That striking man who had a rendezvous with a beautiful woman in front of the Ukraine Hotel on Friday looked familiar. A lot like Bond - James Bond.
It was, in fact, Sean Connery, with actress Michelle Pfeiffer - his co-star in "The Russia House," the film version of John Le Carre's latest spy novel now being made in Moscow."Of course, the KGB has a dossier on me," said the 59-year-old Scottish actor, who made a career out of playing the Soviet intelligence agency's formidable foe. "That's why they let me in.
"My dossier in Washington is even bigger than the KGB file," Connery said with a smile.
This time, Connery plays a book publisher recruited by British intelligence after he comes into contact with a Soviet scientist smuggling defense secrets.
"Spying is waiting," a character in Le Carre's novel says. The same is true of moviemaking, said the film's producer, Paul Maslansky, as the actors and dozens of extras went through two hours of take after take in a freezing drizzle near the hotel.
Maslansky said the filming at Soviet locations, which began in Leningrad Oct. 2, costs up to $10,000 an hour, excluding the actors' salaries. The total cost of five weeks of filming in the Soviet Union will be $2.5 million, he said.
Maslansky said the filming was made possible because of the "glasnost," or openness, policy of President Mikhail S. Gorbachev. "Under previous leaderships, there would have been a problem filming a Le Carre novel," he said.
Instead, Maslansky said, there has been nothing but cooperation.
Not that the story line is anti-Soviet. If "The Russia House" has villains, they are the old-style American bureaucrats who refuse to shed their Cold War mentality and reflexes when faced with new realities.
Although the script was reviewed by the state-run film company Mosfilm, Maslansky said there were no attempts to alter the chronicle of the Soviet scientist's attempt to smuggle military secrets to the West, using a woman named Katya (Pfeiffer) as a conduit.
During filming, he said, curious Soviets come not to see the stars, but to watch the film crew of Soviets and Westerners eat food shipped in from Britain because of shortages and lack of variety in the Soviet capital.