Bowie was the strongest contender at the time to play the villain Max Zorin in A VIEW TO A KILL. He reportedly declined the role on the basis that he didn`t care for the script. Bowie told Rolling Stone Magazine: “I think for an actor, it`s probably an interesting thing to do, but for somebody from rock, it`s more of a clown performance. And I didn`t want to spend five months watching my double fall off mountains.” And yet he inexplicably went on to torture Jennifer Connolly and audiences as the villain in the 1986 fantasy flick LABRYINTH.
World rocker “Sting” was another shock-blonde rock star/actor who was in contention for the role of Zorin. He was one of the few people to emerge from the 1984 fiasco called DUNE relatively unscathed. It may have been upon the basis of that performance that he was approached to play Zorin, but whatever the reasons that led up to it were, he flatly turned it down. He did, however, make amends to his fans as well as Bond fans who would have loved to seem him play Zorin by playing another villain of sorts in BULLETS AREN`T CHEAP. In this 1991 Saturday Night Live spoof/sketch, which is still fondly recalled by Bond fans to this day, Sting played the villainous “Goldsting”, who dresses like Blofeld and has a pet rabitt that he dotes on. In the sketch, Bond is played by Steve Martin and is shown to be quite thrifty when it`s his own money at stake. Bond shows up at Goldsting`s casino because the “beer and pretzels are complimentary.”
I was able to personally speak to Rutger Hauer once about his James Bond experiences. It was fascinating to say the least (we talked about him testing for Bond, too!):
The star of LadyHawke and other assorted films confirmed to the press back in 1983 he`d been asked three times to play a Bond villain, but he didn`t specify which role(s). With his blond hair perhaps he was asked to play Erich Kriegler or Max Zorin?
Hauer said: “I heard those rumors, too (that he was in consideration to play James Bond). I don`t know about James Bond, but they asked me three times to play Bond`s bad guy. At one point, I said I think it would be interesting if you really threaten Bond and what is the way to do that? Have a bad guy who has the same spirit, the same sense of humor and the same skill and let Bond face this guy and really be endangered. But the villains are sidekicks, they aren`t really strong. They wouldn`t change it for me.” Ironically, the same type villain he describes would come along some 12 years later in the form of Alec Trevelyan in the 1995 film GoldenEye.
When it comes down to casting, it`s often a matter of who is available that makes the difference in getting a job. For Priscilla Presley, it made all the difference. In 1984 she was starring on the hit CBS-Television show DALLAS as Jenna Wade, but she also had an avid interest in moving her career to the big screen. Then, reportedly, EON came calling.
They were looking to cast the role of Stacy Sutton and were looking at several actresses. Presley may have had the inside track, but according to one New York based journalist who spoke to 007Forever, Presley was not interested in playing the role and the search to fill the role continued elsewhere.
From the Thursday, August 26th, 1982 edition of The Daily Star (reprinted with permission): Tough guy Lewis Collins is a wanted man – film fans are clamouring for him to play secret agent James Bond on the big screen. But Lewis fears he will never land the plum 007 role. He reckons the man behind the money-spinning Bond movies -Albert “Cubby” Broccoli – doesn`t like him. And that means his chances are extremely remote “unless we get together and smoke a pipe of peace.”
Lewis, who stars as an undercover SAS officer in the blockbuster movie `Who Dares Wins`, believes he fits the Bond bill. And he isn`t the only one! He was voted tops to take over as Bond in a newspaper poll, but he says: “No one from the Bond stable has approached me so they obviously don`t want me.”
Lewis certainly has the right pedigree for the job. The man who made his name as THE television toughie – Bodie of The Professionals – has already signed for a 25 million pound programme of three films with top action producer Euan Lloyd. It has been suggested that these films, which include Wild Geese 2 and Battle of the South Atlantic – based on the Falklands campaign – could net Collins a cool million pounds. But it is Bond that really captures his imagination. “It would be nice to get back to the original Bond, not the character created by Sean Connery – but the one from the books,” he says. “He is not over-handsome, overtall. He is about my age (Collins is 36) and has got my attitudes.”
The trouble with Lewis`s ideas is that big wheel Cubby doesn`t like them. Lewis revealed that he went to see Cubby two years ago. “I was in his office for five minutes, but it was really over for me in seconds. I have heard since that he doesn`t like me. That is unfair. He is expecting another Connery to walk through the door and there are few of them around. I think he has really shut the door on me. He found me too aggressive. I knew it all – that kind of attitude. Two or three years ago that would be the case, purely because I was nervous and defensive. I felt they were playing the producer bit with fat cigars. When someone walks into their office for the most popular film job in the worlds, a little actor is bound to put on a few airs. If Cubby couldn`t see I was being self-protective I don`t have faith in his judgement. Euan saw through that. You have three minutes to sell yourself but if you go on that line you fail. You have to be yourself – and you have a better chance if you are the right person.” “I didn`t have that confidence then. I am just acquiring it now. The number of people who have suggested me as a candidate amazes me – and Cubby hasn`t given me another shot. I would even screen test and all that.”
One name you probably haven`t heard too much of in connection to the auditions for the role of Stacy Sutton is Debra Sue Maffett. Her name is one of the more obscure ones in the history of Bond casting. Her website lists her credits as: Host of The Nashville Network`s Country News The syndicated news/magazine show Hot, Hip, & Country, A singer with a CD called Die Trying. A producer of a pilot show titled Real Life Angel Stories.
She was a former Miss Beaumont University, Miss California and reigned as Miss America 1983. After her reign, Maffett continued to reside in California where she embarked on a successful television career that included an Emmy nominated stint as hostess for PM Magazine in Los Angeles and television appearances on Matlock, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Good Morning America, Bob Hope`s Specials and Hollywood Squares. In between all of this she found time to audition for the role of Stacy Sutton.
How seriously was she taken? Hard to tell. But to hear her tell it, the choice had come down to herself and Tanya Roberts. She told Cathy Dunphy, in her column for STARWEEK (the Toronto Star tv guide) “The only reason they chose Tanya over me is because Tanya has acted before and they couldn`t wait to see Prisoners.” PRISONERS OF THE SEA was a film she had just finished or was about to wrap up, but it couldn`t wrap up soon enough for Cubby Broccoli. Anxious to get the project moving along, he cast Roberts. Cathy Dunphy`s article appeared in the August 11th to August 18th, 1984 issue.