Roger Moore’s James Bond love scene with Louis Chiles ‘most difficult of his career’

Moore is still known for playing a lighter, less serious 007 from the series. His famous films end with lines like Moonraker’s “I think he’s trying to get back” or “It’s just coming, sir” from The Man With The Golden Gun. But when he famously described a sex scene as “the hardest of my career,” there was no pun intended. And that was after another moment in the same movie left his face bruised and battered. (Trivia: That jaw-chewing cable in the clip above was actually made of licorice.)

Moonraker was the most expensive Bond film ever made at that point, and its budget of £30m was roughly on par with the first eight films put together. The producers wanted to capitalize on the recent Star Wars phenomenon and realign their planned order of adaptations of Ian Fleming’s novels, elevating the story based on the space race.

This gave Moore an unprecedented challenge, as he manipulated scenes in zero-gravity simulators and a malfunctioning gondola that transforms into a hovercraft. But it was the climactic sex scene that tested the actor the most.

However, Moore took it all in his stride and was greatly appreciated by the cast and crew for his professionalism, sense of humor, and generosity of spirit.

Like every other Bond girl of Moore’s era, Chiles – whose character was glorified by the infamously naughty name Holly Goodhead – wasn’t full of praise for the British actor, in and out of their bed scenes.

It was the last time that caused Moore tremendous difficulty. Known as the “return attempt” scene, it shows Bond and Goodhead stuck in a naked clinch of zero gravity as their shuttle re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.

Moore later revealed that the scene was one of the most difficult of his entire career to shoot: “I was just hanging there, with all the blood rushing up my nose and my eyes.”

Despite the severe pain and discomfort, as always, the actor never complained. Known for always doing his best to make life easier for the cast and crew, he often served tea to his co-stars, including Jane Seymour when she was already asleep in bed while filming an endless love scene for Live and Let Die.

Chiles herself later said: “When I joined Moonraker, it was already Roger’s fourth movie, but he was never the star. He would always involve me in dinners and drinks with his family after filming.”

“We shot in great locations, in Paris, Venice and Rio de Janeiro, and most of my scenes were with Roger, including some of the love scenes. And even in those scenes, Roger would joke around to keep the mood light. It was never hard with Roger.”

However, she revealed that beneath the slick exterior, the actor had some angst.

Chiles said: “The sweet, gentle Bond I saw on screen was all Roger. Off screen, he was very much the same guy. He was personable and kind and a very dear person, although I think that was partly a defence.

Bond had his critics, and many questioned Roger’s acting. But he was joking about it. When he was honored by the Friar’s Club in New York, he told them, ‘Say what you want about how bad my acting is, you won’t hurt my feelings, because everyone has said it before’ “.

Chiles’ career was on the rise before Moonraker, with notable roles in Death On The Nile, The Great Gatsby, and The Way We Were. It wasn’t just playing a Bond girl that stopped her future prospects.

The actress’s brother, Clay, was battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the late 1970s. Immediately after completing Moonraker, she rushed home to donate platelets, but he passed away in 1979. Chiles took a three-year break from acting and found it difficult to regain the momentum she had lost.

However, she worked in television and film for the next two decades. Shortly before her retirement in 2006, she married Richard Gilder Jr., an American businessman and philanthropist. They were together until his death in 2020.

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