Among her many pop culture achievements, supermodel, singer, and actress Grace Jones played one of the most memorable Bond girls ever in 1985’s A View to a Kill. As alluring henchwoman May Day, Jones romanced Roger Moore’s 007 — in between trying to kill him of course. In her new book — cheekily titled I’ll Never Write My Memoirs — the 67-year-old Jones reveals some tantalizing tidbits about her brief, but indelible time as one of James Bond’s main squeezes.
1. Her Bond movie debut was actually supposed to be in 1983’s Octopussy.
Jones was supposed to get the title role in the previous Bond film, but the role of the jewel smuggler/circus leader went to Maud Adams instead. “There was some anxiety about having a black woman as a villain,“ writes Jones. "A Bond movie is, for all appearance of sex and violence, a fundamentally very conservative franchise.”
2. David Bowie and Mick Jagger passed on playing May Day’s villainous boss and lover Max Zorin.
According to Jones, David Bowie didn’t want take the part of the main baddie because he feared a stuntman would get more screen time than he would. The production then asked Mick Jagger “because they definitely wanted this to be a rock ’n’ roll MTV Bond.” Eventually the role went to Christopher Walken, whose on-screen appearance remained very Bowie-esque notes Jones: “lean, mean, blond, and suavely narcissistic.”
3. May Day’s intense scowl was inspired by a family member.
Jones writes at length in the book about the abuse she suffered growing up in Jamaica at the hands of her strict step-grandfather. She ended up using his terrifying glare in her performance. She writes, “He taught me something about how to demand attention, but I could turn it into a cartoon, which takes the sting out of it for me.”
4. Jones totally freaked out Roger Moore.
Her costar might have taken those withering glances to heart. "Roger Moore said to me, ‘Please stop looking at me like that, with such venom.’ It made him really uncomfortable,” writes Jones. “Roger Moore was such a softie, although he did have incredibly hard legs and the stiffest hair.”
5. Jones had a secret affair during the production.
Jones was dating Dolph Lundgren at the time the movie was made and even got him a bit part as a KGB heavy. Still, she managed some extracurricular activities during the shoot at London’s Pinewood Studios: She writes that she had a “very secret affair” with Danny Huston, director John Huston’s son, who was also working on the lot at that time.
6. May Day’s wardrobe had a Disney spin.
Jones writes that she was the first Bond girl to design her own costumes. “Usually it was [producer] Cubby Broccoli’s wife, Barbara, who was in control of the clothing,“ writes Jones. "But I thought that a part of why they asked me [to create my costumes] was because of my own style… I looked at Disney colors, because I figured being a Bond girl was like being in a cartoon.”
7. She was learning how to act on the job.
A View to a Kill was by far Jones’ biggest role up to that point, and she had precious little acting experience to fall back on. She got some help from Moore during filming, particularly during one scene when Jones just couldn’t act surprised upon discovering Bond in May Day’s bed. Jones writes, "That kind of pretending I found a little troubling. I couldn’t look surprised. Eventually Roger stuck something stupid on his head, and I was really surprised to see it, so I looked surprised, and that was the take they used.”
8. Her dialogue recording sessions got very interesting.
During Jones’ dialogue looping sessions, her clothes were rustling in the vocal booth and getting picked up on the microphones. So the star — known for being carefree about nudity — simply took them off. “I did my lines nude, ” Jones writes.
(Gifs: MGM/UA Entertainment Company, animated by Paul Rosales)