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Martine Beswick Interview

29th December 2015

As 'Thunderball' celebrates the 50th anniversary of its UK premiere, Martine Beswick talks about her experiences on the film

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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Before we get on to 'Thunderball,' a lot of books and websites have you down as appearing in the opening of 'Dr. No' as a dancing girl...
I was hoping somebody would bring this up because it's a fallacy! Everybody thinks it happened... but it didn't!

After your role in 1963's 'From Russia With Love', two years later we got to see you alongside Sean Connery again, this time in 'Thunderball.' How did you land your role as CIA Agent Paula Caplan?
Well that's because of the director, Terence Young. The producers did not want to use me for a second time, because they don't like using somebody for a second time. But the character was an island girl and I am a island girl so Terence kept pushing and I had years of work in between and he felt I was better. So again, Terence, thank you very much! He is one of my favourite people, he was a fabulous man.

The mid 1960's saw the height of Bond Fever with 'Goldfinger' and 'Thunderball'. What was it like to be involved with such a high profile series at that time? What was the publicity and media frenzy like?
Well we were all in it together, 'Thunderball' it was the absolutely the height of it all with publicity madness. Every magazine and every station came down to Nassau, because we were all in it together - we were a part of what was happening. It was so much fun. We were a gang! We were the Bond gang! Afterwards there was a lot of publicity you don't want to do but because we were all there it was OK.

What are your most cherished memories from the Bond productions?
I've said it over and over... I have done a lot of other films but there has never been a film where we were treated so brilliantly, because of Terence who was really James Bond. We had tables under the coconut trees - it was not box lunches or little rubbish stuff - it was all laid out. We had best wines and the best meals. We were invited everywhere. We lived the James Bond life, whatever we were shooting is what we were living.

How did your image as a Bond Girl affect your career post 1965?
It was never the best for actresses because really and truly a Bond Girl is a Bond Girl and it's really hard to break out of the mould. So, from that point of view only a few have succeeded. The later girls have survived much easier compared to the earlier ones, but I don't regret it. It was an incredible experience.

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