Tag Archives: octopussy

Faye dunaway and sybil danning, bond babes

Sybil Danning and Faye Dunaway were both considered for the title character in “Octopussy”. It`s doubtful that Dunaway would`ve seriously considered playing a Bond Girl at that point in her career, but B-Movie Queen Sybil Danning was ready for action. “Would she make love or war to James Bond in OCTOPUSSY?” As it turned out, neither. They both eventually lost out to Maud Adams, who screen tested James Brolin in his attempt to replace Roger Moore.

MeatLoaf should have taken a page from the book of Sybil Danning: never talk about a role you think you`re going to get until you`ve actually gotten it.

For those of you who don`t remember 1982 (yes, it was a real year) or weren`t born yet, you may be asking: “Sybil who?”. Sybil Danning was B-movie queen quietly working her way up the ranks of Hollywood. Octopussy could have become her big break. Instead, it became her big heartbreak.

Incidentally, Octopussy was not the first Bond movie she was up for. Danning was set to be cast in the role that Corrine Clery took in the 1979 film Moonraker, but because of a French cofinancing deal, that role was given to a native actress instead.

She was felt out  in 1981 and 1982 to determine her interest in playing the title role in Octopussy. Before she even had the part, she was posing for fashion photographer Firooz Zahedi in extremely suggestive Bond-like publicity stills, almost all of which involved either some sort of leather get-up or black evening gown complimented with the obligatory handgun. She graced the cover of Prevue Magazine in the summer of 1982 wearing a vulcanized black leather swimsuit with the zipper drawn all the way to the navel to display her, um, ample talents, and holding a gun with a caption that read: “SYBIL DANNING Will she make love or war to James Bond in OCTOPUSSY”?

The hype for Danning had already begun despite the fact that she hadn`t even signed a contract. But she apparently had gotten a look at the first draft.

“Most of the Bond girls are not really interesting”, said Danning. “Octopussy has to be much, much more. She must be unpredictable and dangerous; neither Bond nor the audience must ever know what she`ll do next: betray him or befriend him. That`s what their story is really about”.

“Their story” would be Richard Maibaum`s. Dick had created a treatment far darker than the Octopussy you see today. In his first draft Octopussy was a supervillainess on a quest for vengeance against Blofeld and SPECTRE; a retalation of sorts for a defeat her organization suffered at Blofeld`s hands. She recruits 007 in her revenge scheme knowing that Blofeld had killed Bond`s wife, Tracy, and would most certainly want to help bring Blofeld down (apparently being dropped 1000 feet down a chimney stack isn`t enough to kill off a supervillain these days). Bond and Octopussy were to team up to take on Blofeld and even disarm a super techno-weapon called the OCTO-PC (perhaps some sort of personal computer?). We`ll never know exactly what Maibaum had in mind because George MacDonald Fraser was brought on to steer the story in a different direction; away from Blofeld, SPECTRE, and any legal entanglements using them could bring about.

A thorough search through Maibaum`s archives may one day yield more clues to this interesting premise but it`s worth noting that yesterday’s discarded story treatments are often tomorrows plot lines. Octopussy would be made a bit softer; not quite as ruthless and certainly an admirer of James Bond. The Octopussy of Maibaum`s original draft would become, in perhaps an unconscious way, Elektra King, some 16 years later. In The World Is Not Enough, Elektra, the super villainess, recruits Bond, unknowingly, into her web to destroy her father and avenge her mother`s legacy.

Danning spoke too soon and the role was offered to Maud Adams. The rest is history, including Danning`s career. She was forever stuck in B-grade flicks and softcore erotica. The moral of the story: don`t count your chickens until they`ve hatched.

Persis Khambatta

Persis Khambatta, a former Miss India and Miss Universe winner, was, according to published reports at the time, being considered for the title role in the 1983 Bond flick Octopussy. The then 32 year old actress was eliminated from consideration as being an `obvious choice`. She had previously starred in Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Ilia. She died suddenly in 1998 from a heart attack at her home in Bombay, India.

A View To A Kill: Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck was one star name casually thrown about for the “new 007”. How serious he was looked at is unknown. He was originally approached for the role of Indiana Jones in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK but could not take the role because of his commitment to MAGNUM P.I.

People who would discount Selleck as a legitimate contender because he is American need to remember that James Brolin was screen tested opposite Maud Adams for Octopussy before Roger Moore finally settled his contract dispute and played the role for the sixth time.

Review: Octopussy (1983) – Robert Baum

asds(Remember When All This Was News? Connery’s Return? Moore’s Retirement?)

Roger Moore essays the role of Ian Fleming’s secret agent 007 for the sexth, that is sixth time, pardon the pun. James Bond’s newest cinematic mission, other than surviving some serious competition from the likes of Return of the Jedi and Superman III, finds the veteran spy taking on an exiled Afghan, a subversive Soviet soldier, and Octopussy.

John Glen, director of Moore’s last assignment, For Your Eyes Only (1981) returns. The twelfth installment of the series shows no signs of serving as a coda though Father Time is certainly catching up with Moore. At nearly 56 one can only wonder when he’ll be handing in his licence to kill.

Following a spectacular opening sequence, as they usually are in the Bond pictures, Bond is at the office. There he is chatting up Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and her young, comely assistant (Michaela Clavell, daughter of Shogun author James Clavell). He gets a briefing from his superior M (Robert Brown, filling the shoes of the late Bernard Lee) and the Minister of Defence (Geoffrey Keen) following the death of a fellow MI6 operative.

Bond’s latest undertaking whisks him from an auction at Southeby’s for a jewel-laden egg to an encounter in India with a charismatic Afghan named Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan). Shortly thereafter he has a brief tryst with Kamal’s alluring mistress (Kristina Wayborn), becomes a prisoner, and later a quarry of Khan.

Of course there is the Bond woman. Maud Adams, who played the mistress of Moore’s foe in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), returns to Bondage in the role of Octopussy. She is a wealthy woman whose business interests include a circus, jewel smuggling, and soon after meeting him, James Bond too (of course). Khan isn’t Bond’s only problem. His adversaries include a warmongering Russian (British stage veteran Steven Berkoff)) who is far more menacing than his Afghan ally–talk about strange bedfellows; Kabir Bedi as Khan’s Sikh henchman; and the usual assortment of unnamed goons whom Bond disposes of sooner or later.

Adapted from a pair of Fleming short stories (“Octopussy” and “The Property of a Lady”), Octopussy offers up an entertaining bonanza of action and humor. Though the finale, as much fun as it is, does stretch credibility a bit as several spry she warriors team up with Bond and the curmudgeonly gadget guru Q (Desmond Llewelyn). It’s nice to see him in the thick of things. One might wonder if the writers have ever thought of bringing back Felix Leiter. It’s been a number of years since the CIA agent and 007 ally was last seen onscreen in Moore’s first Bond adventure, Live and Let Die (1973). In addition to Lucas’ space saga and the Superman sequel, Bond will be facing off this year against… James Bond. Sean Connery will soon be coming to theatres as 007, nearly a dozen years since he renewed his licence to kill and thrill in Diamonds are Forever.