ABOVE: A LASTING
BOND! (left) Long-standing friends Roger Moore and Sean Connery
[sans toupee] photographed in 1983. The pair were quick to debunk
the “Battle of the Bonds” that never really materialised other
than in the minds of the Media on the lookout for a sensational
story. (right) Sean Connery and Prunella Gee in Never Say Never
Was the crew and
yourself aware of the “other” Bond film Octopussy at the time you
were involved with the production of Never Say Never Again?
I think it was just about complete when I was filming, or it was in the
editing stages. I think it was generally accepted that Sean and Roger
Moore had made a very good early stand that they were not in competition.
They liked each other and they were different sorts of Bonds. And they let
the world know so that they didn’t set up a publicity competition… neither
of them seemed bothered. I think that Octopussy was very much “Miss
World’s-long legged lovelies,” lot of tricks, beautiful costumes… the
works! Whereas Never Say Never Again was definitely going for
something more subtle. It was going for good acting and plot, and I think
in all cases the acting was terrific. Barbara Carrera was an absolutely
stunning beauty and Kim Basinger for instance was absolutely amazing. So
that was the base line, it seemed that the whole storyline and the humour
was not POW!! – thrust everything at them and do the absolute classic
tricks and laughs. It seemed to me that it was on a more subtle level,
which I like.
Did you take part in any promotion for the film?
They did ask me to go to Amsterdam to promote it, but I couldn’t. And I
didn’t attend the British Premiere either because I couldn’t make that
either. I really didn’t do much promotion – but I was in the trailers,
which was nice!
Do you mind watching yourself on the screen?
It’s not very nice the first time. I’ve seen the film twice and I didn’t
really like the way I looked, so I got a bit troubled about that. But I
looked okay the next time. If you look like you’re in control and you’re
relaxed and not uncomfortable, you’re pleased you’ve got that far.
Sometimes you can think ‘Oh, why did I do that’ or ‘Why didn’t I do this’,
and it can be quite horrid, but in this one I think everybody looked like
they knew what they were up to.
Director Irvin Kershner with Executive Producer Kevin McClory at
the Royal Charity Premiere of Never Say Never Again held at
the Warner Theatre, Leicester Square on Wednesday December 14,
1983. (right)Sean Connery and Irvin Kershner during the filming of
Never Say Never Again (1983).
It was recently
announced that Kevin McClory, Executive Producer of Never Say Never
Again, is planning a new series of James Bond films. Would you appear
in another, given the chance?
Yes, I’d like to play a bigger part. It was quite little this one.
So were you jealous of Barbara Carrera and Kim Basinger?
No, not at all. Over the years I must have been up for several Bond films,
but I always go in with the attitude that I’m not a ‘Bond-Girl’. It was
just a joke that they rung up and said come and do this one! Really, I’m
not very tall and I’m not the classic Bond type at all. I doubt if I would
be offered another, but I’d like to do one given the chance. It’s a
marvellous thing to have said you’ve done a Bond film, but I have been up
for Bond films in the past and I’ve never got the part!
Which films did you audition for?
Oh, I was up for a part in the one with Barbara Bach.
The Spy Who Loved Me?
Yes, that was the one.
What was the atmosphere on the set like between Sean Connery and Irvin
Kershner – it is rumoured they didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye?
I had heard some bad stories before I started, and I’d also heard that
Irvin Kershner didn’t stop and listen to particular actresses problems,
but they seemed to be fine together. There was banter obviously, but they
seemed okay together – they lunched and seemed pretty cheerful. I didn’t
notice anything terrible. Actually, I had a lot of respect for Irvin
Kershner because he was willing to take a lot of trouble over tiny little
things. In one scene I had very little to say but a little look and a
smile at the end. But he really made sure it was right. He was watching
very closely, which you don’t always get. Providing the film is got in on
time you usually have to notice these things yourself, they don’t always
concentrate on these small details. I liked him very much.
ABOVE: (top left)
Barbara Carrera as Fatima Blush [a name created by Ian Fleming for
the screen treatment he co-wrote with Kevin McClory & Jack
Whittingham, that ultimately became the novel THUNDERBALL] with
Gavan O'Herlihy as Jack Petachi in Never Say Never Again.
(top right) Pat Roach and Barbara Carrera in a deleted scene from
Never Say Never Again showing Roach as the driver of the
ambulance that brings Fatima Blush and Jack Petachi to Shrublands.
(bottom left) In Never Say Never Again heroin-addicted
United States Air Force pilot Jack Petachi has undergone an
operation on his right eye to make it match the retinal pattern of
the US President, which he uses to circumvent iris recognition
security at RAF Station Swadley, an American military base in
Sean Connery seemed to
take the view that he’d done six Bond films and Irvin Kershner was on his
first – did this feeling come through?
One had this feeling that if Sean hadn’t been happy with something then
he’d make sure that it was done again. I noticed a bit of argument, but on
the whole everyone understood that Sean knew what he was doing, which is
not surprising as he’s so professional.
Who are your favourite actresses in Bond films of the past?
I thought Barbara Bach was really one of the best, I thought she was
stunning and well, Diana Rigg must rate as one of the top ones because
she’s a proper actress. I love her in anything she does. She’s wonderful
and of course there were some duff ones that looked stunning but couldn’t
Is Sean Connery your favourite James Bond?
Absolutely – he IS James bond, isn’t he?
Do you prefer working in theatre and TV or in films?
If the part is really going well and gives you a lot to bite on, then that
is what keeps one happy. I’ve known deadly boring theatre jobs, deadly
boring film jobs, and wonderful jobs in all of them. So I’m happy if I’ve
got something to get my teeth into. That’s all that counts. I tend to find
TV has been my best work because it is exactly the right size for me. I
hope this doesn’t sound conceited because it’s not meant to, but my style
is truthful and if it goes into areas of comedy or tragedy or whatever, it
always starts with that. A camera can at any moment come right in and see
what it ought to be seeing, I hope. I don’t switch things on or put in
tricks. So I prefer television, sizewise and the amount of time you get on
a take, which is obviously so much more than on a film take. We sometimes
do a whole scene with four cameras, and this tends to work quite nicely
Would you have liked to have played any of the other roles in Never
Say Never Again?
I would have loved to have played the Barbara Carrera part. Although I
thought Kim and Barbara were wonderful in the film. Also the men were
marvellous. Klaus Maria Brandauer for instance was superb.
Well at least you would have been able to go to The Bahamas if you’d
played that role!
Yes absolutely. That would have been wonderful.
So all in all the film was an enjoyable experience?
Yes, a nice thing to have done.