Fifty years ago, on October 5, 1962, Ursula Andres emerged from the sea, glistening, in a now famous white bikini, and Sean Connery as James Bond redefined cool. To commemorate the golden anniversary of Bond's first appearance in Dr. No, Roger Moore, who played the suave super spy seven times, looks back at the phenomenon in his new book Bond on Bond: Reflections on 50 years of James Bond Movies. In the lavishly illustrated coffee table book, Moore analyzes the essential elements of the series: the villains, the women, the gadgets, and the six other actors who have hidden a Walther PPK under their tuxedo jackets. Moore played the part with sly, irrepressible humor and feline grace and, for a generation of fans, he was James Bond.
Why do you think the films have remained so popular for fifty years and counting?
Roger Moore: The films are hugely popular because they are entertaining. The producers never cheat audiences - the money goes on the screen.
To what do you attribute to character's popularity?
Moore: Every man wants to be James Bond; every woman wants to be bedded by him!
What drives James Bond?
Moore: He obviously feels a sense of duty and thrives on it.
Is Bond essentially a hedonist of sorts -- who's primarily in pursuit of pleasure?
Moore: He takes pleasure along the way, and uses it to great advantage at times in extracting information from certain ladies. But hedonist? No, I don't think so.
What do you think are the most significant ways the character of Bond has changed?
Moore: He has had six different faces! Each Bond is right for that generation. I'm sure my Bond wouldn't work today; just as Daniel Craig's 007 probably wouldn't have worked for 1970s audiences. The producers move and adapt with the times. They are very clever.
Up until recently, the Bond movies have deliberately avoided exploring Bond's psyche. Would you have enjoyed exploring those elements?
Moore: Me? Act and think deeply? No thanks! I wouldn't say they avoided exploring his psyche, but I guess after 20-odd films you reach a stage where we know so much about the character without knowing that much about the man and it's interesting to take a look.
Can you talk a little bit about how you found the right note to play Bond?
Moore: Guy Hamilton [who directed Moore's first outing as 007] told me to play it my way. We avoided some of the lines closely associated with Sean such as ordering a vodka martini. But otherwise I just played myself - as always.
Bond's movement appears effortless. Can you talk about how you approached the physicality of the part?
Moore: I never thought about it. I had doubles to make me look good!
There are some great moments in the films where you show Bond's vulnerable side. How do you approach those scenes?
Moore: I honestly don't read into it. I look at the script, speak to the director and just say the lines.
Over the course of your seven Bond films, you experimented with different approaches to the part -- from the tongue-in-cheek to the more realistic. What is your favorite approach?
Moore: I never really enjoyed the hard, gritty side of Bond. I much preferred being a lover and being a giggler.
Were there any moments in the Bond films that made you uncomfortable?
Moore: As I say, my Bond was a lover and giggler -- I didn't think he should hit a woman, nor kill a man in cold blood. The storyline called for it, I know, but I personally don't feel comfortable with those types of scenes.
What do you see as the main difference between Sean Connery's Bond and yours?
Moore: Sean's Bond was a tough character who could fight his way out of a corner; my Bond would charm his way out of a corner.
What made Connery's interpretation distinctive?
Moore: Sean was the first Bond. He created and defined the part. He was distinctive in that there was no one else to compare him with.
What about George Lazenby?
Moore: George's film is a damn good movie. He could have been a great Bond and could have made quite a few movies, but it wasn't to be. We are friends.
Moore: Not long ago, I sat down to watch The Living Daylights for the first time and thought it a terrific movie and Timothy, who I've known years, is a bloody good 007 and a great actor. I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed the film.
Moore: Pierce played it much like me, though I did feel his films got a little too far-fetched -- invisible cars?!
Moore: Daniel is certainly the best actor to ever play 007, and I think he will go on to become the best ever Bond.
And what about that actor who played Bond seven times... Roger Moore? What did you admire about his approach?
Moore: Oh he was very handsome, charming, talented and modest.
Who is the best Bond?
Moore: Sean -- because he was the first.