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The London-born star took over the 007 mantle after Sean Connery left his indelible mark and George Lazenby followed, in 1973. His first outing as the legendary British spy was in Live And Let Die and, after seven films, his run ended with A View To A Kill in 1985. Despite being considered among the best Bond actors, Sir Roger admitted he was nothing like Ian Fleming’s creation. The actor, who would have celebrated his 93rd birthday today, claimed that the franchise wanted to shape him into someone more akin to No Time To Die star Daniel Craig.
Sir Roger – who tragically passed away in 2017 – made the shocking remarks about his unsuitability for the role during an interview about the pressure of masculinity in the 21st Century.
The actor, who was the longest-serving James Bond and seduced more women than any other onscreen, claimed the role was oceans apart from his personality.
He said: “In my teens I was very insecure and so I invented Roger Moore. I was possibly shy.
“I don’t know why some people are shy and some aren’t. Some people blush very easily.
“I was not very self-confident with [girls]. I got lucky occasionally but with a lack of confidence.”
Sir Roger attributed his insecurity to being “a little bit overweight as a child” and admitted his troubles were exacerbated by regular insults from his father.
He recalled one incident where he pulled the future star by the belt of his school uniform and told: “You are like a sack of bloody potatoes, tied up and ugly in the middle.”
The star’s comments, which were reported in a 2016 Telegraph article, led him to conclude: “I think the insecurity probably came from that.”
In Sir Roger’s 2008 memoir My Word Is My Bond, he humorously made a quip about being told to lose weight after he was cast as 007.
He wrote: “They all want a washboard stomach, I never had that obsession. When I went to Hollywood, I had to work out in a gym.
“The idea was that I should look like Daniel Craig, though they hadn’t even met him at that point!”
Despite the demand that he should shed several pounds, Sir Roger claimed that his weight never impacted his career because of his good looks.
He said: “I was so pretty, actresses didn’t want to work with me.”
After being questioned about whether he would play James Bond differently in the 21st Century, he quipped: “Very differently. I’d be doing it in a wheelchair!”
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The star continued to explain that he “wouldn’t have changed” the way he portrayed the character because he doubted 007’s credentials.
He said: “I played it slightly tongue-in-cheek because I never quite believed that James Bond was a spy because everybody knew him, they all knew what he drank.
“He’d walk into a bar and it would always be, ‘Ah, Commander Bond. Martini, shaken not stirred?’ Spies are faceless people.”
Sir Roger recalled one particularly unsavoury scene in The Man With The Golden Gun in which he was told to be more rough with an actress.
He said: “I remember Guy Hamilton wanting me to be tougher with Maud Adams… where I was trying to get information from her and I started twisting her arm, which I didn’t like doing particularly.
“Guy said, ‘You’ve got to do it and she’s going to say, you’re hurting my arm, and you’ve got to say, I’ll break it, and mean it.’ So I bent it for those brief few moments.”
Despite being remembered as one of the great Bond actors, he claimed his secret behind taking on the legendary role was no different to any other part.
Sir Roger said: “My James Bond wasn’t any different to my Saint, or my Persuaders or anything else I’ve done. I’ve just made everything that I play look like me and sound like me.”
My Word Is My Bond: A Memoir by the late Sir Roger Moore was published by Michael O’Mara in 2008 and is available here.
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