“Oh, the things I do for England.”
BOND 6 . YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
Sean Connery was not expected to make this one (swopped on the production slate with OHMSS) and so, enter: a new diector…. Cubby Broccoli telephoned Lewis Gilbert. “Don’t you think It’s time you made a Bond film with us? “Not particularly… I’d be like Elizabeth Taylor’s fifth husband. I’d know what to do but I wouldn’t know how to make it any different.” That made Cubby laugh.
“Lewis, you’re making a mistake. You have the world’s biggest audience and it’s waiting to see what kind of a hash you make of it.” That made Gilbert laugh – and sign on. And discovered Cubby’s casting credo. “Don’t worry. Everything will fall into place.”
It did. Connery included
Ernst Stavro Blofeld . A decidedly weak Donald Pleasence was the eleventh-hour choice for the first face of Blofeld – when Czech star Jan Werich was sent home to Prague after one week’s work. No matter what they did to him,he looked too much like… Santa Claus!
Tiger Tanaka . Japanese choices were never easy… Lewis Gilbert (making his first 007 film) lost the legendary Toshiro Mifune as Tanaka, when the great samurai took a bigger role in director John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix . Mifine’s successor, Tetsuro Tamba, later became a religious leader in Japan.
Aki & Kissy . The two Japanese girls (“two lovely kids,” said Broccoli) from King Kong vs. Godzilla, 1962, had crash English courses. Akiko Wakabayashi picked up the lingo faster – necessary for her straight-faced line: “I think I will enjoy very much serving under you, Bondo-san.”
The other girl, Mie Hama, was dropped – and immediately threatened to do the same from her Dorchester suite window over such a loss of face. It was an odd production decisoon considering so many Bond babes,starting with Ursula Andress, herself, had been dubbed. In the first known instance in Western cinema of threatend suicide forcing a casting decision, Mie was given the smaller part of Kissy – who actually “married” 007… and lived longer than Aki, poisoned in an attempt on 007’s life. Mie Hama threatened good!
Diane Cilento, Mrs Connery,
doubled Mie Hama’s underwater swim.
“I got £25 a day and it was fun.”
She’d never said that before about Bond movies.
Helga Brandt . Eva Renzi topped the list. She was Germany’s Julie Christie – from Playgirl, 1966, the German Darling – and had co-starred with Michael Caine (and future husband Paul Hubschmid) in Saltzman’s Funeral In Berlin. And now here wasHarry offering her a Bond role. “And I didn’t want to be a fucking Bond Girl.” That was for self-protection, she said, although more of the same ruined her career by quitting a Hollywood debt, House of Cards, on her husband’s say so (“If you do this shit I will divorce from you.”) and getting stuck in Dario Argento’s 1969 horror, L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage).
“I was supposed to be very shy and say thank you.” Saltzman, she said, was furious. “Who do you think you are? There are 50,000 girls standing in line, you bitch.” One was quick to accept – fellow German, Karin Dor.
When Eva saw the film, she was glad she refused. “What a horrible role! Lucky I didn’t do that. Terrifying!”
The last words were from Connery. “I’ve done my bit,” he said. “I’m out.” Of everything… So whacked when the production finally concluded, he passed The Thomas Crown Affair, 1967, to Steve McQueen. Richard Burton also refused, which is why director Norman Jewison and producer Walter Mirisch took Sean to lunch at New York’s Regency Hotel. Some years later later, Sean told Mirisch: “I should’ve played that part.”
As soon as Sean wanted to quit the reservation. Roger Moore was first spoken to by Cubby and Harry (a near neighbour in Denham; Roger’s kids used to play in Harry’s huge pool). They were then planning 007 in Cambodia. “When all hell broke loose in that country… the plans were swiftly shelved.”Jolly Rogercontinued playing The Saint and was, therefore, unavailable when the next film became On Her Majesty’s Secret Servise.
“That was that,” felt Moore. “James Bond left my life.”