Bond Girl Kristina Wayborn Talks Roger Moore (& More!) on ‘Octopussy’ 40th Anniversary

Swedish actress Kristina Wayborn, is Magda, poses for a portrait during the filming of the 1983 James Bond spy movie, Octopussy in the United Kingdom, October 1982.
Oscar Abolafia/TPLP/Getty Images

With a title that might not make it past Hollywood executives these days (I’ve put a lot of thought into what this nickname might mean beyond a diminutive plural of octopus, and I have come up with nothing good let alone appropriate!), the 1983 Bond flick Octopussy turns 40 this year, and the 1970 Miss Sweden actress Kristina Wayborn, who played Kamal Khan’s right-hand woman Magda, is celebrating by signing autographs, talking to fans and even flying out to her homeland of Sweden!

We had a chance to chat at this year’s Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, where Wayborn was sitting with fellow Bond girls and friends Mary Stavin and Lynn-Holly Johnson. We talked about Octopussy, Greta Garbo, and, since we were at a nostalgia convention, about how smartphones have changed the world.

OCTOPUSSY, from left: Roger Moore, Kristina Wayborn, 1983, (c) United Artists/courtesy Everett Colle

United Artists/courtesy Everett Collection

Do you like doing these conventions?

First of all, I didn’t do very many. But this one is particularly fun. I like to do this one because Mary and I can do it together. And Lynn-Holly. So, it’s been fun, and the people here are so nice.

It’s the 40th anniversary of Octopussy. How’s that been going?

There have been a tremendous amount of charity events and so forth. So, I did that. And then I went to Sweden. I had a place there. I got rid of that. And I had a lot of work to do. It’s been exhausting.

What’s one of your favorite Hollywood moments?

Oh my goodness. That is a tough one. Well, it would have to be during Octopussy, because India was so extraordinary. So that would be definitely on the list. And when I played Greta Garbo, I had a lot of fun too. I pretended I couldn’t speak English very well so they just thought I’d stepped off the boat from Sweden and I couldn’t quite understand anything. The crew guys would say silly things about how big my butt was or something. It worked out well because I could concentrate on what I was doing. Nobody chatted me up.

What was your favorite role you’ve had?

Greta Garbo. I really resonated with her and being Swedish. And also, I was very shy when I was younger and afraid of people, especially contemporaries. That’s why I resonated with animal medicine. I studied veterinary medicine for a short time before I came over here. Acting helped. I could open up when I was a different character, age range. I could deal with their baggage, then mine.

THE SILENT LOVERS, Kristina Wayborn as Greta Garbo, 1980, © NBC/courtesy Everett Collection

NBC/courtesy Everett Collection

Any favorite actors you’ve worked with?

Brian Keith. He played Mauritz Stiller in the Garbo movie [The Silent Lovers]. And, of course, Roger [Moore] was fun too. He was really quick witted. Super smart. Oh my. And very funny. Liked practical jokes. We had a lot of good laughs.

I’ve always wanted to meet Clint Eastwood, but I never have. I grew up on Italian westerns and I thought he was the cat’s meow.

I think a lot of women would probably agree! He’s a little too old for me, personally.

Well, at 93, he’s a little too old for me, too. You know, people ask him, how do you stay so young? He says, ‘When I get up in the morning, I don’t let the old man in.’

I wonder if he means old as in ‘grumpy’ or old as in ‘physically frail.’

Probably a little bit of both. But I adopt that measure. I went through cancer, and I had issues losing people to different physical problems. I just have some gratitude now for life. Every day. The world has really changed, too.

Oh, I agree. Everyone’s just on their phones all the time.

I know. I don’t like it. I see people going out to dinner and they’re both on their phones… Girls, hello, let’s talk.

No one likes it. I’ve been talking about this my whole trip here. Not just at the convention, on the plane too. No one seems to like it, but everyone does it!

I’m really into people’s faces. I like to talk to people. And I know that there’s a deficiency there, with the phones, but I just break through it. I just keep talking and asking questions like you are. And they like it, but there’s a resistance. Like ‘My God, she’s right my face and she’s asking me questions! I don’t even know how to talk anymore.’ I don’t get it.

I think there’s going to be a movement eventually that’s just going to involve throwing out all smartphones. It’s really ruining communication, in a lot of ways.

Let’s hope so. Right?

I think it’s going to take a while. 20 years, maybe.

I won’t be here. Oh, well. I think if we ever lost the capacity to have our phones there would be nervous breakdowns all around.

Maybe we need it.


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September 2022

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