Part of the fun following the James Bond universe is learning which exotic and dangerous locales Ian Fleming’s legendary super spy will find himself jetting off to next. But who would have thought that figuring out where 007 went next would share part of its past decision-making process with that of the Happy Madison machine? Strangely enough, much like Adam Sandler loves to choose projects based on where he’d like to go on vacation, Roger Moore and the producers of the James Bond legacy actually use that same method for a stretch of time in their historic franchise.
I learned this fact thanks to someone who was involved in the beginning of the Moore era of Bond films: former Bond woman Jane Seymour herself. As we spoke on behalf of CinemaBlend, celebrating the home video release for The War with Grandpa, I had to try and get some stories from the legendary actor who, at 20, landed one of her earliest major film roles as the character of Solitaire in 1973’s Live and Let Die. Out of the anecdotes that came from our conversation, Ms. Seymour clued me in on the fact that it was a little more than just trying to decide which Ian Fleming story would make the best follow-up that kept the James Bond series moving. She learned this from the man himself, simply by asking:
I used to ask Roger, I said, ‘Look, how do you decide where you’re going to do the next, what the next Bond film is going to be?’ Because they were running out of books, of course. He said, ‘Oh, we get together and decide where we want to have our next vacation, and then we write a story around it.’ I went, ‘Ok, well that makes sense.’ … They chose locations first, and then decided on the script that would fit it. They don’t do that now, not under Barbara’s watch; but back in the day, it was Harry Saltzman and Cubby, that’s what they did.
The experience of creating Live and Let Die would teach Jane Seymour a lot about the inner workings of the moviemaking world. The adventure of Roger Moore’s first James Bond film would have Seymour seeing stunt work up close, as well as encountering a couple of other misadventures that would spice things even further. But the lesson of exactly how the Bond legacy would chart its course was probably one of the most valuable insights into the focus of how the Moore era worked.
That very process helped keep the wheels moving, as The Man with the Golden Gun would only be released a year later, with producer Harry Saltzman giving the OK for the film to be set in Hong Kong and Thailand for those very reasons. It’s not terribly surprising for Jane Seymour to learn this fact and reveal it as 007 gospel, but the really intriguing part is that Roger Moore would be clued into that decision making so early in his tenure. Considering that the series had seen George Lazenby do only one James Bond film, and could only get Sean Connery to return for one final swan song, giving away any piece of the Bond formula feels like it’d be frowned upon.
History eventually proved trusting Roger Moore was a brilliant idea, as his previously record setting tenure playing James Bond yielded a quantity of films that no other actor in the role has beaten to this day. While it may sound frivolous on the outside, the Moore era was one of the most clockwork periods in the 007 legacy, with regular intervals delivering the thrills that audiences wanted to see at a defined clip. As we’re creeping up on the same amount of time that separated Timothy Dalton from Pierce Brosnan’s tenure as Bond thanks to No Time To Die being bumped into next spring, that approach is obviously not used in the world of Daniel Craig’s soon to end run in the role.
Maybe there’s room for such a decision-making process to return some day. Perhaps Jane Seymour’s revelation may inspire producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson to start looking into what destinations would make for an exciting debut for the next James Bond actor. With a public longing for travel and action on the big screen, this could be what the doctor ordered once the world turns back on. We’ll have to wait and see, as No Time To Die won’t be out until April 2, 2021; and the quest for a new 007 actor won’t be concluded any time soon.
Meanwhile, you can see Jane Seymour mix it up with Robert De Niro and an all-star cast in The War with Grandpa, which is currently available on Digital HD, as well as Blu-ray and DVD. But if you’re feeling like a trip to the James Bond catalogue, you can watch Live and Let Die, as well as all the other 007 adventures up to The World Is Not Enough, for free with ads on YouTube.