When Roger Moore played James Bond in Hong Kong, filming scenes at The Peninsula, Bottoms Up club, and Victoria Harbour

Actor, rest of cast and crew stayed at The Peninsula during shooting of The Man With the Golden Gun; later Moore offered a salty anecdote about diminutive actor Hervé Villechaize, who played Nick Nack in the film

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2017, 1:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 May, 2017, 11:28am

While Secret Agent 007 has so far been to Hong Kong three times (in the movies You Only Live Twice, The Man with the Golden Gun and Die Another Day), only Roger Moore - who died of cancer on Tuesday - came to the city for a film shoot.

Moore and the rest of the cast and crew, including actress Britt Ekland and director Guy Hamilton, stayed at The Peninsula hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui in 1974 during filming of The Man with the Golden Gun. This was the ninth film in the James Bond series and the second starring Moore as 007; the first was Live and Let Die from 1973.

In The Man with the Golden Gun, as Bond investigates a mysterious golden bullet, he travels from Beirut to Macau, and then to Hong Kong. The film includes scenes shot at The Peninsula, the Bottoms Up girlie bar in Tsim Sha Tsui, and the wreck in Victoria Harbour of the RMS Queen Elizabeth, which in the film housed the secret headquarters of British intelligence in the then colony.

After the scenes in Hong Kong, the action in The Man with the Golden Gun moves to Thailand, where the famous scenes involving Bond and villain Francisco Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee) were shot off Phuket. Khao Phing Kan island in Phang Nga Bay, where Scaramanga had built his secret lair, is still referred to locally as “James Bond Island”.

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In You Only Live Twice from 1967, Bond (played by Sean Connery) is supposedly buried at sea in Victoria Harbour, but the scene was shot in Gibraltar and the following undersea rescue was filmed in the Bahamas. And in Die Another Day from 2002 (which starred Pierce Brosnan as Bond), all shots showing Hong Kong were filmed in Britain’s Pinewood Studios using blue-screen technology.

Back in 1974, Moore was interviewed by the South China Morning Post during his stay, and said that he had not seen any of the city’s famed kung fu films at that stage. “The kung fu expert is on my right,” he said, indicating fellow Golden Gun star Maude Adams, “and another potential expert on my left”, he added, pointing to Ekland.

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He added that he was in the process of learning kung fu, but the report noted: “No link up with [local film studio] Shaw Productions was in the pipeline.”

It was in Hong Kong that Moore first met the diminutive actor Hervé Villechaize, who plays the henchman Nick Nack in The Man With The Golden Gun.

In his autobiography, My Word is My Bond: A Memoir, Moore wrote that the late Villechaize was obsessed with sex.

“He would often go to the strip clubs in Hong Kong with a torch, which he used to point out the girls he wanted. ‘You, you, and you ... no, not you ... you.’ He’d then take them back to his hotel for the night,” Moore wrote.

“When we were leaving Hong Kong, I asked him how many girls he’d had during our stay. ‘Forty-five,’ he replied in his squeaky French voice. ‘It doesn’t count,’ I replied ‘if you paid for them.’ ‘Even when I pay, sometimes they refuse,’ he told me, sadly.”

Moore also reminisced about the film shoot in Macau in his book.

“We shot on the gambling boats in Macau ... we were there for two or three nights in all and the crew would invariably end up in the casinos with Cubby [Broccoli, the Bond film producer] and me; but because he was anxious that the boys didn’t blow all of their wages he didn’t let them claim their entire salary that week. Then, very generously, Cubby walked around with a huge handful of chips and gave them out to the crew.”

Moore last visited Hong Kong in 2011 during a book-signing tour for his autobiography.