In diaries late ROGER MOORE tells story of Live And Let Die love scene
The 007 love scene that drove my wife crazy – and sparked a race row: Live And Let Die is famous for James Bond’s first black lover. In his mischievously candid diaries the late ROGER MOORE reveals the untold story
They say when death is imminent, your entire life flashes in front of your eyes. But the only thing flashing before my eyes was a large corrugated iron shed sticking up out of a Louisiana swamp which I was approaching at a fair old 60mph in an out-of-control boat.
I was going to hit it — and there was simply nothing I could do about it. I ended up in a heap on the floor of the boat — my knee throbbing, my shoulder numb and my teeth feeling that they were being mangled one by one into little bits of gravel inside my mouth.
Here I was, about to start playing James Bond for the first time, with no teeth.
Roger Moore in a clinch with Gloria Hendry in Live and Let Die. Despite his wife being told people wouldn’t go to the film if it had a scene like that he said: ‘I personally don’t give a damn, and it makes me all the more determined to play the scene.’
How on earth did I get myself into such a situation? It had all begun on Sunday, October 8, 1972, when, as the new James Bond, I left England in a blaze of publicity for the first location in New Orleans.
We flew via New York and our arrival was — what can one say? — Bond-style. My wife Luisa and I had two cars meet us — one for our luggage and one for us. Now that’s class!
To say I was apprehensive about taking over from the great Sean Connery — the first and original 007 — would be an understatement.
I’d said as much to the Live And Let Die director Guy Hamilton when we met for oysters and martinis (very Jimmy Bond) in London soon after I knew I’d got the job.
I confessed that when I was reading through the script, all I could hear was Sean’s voice saying: ‘My name is Bond.’ In fact, as I said my lines out loud, I found that I was doing them in a Scottish accent.
Guy had said: ‘Look, Sean was Sean and you are you, and that is how it is going to be.’
All very reassuring, but now, two days before filming had even started, I’d smashed myself up rehearsing the famous boat-chase scene and ended up in hospital with a cracked tooth and a crocked leg. Was this to be the shape of things to come?
Friday, October 13, 1972: The first day of proper shooting following a very bad night with my painful leg, aching shoulder and rattling teeth.
I staggered out of bed only to find that when I tried to do my workout my knees wouldn’t bend. Not a good omen.
We filmed the boat chase sequence for real today, and fortunately I was shot — by the camera, that is, not by a villain — sitting down in the boat so my limp didn’t show.
I had one nasty moment though, when, on a sharp bend, my boat headed for the camera vessel with director Guy and about 15 other people sitting in it. Although they were anchored, they seemed to be tearing towards me rather like the corrugated iron shed had two days before. I thought: ‘Here we go again,’ but I managed to come round on the wheel, thank goodness, and pull away just in time.
The water is dirty and slimy, so that when we rev up the motors, mud just churns up and the stench is awful. It’s also covered with nasty green algae and you can see black snakes slithering through it.
They put me at ease by telling me the alligators are rather tired in this area, so they wouldn’t be likely to bite. Thanks, guys!
Saturday, October 14: D-Day plus one or B-Day, for Bond, plus one. It’s also my birthday. Happy birthday, Roger.
The place where we’re shooting today is part of the great state of Louisiana, known as the sportsman’s paradise. But as far as I can see it’s the mosquitoes who get all the sport, chewing us up and spitting us out.
Moore said despite his wife Luisa and children bring with him he felt homesick. ‘I miss things like an English cottage loaf, Golden Shred marmalade and the English papers with my morning tea,’ he said
Yesterday, the first day, I felt rather like a new boy with the crew because most of them had worked together before. It took them a day to discover that I wasn’t completely chicken. They really are a great group of people. Guy and Bob Kindred, the camera operator, tied themselves on the front of a boat today tearing at 60mph up and down the inlet, photographing close-up reactions of me. That takes a lot of guts.
It was then I knew why they wanted me to practise with the boats first — not so much for my safety, but for theirs!
B-Day four and we seem to be dogged by bad luck.
It’s either a gremlin or some Soviet secret agent trying to sabotage Bond’s activities.
Today, one of the boat drivers got caught in the eye by a flying wire. I wonder who will be next.
I spent the afternoon in a very expensive fashion playing gin rummy with our producer Harry Saltzman. I have a feeling he only asks me to play to get my salary back.
Wednesday, B-Day five. At breakfast, I watched television: a horrifying amount of twaddle is served up at this hour.
A small group of actresses and fringe showbusiness people make the constant round of chat shows telling the same stories day after day. It is a mystery to me how the interviewer manages to look interested. I’d rather spend the day in the swamp with the mosquitoes.
Sunday morning and B-Day nine: Up comes the television’s verbal mush with the breakfast marmalade. It is too much to take at any time, and impossible at 6am.
B-Day 11: To my horror, on-set the other day I heard Harry bawling ‘n****r’. He was not trying to start a race riot, but simply calling to our English props man, ‘N****r’ Weymouth, a nickname he has answered to since the days of silent movies. I pointed out that it might be better to find him another name here in the racial hotbed of Louisiana.
Roger Moore in Live and Let Die with Jane Seymour. Two days before filming started, Moore ended up in hospital with a cracked tooth and a hurt leg rehearsing the film’s famous boat-chase scene
As Bond, I make love to Rosie Carver, played by the beautiful black actress Gloria Hendry, and my wife Luisa has learned from certain Louisiana ladies that if there is a scene like that they won’t go to see the picture. I personally don’t give a damn, and it makes me all the more determined to play the scene.
The rain-cancelled shoot today deprived me of a moment of glory — I was due to say my first two words as James Bond. The world will have to wait for my carefully rehearsed delivery of the two words: ‘Where’s Strutter?’
B-Day 12 and back to work. Paul Rabiger, our make-up man, was telling me about other Bond films he has done. He said when you meet a girl every morning at around 7am without her make-up, it’s like being married to her.
Speaking of leading ladies, Paul agrees with Guy, our scriptwriter and myself that it would have been more interesting if Solitaire, our present leading lady, had been black, as she was in the original screenplay, but United Artists would not stand for it. Today was another day of driving around in boats without a line of dialogue. My recurring nightmare is that when I do have a line to say I am going to forget the damned thing.
My children arrive tomorrow, and I wonder if my six-year-old, Geoffrey, will realise I am Bond when he sees me in action. Just before we left England he asked: ‘Can you beat anybody, including a robber?’
‘Oh, yes,’ I replied confidentially.
‘Supposing James Bond came in,’ he persisted.
‘Daddy is going to play James Bond,’ I explained.
‘I know that,’ he sighed impatiently. ‘I mean the real James Bond, Sean Connery.’
B-Day 14: Today, I finally said my first lines.
I suggested to David Hedison (Felix Leiter, my CIA buddy in the film) that we run through the scene first, only to discover that the lines he was saying were entirely different from those I had learned.
‘What script are you using, Diamonds Are Forever?’ I asked him. ‘Then I noticed the colour of his pages. His were blue and mine were white, denoting script changes. The page and a half of dialogue I had mastered was reduced to: ‘Hello, Felix. What are you doing here?’
Wednesday, B-Day 16: Today we moved to Lake Front Airport, New Orleans, to commit the same kind of carnage on planes as we did on the boats.
Our flotilla looks like it has brushed with Nelson at his best. Out of the 30 new speedboats we had, 19 were write-offs and 11 badly battered. We have ten planes due for destruction, although none of them will ever take to the air.
Bond is caught, breaks free and is hounded by car-loads of heavies at high-speed around the hangars and runways.
He escapes by commandeering a Cessna training plane complete with pupil, a certain Mrs Bell. Our leading lady, Jane Seymour, who plays the virginal Solitaire, arrives tonight. She will be a fresh and beautiful face for the journalists to aim their lenses at.
I hope Jane doesn’t get turned over by customs. Come to mention it, if anybody is going to do any turning over with Jane, I would like it to be me — on screen of course, with due deference to my wife.
It was agreed it would more interesting if Solitaire, our present leading lady, had been black, as she was in the original screenplay, but film studio United Artists were orginally against it
I lunched with Syd Cain, our production designer, who is just back from Jamaica, our next location. He was telling me about the crocodile farm he visited there, where Bond is to clash with the mighty reptiles.
Production construction noise has driven all the crocs and alligators to ground, so their handler is busy digging them out of the mud where they have buried themselves. I have sent him word not to bother on my account.
Sunday, B-Day 19: Yaphet Kotto, the villain of the piece, came to visit the set today and we lined up for pictures. The cameras clicked, and, suddenly, I noticed frantic, pressing fingers become frenzied.
I looked to learn why: Yaphet was punching the air with a black power salute. Whether he was serious or not, I don’t know, but the sequel was a scorching row.
Derek Coyte, our publicity director, pointed out that the pictures would rouse resentment and could be seen as an endorsement of black power. We are making anything but a political picture, but Derek said the photographs syndicated far and wide would involve us in a controversy that could do nothing but harm.
Monday, B-Day 20. Today was smash the aeroplanes day.
We lined up for what, even on spectacular stunt terms, must be regarded as sensational. Many thousands of pounds’ worth of grounded DC3 passenger plane was parked on the airport apron.
I buzzed around in a two-seater Cessna, and the stunt began with a pursuing car missing me, hitting the tail of the passenger plane and literally taking off to hurtle the full length of it.
The watching crowd, sworn to silence because we were shooting sound, could barely stifle a shout as the car flew the whole length of the plane and crumpled into the wing.
One of our stuntmen, Jim Heck, who is as game as they come but admitted he was scared of the stunt, stepped out shaken but unscathed.
Meanwhile, I was whizzing around Lake Front Airport in the Cessna with Mrs Bell. I whipped through half-closed hangar doors and the plane’s wings were torn off completely, leaving 2ft stumps and flapping fabric on either side.
If the stunt was not as dangerous as the flying car and plane crash, it looked just as effective.
It worked so well the first time we shot it that we did not have to wreck the reserve plane but it will never fly again. We had sawn through the wings in case it was needed. Anybody want to buy a plane with wobbly wings?
B-Day 23, and a lovely day for a funeral. Back we went to New Orleans to continue the sequence that the rain cut short.
After shooting was finished, Jane Seymour and I agreed to pose for pictures for a photographer who had not got the standard shots of us together with me looking protective pointing my gun.
The problem was we had no gun. The 25 carried by our props department were locked in a warehouse 15 miles away.
The only gun in sight was a Smith & Wesson .38 slung on the hip of a young duty policeman, who said that on, condition his sergeant agreed, he would loan it to us.
Permission granted, he took the bullets out of the gun and sat sipping coffee for half an hour watching while Jane and I worked with the photographers. Which is how a real-life police gun made it into some of our Press coverage.
‘Don’t enjoy your work too much,’ Moore’s wife told him about the love scenes he filmed with Gloria Hendry
B-Day 24, the last day of shooting in New Orleans, and, oh, my head! I had a king-size hangover after a party we’d thrown to say goodbye to the city, with varicose veins throbbing up and down the sides of my temples.
Today’s location was the local railway station — not the place to be with a hangover. I wished desperately it was Paddington station in London and that I could walk outside, get into my car and drive back to my house in Buckinghamshire.
Despite the fact that Luisa and the children are here, I still get desperately homesick. I miss things like an English cottage loaf, Golden Shred marmalade and the English papers with my morning tea. They are niceties of life.
B-Day 25, and our first location in Jamaica.
Tomorrow, Guy has banned all visitors because the voluptuous Gloria Hendry and I are going to play our love scene.
Luisa has been plying me with questions all evening. ‘You do love me, Roger, don’t you?’ she asked. ‘Of course, I do,’ I replied. ‘I shall just be doing a job. It’s my work.’
‘Yes. I know,’ sighed Luisa, and, lapsing into Italian, said: ‘Non voglio che hai placere nel lavorare.’ Literally translated: ‘Don’t enjoy your work too much.’
B-Day 26, and I was wide awake before six. Half a mile up a hillside, our props for the love scene were ready.
It was to take place during a picnic, and blankets and a table-cloth were laid out and the set cleared and closed.
So, Gloria and I got busy. I will not bore you with the details, except to say that she put her heart, body and soul into her work. For further illustration, you could always, of course, see the film.
Speculation on what happens after love scenes is, I believe, rife. Do the couple continue in private, or do they stand up and slap each other?
The truth is much more mundane and usually along the lines of what happened to Gloria and me.
We shared a car for the drive back to our hotel and chatted about everything under the sun, except what happened earlier.
B-Day 27. 5.30am: My early morning loving mood embraced Luisa, and I prepared a quick, quiet breakfast myself instead of turfing her out of bed.
I made my own tea, and, if I do pat myself on the back, I am always pleased with the way I brew it.
Our boating base for today’s scenes is a jetty. Spotting one of our aquajet boats moored, I needed no encouragement to leap in and take Gloria for a spin with George, our stills photographer.
I was concentrating on the driving when I glanced over my shoulder to see Gloria without her towelling robe — or anything else, for that matter. Her arms were outstretched skywards over the stern, and George was simply snapping happily away. All I needed was for Luisa to be sitting on the beach with binoculars and she would have had my guts for spaghetti.
B-Day 35, and the hottest so far. At lunchtime I had a quick dip in the pool with the children, much to their delight.
They are beginning to doubt they have a father lately, they see so little of me.
Whether they will have one for much longer is another question — tomorrow, B-Day 36, after weeks of waiting, we are to meet the crocodiles who are going to play such a memorable role in the film.
I do hope they understand that ‘actor’ is not on the menu.
Adapted from THE 007 DIARIES: FILMING LIVE AND LET DIE by Sir Roger Moore, published by The History Press on June 1 at £14.99. ©Roger Moore 2018. To order a copy for £11.24 (offer valid to 7/6/18) visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640. P&P free on orders over £15.
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