10 Times James Bond Almost Cast An American Actor As 007
Strange as it may seem, there have been many times in the history of the james bond franchise where an American actor nearly played the part. Ian Fleming’s Bond was born to a Scottish father and a Swiss mother, so it only made sense that the first actor to play the part in a film was Scottish Sean Connery. The character has since been played by an Irishman, an Australian and a Welshman as well. One fact that some franchise enthusiasts may not know is that the very first actor to play James Bond was an American named Barry Nelson.
He played “Jimmy” Bond in a 1954 television adaptation of Casino Royale for the anthology series Climax! Now that Daniel Craig left the role after no time to die, the race is on to find the next performer to play 007. Almost every actor linked to the next Bond role – Henry Cavill, Regé-Jean Page, etc. – share one thing in common: they are all British. While in the past Bond producers tended to cast a wider net when considering potential actors, it is now considered a given that a British actor should play the part. That said, some interesting American performers have also been linked to the role in the past.
ten James Brolin
Of all the Bond-related American stars, James Brolin is probably the closest. After completing his three-picture deal to play 007 with The Spy Who Loved MeRoger Moore had to be approached with a new contract for each of his subsequent four adventures. Octopus would become his sixth release, but for a while it looked like he wouldn’t be returning after all. Several actors were approached to take Moore’s place – including future Bond actor Timothy Dalton – but it was The Amityville Horror Brolin who quickly became the favorite.
The actor certainly had the good looks and charm required for the role, although a 007 with an American accent might have been a fit for audiences. Brolin was screen tested to play Bond and was reportedly about to move to London to prepare for filming when producers got wind that the unofficial rival Bond Never say never featuring Connery was brewing. Deciding they needed an established 007 performer, they went back to Moore, who ended up winning 1983’s “Battle Of The Bonds” between the competing blockbusters.
9 Clint Eastwood
Connery’s acrimonious exit after you only live twice was a turbulent time for the series. George Lazenby finally landed the role in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – only to exit sadly after a single movie. Connery was attracted by a generous deal for Diamonds are forever, but he clarified that it was the “last” time. Talk with the LA Times Heroes Complex (via Independent), Eastwood revealed that he was approached around 007 around this time.
According to the actor, his attorney also represented series producer Albert Broccoli, and “I was also offered a nice amount of money to do James Bond if I accepted the role.. He notes that this was after Connery left, although it is not clear if this was for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Or Live and Let Die, which became Roger Moore’s first Bond film. Either way, Eastwood wasn’t interested: “But for me, well, it was someone else’s gig. It’s Sean’s deal.”
8 Burt Reynolds
Like Eastwood, Burt Reynolds was another American star who rose to prominence in the late ’60s. Like Clint too, Reynolds was approached by producers after Connery’s retirement. The actor revealed to USA today that he rejected the part as he didn’t think viewers would accept an American Bond. He later regretted the choice, stating “It was a stupid thing to say. I could have done it and I could have done it right.” Reynolds would later find franchise success with the Smokey and the bandit And cannonball race movies.
7 Cary Grant
There were few movie stars of their era as suave and charismatic as Cary Grant, whose most famous films include His daughter Friday And From North to Northwest. Grant was reportedly one of the first performers approached to play Bond in Dr. No, although he would have been approaching 60 when the role was offered to him. However, Grant would only commit to one film, and since it was hoped there would be a whole series of james bond movies, they were looking for someone who would sign a multi-picture deal.
6 John Gavin
Gavin is best known for psychology And Spartacus and came close to being America’s first 007 twice. Gavin was actually hired by producers to Diamonds are foreverbut after the lukewarm response to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the studio insisted that Connery return and that they would do whatever deal he wanted. Gavin was therefore replaced, although he was paid his full fee. Gavin was also in the running for Live and Let Diebut it was felt that the role should be played by a British actor.
5 Sharon Stone
Perhaps the only time in the history of the james bond franchise that an actress was considered to have come up with golden eye. After Dalton left the project, producers looked for different ways to reimagine 007 for the 90s. This included making the character black or female, with Stone being specifically cited in a 1995 EO functionality on the project. Stone was enjoying the success of Primary instinct And Wick during this time, but it was ultimately decided to return to the “classic” Bond mold instead.
4 Adam West
Playing Batman on the 60s TV show of the same name made Adam West’s career; unfortunately, it also horribly typed him in the years after his end. Playing Bond could have changed that, with his co-star Burt Ward revealing to the Daily Express in 2017 that West was approached to Diamonds are forever. Like Eastwood and Reynolds, West died because he felt the film should be given to a British artist.
3 Robert Campbell
In 1967, five candidates were selected for the final auditions of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. John Richardson, Anthony Rogers, Hans de Vries, Robert Campbell and eventual winner Lazenby were all tested for the role. Of the five, Campbell might be the most mysterious, with the American performer seemingly out of acting credits following his failed audition.
2 Dick Van Dyke
Comedy legend Dick Van Dyke starred in the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968, based on a novel by Bond author Ian Fleming. It was also produced by Cubby Broccoli, and Van Dyke once narrated on the Talk show with Kevin Pollack that the producer approached him to replace Connery after you only live twice. However, the actor’s legendaryly awful Cockney accent seems to have put the Broccoli idea to rest immediately, as after Van Dyke asked him if he heard his accent, the producer apparently said ‘Oh that’s right! Forget!‘”
1 Mel Gibson
Gibson’s name has been cited for james bond several times from the 80s, although it’s hard to separate rumor from fact. He was apparently in the running for golden eyebut at the request of JoBlo in 2022, Gibson revealed he was first offered the role in the early ’80s, when he was 26. If the timeline is correct, he was probably approached about Octopus, during the period that Moore was not engaged. Gibson claims to have considered but succeeded because he feared being typecast as Connery had been.
Source: Independent.ie, USA today, EO, Kevin Pollack’s chat show, Daily Express, JoBlo
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