20 actors who could've been JAMES BOND

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Geek Dave looks back at some of the actors who were either offered the role, or considered for the part of James Bond 007.

To date only six men have portrayed James Bond on the big screen over the last 50 years, but they weren't always the first choice and there were also many other actors who either came very close to playing the part, or were seriously considered for the role. So join me as we look back at some of the actors who could've played James Bond.


1. Prior to Sean Connery's casting Harry Saltzman and Albert R. 'Cubby' Broccoli approached many other actors for the role of Bond including TVs Danger Man, Patrick McGoohan. McGoohan turned it down because he felt the character was too promiscuous. 


2. Five years before he played the part in the 1967 unofficial Bond spoof Casino Royale, David Niven was considered for the role of James Bond. It was said that Ian Fleming approved, but ultimately he lost out to Connery.


3. In 1961 James Mason was offered a three picture deal, but he would only commit to the two. The producers decided that was not an option, so the search continued.


4. American born Steve Reeves, who played Hercules in the late 1950s movies, was approached in 1962, but he demanded more money than the producers were prepared to offer.


5. When it came time to find Sean Connery's replacement amongst the actors sought out was Michael Caine. Caine felt that if he'd accepted the role he would've been typecast in the spy genre, having already played Harry Palmer in three movies.


6. Whether it was his English accent, or his cheeky disposition, either way Dick Van Dyke failed to impress 'Cubby' when he auditioned in 1967.


7. Neal before Zod! Terence Stamp was keen on the role, and had ideas for future films and the direction he'd like to take the character of 007. However, they were deemed too radical for producer Harry Saltzman.


8. Clint Eastwood was offered the role of Bond in 1970, but turned it down as he felt the character had to be British.


9. The same reason was given by TVs Batman, Adam West, when he declined the role in 1970.


10. The producers really must've wanted an American in 1970, because even Burt Reynolds was approached to play Bond back then. Again, he decided that the role was just too British.


11. In the early 1980s Roger Moore was unsure if he wanted to return to the character of 007 again, so another Simon Templar (aka The Saint) was considered for the role. Ian Ogilvy eventually lost out when Moore agreed to make another Bond film.


12. James Brolin (yep, Josh's Dad) was very close to playing Bond in Octopussy, he even bought a house in London, but producers persuaded Moore to return for another outing.


13. Sam Neill lost out to Timothy Dalton in 1986.


14. Not happy with the direction the Bond films were going, MGM pushed for Dalton to be replaced by Mel Gibson! But Albert. R. Broccoli was having none of it.


15. When planning Bond's comeback movie, Goldeneye, producers wanted to go back to Timothy Dalton and ask him to reprise the role, they also had Sean Bean in mind in case Dalton said no. However MGM overruled on both counts. Clearly Sean Bean impressed the producers enough though as they cast him as Trevelyan.


16. The Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, auditioned for the role in 1994 and was kept in reserve in case things didn't work out with Brosnan.


17. Liam Neeson was approached to audition for the role in 1994. At the time he turned it down claiming that he had no interest in starring in action movies. My, how things have changed!


18. Colin Salmon was heavily rumoured to be the one replacing Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Salmon had already appeared as MI6 Chief of Staff Charles Robinson in three Bond movies, and was indeed considered for the role in 2004. He was very vocal about auditioning, claiming that "If I don't get the part, I won't think it's because I'm black.... I really want to be Bond. I know the British public is behind me." Ultimately though, it just wasn't his time.



19. Amongst the other actors approached to play Bond in 2005 was Hugh Jackman. Let me just point out that he's played the role of Wolverine seven times now, that's an important thing to remember when I tell you that his reason for declining the audition and not wanting the part of Bond was in case he became typecast!


20. The net was spread wide when casting Casino Royale, but Australian Julian McMahon allegedly claimed to be in the final two for the role of James Bond 007, meaning that it was between McMahon and Daniel Craig. So near, yet so far.

There are many other actors who came close to playing James Bond and we will take a look at them soon. Or to put it another way - James Bond will return in '20 More Actors Who Could've Been James Bond'.

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