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Sir Roger Moore Quit Playing James Bond Because The Bond Girls Were Too Young

By Erica Jimenez··  5 min read
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roger moore quit james bond girls too young

The James Bond franchise spans over 50 years and six different actors, but the iconic character rarely has to wrestle with his age.

Sir Roger Moore was the third man to play James Bond, and he starred in seven films. Known for bringing humor into the role, Moore became the oldest actor to play Bond. He was 57 years old in his final film, A View to a Kill. And it was his age, specifically the age difference between him and the Bond girls, that motivated his decision to part ways with 007.

Moore said, “It wasn’t because of the physical stuff as I could still play tennis for two hours a day and do a one-hour workout every morning. Physically I was okay, but facially I started looking…well, the leading ladies were young enough to be my granddaughter and it becomes disgusting.” 

In his opinion, he looked too old to be “hanging around women in their early twenties without it appearing creepy.” He commented on his age in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying, “It had been on my mind for a long time. I became very conscious that I was getting long in the tooth to play the great lover…I was 57 in the last one. You can see I was getting a little scraggy around the neck.”

“The leading ladies were young enough to be my granddaughter and it becomes disgusting.” 

In A View to a Kill, Bond girl Tanya Roberts, who plays American geologist Stacey Sutton, was 30 years old. Grace Jones, who plays May Day, an accomplice to the main villain, was 37 years old. 

Monica Bellucci Became the Oldest Bond Woman – Even Though She’s Only a Few Years Older Than Daniel Craig

The Bond films have long been accused of focusing on sex appeal in their leading ladies over character development. After all, one of the most famous Bond girls is named Pussy Galore. Not exactly PC for 2021.

In 2015, the Daniel Craig Bond film Spectre got attention for casting 51-year-old Monica Bellucci as one of Bond’s conquests. When she first got the call from the casting director, Bellucci actually thought she was being called to replace Dame Judi Dench as M. It didn’t occur to her that she would be playing a Bond girl. “But then Sam [Mendes, the director] explained that James Bond was going to have a story with a mature woman,” she said. “He said ‘the concept is revolutionary.’ It’s a sign that cinema is able to take a new and more open look at mature women.”

To be fair, even at 51, Monica Bellucci remains a powerful sex symbol. After all, her performance in Malena is still famous for its seductive portrayal of femininity. But even being the oldest “Bond woman” as Bellucci calls herself, she wasn’t that old. In fact, she was only 4 years older than Craig. 

“It’s important to show that a woman at 50 can be just as interesting and ­attractive as a woman who is 30.”

This begs the question, why are we supposed to be applauding casting a woman basically the same age as the lead actor as casting a “mature” actress? Bellucci explained that “Men think that women, when they’re not able to procreate anymore, become old. That is not true – they are still amazing!” She even coined a new phrase to describe her role: “I can’t say I’m a Bond girl because I’m too mature to be a Bond girl. I say Bond lady; Bond woman.”

“It’s important to show that a woman at 50 can be just as interesting and ­attractive as a woman who is 30,” she insisted. “That’s why I think that Sam Mendes, in choosing me, an adult woman, created a big revolution.”

Previously, the “oldest” Bond girl was Honor Blackman, who was 39 when she played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger

Hollywood Is Reluctant To Let Love Interests Be Age Appropriate

The issue of casting very young women to star alongside male leads old enough to be their dads is a Hollywood-wide problem. Male actors are treated as sex symbols sometimes into their sixties or even seventies, while any actress who dares to age over 25 is “mature” for her role. 

Hollywood may wax poetic about writing empowering stories and fighting the patriarchy, but they seem pathologically unable to cast age-appropriate female characters. Just because a woman is over 30, or god forbid 40, doesn’t mean she’s suddenly become invisible to men. 

Any actress who dares to age over 25 is “mature” for her role. 

It’s not that age gap relationships don’t happen in the real world, they do. But when an actor like Keanu Reeves makes headlines for dating an older woman who is actually almost a decade younger than him, we know there is a problem.

Perhaps all of this harkens back to Hollywood’s desire to play into people’s fantasies. I’m sure that older men love the idea of snagging the beautiful, young woman, so that side makes sense. But how many 20-something women’s fantasies are falling in love with a guy in late middle age? Probably a lot less. This obsession with young female leads seems to say a lot more about the desires of creepy Hollywood producers than it says about real-life relationships.

Closing Thoughts

We love James Bond as much as the next set of girls. And we love that multiple actors who have been in the role, including Roger Moore and Daniel Craig, haven’t been afraid to call out some of the more questionable tropes of the super-seductive spy series. 

The Daniel Craig Bond films have sought a balance between the gorgeous conquests and the more complex, femme fatale characters like Vesper Lynd, Dame Judi Dench’s M and final Bond girl Madeleine Swann. But we’re still waiting for the day when James Bond having an affair with a woman his own age isn’t considered groundbreaking.

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