Back in November 1978, the press grilled actress
Lois Chiles on her feminist views and how her Bond
girl would be different...
Balancing A Bond Girl Image
7th February 2011
As scantily clad beauties play cribbage
and James Bond star Roger
Moore lounges in a director's
chair smoking a cigar, prop men put the finishing touches
on the rubber rocks and plastic stalactites of The Mayan
"Hollywood is a state of mind," the press
agent is saying. "Her hair," a production assistant
says. "They're upset about her hair. All morning and
all through lunch they've been working on her hair."
This is the set of "Moonraker," the
11th James Bond film extravaganza, and the troublesome
hair in question
belongs to leading lady Lois
Chiles, the newest addition
to the 'Bond Girl' subspecies of Hollywood glamour queen.
Her hair, which off camera she likes to keep naturally
curly, is one problem.
Another is that Lois Chiles is anything
but the traditional glamour queen. Her intriguing green
eyes delight photographers alright, and she has no trouble
filling the bikini of such earlier Bond girls as Pussy
Galore and Mary Goodnight.
But along with being an actress, Chiles is a
serious feminist, an outspoken advocate of womens' rights who
prefers meditation and "the important time of being alone" to
the clatter and glitter of movie life. Playing the sexpot love
object of super-chauvinist, love 'em and leave 'em Bond presents
a delicate challenge to her principles. It doesn't help either
that this Bond girls is named Holy Goodhead.
"I try to take it all very, very lightly," Ms.
Chiles says, taking a break from having her hair ironed out. "Holly
Goodhead. I mean it's funny, right? Despite the name, this Bond
girl is a departure from the tradition", she says. "She's
a strong, intelligent woman and a CIA agent in her own right,
so Bond has to take her seriously. I wouldn't have taken the
role if she had been the typical Bond girl."
Ms. Chiles, with her tall, high cheek-boned
good looks, played Robert Redford's college girlfriend in "The
Way We Were" and later won critical acclaim for her portrayal
of Daisy Buchanan's mysterious friend Jordan Baker in the Hollywood
version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby." She
completed filming another rich girl starring role in the next
Agatha Christie film, "Death On The Nile," before coming
here for the Franco-British "Moonraker" production.
With a directness that reflects her smalltown
upbringing in Alice, Texas, Ms. Chiles says she feels uncomfortable
with the way the movies portray women and the way the film industry
- including the Bond production - markets actresses like 'commodities'.
"Hollywood remains in many ways
just the way Fitzgerald portrayed it so many years ago
in 'The Last Tycoon,'" she says. "Still, I suppose
everyone is a commodity to some extent and I have to admit
I get a kick out of the way the Bond people all treat me
like a princess, having fresh flowers sent to my room all
the time. But I know the flowers and all the attention
aren't really for me, Lois. They're for whoever happens
to be playing the Bond girl at the time."
"The trappings of this business don't interest me.
What does interest me is the work part, growing and learning.
I just want to be the best actress I can be."
Like many of today's young actresses, Ms. Chiles dreams
of playing a realistic role like Jill Clayburgh's in "An
Unmarried Woman." "I have so much to learn. Each
day I realize there's so much I don't know," she says. "At
this point I'm just trying to learn as much as I can as
fast as I can, and for this the Bond experience has been
Spy Who Loved Me," the most recent Bond film, earned
roughly $100 million, according to United Artists officials.
The budget for "Moonraker" is
near $20m, and officials say Ms. Chiles' salary is "in the
six figures". "I don't want to weight myself down with
possessions," Ms. Chiles says. "I want to be neuter.
I want to be able to adapt to anything, just pick up and go off
to India or somewhere if I want and be able to feel open to the
experience. This business can be a real high and I don't want
to get addicted to the high. I want to feel happy about going
back home and washing the dishes."