The Actors Who Could've Been JAMES BOND, Part 3

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Geek Dave completes his look back at the actors who could've been James Bond...

So far we have looked at over 50 actors who were either considered for the role of James Bond, or were actually offered the part but for one reason or another did not end up as 007 on the big screen.

You can read part one here, covering the early years of the franchise from Dr No to Diamonds Are Forever, and part two here, which covers Live and Let Die to Licence To Kill.

This week we complete the collection with 20 more potential Bonds, covering the years from Goldeneye to Casino Royale...

The seventeenth James Bond film was announced in May 1993, following several years of development hell and legal problems with MGM. At this time Timothy Dalton was still committed to the role, and with 'Cubby' Broccoli's health deteriorating (he died seven months after the release of GoldenEye), his daughter Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson took the lead roles in production.

The duo had an early back-up plan in case Dalton did not return to the franchise, he came in the form of Sean Bean (above). Bean had come to their attention back in 1987 when he'd previously auditioned for the role, but at the time was considered too young. However MGM were neither keen on Dalton returning, wanting a clean slate, and could not see Bean in the lead. Dalton officially withdrew himself from the franchise in April 1994, and the producers clearly thought enough of Bean that they offered him the part of Trevelyan.

On the search for a new 90s Bond, Liam Neeson (above) was approached to audition for the role. At the time he turned it down claiming that he had no interest in starring in action movies. My, how things have changed! Actually auditioning for the part were Mark Frankel and Lambert Wilson, the latter who had already screen-tested in 1987, opposite Maryam d'Abo, for the lead in The Living Daylights.

Ralph Fiennes, who would go on to play Gareth Mallory in Skyfall and take up the role of M, was first considered for Bond in 1994, he was never offered the role though. Someone who did come very close was the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann (above). His auditioned impressed the producers very much, but MGM were favouring Pierce Brosnan. However, it is believed that if negotiations with Brosnan didn't work out McGann would've stepped into the role.

Moving on to 2004, and the search for the Sixth official big screen Jame Bond. Early contenders included Eric Bana, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor (above). Having just completed the Star Wars prequels he declined the role as he didn't want to commit to another franchise, and a fear of typecasting. That last reason was also given by our next potenital Bond...

...Hugh Jackman (above). Let's just stop and think about that for a minute. Jackman has now played the role of Wolverine seven times, with two more to come, and he turned down Bond as he was concerned about typecasting???

Moving on, Ralph Fiennes was also considered for the lead once again, as was Hawaii Five-0 star Alex O'Laughlin, and Homeland's Rupert Friend (above). James Purefoy, who had screen tested for Goldeneye, was invited back to discuss how he'd play the character, as he explained in a 2006 interview:
"The room is very Bond-esque - wood-panelling, big table. You sit there trying to be as serious and panther-like as you can, just letting them look at you. "They asked what I thought should be changed, and I was eight minutes into my soliloquy when I noticed they were all staring at my legs. "Being a ludicrous, over-excited boy of 42, I was kicking them like a child. I realised there was no hope."

Both Dougray Scott, and Goran Višnjić auditioned, but neither were offered the role. Someone who did briefly enter into negotiations for Casino Royale was Clive Owen (above), but he overplayed his hand and wanted a share in the gross profits, something the producers were unwilling to offer.

Colin Salmon (above) was hotly tipped as the new Bond for a period of time. 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.

We're nearing completion of our journey through the many actors who could've been James Bond, but before Daniel Craig was announced we have three more who came very near to being the sixth big screen 007.

Future Superman Henry Cavill was the preferred choice of director Martin Campbell, however, ultimately he was deemed too young to portray Bond. Dominic West was shortlisted, but he heard an early rumour that Daniel Craig was in negotiations so withdrew himself from contention.

And finally Australian Julian McMahon (above) was reported as saying he was in the final two for the role of James Bond 007:
"I met the producers for a final audition. They told me to expect a decision in a couple of months and they said it was between me and one other person. It's going to be a very nervous wait."
Like many of the other actors who could've been James Bond, McMahon was so near yet so far.

The Actors Who Could've Been James Bond, Part 1
The Actors Who Could've Been James Bond, Part 2

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James Bond will return next Thursday... 

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