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Exclusive interview with Nadja Regin

 
 

“The biggest strength you can have is love!”

Don't Panic Chaps - Hammer (1959)

Of her early work in Britain, the 1959 Hammer and ACT comedy Don’t Panic, Chaps alongside George Cole and Dennis Price was Nadja’s personal favourite. “It was a lovely film, I really enjoyed it,” she explained. “It was set on an island, where a group of English soldiers and German soldiers were stuck. So they decide to co-exist. But then a girl swims over and they start fighting again over her!”

Another highlight was Nadja’s appearance alongside the legendary Patrick McGoohan in an episode of Danger Man entitled Find and Destroy, which aired on British television two days before Christmas in 1961. “We struck up a lovely friendship,” Nadja explained. “He didn’t like kissing on film. When we met we established we were both married so when he put his arm around me everybody was shocked! But it was because I was married and he didn’t see me as a danger! He was an excellent and generous actor, always trying to help you. I remember at one point I was holding some dynamite – and they loved how I terrified I looked!” Later, Nadja would also appear in the second season episode of Danger Man entitled The Professionals, an episode heavily influenced by the Profumo scandal, with Nadja impressing as a Christine Keeler-esque character.

Nadja Regin & Pedro Armendariz in From Russia With Love (1963)

Similar to her stints in Danger Man, Nadja would also feature in two Bond films in two different roles. After appearing in From Russia With Love as Kerim Bey’s girlfriend, Nadja also returned for the following film in the series, Goldfinger, appearing as nightclub dancer Bonita in the thrilling and stylish pre-credits sequence. “I think it was maybe given to me as compensation because I was meant to have more scenes in From Russia With Love,” Nadja speculated. “I think that’s why they also gave me a part in Goldfinger.”

Nadja Regin as Bonita in Goldfinger (1964)

Of her 007 co-star Sean Connery, then at the height of his fame, Nadja recalled an amusing incident. “I’m sure he won’t mind me telling this story as it was all very tongue in cheek,” she explained with a smile. “I had a driver who asked me if I could get Sean Connery’s autograph while I was filming. So I knocked on Sean’s door and asked for the autograph. He said: ‘yes, if you give me a kiss!’ So I told him I’d get the driver to come up and give him a kiss!”

Goldfinger Pre-credit sequence | Nadja Regin with director Guy Hamilton

Meanwhile, of her brief but eye-catching role in Goldfinger, Nadja recalled: “I didn’t have dance lessons but a lady showed me how to use the castanets. It was a lovely costume! I came out the bath, we had a kiss, he pushed me and that was it really! When I was on the set, there would be publicity photos taken quite often. It was fun, but I didn’t take it all that seriously.”

Nadja Regin with Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger (1964)

Perhaps the most memorable shot involving Nadja in Goldfinger was the famous close-up of her eye, in which Bond spots the reflection of the approaching Capungo played by stuntman Alf Joint, enabling 007 to ruthlessly spin Nadja’s character around so that she receives the blow from him instead. “They had to do it using a montage, but they did film my eye,” Nadja explained. “However it was difficult because when the clapperboard was snapped shut a bit of dust got into my eye. They had to wait for my eye to calm down. Then they superimposed the reflection. It’s a very unusual and memorable shot.”

The premiere for Goldfinger, held at the Odeon Leicester Square on 17 September 1964, was a massive media circus, but Nadja took it all in her stride. “Yes, the premiere was a huge event,” she said. “I think my husband was sick so I went there unaccompanied and my driver was drunk! It was quite embarrassing because he was shoving people out of the way to make room for me when I arrived! There were huge crowds, but given my background and experiences in the war, well, I didn’t find anything intimidating compared to that!”

Goldfinger ODEON Leicester Square 17 September 1964

After Goldfinger was completed Nadja nearly ended up working for director Guy Hamilton again, only to suffer disappointment. “Guy Hamilton’s wife was French and my agent was friendly with him,” she explained. “On one occasion later I was hoping to get a part on one of his films playing a French character but he didn’t think my French accent was believable enough. I was a little unhappy about that because it was a big part!”

CONTINUED


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