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INTERVIEW WITH PAVEL DOUGLAS

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Published on 25 September 2013

Everytime someone asks you about GOLDENEYE, you surely remember the frigate scene where Ouromov and Xenia hijack the Tiger helicopter. And of course, you'll remember an officer speaking proudly of the Tiger EMP-resistant technology. That man is Pavel Douglas, a Poland-born actor with important roles in series like LOVEJOY and DOCTORS. He also did a lot of voiceovers and directed and acted in theatre plays, including stand-up comedies and commercials, like a very good James Bond spoof TV advertisement for Channel 5 where he played M. After being a bit busy with his personal life, Pavel took his time to have a small chit-chat and let us conduct a really sinister (well, actually not) lost-art interrogation.

How did you get to GOLDENEYE? Was it a casting or you knew somebody of the production?
I was living in Paris at the time filming a feuilleton called RIVIERA. LOVEJOY had just come to an end in England and my agent called asking if I'd fly back to London. Martin Cambell wanted to see me for the film. I read for him at Eon HQ in Piccadilly. He had tried to cast the role in Paris with no luck. I asked him why he hadn't been able to find a French actor to play a French part and he replied that the French all "acted" too much for his taste. Fortunately my French was/is good enough to pass as a Frenchman, even though I'm speaking in English in the film!

Martin Campbell is known to be a very strict director, how was your relationship with him?
Martin is indeed strict because he knows what he want and expects everyone to deliver. But he commands great respect from cast and crew. He is old school but also understanding enough to allow the actor to get it right. We got on very well to the point where he proclaimed me as "a thinking actor!" to the assembled throng in the deck scene. He was also kind enough to give me a bloody big close up! Nice.

Have you reached to talk to Pierce Brosnan? What do you think of his other Bond films besides GOLDENEYE?
Pierce and I became good chums during the filming, due as much as anything to having a friend in common. We hung out together in Monte Carlo and spoke on the phone after I had returned to England. I last saw him at the Premier. If I were ever to work with him again, we'd pick up where we left off. Such is the way in our world.

Any other cast member you have good recollections of?
I had the sheer delight of dining with both Famke and Izabella. It was always a case of "Dear Lord, Pinch me!"

Is there any funny anecdote about the filming of the frigate scene you'd like to share with us?
Not so much during filming, but between takes. As I was playing the Captain it seemed obvious that the Officers would take me on a tour of the ship. Everywhere I went men would snap to attention and salute me. I naturally saluted them back. At one point I inspected the galley, where food is cooked, and a young seaman chef didn't know if he should salute me, do up his unbuttoned tunic, or toss his omelette first, for all he noticed was my rank and medals!

The name GOLDENEYE extends to a lot of histories in the world of 007. That is four videogames and the name of Ian Fleming's Jamaican estate. What do you think of that?
You're asking the wrong guy the wrong question here. I never play video games. I really enjoyed reading the script of GOLDENEYE and the subsequent film, but I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to Bond. I like the early stuff best.

Now, let's talk a bit about James Bond. Were you a Bond fan before getting involved with GOLDENEYE? What do you think of the Daniel Craig films and the 50th anniversary?
I've been a Bond fan since childhood. I WAS James Bond as a boy. I had a gun, knives, smoke grenades, attaché case... You name it. My mother had bought me an early Grundig tape recorder and I had recorded endless audio clips from the movies and all the Bond music and themes of the day. To me the music of THE IPCRESS FILE is as much Bond as Bond, but for the films... I loved GOLDFINGER because The Car had been in a garage near my school and I'd made sure I had a damn good look and touch of it. I also loved THUNDERBALL. But my all time favourite for the true mood and grit of the eponymous 007 has, and always will be, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.

Do you follow Pierce Brosnan post Bond career?
I've seen Pierce in a number of movies since then. He's a lovely gentle man, a gentleman, and decent hard working actor. Not sure about his singing though!


What about your career? What are your future projects as an actor?
My career? Hmm. That's unpredictable as always. Unlike my father, I've not become a star. A name, yes, but star... Not yet. I work to bring up my children and pay the bills. I work without cease as an Actor, Director, Writer, Voiceover and Artist. I do Theatre, Stand-up comedy, TV and less often these days Film. I am truly alive when I'm performing, but it’s no luxury. It's a vapid world where one can easily be overlooked because one isn't loud enough in the market place. People often ask if I am successful. I reply “Look, I've been doing this all my life and I've brought up seven children. How successful is that? Oh, and I've been in a Bond Film!". That usually does the trick.

We thank Pavel very much for his time to reply our questions. Anybody who wants to keep in touch with him can follow him on Twitter @PavelDouglas or check out his site. Thanks to our readers for reading our "Lost Art of Interrogarion" section.

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