This Former Bond Girl Says Her Role Was "Awful"
Jane Seymour now feels differently about 1973's Live and Let Die.
When fans think of Jane Seymour, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But long-time followers of her career also likely think back to her breakout role as Bond girl Solitaire in the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die. During an interview with The Guardian, Seymour spoke on her part in the Bond film, also letting fans in on what she's been up to in recent years. Read on to learn more about why she felt "useless" when playing Solitaire, and how her career differs now at the age of 71.
Jane Seymour described her role as Bond girl Solitaire as "awful."
Seymour did not care for her part in Live and Let Die, in which she played one of the iconic Bond girls, Solitaire. Then 20 years old, Seymour was the psychic sidekick to Roger Moore's rendition of Bond. Her character was nicknamed Solitaire due to the fact that she had sworn off men—that is, until she met Bond, of course.
At the time, Seymour didn't feel hindered by the title of "Bond girl," telling The Guardian that while it was scary, "coming from obscurity, it was a very nice thing. It meant I had a job." The label didn't become problematic until after the film's release, when Seymour found herself typecast and even rejected when up for other roles.
With new Bond movies hitting theaters in recent years, several of the older Bond films—including Live and Let Die—have come under fire for allegations of racist and sexist depictions of women. Seymour doesn't disagree with the claims. "You'd never make that movie now," Seymour told The Guardian. "You wouldn't want to make that movie. I was a woman, a virgin, who ran three paces behind a man with a gun, wearing very … well, actually for a Bond girl, a lot."
In the movie, Solitaire is aware that she must remain a virgin to keep her psychic abilities, but she consummates her relationship with Bond anyway. Seymour reflected, "I was deflowered and then deposited. I'd lost all my power, so I was useless. It was awful!"
She has recently been vocal about facing sexual harassment in the industry.
In 2017, amidst the #MeToo movement, Seymour revealed details about the sexual harassment she faced as a young actor in the U.S. Seymour was asked to visit a producer's home for a screen test, and while she was told others would be in attendance, no one else was there when she arrived. In an interview on the Australian morning show Sunrise (via Variety), Seymour stated the man was "quite clear" that he expected something in exchange for a role in the movie—a traumatic event that caused her to return to the U.K. and quit acting for a year.
"He had that power," she said. "The fact that it stopped me from being an actress for a whole year—and I could have quit the profession completely—shows you how devastating it was to me."
Seymour later told Us Weekly that she decided to share her story ahead of her 2017 book, The Road Ahead, which discussed "dealing with challenge and crises" in life. "I told my story because it was mine to tell, in the context of what I was doing—talking about moving forward in life and starting again—I felt it made sense," Seymour said. "I'm sure there are a lot of other stories that are incredibly important that should probably come out. Hopefully, this will make people think twice in terms of behavior. That's all I care about."
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Seymour has written self-help books.
Seymour does not shy away from talking about her past romantic partners, having been married and divorced four times. She has two children from her third marriage to David Flynn: Katherine Flynn, born in 1982, and Sean Flynn, born in 1985. During her fourth marriage to actor James Keach, she gave birth to twins, John Stacy Keach and Kristopher Steven Keach, in 1995. She is also now the proud grandmother of three.
Seymour speaks about her past candidly, telling The Guardian that there is a process to moving forward, but she doesn't feel the need to be married again. While she said all of her exes left her for other women, she still maintains good relationships with them, as well as their past and current partners, and her two stepchildren. She has shared her wisdom by authoring multiple self-help books.
"I'm not trying to preach anything to anyone, but people ask me how I've managed to move on. You have to learn to accept and forgive yourself and others, and then move forward and don't live in the past or the blame game," Seymour told The Guardian. "I feel very good that my children's family—past, present, and future—we can all be together."
Her acting career has had a resurgence later in life.
The former Bond girl has seen a resurgence in her career later in life. From 1993 to 1998, Seymour had major success in her 40s when she took on the titular role on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. After that, Seymour told The Guardian that opportunities stopped rolling in, but thankfully, the lull was temporary.
Today, in her 70s, Seymour has retaken center stage—this time as something of a "secret agent" herself. She stars as the title character in the Irish television thriller Harry Wild, which follows a retired professor who finds she is adept at solving crimes. "Clearly, [roles] open up again when you're 70," Seymour said. "I think what's really happened is that there's a huge generation of baby boomers saying, 'My life is way more interesting and complicated than the life of an 18-year-old.' I think it occurred to people that there is a major audience out there for material that includes people who are older."