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Topic: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

This is something that’s intrigued me for a while. In his book Bond on Bond (2012) Roger Moore describes how “I was persuaded back by Cubby for A View to a Kill.” Its’ common knowledge among Bond fans that Moore had tried to step down after Octopussy, and with A View to a Kill he finally hung up his Walther PPK.


But could he have been persuaded back for a whopping eighth film, extending his tenure over fourteen years? It sounds implausible; Moore himself is fairly definite on the issue: “I decided I really couldn’t go on to an eighth.”


But a number of pieces of evidence counter the assertion that Moore’s retirement was a foregone conclusion, not least the behind-the-scenes content of The Living Daylights. Early drafts of the film were written with broadly silly humour, glimpses of which, such as the Gibraltar monkeys and the triumphant return of Max the Parrot from FYEO, remain in the finished film. There is also the infamous ‘magic carpet’ escape, which was shot but wisely excised in the editing booth. These touches would seem to indicate that the film’s writers still had Moore in mind for the role of Bond. Sure, Moore might have been approaching sixty, but he was still a bankable name. Albert R. Broccolli had backed off from replacing Moore in 1981 and 1983 for exactly this reason; Moore’s presence was still guaranteed to bring in the cinemagoers, and was less risky than finding an alternative actor with less tried and tested appeal.


Could Cubby thus have been tempted to go with Moore again in 1987? Moore says his stepping down from Bond in 1986 was “extremely amicable.” Was there, in fact, a real desire to use Moore for an eighth outing?


Does anyone know for certain the details here? Was this dramatic step ever seriously considered? Would it have worked? I’d be interested to hear if anyone can add to my limited knowledge regarding this aspect of Bond history… What do others think on this topic?

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

The earliest drafts for what ended up as TLD was about Bond being a new 007-agent, so the scriptwriters knew very well Moore wasn't returtning. I don't count the parrot as silly humour, more like clever in-joke. There are flashes of silly humor in TLD, but that was probably more a case of "old habits die hard" after so may years of writing for Roger Moore.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

"The earliest drafts for what ended up as TLD was about Bond being a new 007-agent, so the scriptwriters knew very well Moore wasn't returning."

Interesting.  I always thought Moore was genuinely supposed to come back at the earliest stages of development, but maybe not. Why was the 'new 007' angle subsequently replaced with Dalton's Bond already being a seasoned agent in the PTS of TLD? As I understand it Michael G Wilson was keen on the origin story idea...


"There are flashes of silly humor in TLD, but that was probably more a case of "old habits die hard" after so may years of writing for Roger Moore."

You're probably right- especially since TLD retained the services of Richard Maibaum, who had contributed in some form to most of the previous Bond films. Nonetheless, I think this element does contribute to TLD's slightly confused tone, with flashes of Moore humour clashing with the increased level of seriousness brought by Dalton's performance. I think TLD at least partly maintains some of the Moore era's spirit. What do others think?

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

I don't remember why the rookie 007 agent story was dropped, but the info is from Helfenstein's excellent book on TLD.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

"the info is from Helfenstein's excellent book on TLD..."

I must pick that one up at some point...meant to be a brilliant Bond history book...

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

"The earliest drafts for what ended up as TLD was about Bond being a new 007-agent, so the scriptwriters knew very well Moore wasn't returning."

Interesting.  I always thought Moore was genuinely supposed to come back at the earliest stages of development, but maybe not. Why was the 'new 007' angle subsequently replaced with Dalton's Bond already being a seasoned agent in the PTS of TLD? As I understand it Michael G Wilson was keen on the origin story idea...


"There are flashes of silly humor in TLD, but that was probably more a case of "old habits die hard" after so may years of writing for Roger Moore."

You're probably right- especially since TLD retained the services of Richard Maibaum, who had contributed in some form to most of the previous Bond films. Nonetheless, I think this element does contribute to TLD's slightly confused tone, with flashes of Moore humour clashing with the increased level of seriousness brought by Dalton's performance. I think TLD at least partly maintains some of the Moore era's spirit. What do others think?

TLD certainly has touches of what came before. I don't see that as a confused tone, or as 'Moore' humour. That's what Bond is to me. It follows along with what John Glen's previous Bond films did, particularly FYEO and AVTAK: a harder Bond than what we saw in the 1970s but still a fun romp. It reminds me of 1960s Bond and I think it strikes a classically Bondian tone. LTK may be what sets Dalton apart from his predecessors, but it's a departure from what Bond always was before. It has a Dalton Bond tone, whereas TLD has a more pure Bond tone if we look at everything that came before overall.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

Matt S wrote:
SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

"The earliest drafts for what ended up as TLD was about Bond being a new 007-agent, so the scriptwriters knew very well Moore wasn't returning."

Interesting.  I always thought Moore was genuinely supposed to come back at the earliest stages of development, but maybe not. Why was the 'new 007' angle subsequently replaced with Dalton's Bond already being a seasoned agent in the PTS of TLD? As I understand it Michael G Wilson was keen on the origin story idea...


"There are flashes of silly humor in TLD, but that was probably more a case of "old habits die hard" after so may years of writing for Roger Moore."

You're probably right- especially since TLD retained the services of Richard Maibaum, who had contributed in some form to most of the previous Bond films. Nonetheless, I think this element does contribute to TLD's slightly confused tone, with flashes of Moore humour clashing with the increased level of seriousness brought by Dalton's performance. I think TLD at least partly maintains some of the Moore era's spirit. What do others think?

TLD certainly has touches of what came before. I don't see that as a confused tone, or as 'Moore' humour. That's what Bond is to me.

Yeah I'm with you there: Bond films should have jokes. Even Casino Royale has gags. I certainly don't find TLD 'confused' tonally. They trimmed stuff like the magic carpet ride out, but that's what editing is.

Could Roger have done TLD? Of course, he could have done pretty much any Bond film: his films covered quite a range of tones, moreso than any other Bond. But they certainly didn't write it for him as Number24 points out.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

I can't picture Moore in any Bond film. For starters I can't picture him in OHMSS, LTK and most of Craig's Bonds. The only Bond actor who could have fit in all the Bond movies is Brosnan.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

"Yeah I'm with you there: Bond films should have jokes. Even Casino Royale has gags. I certainly don't find TLD 'confused' tonally. They trimmed stuff like the magic carpet ride out, but that's what editing is."


Ah that's what I meant; the magic carpet ride *is* excessive, but it was fortunately cut out. The point is that TLD was initially designed during shooting to be closer in tone to one of the sillier Moore Bonds, even if most of this was eventually trimmed as emtiem points out. See also, the cello case toboggan ride.


"I can't picture Moore in any Bond film. For starters I can't picture him in OHMSS, LTK and most of Craig's Bonds. The only Bond actor who could have fit in all the Bond movies is Brosnan."


I too find it pretty difficult to picture Moore in LTK...

Or, for that matter, Dalton in Moonraker... ajb007/lol


Seriously though, the topic of 'replacement Bonds' is interesting. I can picture Brosnan in most of Connery's, and Moore in some of the more outrageous parts of DAD...


"The only Bond actor who could have fit in all the Bond movies is Brosnan."


I agree somewhat here- I find Brosnan to be the most well-rounded of the Bonds. He can display the smirking parody of Moore, the grit of Craig and the charisma of Connery- all within the course of the same film! Rather than being defined by a single character trait, Brosnan at his best comes across as a greatest hits compilation of the most effective characteristics of his predecessors, which is why I consider him one of the better Bond actors.

What do others think re the fun game of 'Bond-swapping', particularly in regards to TLD?

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

Number24 wrote:

I don't remember why the rookie 007 agent story was dropped

Cos Cubby said no.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

I think a tweaked AVTAK featuring Dalton would great. Less silliness, more physicality and change the horses to Bond infiltrating Zorin's organisation by posing as s racing driver.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

"I think a tweaked AVTAK featuring Dalton would great. Less silliness, more physicality and change the horses to Bond infiltrating Zorin's organisation by posing as s racing driver."

I like that version of AVTAK. I do think AVTAK is a basically solid film, with memorable villains and great setpieces in the underground mine flooding and the Golden Gate fight, but Moore's weaknesses drag it far down. With a more consistent Bond performance it would shoot up my rankings.


A racing circuit would indeed be a cool setting for a future Bond film- fast cars, high stakes and explosive crash stunts. It is done to a degree in a couple of continuation novels, but a good long stretch of cinematic Bond action themed around infiltrating a racetrack is something I'd want to see on the screen...

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

Number24 wrote:

I can't picture Moore in any Bond film. For starters I can't picture him in OHMSS, LTK and most of Craig's Bonds.

I have been thinking about Roger in OHMSS recently and I find it quite easy to picture: it's almost the most like an episode of The Saint or The Persuaders, especially towards the beginning. And I think he'd have been much better in it than Lazenby to be honest (fight scenes excepted).

SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

"I think a tweaked AVTAK featuring Dalton would great. Less silliness, more physicality and change the horses to Bond infiltrating Zorin's organisation by posing as s racing driver."

I like that version of AVTAK. I do think AVTAK is a basically solid film, with memorable villains and great setpieces in the underground mine flooding and the Golden Gate fight, but Moore's weaknesses drag it far down. With a more consistent Bond performance it would shoot up my rankings.

I love AVTAK, but it just feels a bit worse imagining Dalton in it. He just sort of disappears a bit in my head- Walken and Jones would have out-charisma-ed him easily; give me Roger being a star and giving it the twinkle every time.

It would be fun to have a more serious version of it in some way though! Maybe a Christopher Wood novelisation or something ajb007/smile


SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

A racing circuit would indeed be a cool setting for a future Bond film- fast cars, high stakes and explosive crash stunts. It is done to a degree in a couple of continuation novels, but a good long stretch of cinematic Bond action themed around infiltrating a racetrack is something I'd want to see on the screen...

Yeah it has always seemed like natural fit for Bond, I've wondered why they haven't. It might actually just be a bit too expensive to stage perhaps.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

Barbel wrote:
Number24 wrote:

I don't remember why the rookie 007 agent story was dropped

Cos Cubby said no.

Although Cubby liked it, he said the audience wasn’t interested in Bond as an amateur, as a man learning his trade. They wanted to see Bond in command of his full professional talents. (quoting from the book Some Kind of Hero by Matthew Field and Ajay Chowdhury) The book also says that the script was written with no particular actor in mind.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

There was a thread about the abandoned "Young Bond Reboot" way way back...
In the last post Revelator has found a two part article in French that may have more info.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

I do think it's one of the more fascinating 'what ifs' in Bond history. The synopsis of the script just never sounded all that good though sadly, and seemed to slightly throw away the 'young Bond' thing too.

I'd totally forgotten about the Michael Praed thing mentioned in the thread linked to above. That seems yet another angle on it we don't fully know about.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

"I do think it's one of the more fascinating 'what ifs' in Bond history. The synopsis of the script just never sounded all that good though sadly, and seemed to slightly throw away the 'young Bond' thing too."

The 'young Bond ' angle sounds intriguing- but at the same time, I think Cubby was probably right that the audience at the time wasn't interested in an origin story. I'm also a little wary of how much this script would have acted as a direct prequel to Dr. No- presumably it was intended as just a one-time novelty, rather than an entire series of prequel films, a la how Quantum follows Casino Royale?

Nonetheless there are lots of diverting 'what if' questions of Bond history buried here...

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

Well I imagine they would have got the same actor back for the next film..?

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

"Well I imagine they would have got the same actor back for the next film..?"

Sorry, badly phrased there. I meant, how long would they have spun the 'young Bond' concept out for; would the Bond actor have hypothetically spent the next two or three films playing a 'rookie' agent?  Or would the 'origin story' conceit only be used for a single film?



From what I can glean from the French article- thanks, Revelator- some of those plot details look pretty strange. Singapore? The Opium Triangle? Hmm. I do like, though, the idea of Bond's family having served in the navy for decades, a decently intriguing and cool addition to Bond's personal origins. What do others make of these ideas?

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

Well he's 007 by the end of the film- I tend to think no Double O can really be a rookie as they're supposed to be the most senior, best-of-the-best agents.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

Yes, 00agents are rookies in the same way as SAS soldier straight out of selection is a rookie soldier. They are in fact starting out working at the top rung of their profession after years of ecperience in their field.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

"Well he's 007 by the end of the film- I tend to think no Double O can really be a rookie as they're supposed to be the most senior, best-of-the-best agents."

"Yes, 00agents are rookies in the same way as SAS soldier straight out of selection is a rookie soldier. They are in fact starting out working at the top rung of their profession after years of ecperience in their field."

I see what you mean. I guess Bond isn't really a 'rookie'- admittedly he's not even a brand new agent at the start of Fleming's Casino Royale, come to think of it. In context, the 'young Bond' idea is a device to build the character up over a single adventure, leading onto a series of much more traditional stories with the new actor's 007 credentials established- similar to what the Craig era template tries to do, but thirty years earlier...

I wonder if that origin concept would actually have worked in 1987, or if Cubby's instincts were right to veto it...

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

Yep, the film feels transitional. Glen & co do like their sight gags (the cello case chase always makes me wince) but the balance is right on the whole. Dalton's questioning of Pushkin feels like a rewrite to accommodate his hardman approach. I'm sure Moore's Bond would have wined & dined his adversary instead. I think with a bit of tinkering Moore could have done it (like Brosnan could have done CASINO ROYALE) but heck, an actor's got to hand the role over sometime. Gags apart, Glen feels a bit more energised as a director with a new leading man. I think a bit of complacency had set in with the previous film. Could Brosnan have done it better? I'm not sure. Another 'what if'.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

...he's not even a brand new agent at the start of Fleming's Casino Royale, ...

According to Fleming: Bond joined the British Secret Service 1938, made his first two kills during the war, was promoted to double oh December 1950, Casino Royale takes place summer 1951.
So he was no rookie agent by the time he got that promotion.

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Re: Roger Moore in The Living Daylights- A Serious Option?

If Moore had been on The Living Daylights, it would have easily been the worst in the series. It would far more cringeworthy moments than it's predecessor and would probably rank at the bottom of many people's lists.
Furthermore, Timothy Dalton would probably never have been cast for the part at all and the role given to someone else in 1989, with an entirely different Bond film than Licence To Kill.

1. FYEO 2. OHMSS 3. TLD 4. FRWL 5. LTK 6. TSWLM 7. CR 8. OP  9. GF 10. DN 11. MR 12. SP 13. LALD 14. QOS 15. TB 16. SF 17. TMWTGG 18. GE 19. YOLT 20. AVTAK 21. TND 22. TWINE 23. DAF 24. DAD

1. Dalton 2. Connery 3. Moore 4. Craig 5. Lazenby  6. Brosnan