Website last updated: 7-5-2024

Producer Hilary Saltzman on her James Bond legacy

By: Anders Frejdh
Hilary saltzman interview
Hilary Saltzman is Harry Saltzman's daughter. Harry co-founded EON Productions and Danjaq in 1962 and co-produced the first nine 007 pictures with Albert "Cubby" Broccoli.

Harry Saltzman sold his shares after The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) and retired from filmmaking, producing only a handful of pictures after that. This interview was done with Hilary at the time of Vue Sur Bond 007, a major Bond event in February 2006. In the interview, Hilary talks about the relation to her father, his Bond movies and the legacy after him.

FSWL: What is your role in the organisation of the exceptional event “Vue Sur Bond” that took place in Québec from February 24 to February 26, 2006?
HILARY SALTZMAN (HS): After moving here almost 3 years ago, I found out about a great film festival here, The Film Festival of the 3 America’s. It has many films from South, Central America and even very far North America that one would not normally have access to. Not only that, the people who run it are very friendly to the public and it is truly a festival for film lovers like myself. I was honoured when they asked me to join the board. A few months later I was approached about doing a fundraiser that would honour my father and his legacy in film as a Canadian film producer. I was delighted and accepted to chair the event.

FSWL: You have got a special attachment to Québec. I think your father, Harry Saltzman, was born there?
HS: I moved to Quebec shortly after visiting a friend here and really falling in love with the city, the people, and the mountains here. I thought my father was born in St John New Brunswick quite far fromhere. Going through my immigration process where I needed to provide a lot of information about my father, I discovered he was in fact born in Quebec, in Sherbrooke, less than an hour from where I now live. No wonder I feet so at home here!

FSWL: Let's talk about your father, he can't be dissociated from the name Bond; how did he get the idea to buy the adaptation rights of Ian Fleming's novels?
HS: My father was a very avid reader. I believe he read these books and really felt an association with the stories. Again due to my immigration process I found out my father served in WW2 in the Royal Canadian Air Force then was honourably discharged and worked for the American overseas Office of War Information where he worked on confidential war missions for the OWI.

FSWL: How did your father and Cubby Broccoli become associates, and how did they “separate”, knowing a lot has been said about it?
HS: Cubby and my father met because they both were interested in making films out of the Ian Fleming novels. I believe my father had just signed an option for the books when Cubby got in touch with Ian. Cubby had access to making a studio deal and wanted to buy out my Dad, but my father really wanted to make the films too, so they became partners and they created cinematic history together.

The truth of the separation was that my mother got very ill and my father wanted to stop making films for a while and spend time with her.

FSWL: Who chose Sean Connery: your father or Cubby Broccoli? Even the names of Roger Moore, Patrick McGoohan and Cary Grant have been mentioned at the time!
HS: I believe my father saw Sean first and felt he was perfect and then introduced Cubby to him and they were in quick agreement. Though Roger’s name had come up at the time he was under contract to The Saint and then later of course The Persuaders.

FSWL: You have grown up within the 007 universe. Which are your most striking souvenirs?
HS: Growing up “on set” is like growing up with a very large extended family that travels everywhere together. I was never truly aware that my life was any different from other children until I got older. My most favourite memories are of travelling all the time and of both the cast and crew being so kind to me and my brothers. Also when my father took it upon himself to cook for them all!

FSWL: Do you have any anecdotes from “Live And Let Die” and “The Man With Golden Gun”?
HS: I turned 11 at the time of Live and Let Die and was in my last year at elementary school. My father took my whole class by bus to Pinewood studios and we saw scenes being filmed and then all the Voodoo dancers led by Geoffrey Holder, did a special Birthday dance for me! The sets that we travelled to were super too. I had my first Halloween experience in New Orleans and Jazz too, seeing Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong there. I also remember visiting the crocodile farm, which was very exciting. It was a special time.

I remember having the pen set from Man with the Golden gun that became part of the gun. Also meeting Herve Villechaise, it was strange to find myself taller than one of the villains in the film!

FSWL: Did your father ask your opinion about his work, or your help?
HS: My father always bought home pictures of the Bond girls and we would all give our opinions on choosing who would be best. He also would bring tapes of songs submitted for the opening sequence and we would choose them together.

FSWL: I know your father was close to Roger Moore. How did they get on together?
HS: My parents were very close friends with Roger and his then wife Louisa. They had a very large group of friends including Michael Caine, Dennis Selinger (Roger’s agent at ICM), Maurice Binder (responsible for those fabulous Bond titles), Ken and Letitzia Adams (set designer)etc. They would gather for most weekends that they were not away on location at either our house, Roger’s house or Michaels house. They worked together and had fun, they cooked together, played billiards together, and even had amazing poker nights!

FSWL: Do you have privileged bonds with Roger Moore? What do you appreciate in the man, and in the actor?
HS: I have privileged bonds with Roger because I grew up with him as my Uncle Roger! His children used to be at our house and we at theirs almost every weekend we weren’t away! I am still very close to all of his children, in fact I just saw Christian when I was in LA a couple months ago.

I appreciate Roger greatly because he is as real and honest a person as you could hope for. He is also incredibly kind, generous, compassionate, intelligent and has a great sense of humour.

As an actor, I loved him as Bond but I always hold a special place in my heart for his role as Simon Templar, and also growing up I was addicted to watching him and Tony Curtis on the Persuaders. He has done some fabulous work on screen since the Bond films but for me his earlier roles are what I think of the most. I found him so mischievous and entertaining.

FSWL: What do you think of Roger Moore's endless devotion to UNICEF? Do you keep informed about his actions and travels for UNICEF?
HS: I admire him greatly for his tireless efforts to help the children of this world. In asking Roger to come to this fundraiser it was his suggestion to partner with UNICEF. I was so thrilled to do so because in honouring my father, supporting the film festival and celebrating in a city I have grown to love, we will also be serving children in South America that may never have heard of James Bond but will ultimately be helped by him.

UNICEF is an awesome charity and in working with them on Vue sur Bond 007, I have heard how special Roger and his work are to them and how much he has done to help promote their cause. I myself am a child advocate and make films for children and families. So I am honoured to work on this event knowing that money raised will go to these children, inspired by Roger, I also plan to stay involved with UNICEF myself.

FSWL: Do you sometimes meet Barbara Broccoli?
HS: Yes I do. In fact the last time I was in London- Barbara, Deborah Moore and myself had lunch in Geoffrey Moore’s restaurant!!!

FSWL: “Vue Sur Bond 007” will be the opportunity to pay a tribute to a mythical pair: Saltzman/Broccoli. Will there be a special event to commemorate your father's memory?
HS: Yes we will be honouring him in a tribute at the beginning of our Gala evening on Saturday February 25th at the Grand Theatre concert. I also believe Roger will be making a speech about him and his work with UNICEF. It will be a very important event as my father has never really been paid tribute before and here we will be doing it in his native country and place of birth. Truly special, that is why if you are really Bond fan this is a weekend not to be missed. Besides the concert, we will be screening the first 11 bond films free and there are so many other lovely events planned.

FSWL: What does mean for you the next Bond movie “Casino Royale”: back to the roots or the beginning of a new era?
HS: I hope it is a mix of both. The James Bond film legacy was about finding new talent not only as Bond but as a Bond girl, villain and in music too. It was also about imagination and staying one step ahead of the game in stunts and plot design. I think that Barbara and Michael Wilson have been exemplary in keeping Bond going and I look very forward to seeing the new Bond in action.

Sincere thanks to Hilary Saltzman and Geneviéve de Montigny for making this interview possible.

For more about Hilary Saltzman's career in the film industry, check out her IMDB profile.



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