Julian Glover played villain called Aristotle ‘Aris’ Kristatos in ‘For Your Eyes Only’. He is a recipient of the Laurent Olivier Award. He was also appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Besides theater he is known from such movie hits as ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’, ‘Game of Throne’ and many other.
– Julian Glover and Piotr Zajac during the interview.
Piotr Zajac (bondlocations): You were one of the candidates to play James Bond in ‘Live and Let Die’?
Julian Glover: I was one of several people who were tested for James Bond. I think there were six of us. I didn’t do a very good test I’m afraid and I didn’t get the part. That was the end of that. At that time all six of us knew that it had to be Roger. When he was sitting there and waiting he was a living, breathing James Bond. Indeed we were right. I’m really glad that he got the part because he was brilliant Bond.
In my opinion you would be also good as James Bond. Your character in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ was an elegant and tought man. You were very convincing.
As a villain (smiling).
Not from the beginning. It turned out that you were villain later in the film.
Yes, you don’t know that at the beginning. Like in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ you don’t know that my character is a bad man until maybe 30 minutes until the end of the film. It is interesting that you said that, because the reason I got to James Bond film was that producer Cubby Broccoli and his wife Dana had been in England and they’d seen on television ‘Doktor Who’ that I did. In part of it I was very confident, very well dressed Englishman. I was pretty certain that they called for me to see them because of that. I got the part under very strange circumstanes. I had a very bad year in the theater and so had my wife. In fact we got to that awful point of thinking that parhaps we would have to sell our house. Suddenly one day I was asked to be in an American film with Anthony Hopkins in Greece near the Corinth Canal. The money wasn’t very good but at least I got a job. I arranged that my wife would go there with me. At the end of it there was an American Screen Actors Guild strike, so all American films were called off. Suddenly I was again down at the bottom. This is the actors life. The next day my agent rang and said: ‘Go along on Saturday’. ‘Saturday? Nobody goes to work on Saturday’ I said. ‘Go on Saturday. They are making a funny film about the Greek Alexander the Great. They are interested in you playing his father. There is not much money and I don’t know much about it’. I went along and I got the part. It was the next week in exacly the same location as the American film. My wife and son went out there before me when the other film was supposed to start. I joined them and did that very short film. Towards the end of it I was rang by my agent who said: ‘They want to see you for a Bond film’. I said: ‘I don’t believe it’. He confirmed that and said: ‘Next Sunday’. My answer was: ‘Absolutely impossible. I can’t get there. I’m filming all day Saturday’. He replied: ‘Well, there is an interview on Sunday. If you want it you can get it’. I went to a first assistant and explained. He said: ‘Oh, this is rather important’. I said: ‘Yes, it is a bit’. He arranged so that I finished at lunch time. I went quickly to the airport with all my make up still on. I got two airplanes to go home. It was in old days when they had propellers on the front. I got the part. It was extraordinary how actor’s life could change. Bond film started in Korfu which was 20 minutes away by air from Corinth. I jumped over and the first thing that I got was brown envelope with my per diems which was more than my salary for the whole film I was doing before. I entered another world. It changed my film life. That is the complicated story how I got the part.
In ‘For Your Eyes Only’ we could see you for the first time in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy.
In Cortina there were bobsleigh runs, ski runs and other sports facilities after Olympis games. We were able to use all that as a background to my protegee Bibi, who was going to be skating World Champion.
There was a problem with not enough snow when you were filming.
Yes. We had to bring snow in. I think it was for the scene when motorcycle crashes into the window. When you go to film the weather always changes from what you expect. I remember many years ago going to Irland to do a film about one of old English kings. They wanted obviously wet, lush countryside that only Irland could give. And there was a heat wave for 3 weeks. Everything dried. My wife did a film in Paris and it was supposed to be summer. It was in October by this time and all the leaves came off the trees. They had to stick leaves on trees.
How do you remember filming the sequence in palace in Greece with many extras. Did you have to repeat it many times?
Yes. In particular in a casino scene when you have to see cards from different angles. You have to see everybody. It was a complicated day and not very nice because it got very hot. It was a day as working on film. Roger was wonderful with keeping the mood up, keeping people in a good temper. There was a scene which I had in an outdoor restaurant. All the local gentry, very smart people on the island were extras. They thought that it would be very amusing and entertaining. By two o’clock in the morning they realized that it wasn’t very terribly entertaining and they started to drift away. You can’t have that because the background has to stay the same. Roger devised the thing. There is a moment in the scene when I am presented with my meal – Preveza prawns. We came to that moment and we did a take on it. The waiter tipped all the Preveza prawns all down my front. Everybody went mad. Everyone rolled with laughter. People who had been going away came back because they found it so amusing. Then we looked up and saw that the waiter was in fact his wife who put a mustache on and she was the one who had done it. Roger had organized that in order to keep people entertained. He talked to the right department about it of course. I had a spare suit and it was all arranged. That kept them going until five in the morning. That was sort of thing that Roger would do. He was wonderful. He was such an amusing man anyway. Very good in conversation, very intelligent man. He knew a great deal about theater apart from films. I enjoyed working with him. We’ve worked together before i.e. on ‘The Saint’. I sort of knew him, I didn’t know him very well. We liked each other. When I got to do a Bond film he called me ‘Mr. National Theather’ because my life is mostly theater and that was my name for the whole of the filming. He came after the film to see everything I did in theatre. Roger was a wonderful man. The atmosphere on film set was always good when he was on it because he knew all the crew by name, he worked with them all several times, he loved other actors so we all got on, we laughed and joked. But he was very serious when doing a work. He was very intolerant of poor work. Not when people forgot their lines, because everybody does that, he did it, but when the work hadn’t been thought through. He was quite impatient of that. Quite right too. He was a good man. Great loss to all of us.
In ‘For Your Eyes Only’ there was also Topol, who was eating pistachios all the time.
He decided that he needed to have a special habit and also something to do with his hands. That is always a problem what to do with your hands – put them in your pocket, scratch your head etc. Eating something was very good idea. He loved pistachios too, so he used to love eating them. When he was filming we would sometimes go round and lean over his shoulder to take some of the pistachios for ourselves. He had to be very careful to eat pistachios at the same time for every take. Sometimes we said to him: ‘Hahaha your are not keeping up your good idea. You didn’t eat the pistachio on that word, you eat it on that word’. He replied: ‘Oh yes, we go again’. He was very nice man, very amusing. He was also a very good actor. We got on very well. I got on very well with the whole crew really. I knew some of them i.e. camera operator, I knew wardrobe people pretty well and I got on well with Carole Bouquet, but she had an unfortunate trauma on that film, so she didn’t socialize very much. I met her again much later. I did a film called ‘Vatel’ about revolution in France with Gerard Depardieu. She was then with him and between takes she was coming to the location sometimes. We had good time talking about Bond film, what was good about it and what was bad about it. She is very good women. She is now working with abused children. I didn’t have any particular friend on ‘For Your Eyes Only’, because I was too busy. I’ve spent a lot of time with director John Glen. We used to go out in the evening and have dinner together and with Roger.
How is John Glen like?
He is big lovely bear of a man. It was his first directing job and it was very, very big for him, but we never treated it like that. We never teased him about: ‘Oh, you are doing it that badly because you’ve never made a film before’. He wasn’t secure enough for that. If he’d done a couple of films before we could tease him about it. He was very serious man. He had very good sense of humor, he loved when Roger made jokes. You know, Roger used to play backgammon with Cubby Broccoli. At the end of the film Cubby Broccoli owned Roger 2,5 million pounds. Of course it was never paid. Roger was saying: ‘I’ve got to be in the next film Cubby because you owe me that money’.
You were filming also on a boat.
It was the first day of my shooting ever. We did the first day on a boat and than I had to wait the whole day to see if I were still in a film, because in those days the rushes had to go back to England. I wasn’t sure till they got back. Cubby Broccoli could see the rushes and approve my performance that I was secure. I was and I did the movie.
Was the sequence in water with James Bond and Melina Havelock filmed with Roger Moore and Carole Bouquet or with stuntmen?
Some of it was. When they came up and tried to talk to each other then it was Roger Moore and Carole Bouquet of course. That was done very carefully with no danger at all. The rest with all underwater part was done by couple of doubles in Los Angeles, except when they went very close.
How about filming in Meterora in Greece? At first you didn’t get permission to be there?
That is right. The monks who lived there wouldn’t allow us there. Down below in the town they wanted us to do it because of the money we were bringing. Finally we got permission to film there. The monks hid themeselves and we never saw them. We all had to go up in a lift which was very exciting. It was wonderful there. The fantastic jump or actually fall on a rope was filmed there. The stuntman’s face when he’d done that was like a ballon with blood in that. It was very frightning and he only did it once. He said: ‘You must get this in one shot. I don’t do it again’. Filming the climbing was very difficult. Roger did some of that, but only the close work around 6 ft. from the ground. We just had to be actors. Nothing dangerous except the fight. The surface of the ground was so rough and sharp. We had special shoes because ordinary shoes were not good. We had pads on our elbows and knees in case we fall down and we did fall down. Topol and I were like Michelin men. Landing a helicopter on the top was very dangerous thing to do. It had to land exactly in the right place so that was quite exciting.
Did you damage real windows in Meteora?
It was filmed in the studio. It was when I am turning very nasty and Bibi is rather affraid. There was lovely Jill (Bennett) as Jacoba Bring who covered Bibi. Jill was very good actress.
Thank you for telling me so many great stories from the film set.