02-Apr-2022 • Bond News
Jane Seymour has for years distanced herself from her role as Solitaire in the 1973 James Bond film 'Live And Let Die' despite it being the breakthrough that made her famous.
In a new interview with The Guardian, she doubles down on her distaste for the film, even though she is quite happy to continue to attend glitzy Bond events and premieres.
As the paper explains, it took a family connection to get her the role in the first place.
She had done some small roles and was 20 when she got the part in Live and Let Die. She was married by then, to Attenborough’s son, Michael; Richard sent a letter to Roger Moore, playing Bond, asking him to look after his daughter-in-law (it sounds like it contained more than a hint of a warning). “He kept waving this letter at me,” Seymour remembers. Moore and his then wife did look after her, she says. “They knew I was completely out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I’d ever stayed in a hotel in my life, and certainly not been to restaurants. I was there on my own and it was hard to figure it all out.”
What was it like to be suddenly part of the Bond machine? “It was quite frightening,” she says. “Before I even started, they had Terry O’Neill taking these crazy beautiful photographs of me with very little on and doing an interview about how I liked to run naked through long grass.” It was all made up. Did she mind being called a Bond girl? “At the time, coming from obscurity, it was a very nice thing. It meant I had a job,” she says. But for all the doors it opened, it also slammed some shut. The acclaimed director John Schlesinger wanted to offer her a role, until someone told him, says Seymour, that she was “a Bond girl. And that was it. Never heard from them again. That happened a few times.” (She had wanted to do Ibsen, but instead she embraced a commercial career, from TV movies to Playboy shoots, and designing products including jewellery, scarves and home decor.)
Live and Let Die has not aged well – it’s sexist, obviously, but the racism is shocking. “You’d never make that movie now,” says Seymour. “You wouldn’t want to make that movie. I was a woman, a virgin, who ran three paces behind a man with a gun, wearing very … well, actually for a Bond girl, a lot. I was deflowered and then deposited. I’d lost all my power, so I was useless. It was awful!”