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Tomorrow Never Dies: Julia Bremermann

The star of the British drama Space Island One was rumored to be in the running for Elliot Harmsway`s (last name later changed to Carver) wife in Tomorrow Never Dies. A member of Bondklub Deutschland (German Bond Club) spoke with Bremermann`s agency in Hamburg and they confirmed that she had a casting session for TND.

As a result Roger Spottiswoode wanted her to portray Elliot Harmsway`s German wife, a former serious love affair of Bond. But Spottiswoode wasn`t allowed to give her a contract when the producers and MGM/UA said Bremermann would be one German element too much (as they already had Hamburg as a location and Götz Otto as a henchman and BMW as Bond`s car). So she didn`t get the job and Spottiswoode was told to accept Teri Hatcher, which caused a lot of trouble between the director and the producers.

Pulp and Bon jovi

Pulp submitted a song to the producers for consideration for Bond 18 (later officially titled Tomorrow Never Dies). The song, like so many others, was “rejected”. But Pulp, being big Bond fans, were undeterred. They simply retitled the song “Tomorrow Never Lies” (which was incidentally the original title of the film until a typing error) and released it on their latest album.

Jon Bon Jovi was asked to submit a song for Bond 18, either by the producers or by David Arnold. Whether he did or not is unknown.

Yvonne Monlaur and Raquel Welch

Racquel Welch… She was actually signed for the role of Domino in Thunderball but got out of the role at the last minute at the request of her agent. She wanted to do a different project. Yvonne Monlaur…The French actress donned a black swimsuit and screen tested for `Domino` in `Thunderball` – she was most famous then for her superb performance in the Hammer horror classic `The Brides of Dracula`.

The World Is Not Enough: Monica Belluci and Milla Jovovich

Belluci would have played Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies had she gotten the chance. She screen tested for the part, and impressed Pierce Brosnan enough to be his choice. But executives at EON wanted a “name actress” so they hired Teri Hatcher instead (see also Tomorrow Never Dies: Julia Bremermann for more on this subject). She may have been the number two choice on a short list of actresses to play the role but Roger Spottiswoode was quite high on having her play the part, and yet overruled by the studio.

She was born September 30th, 1968 in Perugia, Italy. In 1988 she began studying law but dropped her studies a year later to move to Milan to become a model. She`s appeared in the 1992 Francis Ford Coppola film “Dracula”, and has been nominated for a Cesar as The Most Promising Actress 1996. Her name may have come back up for consideration when the role of Elektra was in the early stages of being cast. As casting narrowed down to a conclusion, European news sources at the time indicated the role was down to two actresses: Milla Jovovich and Sophie Marceau. Sophie Marceau, the older actress, and older looking and far more experienced actress, got the part.

javier bardem – an early look

When Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday, February 13th, 2001, an audible gasp and a thunderous round of applause went out when the name of Javier Bardem was called. The actor, nominated for “Before Night Falls”, was considered a long-shot to get a nomination for a film that, as a whole, had not generated much Oscar-buzz.

Bardem was to soon become a household name around the world (and was already a big star in Spain), but had he accepted the offer to play Renard in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, he may have become even more famous much sooner. In the February 23rd, 2001 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Bardem tells the reporter Steve Daly why he turned down Renard: “With all my respects….that is not the kind of thing I like to do. I want to be on risk. Otherwise this job has not a meaning.”

His English still needed work and perhaps that`s the real reason he didn`t play Renard.

ginger spice? Liz Hurley?

Better known as “Ginger Spice” of The Spice Girls, Geri met with The World Is Not Enough director Michael Apted for the role of Dr. Christmas Jones. She didn`t get it. Her only explanation was that “things just didn`t work out”.

Elizabeth Hurley, world supermodel and girlfriend of Hugh Grant, an actress in her own right, was rumored to have been approached for a role in GoldenEye and ever since. She didn`t do anything in the film, but she did present a 45 minute tribute to the Bond series that aired on FOX-TV in the United States later in 1995.

The Spy Who Loved Me: David Prowse and Will Sampson

(David Prowse was a costumed Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” Trilogy) Was cast as `Jaws` by director Terence Young for “The Spy Who Loved Me”. When Young jumped ship and went on to try for `Superman`, Prowse went with him and Lewis Gilbert cast Richard Kiel instead.

Will Sampson was a 7 foot tall Native American actor who also was approached to play “Jaws” in The Spy Who Loved Me. He is perhaps best known for a role in “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest”. He also starred opposite Chuck Norris in “Firestarter”.

TMWTGG – Alice Cooper

The album “Muscle of Love” contains the `Golden Gun` theme song he submitted to EON after they had invited him to do so. Cooper, a James Bond/John Barry fan, may have hoped EON was looking for another hard, Live and Let Die-style song for The Man With The Golden Gun, but they didn`t like Cooper`s offering and rejected it. Variations on the song have Liza Minnelli doing guest vocals.

A sample of the song can be found here:
http://imusic.com/showcase2/rock/music/alicecooper.html

Guitar tabs to the song can be found here:
http://home.cray.com/~btd/alice-cooper/tab/mol.txt

Here are they lyrics to Cooper`s version:
The Man With The Golden Gun [4:12] – Muscle of Love, 1973

The man
With the golden gun
Is waiting
Somewhere
Out there
For you

But you`ll never see him
He`ll be looking for you

Demand
For the golden gun
It`s high priced
Precise
And true

But you`ll never see him
He`ll be looking for you

The man with the golden
Gun in his pocket, Oh, oh
The man with the golden
Gun in his case, Oh, oh
The man with the golden
Gun in your face

But you`ll never see him
He`ll be looking for you
You better believe
He`ll be looking for you

He-e-e-e-e-e`s, The man with the golden
Gun in his pocket
The man with the golden
Gun in his case
The man with the golden
Gun in his pocket
The man with the golden
Gun in your face

But you`ll never see him
He`ll be looking for you
You better believe
He`ll be looking for yo-ou

He-e-e-e-e-e`s, The man with the golden
Gun in his pocket
The man with the golden
Gun in his case
The man with the golden
Gun in his pocket
The man with the golden
Gun in your face

The man with the go-o-olden
Gun in his pocket
The man with the go-o-lden
Gun in his case
The man who gave you the golden gun

The Living Daylights: Sam Neill, Lambert Wilson and Finlay Light

Barbara Broccoli, Michael Wilson and Director John Glen all considered Sam Neill to play 007 for “The Living Daylights”. His name was circulating around the studios at that time in part due to the mini-series Reilly: Ace of Spies but the one producer whose vote counted the most, Albert Broccoli, wasn`t so certain. He was thinking of Lambert Wilson.

And Aussie model Finlay Light also was mentioned for the role, but how seriously his ranking was on EON`s list is not known. It appears that Mr. Light may have bragged, exaggerated or even flat out fabricated a story that had EON interested in him. In fact, some even wonder if Finlay Light exists. No one seems to have ever seen him, talked to him or heard of him. Alright, actually we’ve seen his screen test.

The Living Daylights: Pierce Brosnan

Brosnan was signed to do Bond in 1986. At the very least, he was the leading choice of Broccoli and company. The interest swirling around Brosnan as Bond caused NBC to hold onto Brosnan and his Remington Steele show, a show they had cancelled, but still had a 60 day renewal option on. The script sat on his nightstand for weeks, undread, until Brosnan was sure he was free to do Bond.

Then on the 59th day of a 60 day renewal window, NBC brought back Remington Steele. Yet it wasn`t totally over with. EON was willing to alter its schedule by 6 weeks to allow Brosnan to do both `Steele` and Bond, but finally Cubby Broccoli got tired of NBC`s hardball tactics and decided there was no reason to spend any more time and money pursuing Brosnan when people could see him on television for free. Brosnan of course got the role 8 years later.

The Living Daylights: The Pet Shop Boys!

A bootlegged Pet Shop Boys LP in existence came complete with an instrumental track titled James Bond #1/James Bond #2. The sleeve says that it had originally been meant for The Living Daylights but was never used. Why it was not used is unclear, as it`s pretty good and Bondlike. It may possibly have been because of the group`s antipathy towards soundtrack albums (they also turned down the chance to do the music for The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil and Pretty Woman).  Rumor has it they wouldn’t do the title song only and wanted the whole soundtrack or none of it.

The song was later used as the backing track to This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave on the 1990 Behaviour album.

The Living Daylights: Antony Hamilton

When a worldwide search began for the next James Bond in 1986, 007 history says that Roger Moore anointed Pierce Brosnan as his successor if his word meant anything. And try the producers did to secure Brosnan. But after failing to negotiate an agreement with NBC over Brosnan`s future, the role went to Timothy Dalton. But not so fast. Between Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton there was Pierce Brosnan. But between Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan there was Antony Hamilton. In fact, other than Brosnan, there was probably no other actor at that time that came so close to getting that coveted role of James Bond and ended up going home empty handed. But why? Who exactly was Antony Hamilton? How could he get so close and yet be denied?

Antony Hamilton was born in Liverpool, England 1952. He eventually became a professional ballet dancer with the Australian Ballet Company before making a move to Hollywood to pursue the life of an actor. He took small parts in television shows and movies, including the lead role of Samson in “Samson and Delilah”. But it was a fateful mistake by another actor that would put Hamilton in position to make a run for Bond.

Jon-Eric Hexum was a young, good looking Hollywood actor, mid 20`s, co-starring on the CBS-Television show “Cover Up” with Jennifer O`Neill. The show partnered O`Neill and Hexum as undercover agents busting spy rings and crooks. One day, while the cast was taking a break, Hexum picked up a prop gun from the set. While it didn`t have any bullets in it, it did have a blank cartridge. Hexum put the gun to his temple, playfully said words to the effect of `Let`s see if there is one in here for me` and pulled the trigger. The impact from the blast was immediate. It shoved a chunk of Hexum`s skull into his brain. He went into a week long coma and died.

Hamilton took over as O`Neill`s new partner, but the show didn`t go on much longer. It did however catch Cubby Broccoli`s attention.

Antony Hamilton confirmed to People Magazine in December of 1985 that Albert R. Broccoli had contacted him about possibly taking over the role of 007. The People Magazine article was a small one, with a picture of Hamilton and the caption: “A View To A Role?”. And depending upon whom you talk to, the story either goes that Antony was made a firm offer and then had it withdrawn, or that the talks were only preliminary and an offer was never made. What`s not in dispute is that after Cubby Broccoli began considering Hamilton, he discovered that Antony was homosexual, a definite lifestyle clash when compared to the role of James Bond as a womanizing heartbreaker.

Caught up in the mid 1980`s of Reagan-era conservativism, Hamilton never stood a chance. Whether it was withdrawn or merely not offered is probably pointless to debate. In the “old days”, an actors sexuality, even the hint of it not being “straight”, was kept quiet by the tabloids and other media outlets, who complicitly went along with the studio`s request to keep mum about it. But ever since the Rock Hudson debacle, it was apparent that any celebrity`s sexuality would become fair game. Cubby, nor the studio, could trust that Hamilton`s sexuality would not become an issue, nor could they guarantee that the press wouldn`t dig it up. After all, Broccoli and company were acutely aware of the firestorm that ensued when it was revealed that a former Bond Girl, Tula Cossey, was actually born a man.

Antony went on to small roles in a variety of films including “Jumping Jack Flash”, which starred future Bond villain Jonathan Pryce as the title character. Hamilton did end up getting to play a spy of sorts; he starred for 2 years on ABC`s revival of Mission:Impossible that ran from 1988 -1990. He then joined forces with former “Cover Up” producer Bob Shayne for the television show “P.S. I Luv U”. The show lasted one season.

Antony died of AIDS-related complications in Los Angeles March 29, 1995.

Below is an article on Antony Hamilton taken from the May 25th, 1985 edition of TV GUIDE. Already the foreshadowing, the parallels, to James Bond were beginning.

BALLETS TO BULLETS
–Lack of acting experience hasn`t kept the one-time Australian
dancer from starring in a prime-time spy series–
By Bill Davidson

There was considerable tension that monday morning on the set of the CBS series Cover Up. For one thing, a pistol shot had to be fired by one of the stuntment as part of the run-and-chase action. Ordinarily, pistol shots are as common on TV action shows as bangles on Mr. T–but this time everyone remembered the shot that had closed down the series not quite three weeks before. Cover Up co-star Jon-Erik Hexum had killed himself by shattering his skull with a blank from a .44 Magnum he had been reloading for a routine scene. Says Antony Hamilton, Hexum`s replacement as the hero of the series, “That pistol shot on the first day of the resumption of filming was a psychological hurdle we all had to get over–especially me, because I was a friend of Jon-Erik`s.” (And especially co-star Jennifer O`Neill, some might have said, because, in 1982, O`Neill shot herself in the abdomen with a supposedly unloaded .38 caliber revolver she kept in the bedroom safe of her Bedford Hills, N.Y. home.)

The second cause of tension on the Cover Up set that day was the fact that Hamilton was making his debut as O`Neill`s new partner in espionage, Jack Striker (Hexum`s quite different character had been named Mac Harper). The cause of the anxiety was that the 6-foot-2, 30-year-old Hamilton had been a ballet dancer with the Australian Ballet Company, then a model for 10 years, and then an actor in only one previous TV production, an undistinguished ABC TV-movie called “Samson & Delilah.” “A ballet dancer?” groaned one unsophisticated electrician on the set. “Do you think he`ll be an alto or a soprano?” To his surprise, Hamilton came equipped with a rich baritone, the rangy build of a pro-football wide receiver, a noticeable Australian accent and an aura of James Bond-like masculinity. A further surprise was the inexperienced Hamilton`s acting–though in all truth, acting, in such derring-do drama, consists mostly of running, jumping and chasing the bad guys in autos and other wheeled or winged vehicles. In his few talking scenes he was more than adequate. (One, however, required nine takes before he got it right, but that can happen even to Laurence Olivier.) The natural simplicity of Hamilton`s acting did not surprise Richard Anderson, who plays his usual role of intelligence-agency official as he did in The Six Million Dollar Man. In a perceptive analysis of his craft, Anderson said, “Acting basically is selling. We have to sell a sometimes unbelieveable story. Tony is good at selling. For 10 years, as a model, he had become very good at selling the clothes on his back.”

Hamilton was born in England and adopted, at the age of 2 weeks, by an Australian hero of the RAF, Wing Commander Donald Smith, and his wife, Margaret, a nurse. Taken to Adelaide, Australia, at 3, young Tony grew up on a sheep farm and attended Scotch College (a Presbyterian-run middle and high school), where he was required to wear kilts as part of the school uniform. He also was required to play football, cricket, basketball and many other sports. “Australia is an enlightened country,” says Hamilton, “and we also took ballet, with a thought that it might be unmasculine. In fact, I thought of it not only as artistic but also as the most rugged of the physical activities. In fact, the dancers always beat the `footies,` the football players, in stamina tests. So it was completely natural to me as a chance to get out of Australia, a very complacent country, and see something of the world.”

The Australian Ballet went on tour to Russia and several East European countries, where it was a big hit with a classically based modern ballet called “Gemini.” In Moscow, a ballet photographer named Vladimir Bliocht took 200 extraordinary photos of Hamilton, both in costume and in street clothes, and presented them to the young Australian at the airport when he left. “I saw myself in decent photographs for the first time,” says Hamilton, “and since I was getting tired of the discipline of ballet anyway, I took the pictures to a modeling agent when we got to London.”

And so, the second phase of Hamilton`s career began. He modeled clothes all over Europe, appeared in magazines such as Vogue and GQ, became a favorite subject of such world-famous photographers as Richard Avedon and Bruce Weber, and appeared in TV commercials for products like Close-Up toothpase and Hanes panty hose: “I didn`t wear them. I gaped at women wearing them, and I even tap-danced for Hanes in a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers sequence.”

By 1977, Hamilton had tired of modeling and moved to New York. “I had to keep on modeling to pay the rent, but I took acting classes with a good drama coach, Mervyn Nelson. That`s where I first met Jon-Erik Hexum, who was a Nelson student at the same time. Strangely, Jack–as we called him–wanted to be a model, but with his bulky chest and 220 pounds, he was too big. That`s why I was amazed when we both tried out for the part in the ABC movie `Samson & Delilah,` and I got the role. Jack was built more massively, more like a Samson, than I was. I later was told that I was picked because of my Australian accent. I guess Biblical dramas sound silly if they`re spoken in plain American, and some sort of foreign accent makes them more acceptable. That`s the way of Hollywood.”

Late in the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 12, came that tragic accident when Hexum, preparing for a minor scene on 20th Century Fox`s Sound Stage 18, was sitting on a bed on a hotel-room set and reloading the .44 Magnum with blank cartridges. It still has not been explained why he, and not a propmaster, was doing the reloading, but the gun went off close to his head, and the sheer force of the exploding gunpowder drove a section of Hexum`s skull deep into his brain. He was rushed to a nearby hospital in a coma and died, without regaining consciousness, the following Thursday. Hamilton knew about the accident, of course, and was shocked and dismayed by it. He did not know about the cliffhanger drama that went on behind the scenes at 20th Century Fox before it finally involved him.

Terry Allan, one of Cover Up`s top executives, tells the story: “We immediately closed down the set after the accident, hoping that Jon-Erik would survive and return. But the following week, when we were told he was brain dead, we had to go into action to try to save the series. We knew that, unless we found a new male lead, we had two or three weeks at most before CBS would put us on hiatus. We looked everywhere–Los Angeles, New York, even Europe–and a lot of tests were made of possible replacements. CBS didn`t like any of them.

“Nearly three weeks after Jon-Erik`s death, we had a 5 P.M. Tuesday appointment with [programming chief] Harvey Shephard and other CBS brass to look at the screen test of the last 21 candidates. We now were about four days short of being dropped unless we came up with someone–and we didn`t have high hopes. That afternoon, I got the idea of calling Paul Darrow, an executive at Jon-Erik`s modeling agency in New York, to see if he had any ideas. I finally tracked Darrow down in Paris. He said he could think of only one guy who might fit the bill, name of Tony Hamilton. All he knew about him, aside from his modeling, was that he had done a TV-movie called `Samson & Delilah.` I never heard of the picture but I put my secretary to work tracking it down, and finally we found it at ABC. We asked them to send over tape of some of Hamilton`s scenes.

“I looked at the tape and saw this tall, powerful, handsome guy, with an Australian accent. I figured he might be right if we could make him an `outrider.` It would be totally different from the American character played by Jon-Erik. The problem was it was now 4 and the CBS brass were coming in at 5.”

Five came and went and all 21 candidates in the screen tests were turned down by CBS. The network people left. Then Allan called in executive producer Glen Larson and Harris Katleman, president of 20th Century Fox Television, and showed them the Hamilton tape. “Wow!” said Katleman. “Let`s bring him in to talk,” said Larson. Allan got on the phone to Hamilton`s agent. A small hitch. Hamilton was in rehearsal for an NBC TV-movie, “Mirrors,” in which he was playing a macho, woman-chasing male dancer. “Bring him in now,” said Allan.

Hamilton came in. Both Allan and Larson were impressed. He seemed brighter and more self-possessed than most young actors. Larson said to Allan, “Have Tony come here tomorrow to read with Jennifer. I`m going to write a special scene to see if their chemistry matches.” The next day, it was obvious that their chemistry matched. “Call Harvey Shephard at CBS,” said Larson, “and ask him to come over.”

Shephard listened to the reading for a few minutes and said, “Go.”

It may be one of the first times in TV history that a near-defunct series was brought to life again on the basis of nothing on film, nothing on tape–just two people reading a few pages of script in a producer`s office.

Hamilton was elated, but he still had 27 days of unbelievable ordeal ahead of him. “I had to continue in `Mirrors`,” he says, “and begin work in Cover Up the very next morning after the reading with Jennifer. I`d get up at 5 for `Mirrors,` be on that set all day, start work in Cover Up at 7 P.M., work until 2 A.M., and then start the whole cycle over again. A couple of times they had to fly me from one set to another by helicopter. At one point, I called my father in Australia to bitch about this backbreaking schedule. Dad said, “Let me tell you a war story. In the Battle of Britain, I fought the Luftwaffe every day from 3 A.M. until midnight. My valet had to get me up after two hours` sleep. He`d be court-martialed if he didn`t have my signature on his wake-up slip. And that went on for months. So don`t complain, son.` I stopped complaining.”

Today, Hamilton pretty much has settled into his part and Cover Up, once a marginal show, has picked up in the ratings. On the set, Hamilton is eager to learn from everyone–Anderson, O`Neill, the director, the technicians. “That, too, will change,” mused one wiser, older assistant cameraman. Tony is in constant motion while discussing scenes, stretching his legs like a ballet dancer warming up, whirling about, or isometrically expanding his pectoral muscles. In his trailer dressing room, he is different. He listens to classical music, reads Eugene O`Neill and Lillian Hellman plays, and speaks lovingly of his lady friend, Emily Davis, who is a movie/TV production assistant in New York. So exhausting has been Hamilton`s schedule that he has not had time to see her. He spends his weekends recuperating in his West Hollywood apartment. As a conversationalist, Hamilton is a fount of interesting, sometimes revolutionary, ideas. After a fight scene, he says disconsolately, “I always win. Wouldn`t it make me more intriguing as a hero if I were a little more vulnerable and got beat up by the bad guys once in a while?”

Concerning Method-type acting with all its analyzing, he says, “Jennifer does that and I use the simplest techniques possible–but somehow it works out between us. Perhaps I`m so simple in my acting because I`m inexperienced and don`t know any better. The only time I did any Method acting, it was involuntary and maybe the will of God, in Whom I`m beginning to believe more and more. In `Samson & Delilah,` which we shot in Mexico, I came down with Montezuma`s revenge–fever, vomiting, the whole bit. I was so weak when I had to push down the pillars of the temple that I must have looked just like Samson did after losing his hair had made him so weak. Everyone asked me how I managed to pull off that scene and figured I must have talked myself into it. It was the germs or the virus, but I kept my mouth shut and everyone complimented me on my realistic acting.”

Hamilton has made such an impression that Cubby Broccoli, the mogul of the James Bond movies, already has talked with him about becoming the fourth Bond. Anderson is so impressed with the young man that he`s sure it will happen. “And then,” reflects Anderson, “think of the wonderful question in future trivia games: `Which of the James Bonds–Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore or Antony Hamilton–began as a ballet dancer?`”

Only in Hollywood.

For more on Antony Hamilton`s life, be sure to check out the Antony Hamilton Uncovered website.

Amanda Donohoe as kara milovy

Date: 30.06.2006 Ref: SS01_C2957_G05

Donohoe, the star of such film and television projects as LIAR, LIAR (w/Jim Carrey) and L.A. LAW ran several screen tests back in 1986, presumably for the role of Kara Milovy. Donohoe was presented by the tabloids as “Bond`s new blonde” and Cubby Broccoli was quoted as having told associates “she`s wonderful”.

The role of Kara Milovy was that of a Czech cellist. It was played by Russian/English/French actress Maryam D`abo, who was more suited to the role than the English Donohoe . . .

ADam West, Bat-bond

In Back to the Batcave by Adam West with Jeff Rovin (Berkley Books, 1994) West had this to say: “Over a lovely dinner, Cubby asked me point-blank if I`d be interested in playing 007. Sean Connery had completed `You Only Live Twice` and said he wasn`t coming back, a talent search was proving unsuccessful, and it was getting close to the time when `On Her Majesty`s Secret Service` was due to begin production. Lew (Sherrell, West`s agent) nearly spit out his tea when a firm offer was made.

“I`ll have to admit I was tempted. There were three B`s that really made an impact on the 1960s: Bond, Batman and the Beatles. I had the chance to be two of them. The money would have been good, too. But the big problem, as I saw it, was that I wasn`t British. Of course I could have done the accent. But fans would have complained, and the British press would have been all over me. (As they were with Michael Keaton when `Batman` was shot in London. They`d decided he was all wrong for the part and hounded him mercilessly.)

“In this case, though, they would have been right. In my heart, I felt that Bond should definitely be played by an Englishman, and I said so. Cubby respected my stand, and I still think I did the right thing, especially when you consider how Australian George Lazenby got roasted for his one stab at the part.”

Faye dunaway and sybil danning, bond babes

Sybil Danning and Faye Dunaway were both considered for the title character in “Octopussy”. It`s doubtful that Dunaway would`ve seriously considered playing a Bond Girl at that point in her career, but B-Movie Queen Sybil Danning was ready for action. “Would she make love or war to James Bond in OCTOPUSSY?” As it turned out, neither. They both eventually lost out to Maud Adams, who screen tested James Brolin in his attempt to replace Roger Moore.

MeatLoaf should have taken a page from the book of Sybil Danning: never talk about a role you think you`re going to get until you`ve actually gotten it.

For those of you who don`t remember 1982 (yes, it was a real year) or weren`t born yet, you may be asking: “Sybil who?”. Sybil Danning was B-movie queen quietly working her way up the ranks of Hollywood. Octopussy could have become her big break. Instead, it became her big heartbreak.

Incidentally, Octopussy was not the first Bond movie she was up for. Danning was set to be cast in the role that Corrine Clery took in the 1979 film Moonraker, but because of a French cofinancing deal, that role was given to a native actress instead.

She was felt out  in 1981 and 1982 to determine her interest in playing the title role in Octopussy. Before she even had the part, she was posing for fashion photographer Firooz Zahedi in extremely suggestive Bond-like publicity stills, almost all of which involved either some sort of leather get-up or black evening gown complimented with the obligatory handgun. She graced the cover of Prevue Magazine in the summer of 1982 wearing a vulcanized black leather swimsuit with the zipper drawn all the way to the navel to display her, um, ample talents, and holding a gun with a caption that read: “SYBIL DANNING Will she make love or war to James Bond in OCTOPUSSY”?

The hype for Danning had already begun despite the fact that she hadn`t even signed a contract. But she apparently had gotten a look at the first draft.

“Most of the Bond girls are not really interesting”, said Danning. “Octopussy has to be much, much more. She must be unpredictable and dangerous; neither Bond nor the audience must ever know what she`ll do next: betray him or befriend him. That`s what their story is really about”.

“Their story” would be Richard Maibaum`s. Dick had created a treatment far darker than the Octopussy you see today. In his first draft Octopussy was a supervillainess on a quest for vengeance against Blofeld and SPECTRE; a retalation of sorts for a defeat her organization suffered at Blofeld`s hands. She recruits 007 in her revenge scheme knowing that Blofeld had killed Bond`s wife, Tracy, and would most certainly want to help bring Blofeld down (apparently being dropped 1000 feet down a chimney stack isn`t enough to kill off a supervillain these days). Bond and Octopussy were to team up to take on Blofeld and even disarm a super techno-weapon called the OCTO-PC (perhaps some sort of personal computer?). We`ll never know exactly what Maibaum had in mind because George MacDonald Fraser was brought on to steer the story in a different direction; away from Blofeld, SPECTRE, and any legal entanglements using them could bring about.

A thorough search through Maibaum`s archives may one day yield more clues to this interesting premise but it`s worth noting that yesterday’s discarded story treatments are often tomorrows plot lines. Octopussy would be made a bit softer; not quite as ruthless and certainly an admirer of James Bond. The Octopussy of Maibaum`s original draft would become, in perhaps an unconscious way, Elektra King, some 16 years later. In The World Is Not Enough, Elektra, the super villainess, recruits Bond, unknowingly, into her web to destroy her father and avenge her mother`s legacy.

Danning spoke too soon and the role was offered to Maud Adams. The rest is history, including Danning`s career. She was forever stuck in B-grade flicks and softcore erotica. The moral of the story: don`t count your chickens until they`ve hatched.

Persis Khambatta

Persis Khambatta, a former Miss India and Miss Universe winner, was, according to published reports at the time, being considered for the title role in the 1983 Bond flick Octopussy. The then 32 year old actress was eliminated from consideration as being an `obvious choice`. She had previously starred in Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Ilia. She died suddenly in 1998 from a heart attack at her home in Bombay, India.

Hey! my first name is James!

James Brolin, star of “Hotel” and “Pensacola:Wings Of Gold”, wasn`t just rumored to be the next James Bond, he was James Bond; for a day at least. He started off his long, weird odyssey towards 007 by screen-testing with Maud Adams (ex-Andrea Anders), recreating the key seduction scene in From Russia with Love, as well as another small scene with the actress who played Penelope Smallbone.

This occurred after For Your Eyes Only had been released, but before Octopussy began filming. Roger Moore was holding out, having his customary contract wranglings with Cubby Broccoli. This time, Cubby was ready for it, having Brolin lined up and literally waiting to take over the part.

What about Brolin`s American accent? The conventional wisdom was that that part of Bond`s character would just be overlooked. According to several inside sources familiar with what happened at the time, Brolin was in a hotel in London, ready to begin filming at Pinewood the next day when Moore jumped back on board the project.

Brolin then went on to star in the highly successful ABC-TV series Hotel, which later guest starred Maud Adams.

Note the resemblance to another also-ran, Christian Bale.

Shelly Hack

Shelly was under consideration for the role of Holly Goodhead in Moonraker. She may have even been the leading contender at the time. Hack agreed to a screen test but a chance encounter between Lois Chiles and Director Lewis Gilbert took the casting in a different direction, and Chiles won the role.

Hack went on to do a season of Charlies` Angels as well as several film and television features.

Diana Ross for Solitaire

Writer Tom Mankiewicz wanted Diana Ross for the role of Solitaire in Live and Let Die. He thought it was time for a black woman in a leading role in a James Bond film and he lobbied hard for her inclusion. However, the studio declined his suggestion and went with the way the character was written in the book: a white fortune teller.

“One of the things that I wanted very much was for Solitaire to be played by a black woman. When it came time to do it (film LALD), UA was quite frightened of it for legitimate reasons from their point of view: the picture was going to be very expensive and they wondered, outside of cities like New York and London, how well that would go over with a new Bond. They`d had the experience of Her Majesty`s Secret Service. They were real careful.” [Mankiewicz is quoted in Tom Soter`s 1993 tome Bond and Beyond]

Tom Mankiewicz and Guy Hamilton both felt that having a black female lead in the role of Solitaire would “alleviate” the problems the movie would face in having all black villains. A compromise was worked out, where Bond would sleep with a black woman (Rosie Carver-played by Gloria Hendry) but Solitaire would be kept white!