BOND: 10 Things You Might Not Know About FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

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1. Roger Moore had originally signed a three-film contract with Eon Productions, which covered his first three appearances as James Bond up to The Spy Who Loved Me. Subsequent to this the actor negotiated contracts on a film-by-film basis. Moore wasn't sure he wanted to return to the franchise after Moonraker, and so the uncertainty surrounding his involvement in For Your Eyes Only led to other actors being considered to take over as 007.

Potential Bond actors considered at the time include Lewis Collins, Michael Billington (who had previously appeared in The Spy Who Loved Me as Agent XXX's ill-fated lover and had screen tested for the role of Bond on five different occasions) and Michael Jayston, who went on to appear as 007 in a BBC Radio production of You Only Live Twice in 1985. You can find out about more of the actors who were considered for the role of James Bond here.

Eventually, though, negotiations with Moore proved fruitful and he signed on to play Bond once again.

2. For Your Eyes Only was a deliberate effort to bring the Bond series more back to reality, following the science fiction laden Moonraker, aka Bond In Space! As co-writer Michael G. Wilson pointed out,
"If we went through the path of Moonraker things would just get more outlandish, so we needed to get back to basics."
John Glen was promoted from his duties as a film editor to director, a position he would occupy for the four subsequent Bond films. He bought in a harder-edged directorial style, with less emphasis on gadgetry (Glen decided to symbolically represent it with a scene where Bond's Lotus blows itself up and forces 007 to rely on Melina's more humble Citro├źn 2CV.) and large action sequences in huge arenas with realistic scenery instead of elaborate sets. In addition to returning Bond to his more serious roots, Glen also wanted to place emphasis on tension, plot and character, and have 007 at the centre of a more simpler story, so rather than the world being at risk, it was decided to make For Your Eyes Only more of a Cold War thriller.



3. Despite aiming for a more serious tone, For Your Eyes Only opens with something of a light hearted pre-titles sequence. This scene was written at the time when it looked like Roger Moore would not be returning as Bond and so it was intended to introduce the new actor whilst still showing he was the same person operating within the same timeline. So we see Bond laying flowers at the grave of his wife Tracy Bond, before a Universal Exports helicopter picks him up for an emergency. The helicopter is taken over by remote control by a bald man in a grey Nehru jacket with a white cat. This character is unnamed in either the film or the credits, although he looks and sounds like Ernst Stavro Blofeld as played by Donald Pleasence or Telly Savalas.

Director John Glen referred to the identity of the villain obliquely:
"We just let people use their imaginations and draw their own conclusions ... It's a legal thing."
Indeed it was a legal thing as the character could not be identified as Blofeld because of the Thunderball controversy with Kevin McClory who claimed sole rights to the Blofeld character.

4. Bernard Lee died in January 1981, after filming had started on For Your Eyes Only but before he could film his scenes as M, the character he'd portrayed in the previous eleven films of the series. Out of respect, no new actor was hired to assume the role and, instead, the script was re-written so that the character is said to be on leave, letting Chief of Staff Bill Tanner (a character who'd first appeared on film in The Man with the Golden Gun, played by Michael Goodliffe although in an un-credited capacity) take over the role as acting head of MI6 and briefing Bond alongside the Minister of Defence.

James Villiers was cast as Tanner, and assumed he would play the role of M in subsequent films. He would later publicly state that he was disappointed not to be asked and was told that the producers thought him too young for the role and wanted an actor in his 70s.


5. Many of the underwater scenes, including the close-ups of Bond and Melina Havelock, were actually faked on a dry soundstage. A combination of lighting effects, slow-motion photography, wind, and bubbles added in post-production, gave the illusion of the actors being underwater. The reason for this is that actress Carole Bouquet, who played Melina, had a pre-existing health condition that prevented her from performing actual underwater stunt work.

6. The character of Countess Lisl was played by Cassandra Harris who, at the time of filming, was married to future Bond actor Pierce Brosnan. During production the couple lunched with the film's producer Albert R. Broccoli on more than one occasion, sparking Broccoli's initial interest in casting the Irish actor as the next 007. Cubby was reported as saying,
"If he can act ... he's my guy"
Brosnan would, of course, be offered the part just five years later but be unable to appear as Bond in The Living Daylights due to his contract commitments to Remington Steele.


7. Bond veteran cameraman and professional skier Willy Bogner, Jr. was promoted to director of a second unit involving ski footage. He designed the ski chase on the bobsleigh track of Cortina d'Ampezzo hoping to surpass his work in both On Her Majesty's Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me. To allow better filming, Bogner developed both a set of skis that allowed him to ski forwards and backwards in order to get the best shots, and a system where he was attached to a bobsleigh so he was able to film the vehicle in motion.

Tragically, in February 1981, on the final day of filming the bobsleigh chase, one of the stuntmen driving a sleigh, 23-year-old Paolo Rigon, was killed when he became trapped under the bob.

8. The title song, written by Bill Conti and Michael Leeson, was sung by Sheena Easton, who holds the distinction of being the first title song artist to appear on screen in a Bond film, as designer Maurice Binder liked Easton's appearance and decided to add her to the opening credits.

But Easton wasn't the first choice for the theme tune, the producers wanted Blondie to perform the track and the band wrote their own a song titled "For Your Eyes Only". It was only after this they found out that the producers just wanted them to record Conti & Leeson's song, and so they declined. You can hear Blondie's attempt at a Bond theme tune on their 1982 album, The Hunter.



9. Back up at the top of the page you may have seen the movie's main poster, featuring a view through a model's legs. This was shot by photographer Morgan Kane, who, allegedly, asked his model to put her bikini bottom on backwards as it hung too low over her legs.

After the poster was released some newspapers refused to run the image as there was too much buttock shown in the poster, and various Christian organisations lobbied against the movie's release - all on the strength of the poster! Most bizarrely, in Saskatchewan, Canada, For Your Eyes Only was initially rated "Special X", despite being rated PG or equivalent virtually everywhere else in the world - again, on the strength of the poster!

Eventually a second poster was released, featuring an added pair of shorts...


The model's identity was not known for some time, and due to the headlines surrounding the controversy more than one model alleged they were the owners of the legs, that was until Kane finally revealed they belonged to then 22 year old New York model Joyce Bartle.

10. On January 1st 2015 the original Ian Fleming novels and short stories entered the public domain in Canada and other countries in which the length of copyright remains at the Berne Convention minimum of the life of the author plus 50 years. As a result, it is now legal in those countries for the original writings of Ian Fleming to be republished, or adapted into other media, without permission of the Fleming estate. It is also now legal in those countries for original material based on Bond, other characters and concepts introduced in Fleming's written works to be published.

Canadian cult filmmakers Lee Demarbre and Ian Driscoll announced plans to film a low-budget adaptation of Fleming's original 1960 short story For Your Eyes Only. If completed, the film will only be able to be released in Canada, the People's Republic of China and other countries in which Fleming's copyright has expired. It could not be distributed or shown in countries where copyright terms are longer, such as the United States or the European Union. Driscoll explained,
"I don’t expect to supplant the giant blockbuster James Bond, but I think there’s room in the world for an arthouse James Bond, to live alongside that, to give a different interpretation of the characters"
At the time of writing (Dec 2015) the filmmakers have gone on to announce that they hope to ultimately produce four Canadian James Bond films.

Will Bond now work for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police? Will he take up hockey instead of backgammon? Will he take his maple syrup shaken, not stirred? Will James say "eh?" a lot? Will he now go under the code name of O O Canada? What will it all be aboot? More Canadian Bond news as we get it.

James Bond will return in 10 things you might not know about Octopussy.

Previously
10 Things You Might Not Know About Dr. No
10 Things You Might Not Know About From Russia With Love
10 Things You Might Not Know About Goldfinger
10 Things You Might Not Know About Thunderball
10 Things You Might Not Know About You Only Live Twice
10 Things You Might Not Know About On Her Majesty's Secret Service
10 Things You Might Not Know About Diamonds Are Forever
10 Things You Might Not Know About Live And Let Die
10 Things You Might Not Know About The Man With The Golden Gun
10 Things You Might Not Know About The Spy Who Loved Me

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