January 24, 2014

Actors Who Were Nearly James Bond

There are literally dozens of actors who were very nearly cast as the greatest secret agent in the business, so I thought I would go over a few of them, some of whom even I didn’t know about until recently. There were some very odd choices, including Dick Van Dyke but were (wisely) not chosen for obvious reasons.

It’s no secret that Cary Grant was the first choice to play the legendary 007 in Dr. No and to this day I do think he would have been fantastic.

Obviously Connery will always be the King in my book; he had the ruthlessness, sophistication and charm required to pull of the character to perfection.

I can’t help but wonder though how awesome Cray Grant would have been; apparently he was willing to play the role of James Bond but was reluctant to sign on for a multi-picture deal and (obviously) it never happened.

Author Ian Fleming even admitted that the character was based on Cary Grant; it was his role in the Hitchcock classic North by Northwest which really demonstrated that he could pull off an action role. Grant also previously played a government agent in Notorious where he very much looked the part of Bond.

Richard Burton was actually Ian Fleming’s personal favourite choice to play the superspy and he even put in writing ”Richard Burton would be by far the best James Bond.”

Stanley Baker was approached for the role in 1961 but turned it down because (like Grant) he didn’t want to sign on for a 3 picture deal.

Michael Caine was also approached for the role but didn’t want to be typecast in spy roles after starring in three “Harry Palmer” films.

Richard Todd was one of Ian Fleming’s preferred choices for the role, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from getting it.

Terence Stamp, yes General Zod himself was considered for the role but apparently his ideas were bit too “out there” for his interpretation of the character. “Kneel before Bond” still has a nice ring to it though.

Henry Cavill; yes Zod AND Superman have been approached for the character of Bond but Daniel Craig was chosen instead as director Martin Campbell thought Cavill was too young. I still think he could be a good choice in a few years though.

Clive Owen was always a fan favourite for Bond as he just looked the part perfectly but apparently he was asking for gross profit points which the producers were unwilling to provide.

I remember watching Sam Neill do a screen-test for Bond on the DVD for The Living Daylights and I think that’s a great loss that we never saw him in the role. He would have been fantastic and had just the right amount of sophistication and cool for the role.

The Highlander himself Christopher Lambert was considered but was turned down for his rather broad French accent… yeah, that would do it.

Mad Max AKA Mel Gibson was suggested by MGM for the role, but was rejected by Albert. R. Broccoli for not being British.

There are a LOAD of other actors who were considered but I think these are the most interesting (and bizarre) choices… Christopher Lambert… really?

I would still love to see Michael Fassbender as Bond; he has the cold ruthlessness required for the role, has a cool accent and can rock a turtleneck like nobodies business.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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