Insanely Dangerous Bond Stunt With Crocodiles Was Actually Real
There was no trickery in Live and Let Die‘s crocodile stunt – ‘James Bond’ actually ran across those crocodiles.
The Bond franchise has no shortage of iconic set-pieces: Sean Connery risking his gonads on a laser; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘s ski chase; The Living Daylights’ opening skydive; Pierce Brosnan’s dam bungee jump; and Daniel Craig’s parkour pursuit in Casino Royale, to name a few.
Roger Moore enjoyed some of 007’s wilder mishaps and close shaves, such as running across a float of crocs in the Jamaica Swamp Safari. Common sense would have you believe they were fake – but they were completely real.
Behind-the-scenes footage of the stunt re-emerged online thanks to Michael Warburton, who wrote, ‘The moment in LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) where Bond steps across a row of crocodiles was real. Crocodile farm owner Ross Katanga (whose own father had been eaten by a crocodile) did the stunt. He succeeded on his fifth attempt. Absolutely mental.’
Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz and director Guy Hamilton began conceiving the stunt after crew members stumbled across a ‘Trespassers Will Be Eaten’ sign for Katanga’s safari, once home to 1,217 crocodiles and three alligators, as per Bold Entrance.
Katanga was raised around crocodiles, even seeing his father eaten alive by one. ‘As a kid, he used to put his head in the mouth of the alligator. And one day [the alligator snapped its jaws shut] and he was in there for twenty minutes before the croc relaxed and let him out,’ Hamilton earlier recalled. However, the stunt itself was the suggested by Katanga.
Moore had requested crocodile-skin shoes for the occasion – however, Katanga ended up jumping in the water when one of the animals went straight for the actor. ‘What a mistake. I had the skin of one of their cousins. They were out to get me,’ the star said.
When Katanga came to actually doing the stunt, after Moore had filmed his scenes on a bridge, the crocs became wise to his actions, remembering the steps he was taking across them. ‘The crocs were chewing off everything when I hit the water, including shoes. I received 193 stitches on my leg and face,’ he said.
On December 31, 1972, after five attempts, he successfully completed the stunt for the cool price of $60,000.
It’s long been recognised as one of Bond’s more outlandish, memorable escapes, with director Sam Mendes making his own tribute when Craig leaps off a (CGI) Komodo dragon in Skyfall.
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