roger moore bond 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When Sam Mendes was recently touted as a candidate to direct No. 23 in the James Bond franchise, the critics quipped that 007 could be about to suffer a mid-life crisis. Of course, MI6's top secret agent is used to dealing with adversaries wilier even than the creator of American Beauty, but talking to a former Bond recently, I couldn't help thinking that Sir Roger Moore was having a bit of a climacteric of his own, albeit at the age of 82.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post ahead of his forthcoming visit to Israel for next month's Eilat Chamber Music Festival, where he will narrate in Alexey Igudesman's Violins of the World, Moore spoke of the meaning he has found in his role as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.
"Working with UNICEF has brought me the satisfaction of doing something really worthwhile," said Moore. "Being a working ambassador, a children's representative, feels as if I'm doing something a little more important than just prancing about saying my name is Bond. It's much more worthwhile personally, although not financially."
Moore has been involved with UNICEF for close to 20 years and has been a major campaigner in the fight against HIV/AIDS, a cause to which he will be donating his proceeds from the festival, as he did on his visit here last year.
"The money," says Moore, "will go to an initiative to bring together Muslim and Jewish doctors to show [how to perform], and encourage male circumcision in various countries in Africa, because it has been proven that there is 65 percent to 75% more chance of the HIV virus being passed on with the uncircumcised male. The initiative came about because they thought there was nobody better to teach untrained doctors in Africa - in Mozambique and Senegal - the various aspects of circumcision in the adult male."
Moore's acting career took off in the 1960s after Lew Grade cast him as Simon Templar in The Saint
. He later went on to play Bond a record seven times.
Since winding down his acting career Moore has worked on various projects such as voice-over dubbing for cartoons, which, he says, "gets rid of any little bug that I have that says I want to act or I want to perform."
BUT THE renowned Lithuanian-born violinist Julian Rachlin managed to get Moore back on the stage.
"We are both great fans of chamber music and then one year Julian asked if I would care to narrate various pieces that [Rachlin and Igudesman] could do, such as Peter and the Wolf
and Carnival of the Animals
, which we will be doing later this month in Lithuania," he recalls.
"In Israel, we will be doing Violins of the World
, which we have already done in Pernegg and in Dubrovnik. The idea of Violins of the World
is to show how the violin is used in every culture. So we've got jazz, hip-hop, Celtic fiddle, Latin-American, Bulgarian, Klezmer, salsa, tango - the whole variety of the way the violin is used in the world."
Interspersed with the performance - by four young violinists as well as accomplished names such as Rachlin, Pavel Vernikov and Igudesman himself - Moore narrates the zany poetry of Igudesman, including such poems as a Violinist Separated from his Girlfriend
, with the immortal lines: "Oh girlfriend, oh girlfriend, where are you tonight? My A string won't tune if I can't hold you tight. The Bach sounds quite wrong, this isn't my song, Without you I cant find a note that sounds right."
REFLECTING BACK on his career as Bond, Moore says: "I think I was very privileged to a be a part of it all. It was a wonderful group of people to work with... I had the best time doing it."
On a closing note, he reveals: "I would have much rather have been the villain. You know they have all the best lines. Bond only gets to say 'my name's Bond‚' while the villain has wonderful speeches about how the world is going to end and civilization will cease as you know it. "
And who was his favorite villain? Moore doesn't hesitate for a second. "Stromberg in The Spy who Loved Me.
"The Eilat Chamber Music Festival runs February 19 through February 27. For more information surf to www.eilat-festival.com.