Britt Ekland talks about “The Wicker Man” and playing Bond Girl in “The Man with the Golden Gun”

Britt Ekland is known best for her roles in 1973’s “The Wicker Man” and playing Bond girl in “The Man with the Golden Gun”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Britt about her film work and her experiences working with Christopher Lee and Roger Moore.

Mike Gencarelli: How was the experience working on the film “The Wicker Man”?
Britt Ekland: It was very difficult as I discovered during shooting that I was pregnant. I couldn’t understand why my dress suddenly felt so tight. So, took the night train to London on my day off and went to the doctor for a test. He confirmed that I was pregnant. We had a lot of exterior shooting and, of course, it always had to look sunny and warm, but we worked in October and November so it was quite cold and windy in Scotland. There were a lot of exterior shooting and a lot of walking!

MG: Can you reflect on the cult status the film has developed over the years?
BE: I don’t think any of us, at the time, thought about it, for me it was just another movie and one I hadn’t been very happy doing. But I guess it was the first time, on screen, someonewasn’t saved in the end and I think that had a big impact on the audience.

MG: What did you like most about playing a Bond girl in “The Man with the Golden Gun”?


BE: I so wanted to be a Bond Girl after seeing Ursula Andress in Dr. No and those beautiful locations, that I read the book “The Man with The Golden Gun” and called Cubby Broccoli’s office to see him. I was already an established actressthen. I had dressed as a secretary (this was early 70’s) in a plain skirt, a white blouse and my hair in twist. Cubby said that the script wasn’t finished yet and they based the story more on the title. As I was leaving, Roger More came in and said hello. Very handsome. I had to go to the States to do a movie for 6 weeks and on the plane back to Britain, I read that another Swedish girl had been cast in the new Bond film. I was devastated! As soon as I got home my agent called and said Cubby Broccoli wanted to see me, I naively thought he was going to apologize for me not getting the part. As I waited in his office he suddenly walked in and said you are “Mary Goodnight!” I asked about that other Swedish girl and he said that is Christopher Lee’s girlfriend. I couldn’t have beenhappier meeting and working with Maud Adams, we have been the closest of friends ever since.

MG: How was it working with Roger Moore and Christopher Lee (again)?
BE: When I did the “Wicker Man”, I always found Christopher Lee very quiet and distant, but when we did the Bond Film, I met his Danish wife and we all got on very well together. But he is a very serious man. Roger on the other hand was very friendly and open and great fun to be with, always looking for ways to make us laugh. Roger had his wife and children with him on location. I also had my 2 children, Victoria and Nicholai, with me.

MG: How did you feel being dubbed in the role?
BE: Yes I was dubbed in the “Wicker Man”n even though I did my own dubbing in a Scottish accent, obviously they didn’t like it. As an actress I think that is probably the worst thing that can happen to you and I was very unhappy about it.

MG: Can you reflect on your experience in the show “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!”?
BE: I was asked 2 years earlier to do the show but I wasn’t mentally ready to do it. It takes a lot of strength to “just be yourself” and not act. I also have a one-woman show and I wanted the exposure that a show like Get Me Out… gives. Even young boys on their bikes knew who I was, when I came out, amazing! To actually be in the show was quite boring as there is nothing to do all day, unless you have a task, and the rainforest set is quite small and you weren’t allowed to go outside it!

MG: You’ve done quite a bit of theatre, how can you feel it differs? Do you prefer?
BE: I went to drama school as a young woman and my first engagement was touring Sweden with a Variety show for many month, but then i was discovered by 20th Century Fox and my stage career ended. I went back to stage work in the early 90’s and had to learn all over again what it’s like being on stage. I had horrid stage fright in the beginning but slowly over the years, it doesn’t seem so frightening anymore. I very much enjoy being on stage and I love the interaction with the audience. I think you come to a certain age where your choices are limited and I now feel comfortable on stage.

 

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