007 in rude health with Daniel Craig, says Roger Moore

After 45 years, 21 films and countless vodka martinis, Hollywood’s longest-running action hero—James Bond—is in rude health, according to the actor who knows 007 best: Roger Moore.

Afficionados might argue that nobody did it better than Sean Connery; but where history is concerned, nobody did it more often than Moore, who holds the record for playing Bond on film—seven to Connery’s six.

Yet Moore feels that the latest actor to take on the mantle, Daniel Craig, could end up rivalling his own 12-year reign by holding onto the role for at least another decade following last year’s hit Casino Royale.

“I have seen Daniel Craig in a number of films. He is a thundering good actor. The movie [Casino Royale] showed me that he is one hell of an athlete,” Moore told Agence France-Presse in an emailed interview, following the US release of a new boxed set of Bond DVDs.

If the 39-year-old Craig was to play Bond for another 10 years, he would still be several years younger than the age Moore had reached when he starred in 1985’s A View To A Kill.

Moore, who was 58 when the movie came out, described the film as the least favourite of his Bond roles.
“I was only about 400-years too old for the part!” he quipped.

Moore’s most enjoyable Bond experience came in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, memorable for a cast of villains that included Jaws played by Richard Kiel and gadgets that included a Lotus Esprit which doubled as a submarine.

“I think The Spy Who Loved Me was the best, or rather the one I enjoyed doing the most,” Moore said. “It had great locations. And I was exceedingly happy working with Lewis Gilbert, the director.

“We share the same sense of humour. I think it had the right balance of fun and suspense.”

While fans of the Bond films regularly debate which actor proved to be the best incarnation of novelist Ian Fleming’s protagonist, Moore revealed it is not something he has ever discussed with other actors who have played the spy.

Even when Sean Connery emerged from retirement in 1983 to appear in the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again—released in the same year as Moore’s Octopussy—the two actors did not discuss the subject.

That was partly due to a mutual friend, Michael Caine, advising them not to be suckered into participating in a media-driven “Battle of the Bonds”.

“Sean and I never discussed our experiences ... not even with the leading ladies!” Moore said. “Actors don’t really sit around discussing the parts they’ve played—just in case someone says ‘That was crap!’”

Moore said he understood why Craig underwent a physical transformation for Casino Royale, bulking up to give his Bond a beefier appearance.

“People don’t realise how physically demanding the role is,” Moore said. “I’m still amazed how many people ask me to this day if I did my own stunts.

“I tell them if I did or Sean did or Pierce [Brosnan] did then we would have been physically dead by the end of the first reel of every film!” - AFP

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