“I took the scenic route.”
BOND 13 . FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
John Glen . 1980
Steven Spielberg had his eyes on Eyes after talks with Eon. He was, though, also talking with his pal George Lucas about some guy called Jones, Indiana Jones.
The director was new – another Bond editor,
second-unit director and the man behind the
unforgettable ski-jump prologue to The Spy Who Loved Me.
Mercifully, he axed plans to bring Jaws back again.
Roger Moore’s original contract was up after three chapters and that ignited the old problem. Money! Moore had entered traditional Connery mode and priced himself out of the picture. He next heard the shock news: all action scenes were choreographed anew to suit a younger Bond. Moore was… 54.
Moore and Cubby never discussed money, although during one of their pre-production backgammon games, Cubby suddenly declared: “You can tell your agent to shit in his hat.”
007 . As Roger was interested only in contracts for one film at a time, successors were quickly being tried and tested… Michael Billington (of course) and other old faithfuls like Mower, Ogilvy – and newcomers Christopher Cazenove, Nicholas Clay (John Boorman’s Lancelot), Lewis Collins (“too aggressive”), David Robb – and the Swiss-born Oliver Tobias (Claude in London’s Hair). There was also a perfectly biligual Frenchman, Lambert Wilson and the dullard Michael Jayston, George Smiley’s right-hand in TV’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 1979; he was Bond in BBC Radio 4’s You Only Live Twice.
In the midst of his Year of Living Dangerously, Gibson wasn’t sure where his next job would be coming from. All he knew was he didn’t want to go the 007 route. “Nobody can out-do Sean in these things. He put it on the map.”
Plus a certain Timothy Dalon (Prince Bartin in Flash Gordon), but he had no wish to be just another gadget. “There was a time in the late 1970s, when Roger may not have done another one, for whatever reason. They were looking around then, and I went to see Mr Broccoli in Los Angeles. At that time, they didn’t have a script finished and also, the way the Bond movies had gone – although they were fun and entertaining – wasn’t my idea of Bond movies. They had become a completely different entity. I know Roger, and think he does a fantastic job He was brilliant… Roger is one of the only people in the world who can be fun in the midst of all that gadgetry. But the movies had gone a long way from their roots; they had drifted in a way that was chalk and cheese to Sean. But in truth my favorite Bond movies were always…the first three.”
Also seen, as he had been in the late 60s, was Julian Glover. This time, he won the (tame) villain Aristotle Kristatos – making him the only actor to act (villains) in the Bond, Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchises, During the filming, Glover suggestd Pierce Brosnan to Glen as a futue Bond. 1980 – the first to do so said the difector.
And, of course, Michael Billington… He tested for Bond more than any other actor (007 times: OHMSS, Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy).He had Cubby Broccoli’s vote if and when Moore proved too expensive. All Billington ever got for his in-house popularity was the role of Agent XXX’s ill-fated lover, Sergei Barsov, in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Hollywood’s James Brolin, who had the temerity to play Clark Gable in Gable and Lombard, 1976, was sent to London for a test. (“An excellent test,” said John Glen. But Cubby ruled out any idea of an American Bond.
Michael Billington also lost (for the sixth and last time) after Bonding with such beauties as British Susan Penhaligon (the Rosamund Pike of her day and nicknamed by her actress pal Stephanie Beacham as Susan Penhooliogan!) and sultry American TVactress Deborah Shelton- two years away from her almost breakthrough in Brian De Palma’s erotic Body Double and, bien sur, some 62 chapters of Dallas.
The testing of other Bonds didn’t worry Moore. “I knew Cubby would never find anyone who would work as cheaply as I did.” To be honest I did want to make another film. This was all part of the bargaining ploy on Eon’s side – let it be known they were testing others so I’d take the deal on the table for fear of losing the part. Fair enough, we all enjoy a game of poker. I’m quite principled about not undervaluing my worth. If someone wants me for a job then I believe they should pay me a fair fee. My agenT usually haggles it up a bit, the producer usually haggles it down a bit and a happy middle ground is found. If someone undervalues me, I simply walk away. I have no qualms about it.’ He had much the same credo (but higher cheques) as Robert Morley. “If you want me to do the film it’s £500,000 – but if you want me to read the script first it’ll be £750,000.”
Melina Havelock . She as Judy in Ian Fleming’s short story, Ornella Muti annoyed herself by refusing the female lead – particularly when, as she claimed, “it was written specially for me.” Carole Bouquet made it her own.
M was on leave… “By this time,’ said Roger Moore, “Bernie [Lee, 73] was dying of stomach cancer and was very weak. He insisted on coming in and filming a sequence to see if he could carry it off, but I’m afraid he couldn’t get through the scene. Reluctantly, he bowed out of playing M and died a short time afterwards in January 1982. Out of respect for his great contribution to the series [he played 007’s boss, Admiral Sir Myles Messervy, in every film since Dr No in 1962], Cubby refused to re-cast and instead brought in James Villiers to play Chief of Staff, Bill Tanner.”
“He was the only man who could push James Bond around,” said Cubby. “His death was a great loss…demoralising for the entire production.” (Michael Billington died in 2005 at age 64 from cancer like his rival, David Warbeck, eight years before him).
While playing Countess Lisl von Schiaf,
Cassandra Harris introduced her husband to Cubby –
a handsome, Irish fella named Pierce Brosnan.
His GoldenEye debut proved to be the last Bond film viewed by Broccoli before his death in 1996.
Meanwhile, we still had Roger. Or did we? Quizzed on his futurebyNBC Television, he said: “At the end of every film, they say ‘James Bond will return’ but they don’t go as far as to say Roger Moore will.”