In a rare 1979 press interview, Lois Chiles and
director Lewis Gilbert talk about her casting as
Dr Holly Goodhead in Moonraker...
From Bombshells To Brains
11th September 2011
"From Bombshells To Brains" -
June 13th, 1979
It was a hard image to break, Ursula
Andress emerging from the surf in Dr.
No, her body golden,
her bikini as brief as her lines. But 17 years and 11 James
Bond movies later, Lois
Chiles, the 30-year-old green-eyed
daughter of a Texas oilman, shatters the mould.
She doesn't have the body of Ursula
Andress, the beauty of Barbara
Bach or the controversy
of Britt Ekland, but as a Bond girl she does more and
says more than all of them put together. Indeed, the newly
Moonraker may be the first Bond movie where the girl
gets the guy, Special Agent 007 who is, for the fourth
In stark contrast to tradition - where Bond girls were
mostly chose for how they looked between sheets - Lois
as Holly Goodhead is a super CIA agent, and astronaut,
a scientist and smarter than a computer in overdrive.
is also an established actress, with leading roles in
The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby, and Coma.
Moonraker director Lewis
Gilbert insists Lois'
heavy duty here is in keeping with the evolution of women. "In the early
days," he says, "Bond came into a room, the girl fell,
was plundered, and you never say her again. But seventeen years
ago, women were no more advanced in society than they had been
a hundred years before that. The way I see it, the Bond girl
is a reflection of where women are, at the time the movie is
Traditionally, feminists have protested the
Bond girls have been discarded through the story like wilted
roses. They have
pushed for women to look "more real." But director
Gilbert responds: "Bond, after all, is a fantasy, and you
just don't fantasize on plain girls. Everything is beautiful
in these Bond movies, not just the girls. The hotel rooms are
most glamorous, as are the guns, the cars, the boats."
Above: Producer Cubby Broccoli, Roger Moore, Lois Chiles
and director Lewis Gilbert.
Lois Chiles says she went after the role of
Holly Goodhead because it makes her look intelligent. "I
just don't think of myself as a Bond girl," she says. "I
suppose because I have never thought of myself as glamorous.
Oh sure, when they straightened
my hair, put on makeup, I can look a certain way. But that's
not how I wake up in the morning!"
Two years ago she came to Hollywood and started
looking for work, "living very quietly, observing, not going
to too many parties" When Cubby
Broccoli began seeking "a
girl with brains as well as beauty" he fixed his attention
on Lois who, he says, "went
after the role like she really wanted it."
Now Chiles has some reservations, not about
the role, but with the Bond-girl as a package She is uncomfortable
with press interviews,
often, to Broccoli's frustration, refusing to do them. She resents
personal questions. She hates being recognized on the street.
She minimized the value of her own beauty, personally and professionally.
"It's really sad to get attached to being pretty, because
it doesn't mean anything. What you project has more value than
how you look."
Nor does she feel challenged by the great number
of stunningly beautiful women in Hollywood - literally hundreds
of whom she
beat out for the role of Holly Goodhead. "They take nothing
from me," she says. "I am right for certain parts and
other girls are not. I am competing only with myself."