The “Greatest Talia That Never Was” discusses the groovy roles she did play…
If 13th Dimension had a Hall of Fame (hmmm, there’s an idea), Caroline Munro would be in it. Not just for the roles she’s played — Hammer movies, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The Spy Who Loved Me — but for the one she didn’t: Talia, Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter. (Click here for more on that.)
Anyway, Munro is the main cover feature for RetroFan #19, due Feb. 16, and her interview with Anthony Taylor is outstanding.
So, as we did with the new issue’s Courageous Cat article, we’re presenting an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from the interview, focusing on Munro’s Hammer and Sinbad years. (For the rest, including the Bond era, I highly recommend picking up RF #19. It’ll be available at comics shops and mag sellers but you can also order it directly from publisher TwoMorrows. Click here.)
By ANTHONY TAYLOR
Anthony Taylor: How did you get involved with Hammer Films?
Caroline Munro: Sir James Carreras used to travel about on the trains and had seen posters of me modeling for Lamb’s Navy Rum. He got in touch and offered me a screen test, and then a contract for two films, which wound up being Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter and Dracula A.D. 1972, which was a turning point for me—I decided to pursue acting full time while working on that movie.
Taylor: Kronos was written and directed by Brian Clemens, with whom you had a long association. How did that come about?
Munro: I met him during casting for the film, and he thought I might be right for Karla. He was an amazing director, writer, and producer.
Taylor: He also wrote the screenplay for The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
Munro: Yes, about a year later. He did such an incredible job on Kronos… I was really impressed with it when I went in to loop my dialogue after we shot.
Maybe it wasn’t recognized at the time. They planned a series of films with Kronos but they never made another. I suppose it didn’t do as well as they’d hoped. I’ve heard that Quentin Tarantino quite likes it, and I think it’s been very popular on DVD.
Taylor: Tell me about filming Captain Kronos.
Munro: Well, I was in it every day. I thought it was very funny and in character. My first scene in the film was where Karla had danced on a Sunday, and she’s been pilloried. They brought in bunches of eggs and tomatoes for the “villagers” to throw at me, and Brian set the scene up and yelled “Action!”, and the extras pelted me. I had raw eggs in my hair, tomatoes all over me. Luckily, they didn’t throw them too hard—they were very nice about it. And it was great for my hair!
Taylor: And then on to Sinbad. Brian Clemens must have really liked you.
Munro: I guess so! He told [producer] Charlie Schneer and [director] Gordon Hessler that he thought they should consider me for the part of Mariana, and they said no! They wanted someone with a big name, someone American, but I think Brian was very keen on me and took them to see some footage from Kronos.
And I did get the part, which was wonderful! I love that film, it’s so beautiful. Ted Moore was the cinematographer and he was so talented. There were sets, but we also went on location and shot in real caves, so what you see are these amazing caverns with this beautiful lighting. I think it was a stunning-looking film.
John Philip Law made a very dashing and beautiful Sinbad. And Tom Baker was just brilliant. I think this was a pivotal role that helped him land the part of Doctor Who. I ran into him not very long ago at a record shop in London, and he said, “Hello, kid! How are you doing?” We were both shopping, he was looking at DVDs and I was with my daughter. I just loved working with him, we got along fabulously.
Taylor: In Dracula A.D. 1972 you got to work with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. And you had a role with a bit more substance, Laura Bellows.
Munro: I did! It was a small part, but very emotionally charged.
I worked with Alan Gibson, the director, who was fabulous. I wasn’t sure at first, I was a bit nervous with him because he was quite strong and demanding, but I absolutely took that little role and became her.
For that time on the set, I was this rather quirky, ditzy young lady, and I loved doing it. And Christopher was astounding. He’s very tall and he’d come towards you with the red contact lenses in his eyes and the white face and the black clothes, and he didn’t speak. And you believed him—this is Dracula. He was so believable! You couldn’t help but react naturally to him and the menace that he represented.
— CAROLINE MUNRO — The Greatest TALIA That Never Was. Click here.
— CHRISTOPHER LEE: The Greatest RA’S AL GHUL That Never Was. Click here.