Roger Moore defends new 007
TORONTO (CP) – It took an old Bond to come to the rescue of the new Bond.
Roger Moore, who played Agent 007 in seven of the James Bond movies, said Wednesday that critics of the film franchise’s new star, Daniel Craig, should give him a chance. “He’s a helluva good actor,” said Moore, 78, noting that critics haven’t even seen Craig in the role yet. “So why attack him?”
A group of James Bond fans has launched a website (www.craignotbond.com) to protest the hiring of Craig to replace Pierce Brosnan in Casino Royale, now shooting in Prague.
The blond Craig, whose film work includes Munich and The Jacket, has so offended the fans they say they’ll boycott the film unless EON Productions and Sony Pictures admit they’ve made a big mistake.
Moore suggested the group was merely trying to attract people to their website, which says producers had refused to meet the price demanded for the role from Brosnan or other candidates like Hugh Jackman and Clive Owen.
Moore, meanwhile, will be in Quebec City this weekend to take part in a charity film festival called Vue sur Bond 007, organized by filmmaker Hilary Saltzman, daughter of Canadian-born Harry Saltzman. The senior Saltzman, who died in 1994, was, along with Albert Broccoli, the co-producer of most of the early Bond films.
In a recent interview, Hilary Saltzman was also eager to defend Craig, saying she’s excited about seeing him in the role.
“When I saw Munich. . .every time Daniel Craig was onscreen that’s who you’re watching. And I thought ‘my god, they’ve got something very interesting there’.”
Also in attendance at Vue sur Bond will be several other celebrities known to 007 fans, including actors Richard (Jaws) Kiel and Britt Ekland, director Guy Hamilton and singer Shirley Bassey.
The festival has three purposes: to honour the senior Saltzman, to draw attention to his daughter’s upcoming Festival of the Three Americas – which showcases little-known films from Latin America – and to make a donation to UNICEF (Moore is a goodwill ambassador and was in town Wednesday to attend the release of a report on child health).
Moore said he agreed to show up at the Bond festival because Saltzman asked him on behalf of both her father and UNICEF.
He also dismissed suggestions Wednesday that Bond is obsolete in a post-Cold War, post-9-11 world where real terrorists like Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida have trivialized such Bondian super-villains and organizations as Goldfinger, Blofeld and SMERSH.
“It’s fantasy,” counters Moore. “Bond is fantasy, there’s no real substance to it. It’s a figment of imagination. . .sort of crazy, you know, a spy who is recognized wherever he goes. Spies ain’t like that.”
“There’s a threat to the world and there’s one man out there that can save us. And actually I think right now people want to go to that fantasy world.”
She also thought it was a “huge coup” on the part of the producers that they snagged Canadian screenwriter Paul Haggis – who is up for a couple of Oscars for his work on Crash – to work on the script.
Roger Moore defends new 007