Geek Dave looks back at 21 more actors who were either offered the role, or considered for the part of James Bond 007.
Previosuly we looked at 30 of the actors who could've been James Bond in the early years of the franchise, from the movies Dr. No to Diamonds Are Forever. This week we pick up the search for Bond exactly where we left it, 1971 and John Gavin...
American born John Gavin (above), was offered and accepted the role of James Bond for the 1971 film Diamonds Are Forever, but Head of United
Artists, David Picker, decided he wanted the box office insurance of
Sean Connery, and made Connery a highly lucrative offer to return.
Gavin's contract was still honored in full, and he was expected to step into Bond's shoes for the following feature, Live And Let Die. However, producer Harry Saltzman insisted that a Brit be cast instead.
The producers then went through a series of potential candidates, including Simon Oates, Michael Billington, and future Bond Timothy Dalton. At this time Roger Moore was reluctant to pursue the part as he wasn't convinced that Sean Connery was truly done with the role as yet. It took a little more encouragement, and a few more actors to be considered first.
The adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes had a brief film career, and auditioned to be Bond. He later said he was turned down by Albert R 'Cubby' Broccoli for having "hands too big and a face like a farmer". Chat show host Simon Dee was also considered for the part, despite no real acting experience, and Jon Finch was actually offered the part but turned it down. One more potential Bond for Live And Let Die came in the form of The Champions' William Gaunt (above), but Roger Moore won the day, and so we skip forward six years to 1979.
After Moonraker Roger Moore was unsure if he wanted to return to the character of 007, so once again, as a back-up plan, the hunt for a new Bond was on. Timothy Dalton flat out said he did not like the direction the franchise was taking at the time and was not interested. David Warbeck auditioned, but was considered too wooden. Patrick Mower, who'd previously been considered in 1967, was a potential candidate, as was Michael Jayston (above). Jayston, who many will know as the Valeyard in Doctor Who, eventually voiced James Bond in a 1990 radio adaption of You Only Live Twice, but in 1980 his services were not required as a new deal was struck with Roger Moore.
For Your Eyes Only was a single picture deal for Roger Moore, so as a potential replacement Ian Ogilvy (above), another previous Simon Templar (aka The Saint), was considered for the role of Bond. He wasn't offered the role though, neither was Michael Billington, who was considered for the second time in a decade. But someone who did enter into negotiations for the part was...
...James Brolin (above). As contracts were being prepared, Brolin even went as far as securing a house in London for the duration of the Octopussy shoot, but producers persuaded Roger Moore to return for a new two picture deal, and Brolin was dropped.
After Moore vacated the part, and before the long sought out Timothy Dalton finally agreed to play 007, many actors were considered for the role of the Fourth big screen James Bond. Antony Hamilton briefly entered into negotiations for the part, Mark Greenstreet screen tested, Sam Neill (above) really impressed the producers, and yet another Simon Templer, Australian Andrew Clarke, was seriously under consideration.
Whilst we're Down Under, time for the bizarre casting choice of the week section!
First up, who was MGM's choice for the next Bond? That would be Mel Gibson (above)! But fortunately Cubby was having none of it. Second bizarre casting choice comes in the form of Highlander's Christopher Lambert, he was vetoed largely down to his French accent.
We're not quite done yet because we still have Neil Dickson and Simon MacCorkindale, who were both on the short-list. As was Australian model Finlay Light (above). In director John Glen's book, For My Eyes Only, he states that Light impressed in his screen-test and was a contender for a period of time. The British newspaper The Mail On Sunday ran a story saying he'd signed a 10 year contract, but that has never been confirmed anywhere else. Either way, the role was not to be his as the producers had their sights on someone else - Pierce Brosnan.
Timothy Dalton had once again been offered the role, and under the assurance of a new grittier direction he was interested, but, unfortunately, was unavailable to commit as he'd just signed a contract for the movie Brenda Starr. With Dalton seemingly out of the frame, Pierce Brosnan became front runner for The Living Daylights. However, Brosnan's option for a further series of Remington Steele was unexpectedly taken up by NBC at the very last minute, and so reluctantly he had to withdraw from Bond. Fortuitously the delays with Brosnan's contract had pushed back production, and so Dalton became free just in time, and started filming on The Living Daylights two days after completing Brenda Starr.
Next Thursday we'll complete the list of actors who could've been James Bond.
The Actors Who Could've Been James Bond, Part 1
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