MI6 chatted to Shane Rimmer - who has appeared in three James Bond films - about his lesser know Bond roles in "You Only Live Twice", "Diamonds Are Forever" and his extensive career...

Shane Rimmer Interview (2)
27th January 2005

MI6 chatted to Shane Rimmer - who has appeared in three James Bond films - about his lesser know Bond roles in "You Only Live Twice", "Diamonds Are Forever" and his extensive career...

Above: A rare shot of Shane Rimmer playing Seth Harper in an early Dr. Who episode entitled "The Gunfighters".

You Only Live Twice

Can you tell us how you landed the role in "You Only Live Twice"?
There wasn't much pre-selection going on, so you establish your face and the way you work. You go along and do it and don't bump into the furniture!

I was on that film for two weeks. They had to put a lot of things together for that film. They had to see if everything tied together with the mission flight and what was going on in the control room. Sometimes they had to put more into the lines, which would give a more definite sense of what was going on with the flight. I don't now how they did it - the editors did such a great job on that.

Are you involved with the CGI version of Gerry Anderson Captain Scarlet? Gerry Anderson has talked very highly of you, why do you think this is?
No, it's a whole new computerized process, I think they wanted to start out with clean sheet. I know that the two main characters in Captain Scarlet aren't in it - they started off being in it. Everything is a generation newer and if anybody showed signs of the voice being not that new I think...

I know Ed Bishop and Francis Matthews where original scheduled to do it but when you have co-productions you have to have total agreement and I don't think they had it.

For all the character voice acting you did how did you create unique and recognisable voices?
Well I don't know if they were! I think what you have to do is create recognisable voices and if you can do that, you create a character, don't try to doctor it to much otherwise people can tell. You've got to get to know the character what they do and let the voice do what it has to do.

Above: The new CGI Captain Scarlet.

Above: Captain Scarlet and Destiny.

You have work on Captain Scarlet and Secret Service, but you also wrote scripts, how did you make the jump form performer to writer?
Well the conveyance there was you know what the production's about, who the characters were and how they have been shaped. I did some writing back in Canada and I was familiar with the characters so it came together.

A Return To Genre...
You headed back to the Spy genre in the 2001 film Spy-Game can you tell us a little about your involvement with that feature?
I read for Ridley Scott before, "The Hunger" (1997), but I didn't get it. He had an ending, and he was not to sure how it was going to work. I got a call to head down there and film a ending with Robert Redford who's a very, very generous actor. My son was on that picture, and we went to the premiere and I wasn't in it! They used the other ending!

Meeting For The First Time
You had a role in "The Saint" back in the mid 60's, did you have any screen time with Roger and if so did this help with the Bond films?
Yes a little but not very much, I can't really remember it in a crystal clear way. I think Roger didn't change very much - his attitude and his participation - and I think that's what's made him so popular as he is very comfortable to watch, and for the people that work with him.

Diamonds Are Forever
Where did you shoot your scenes for this film? How many days of shooting where there?

We shot at the 007 stage at Pinewood. Diamonds I think was a week at the most, so I got promoted from after this film. I got about two months on 'Spy'.

Can you tell us how you landed the role in Diamonds Are Forever?
Well again, you just go in there, and if your personality jives with the part and you know your way around Bond because of a previous production, it was not like stage work where you have a two week rehearsal and you had to come on set prepared. You had to have it nailed down - you had to be ready to go before the cameras.

Any memories form the production?
'Diamonds' - I'm not terribly fond of. I remember shaking in my shoes with the first sight I had of Connery because he had this amazing forceful personality. I remember being in the elevator and being 6 inches away from him and just got a whole eye. The eyes are just like lasers they can burn right through you if he turned up the power anymore.


He's alright, he never demanded anything of anybody he didn't demand of himself. He was absolutely scrupulous about lines, moves... You couldn't think of backing out, you had to stay there and hold your ground and deliver your lines.

Above: Peter Sellers as Dr Strangelove.

Defining Moments
In 1964 you stared in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove how was it working with the legendary actor Peter Sellers and Director?

…. Terrible… I'm not sure when it started, but they came to a point where they didn't speak to each other. Kubrick agreed with Sellers' performance and was very happy there, Sellers was a very difficult man to control in those days.

The cockpit of the plane was suspended about 15ft above the floor, and that morning Sellers became so incensed that he leaned out of the cockpit and kept going. He fell to the floor and broke his leg. That's why Dr Strangelove was in the wheelchair the whole time.

Kubrick was very available to us, maybe this transferred off Sellers. James Earl Jones was there and he hadn't done too much. It worked because Kubrick was available and generous to us.

You are credited on the Internet Movie Database as an 'InCom engineer' in Star Wars IV: A New Hope can you tell us what that is?
It's to do with incoming communications and all the apparatus has to be finally tuned so they can hear all the communications. I also had the job of putting R2D2 in that cockpit which took a day and a half, but it was meant to take 12 minutes. We had to get the arms and legs in the right position. Again that was a mammoth production so you have no idea what they are shooting.

As well as the Bond films you have appeared in two of the Superman films. Can you tell us a little about these roles?
Yeh, they were big scale productions - just as the Bond's. The first one I was an operator in a tracker station following missile flights to Mars... Great tracking operator I am - I didn't even no what I was doing!

These scenes are good in the picture as they build up a intensity, so you don't know if they are going to make it or not make it. So it was good to be on that.

In a career that has spanned the last 40 years what highlights have there been?
The lucky thing about London, which does not apply to Hollywood, is that you can do both films and television in one place. If you want to have a combined film career and theatre career, you have to travel 4000 miles between NY and LA.

I was lucky enough to get in at the national theatre and did a play "Death of a Salesman". If you want to see what theatre is about, that's the place to get hired. There are three theatres there, with some of the greatest actors around.

I remember our dressing room overlooked Ralph Richards in this quadrangle. Every night that he was on there would be a queue of young actors, who would go and ask him questions about his acting. I think his acting... well I don't think there is anybody like him. Nobody new what he was going to say, he never delivered the say line twice. That was one of them.


"A Very British Coup" was a film over here, for Channel Four. Ray McAlly played the Prime Minster that was great. There have been several on the way.

Many thanks to Shane Rimmer.

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Images courtesy Amazon Associates, Columbia Tri-Star & Captain Scarlet