George Lazenby’s outspoken nature is certainly no surprise to anyone who has followed the James Bond movies. With a brash, straightforward nature, the man who only starred in one 007 movie within the franchise's hisory continues to lay it all out there whenever questioned about On Her Majestys’ Secret Service. And during a recent episode of Icons Unearthed: James Bond, director/executive producer Brian Volk-Weiss got Mr. Lazenby to tell a story so wild that I’m not surprised it was bleeped out. This is, after all, a series that’s airing on Vice.
To hear that the fifth season of Icons Unearthed would have this type of alteration isn't shocking, as any George Lazenby fan would know. That doesn’t make the story that Brian Volk-Weiss had to share when I sat down with him any less interesting. The series’ mastermind provided CinemaBlend with the following tale from the production:
Lazenby says stuff like when he is doing conventions, he says stuff when he is doing interviews, but it never ends up in the documentaries. I've done well over 500 interviews. Could be over a thousand, I don't know. But no, nothing beats Mr. Lazenby. … He's a treasure chest of great stories. I have never met anybody so interested, and that really is the right word, ‘interested,’ in sex with women. And again, he is around 80, I think, and his interest in this topic, it was my favorite moment in the whole interview. … Of course we're gonna have to bleep out some dirty words.
The producer and his team seem to have a knack for getting those convention-friendly stories. It's arguably that same energy that led to Kirstie Alley’s Star Trek II wardrobe story being released to the public in Brian Volk-Weiss' series, The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek. That show also happened to be the source of a tale involving The Motion Picture co-writer Harold Livingston calling Gene Roddenberry “a bastard.”
This leads us to Icons Unearthed’s second episode, entitled “The Man Who Wouldn’t Be King," which covered the first recasting of 007. George Lazenby was interviewed as part of the proceedings and showcased his memories of that tumultuous time. Courtesy of Brian Volk-Weiss, here's what you probably would have heard if this installment wasn’t bleeped:
While they were making the movie, he was telling the story. He was like, ‘Yeah, you know, I had to get off the mountain, I had to get off. I had to get off. So every day, when I finished shooting, you know, a helicopter would arrive and pick me up and bring me into town, and then at the end of the night, it would bring me back.’ … So I had seen him tell that story before, but every time I had seen that story before, I always wondered to myself, ‘Why did he have to leave the mountain? They're staying in this beautiful hotel in the Alps or something. Like, why did he have to leave every day?’ So sure enough, he tells the story, I wait for him to finish, and I'm like ‘You know George, I'm curious, why did you have to leave the mountain every day?’ And he is like, ‘I ran out of women to fuck’ I'm like, ‘Okay, great.’ Like, there you go, George.’
That sort of candor is a double-edged sword, as the actor's frank conversational nature has gotten him into trouble from time to time. We saw a less charming example of this practice at work when his off-color nature led to him being removed from The Music of James Bond event in Australia in September 2022. So the remarks above didn’t totally come out of nowhere.
At the same time, there must be something about Brian Volk-Weiss’ interviews that naturally encourage celebrities to let their hair down. Again, those Star Trek interviews produced stories that even the interviewer couldn’t imagine he’d ever get on camera. Volk-Weiss credits this not to his technique but rather his lack of official studio affiliation. While citing this aspect, and teasing the rest of Icons Unleashed’s James Bond series in that context, the EP laid out that advantage thusly:
Those stories, like the actors were telling them for decades at conventions, but all the documentaries were made by Paramount, and they would always get rid of that stuff. So you're absolutely right, but I mean, like George Lazenby for example, I believe nobody has ever seen Mr. Lazenby quite the way he is so yeah, buckle up.
None of what you've just read above would be likely to make it into an official EON Productions documentary. And those of you who have seen the iconic special feature documentary Inside On Her Majesty's Secret Service can not only attest to that but should also be inclined to agree that's saying something.
With unrestrained conversations, and a legacy that spans a little over 60 years, Icons Unearthed: James Bond features stories both old and new. Both buckets of information are well served by such a series, as even those tales you think you know from the world of 007 are presented from fresh angles.
So even if you’re a 00-die hard who has an expert’s worth of knowledge, you’ll probably find something new and exciting you might not have known previously. Even if you're used to George Lazenby's rather frank nature, there's still plenty that you'll be able to take from these candid conversations.
History continues to unfold on Icons Unearthed: James Bond, which debuts new episodes on Vice as part of the 2023 TV schedule! You can catch fresh installments on Wednesday nights at 10 PM ET, with previous episodes available to stream On Demand through Vice’s site. And if you want to see more of George Lazenby’s rather unplugged nature, use your Hulu subscription to catch the feature-length documentary Becoming Bond. Trust me, it’s worth the time, especially if you’re intrigued by the stories mentioned above.