To Western Bond fans, he`s the famous Russian helicopter-pilot in the AVTAK pre-title sequence. To Russian citizens, he`s the famous BBC narrator whose voice penetrated the Iron Curtain during the Communist era.
Seva was born July 9th, 1940 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He served in the Soviet Navy as a Petty Officer 3rd class and played in several music bands. In 1975 he left the USSR and moved to Austria, then to Italy. Finally, in 1977, Seva settled in London, where he began working for the BBC.
So how did he get in a Bond movie? Let Seva tell you personally:
“Well, here`s the story. “In the 80`s I had a small firm; my English girlfriend and I were consulting for movie companies whose films either dealt with, or took place in Russia – we were advising designers, dressers, writing dialogue in Russian, doing voice-dubs, casting actors for casual roles; all that stuff. There was a cook, named Sasha, whom, in `84, I invited to play the role of a warden (in an almost unknown movie Gulag). But the day before the shooting he, the rascal, had gotten seriously drunk and didn`t come to the movie set. Just imagine: there are more than 200 people, and a single day`s shooting costs approximately 100 thousands dollars! The director tells me: “Come on, put on his uniform”. So I did and played the role, putting all the hatred I felt towards the drunkard into my actor-reincarnation. And I liked it! When our First Assistant Director was hired for AVTAK, he recommended me as an actor. It was one-day work, but I almost passed away: I was sitting in the helicopter`s cock-pit the entire day, and again and again, I was dying from the explosion (the red smoke grenade was detonated right under our chairs). By day`s end, my underwear was all red. So were my lungs. As for our dialogue, I had to think it up on the spot. The English Director didn`t care.”
(Seva`s line translated into English is: “It`s hopeless. You won`t find anybody there!”)
The story continues. Episode II, 16 years later:
“In a London pub, my step-daughter Anastasia (16 years old) makes the acquaintance of a young English actor, who is also a Bond fan, so she tells him about me. He instantly transforms himself into the Russian helicopter-pilot and, almost without accent, quotes my line: “Poprobuj tout najdi kogo-nibud!” That is immortality!
Apart from A View To A Kill, Seva has appeared in several other movies – including the John Landis directed film SPIES LIKE US – usually playing Russian soldiers, KGB agents, etc.
Seva currently works at the BBC Russian Channel (www.bbc.co.uk/russian)
His personal web-site is www.seva.ru.
007Forever would like to offer a special thanks to Sergey Pantsirev, the webmaster, and to Seva Novgorodtsev for taking time to answer our questions.