The Nicaraguan-American former model is the only Bond girl in history to have been offered two rival 007 productions. For Carrera there was never any question of which she would take and when she arrived on set, Connery lived up to everything she had hoped for. She later said: “He was the kind of person that men wanted to emulate. And women wanted to be dominated by him.”
Carrera was just 22 according to her official biography (or 28 according to other sources) when she starred as Fatima Blush. The movie received mixed reviews, but her electrifying performance was praised and earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
She had already been in talks with Cubby Broccoli to join the main Bond franchise when she bumped into director Irvin Kirchner, who was there scouting for locations for an upcoming rival movie.
Carrera said: “He said there was a part in there that was perfect for me and I committed to it before I came back to America. Of course, I had to meet Sean Connery and he had to approve…”
Carrera said: “When I looked in his eyes, I saw Bond. It was hard to separate the man from the character. But as I got to know him, I saw things about him that were not totally Bondish.
“He was a very sensitive man. He appreciated music when we weren’t filming. And even though I was very nervous, he was always patient and kind to me. I never forgot how he made me feel. It was magical.”
She said that their romantic scenes were “so special” but that having Connery’s wife around put a dampener on them.
Carrera added: “He was absolutely a great kisser. Everything that has been said about him is true. But he was also a gentleman and you knew his wife was on set at all moments. He was very vigilant. So the idea of stealing kisses did not occur to us. But the scene was so sacred, so pure. It was so special to me.”
However, the actress remembered that her leading man actually asked his wife, Micheline, to leave the set during certain scenes.
Carrera said: “I remember we were filming our kissing scene. We looked up and there was [his wife] Micheline staring right back at us. It took us right out of the scene. So, Sean had her taken off the set.
“We laughed about that a lot after filming was long over. Micheline had a great sense of humour about the whole thing.”
In fact, it was the Moroccan French artist who came up with the title of the film, as a humorous riff on her husband’s infamous declarations that he would never return to the role.
Less amusing was the fact that Connery did have a well-publicised affair later in the 1980s with singer Lyndsay Paul. Despite this, Micheline took him back and she was with him at their Bahamas home when he died in his sleep on October 31 last year. She revealed that he had been battling dementia.