18 August 1969: Bravo

After A 12 hour Shoot, Diana Rigg Is Still Feeling Good

It's 9 in the evening when I arrive at the luxury hotel 'Santa Maria' in Lloret del Mar. It was a 70 kilometer drive along bleak cost-lines when suddenly the idyllic bathing resort Lloret del Mar, was right in front of me like an unexpected paradise. A Mercedes 600, that had been driven there from Germany (2000 kms) for Diana Rigg is parked outside the hotel. The English star lives in the apartment 112 where Diana welcomes me with her photographer John Kelly, who took the pictures for this article for BRAVO. Diana invites me for a glass of champagne. She didn't only drink it as Emma Peel, it's her favorite drink in real life, too.

I'm desperately trying to think of a word to describe what Diana looks like. I can't think of one. She is pretty, charming, smart and talented - all of that!

With her long black pants, the long waisted purple vest, and her black sweater, she looks like something out of an international fashion magazine. On the sofa in her apartment, I see a chic django-hat, made of snake skin.

Later during dinner in a small fish restaurant, Diana tells me about the movie she is shooting here in Spain for the German 'accentfilm', while she's eating gazpacho soup and prawns: "It's an 8mm - a detective story. I'm playing a nosy journalist who finds out about an international gang of drug dealers. They smuggle their substances by hiding them in dolls who are little killers. The poison comes out of their eyes. That's where the title 'Minikillers' comes from."

Anyone can get the movie to play at home on a projector. The color version is 30 minutes long and has sound. The black and white version includes two separate silent episodes."

130,000 copies of the other two mini-thrillers, 'The Golden Key' and 'Das Diadem' Diana has shot, have been sold in department and specialty stores already. They've been a huge success!

Minikillers will be available in August, and the Americans, sensing the success, have already bought the license to sell them.

The contract Diana signed with 'accentfilm' says 'more than 6 movies'.

"The salary is not less than what I got for the James Bond movie 'On her Majesty's Secret Service'", Diana admits. She got 560,000 for the Bond film!

When we drive to the club 'Moeff a Gaga' around midnight, it is obvious how famous the star of 'The Avengers' is. Germans, Americans and people from England and Spain are surrounding her table and are asking her for autographs that Diana signs patiently. When she's handing their pictures back, she always looks at her vis-a-vis and smiles. A wonderful woman!

She makes a lot of money, and how hard she has to work for it, I saw the next day.

At 7 in the morning she get a wake-up call. At 8.30 her driver, Horst Schnittger and 'his' precious star, speed to Blanes, which is 20 kilometers away, and where scenes are being shot on a motor yacht.

An hour later they're already shooting. Diana has to bear with a clumsy, untrained stunt man. Patiently she explains the karate kicks to him: "Not the hitting is important, but the pulling back of your hand as quickly as possible. Good stunt men barely touch their partners when they're pretending to hit them."

By the time the stunt man understands that, the leading lady is already black and blue.

When we go back to the yacht after a quick lunch ashore, I stop to stand at the pier for a moment. The water is unusually clear, and on the ground of the port basin you can see the little dead baby sharks the fishermen didn't find a use for.

"First I thought they didn't have any sharks here", Diana reassures herself, "by now I've gotten used to them."

Firstly they continue to shoot the fight and during the first rehearsal, Diana slips on the wet board deck and almost falls overboard. In an attempt to hold her, a helper pushes Diana against the capstan with such force, that she ends up with a 10 centimeter long abrasion of the skin right over her hip bone.

All of this would be enough to put any actor in a bad mood, but Diana tries to calm down the horrified director Wolfgang Chmielewsky: "It's alright, we can continue to shoot."

Later she tells me why she puts up with all of this: "I can't let all of these people down. Everyone is so nice, and they're trying to make my stay as comfortable as possible. Also, they're paying me a lot of money for this." What Diana Rigg will be doing after this film, she doesn't know yet. "I will be staying at my idyllic house in Ibiza for awhile and relax." My agent says that a real star doesn't do something like that, but I don't mind turning down a couple of offers once in awhile.

I find my life wonderful. I know who I am, I know what I do and why I do it. And I have the right friends. I have all of that. What more could I possibly want?"

At 5 in the afternoon - it's already beginning to cool down - they're sailing to a coast a couple of kilometers away, where the underwater scenes are supposed to be shot. For an hour, Diana is in the water. This scene (where she has to try and get close the boat of the gangsters) alone has to be repeated 8 times.

When they get back at 7pm, they're still not ready to wrap. Diana only has 6 days to shoot 'Minikillers'. Time is short and the shooting schedule is long.

At 3am Diana's 'day' is finally over. The final scenes are being shot at the 'Hotel Monterrey' in Lloret.

It is 3.30am when I guiltily knock on the door to Diana's dressing room. She promised to pose in front of John Kelly's camera for BRAVO.

It's hard for me to ask this question, but Diana smiles: "Okay, I promised, so I'm gonna keep my promise, and aside from that, I haven't felt as good as I do today in a long time! She says that, very relaxed, after 14 hours of being beaten and physical exertions. What a woman, that Diana!

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