Sir Roger Moore is trading James Bond’s license to kill for a pass to help spread holiday cheer.
Previously an Agent 007 of movies — as well as a former “Saint,” namely sleuth Simon Templar, of television — the veteran British actor returns to the home screen Saturday (Dec. 3) in the new Hallmark Channel movie “A Princess for Christmas.” He plays a crusty English duke who invites his late son’s American-born children to his castle for the season; once they arrive, “crusty” lasts only so long.
“Well, I suppose it comes as no surprise that I turn out to be quite pleasant,” Moore tells Zap2it with a chuckle. “He’s a nice guy, and he doesn’t do anything bad. ” The young people influence that, and Moore says his co-stars “were all delightful. The ladies were lovely, and I think the young man (Travis Turner) has probably got a big future. And the little girl,�Leilah (De Meza), reminded me very much of someone else.
“Years ago, David Niven and I were filming at Pinewood (Studios in England) on adjoining stages, and he said, ‘Please come over. There’s a little girl I’m working with who would love to meet you. She’s quite an extraordinary actress, and she knows more about moving a camera than the director. She’s suggesting shots to him all the time.'”
The clincher to the story, Moore reveals, is that “she became one of our best female directors, as well as one of our best actresses.” The little girl was future Oscar winner Jodie Foster, and Moore recalls their meeting as “quite extraordinary. I was very nice to her when she was 11 … and she’s never offered me a job. I don’t understand it. Maybe she’ll see ‘A Princess for Christmas’ and think, ‘Ah!'”
A longtime ambassador for UNICEF, Moore has had other extended television experiences besides “The Saint.” Before it, he was featured in the series “The Alaskans” and “Maverick.” After it, he teamed with Tony Curtis in “The Persuaders!,” shortly before he became the second successor to Sean Connery as Bond.
“TV production is film production today, really,” London native Moore reasons. “The only difference is that now, they have a video camera so they can see right away what they’re shooting. You don’t have to go to watch rushes or dailies the next day. We didn’t have the luxury of that technique in the days when I did television. Other than the live stuff I did, it was always making a film, just quicker.”
And it was quite a pace for Moore to maintain, especially during “The Saint,” which required his presence in most scenes of each episode. “If you play the title role, that’s the curse,” he confirms. “When people would ask if I ever wanted to play the villains, I’d say, ‘Of course I want to play the villains! They don’t have to come in every day.’ The hero is always there.”