. I was sworn to secrecy. Two nights later, coincidentally, one of Peter’s wives, Miranda, was over for dinner. And she was going on about how wrong it all is, how dare they have anyone else play Clouseau and I’m just sitting there. Then, I got Lynn Frederick, another Sellers ex-wife, the night after, doing the same thing. I haven’t seen them since.
STARLOG: Probably a wise move. Not many people remember that before The Saint, you replaced James Garner on Maverick—
MOORE: Jack Kelly, who played Bart Maverick, was a great guy. We used to play a lot of poker together. I wonder how he is.
STARLOG: Why did you leave Maverick after only one season?
MOORE: I had done many of the Maverick scripts when I was doing another Warner Bros, series, The Alaskans. We used to get the old Maverick scripts thrown at us, they didn’t even change the lines. I used to get lines like “My Old Pappy used to say,” which I would turn into “As my maternal grandfather once said...”
The original story of Beau Maverick was told very briefly, but would have been a great, funny episode. It would all be about how he ended up sounding English. He was a prisoner in the Civil War and was playing poker with the General who captured him. So, Maverick is sitting there, playing with the General and the other staff officers when, just at the moment that the General throws his cards down and says, “I give up, Maverick,” the good guys burst into the tent. So, the army thinks Beau has captured all these men. Beau becomes a hero and that is a disgraceful thing for a Maverick to do, so Pappy ships him off to England.
I was not served well, I’m afraid, with the Maverick scripts when I was on the show. They were tired scripts by the time I got them. They blurred in my mind while I was doing them. I was suspended by Warners because I refused to do them. Jack Warner called me in for a meeting. I sent word back that I was sick and in Las Vegas, doing therapy for my fingers at the crap tables.
Eventually, I went into talk. “Now, let’s talk money,” Jack Warner said and stared at me for awhile. “Oh, I remember, you’re a nutty Englishman. You don’t want to talk about money, you’re not interested in money.” I said: “I’m interested in money, but I’m more interested in scripts.” I said I didn’t think my Maverick scripts were any good. So, they promised that they would tailor them.the way I felt they should be. They didn’t, so I left. If I had scripts like Marion Hargrove [who did “Gunshy,” the episode which spoofed Gunsmoke, among others] used to write for the show, I would have stuck around.
STARLOG: Are you happy with the direction in which the Bond films are heading?
MOORE: Yes, I’m happy. I think after The Man With The Golden Gun, we started letting a little more of my humor creep in. That was because the directors changed. Guy Hamilton, who was sticking to his formula Bond, left; Lewis Gilbert, who is much freer and shares my sense of humor, came on. I think we reached a peak with Octopussy, which was very outrageous. What we’re saying to the audience is: “Look, you’ve been seeing these things for 22 years and they are intended to be fun and we want you to laugh with us, not at us.”
Photos: High above the Golden Gate Bridge, James Bond (Roger Moore, inset) dangles. He really does have A View To A Kill / Under the Earth, 007 (Moore) investigates alongside Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts). / Roger Moore enjoys a relaxed atmosphere on a movie set—and he frequently creates it himself.
The Bond situations to me are so ridiculous, so outrageous. I mean, this man is supposed to be a spy and yet everybody knows he’s a spy. Every bartender in the world offers him martinis which are shaken and not stirred. What kind of serious spy is recognized everywhere he goes? It’s outrageous. So, I think you must treat the humor outrageously as well. When we were doing the tiger scene in Octopussy, John Glen, director of the last three Bond films, [STARLOG #68], the script said Bond says “Nice kitty” or something. I said, “I’m not going to say that, John.” He said, “What are you going to say?” I said, “SIT!” He asked, “Why would Bond say that?” I said, “John, this Barbara Woodhouse [famed dog obedience trainer] is a big star in America.” “What?” he didn’t believe me. I said, “All over America, they know SIT!” It got a big laugh in the movie. So did my line “Hiss off” to the snake.
STARLOG: Does tampering with the lines upset screenwriter Richard Maibaum [STARLOG #68]?
MOORE: No, No, Dick Maibaum loves it and always says thank you. Tom Mankiewicz [STARLOG #69], when he wrote them, if I changed a line, he would shrug and say don’t worry. In fact, now, we just sit down and they ask me what I’m going to say.
STARLOG: So, do you have much input into the screenwriting process?
MOORE: When we get on the floor. In the old days, when I used to get the script, I would say what’s this and I would be busy writing all over it and I would call Cubby and he would say, “Let’s see your notes” and I would send them over and then there would be this whole mish-mash. Then, Lewis Gilbert hit it right on the head. He said, “Look, we’re going to change it on the floor. You know you’re going to change it, I’m going to change it, so let’s not have a big hassle before we get in unless you see there’s a plot point that, by making a change, you must move the plot in a different direction. ’ ’ I don’t get involved in any of that. Just, sometimes, in the sense of the way dialogue goes, by changing one word here or there or changing a line into a feed line so you can get a joke.
STARLOG: Richard Maibaum told me he tried to toughen the role with For Your Eyes Only, to give you harder things to do and cut down on the humor. For example, the scene where Bond kicks the Mercedes off the cliff...
MOORE: Yeah, there was a big discussion about whether that was too brutal and there was discussion over the scene in The Man With The Golden Gun when I wrestled with Maud Adams [STARLOG #75]. She said, “You’re hurting my arm,” and I said, “I’ll break it.”
STARLOG: How do you feel about that? Do you think Bond should be tougher?
MOORE: Well, in Live And Let Die, I didn’t do any of that because that was what Sean would do. My personality is entirely different from his. I’m not that cold-blooded killer that Sean can do so well—which is why I play it for laughs. Sean, I think, said I go through the door looking for the laugh.
STARLOG: Are you tired of people comparing you to Sean Connery?
MOORE: It stopped until Never Say Never Again began and the British paper had the headline “The Battle of the Bonds,” which was picked up everywhere. I never saw Never Say Never Again. We weren’t having a battle, we’re friends. But sure, people are going to compare. Still, though, 4,000 actors have played Hamlet. Chacun a son gout [to each his own].
STARLOG: Of course, James Bond will live on long after you leave the series.
MOORE: Oh sure, and that actor will have his own interpretation.
STARLOG: Do you fight against toughening up Bond?
MOORE: Basically, we have very little brutality in Bond. As Cubby once said, we are sadism for the family. Most of the violence is mechanical, Disney violence.
STARLOG: That’s what Tom Mankiewicz calls it, too.
Photo: Friends and foes, lovers and killers, Bond teams with May Day (Grace Jones).
MOORE: Mankiewicz wrote the best Bond line of any of them, in Diamonds Are Forever, when Lana Wood saddles up to Connery and says “My name is O’Toole, Plenty O’Toole,’’and Bond says, “Named after your father, no doubt.” Lovely line. He gave me a wonderful line in The Man With The Golden Gun, when I drop the sights of a rifle down on a gunsmith’s crotch and say, “Speak now or forever hold your piece.”
STARLOG: They drop that line on TV.
MOORE: Oh, shit.
STARLOG: In Octopussy, there was a scene in a railroad car where Bond is disguised in a gorilla suit. The bad guy turns his back on Bond, picks up a sword, and suddenly whirls around and lops off the gorilla’s head. In that split second, Bond has managed to get out of the suit and escape through a trap door on the roof. Was there a scene missing? It was impossible. It made no sense.
MOORE: That was Bond liberty, movie liberty. You can do that.
STARLOG: Do audiences understand it?
MOORE: They don’t care that much. They’re having a good time.
STARLOG: How do you feel about the stunts in the Bond films? Are there too many of them?
MOORE: I don’t think you can overdo them as long as they are well done. This is escapism.
STARLOG: Would you see a Bond film?
MOORE: Sure, as long as they are done in fun. You can’t be expected to take anything like that seriously.
STARLOG: David Hedison of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea has been your co-star in Live And Let Die, Ffolkes, and now The Naked Face.
MOORE: He’s one of my best friends. I wanted him in this one as Felix Leiter, but they went along with a Chinese character [played by David Yip]. Why? I suppose because it takes place in San Francisco. I met David many years ago in Egypt at a film festival and he agreed to play a guest role in The Saint. The next thing we did was Live and Let Die. Mankiewicz was a friend of his then, too. He’s a lovely guy. I was in LA last weekend and saw him. As you said, we just did The Naked Face together in Chicago. It followed Sidney Sheldon’s book very closely, he was very happy with it. Brian Forbes directed and wrote the screenplay.
STARLOG: Aren’t you doing the movie version of Forbes’ novel The Rewrite Man!
MOORE: I don’t know what will happen with that. His book is about the film business and they mentioned me playing the actor in it. The real lead is a Sammy Glick-like press agent, but I’m talking about doing two pictures next, one this spring and one in the fall, but I can’t talk about them yet. There is a script in the works for Sean, Michael Caine and me, and someone else has another one for Sean and me. There’s even another for Michael and myself.
STARLOG: What’s your involvement in the new Saint films?
MOORE: I’ m going to produce them. I won’t appear in them.
STARLOG: Is The Saint your next project after A View To A Kill?
MOORE: Yes, it will go into production in 1985. Leslie Charteris [creator of The Saint] has given his approval.
STARLOG: Are you looking at the same people for The Saint that Broccoli would be if he was trying to cast a new 007?
MOORE: Yes, oddly enough, about two or three people.
STARLOG: Who are they?
MOORE: State secret.
STARLOG: I take it you weren’t fond of The Return of The Saint TV series?
MOORE: Ah, I think Ian'Oglivy is a very good actor, but the problem, it seemed to me, was that they were encouraging him to do an impersonation of me, which is quite wrong. You’ve got to do your own thing.
STARLOG: One last question: Is this it? Is A View To A Kill the final James Bond film for you?
MOORE: I always say this will be the final one. And why should I change my dialogue now?
[Source: STARLOG Issue Number 96, July, 1985 (Volume Nine), P.1,4,40-43,99. STARLOG Is a registered trademark of O'Quinn Studios, Inc. Content is © Copyright 1985 by O’QUINN STUDIOS, INC. All rights reserved.]