Category Archives: Movies

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!

Bond and Beyond Concert

From Dr. No to Spectre there have been 24 Bond films. Hear the best music from them all including songs like “Goldfinger,” “The Spy Who Loved Me,” “Diamonds are Forever,” and scores by some of the greatest movie composers of our generation, including Marvin Hamlisch, John Barry and Thomas Newman.

Visit the concert website

BondFanEvents.com will be presenting at this outstanding concert series on April 21-22 in Jacksonville, Florida. Don’t miss it!

 

Reynolds, Burt Reynolds . . .

Believe it or not, Burt Reynolds was wooed to play 007 after it became clear Sean Connery would not return after Diamonds Are Forever.

MGM kept pushing EON to hire Burt Reynolds to play Bond (he was a hot rising star back then) but EON steadfastly refused such a publicity casting stunt, insisting that Bond be British.

If Burt Reynolds had gotten the role of Bond, maybe Jackie Gleason would`ve ended up playing Sherriff J.W. Pepper!

Eric Clapton – Almost Recorded With vic flick

Clapton recorded a rendition of the Bond theme for the Licence To Kill soundtrack with multi-time Bond guitarist, Vic Flick, also on guitar–a title song. They shot video footage too, along the Thames with a live performance!

Conventional wisdom says the producers wanted a ballad sung by a female. Hence, Clapton`s version, if he did one, would have been scrapped. However, the 30th Anniversary Album contains rare and never before heard tracks from discarded song attempts. It`s possible that maybe something Clapton recorded would show up on a future compilation album at some date . . . his archival stuff is stored at a relative’s house!

Theodore Bikel, The Richest man in the world

Harry Saltzman originally wanted Bikel to play Auric Goldfinger. Gert Frobe got the role.

Bikel, an internationally beloved actor and singer, was a true renaissance man of the arts. He is best known to the world-at-large for his starring Broadway roles in “The Sound of Music” and most famously as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”, and in films like “The African Queen,” “My Fair Lady” and “The Defiant Ones.”

GoldenEye: The Skatalites

The Skatelites covered well The Original James Bond Theme on their Ball Of Fire 1997 release.

A Skatalites spokesman said the ska band were requested to turn in their work for 1995’s GoldenEye at EON’s request before releasing the theme cover along with their tune s”Latin Goes Ska” and “Swing Easy”.

The Skatalites’ James Bond Theme version is 6 minutes and 59 seconds of drums, sax, guitar and trumpet glory. Available from Island Records under their Island Jamaica Jazz label.

The Stones, And The Astley-Nator

The Rolling Stones: Were asked to write/perform the theme song to GoldenEye. They declined. There hasn`t been any official reason given, but they were about to go on tour at the time so that may have been a factor.

Rick Astley: Was considered for the title song to Licence To Kill but how seriously he was considered is unknown. He has an incredible voice and range and could give even Tom Jones’ Thunderball classic a run for its money, still, TODAY.

Mel “Double Oh” Gibson

The story about Gibson becoming the next James Bond got a lot of play in 1992, when mega-Hollywood producer Joel Silver attempted to buy the rights to James Bond. At one time they were up for sale. Silver has gone on record as saying he would have cast long time friend Mel Gibson as 007.

Major media outlets such as Entertainment Weekly and Newsweek claimed that Albert R. Broccoli, then producer of the Bond films, waved an unconditional $20 Million U.S. paycheck in front of Gibson`s face to star as 007 in GoldenEye. According to the story, Gibson replied about the role: “Too frivolous”.

Was he really ever offered the role? EON and it`s publicists have denied it to this day. Others have stood by their story that he had. So it depends upon who you ask, or who you want to believe.

Greg Wise, JB!

The Sense and Sensibility star was talked about as a replacement for Pierce Brosnan when he was to finally give up the role.

Wise told The Express that he was flattered. “It would be great to do it. The producers saw me after Timothy Dalton left but I had these very unsexy sideburns for some period thing, which spoilt my chances.” He was an odds on favorite to take over after Pierce Brosnan is finished.

Eva Herzigová Simonova, Russian Minister of Transportation

Eva is a world reknowned supermodel and former Guess? Girl, but what you may not know is that she was also auditioning for the role of Natalya in Goldeneye. Her agent confirmed she screen tested three times for the role so it would seem like the producers were very interested in her. But apparently they were looking for that “certain something” that Eva didn`t quite have. The role went to Izzabella Scorupco instead.

The name’s wells, Colin Wells

Colin Wells was born in London in 1964. He became an actor after working in a bank and quickly found success in theatre. He worked extensively at the prestigious Glasgow Citizen`s Theatre ( alma mater of Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan and others). Someone from EON saw Wells performance there and saw Colin receive a Best Actor award. His strong resemblance to the Bond character led to him being auditioned.

Colin worked steadily in TV with appearances in acclaimed mini-series such as AN INDEPENDENT MAN and smash hits like BIRDS OF A FEATHER. He was the romantic lead in THE HELLO GIRLS- a BBC drama set in the 50`s. Wells` character of Dick Mandeville, a wealthy womanizer who worked as an engineer for Rolls-Royce, was very similar to Bond.

Wells` first love remains theatre where, like Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton, he has often sought out challenging and intense roles. To most Bond fans however, Wells proved his credentials for the role of Bond with his portrayal of Sam Curtis in the modern remake of The Professionals- a lavish 13 part series filmed in Britain, the USA and South Africa. The series, sold to over 50 countries world wide and the spectacular action series (arranged by former 007 stuntman Peter Brayham and edited by 007 movie editor John Grover), called upon the actors to drive speedboats, Lotus sports cars, abseil down buildings, dogfight in helicopters and engage in some of the most vicious punch-ups and shootouts ever committed to celluloid.

Some sources claim that Wells is used by EON to read as Bond when other actors are screen tested, although this has not been confirmed. Wells auditioned for the role of Bond in 1994.

The Name’s Rickman . . . Alan Rickman . . . MISTER Potter . . .

Alan Rickman, of Die Hard fame, originally tested as James Bond in 1993, and by 1994, was reportedly offered the role of Alec Trevelyan. He was ready to do it, but changed his mind at the thought of being typecast as a megalomaniac, (Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) The role eventually went to Sean Bean, who in turn also screen tested a few times for the role of Bond.

Changing James Bond’s World of Espionage

Recently, the smartphone game James Bond: World of Espionage was taken down. The servers closed and players, including the author, lost their game progress. I played the game often and would like to put down some thoughts for future Bond gaming.

  1. James Bond WOE did receive careful thought. The game was better than most pundits wrote. The graphics and music were top notch and looked and felt splendid on phones. The game dropped with the then-new Bond movie, Spectre, and game characters included not only the flight of Spectre folks but characters from the original Ian Fleming novels!
  2. A slightly different game engine would have worked wonders. If JBWOE used the engine from Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, a similar card matching fighting game, people would still be playing it now. SWGOH uses more complex thinking about character building and promotion, strategy and tactics. JBWOE fell into routines more often.
  3. Better daily rewards would have encouraged more gameplay. I toughed it out some with JBWOE and the free play rewards were stinting.
  4. More 007, 007! It was costly and difficult to acquire James Bond as a character. Multiple Bonds, Ms and Qs in their different iterations would have been fun.
  5. The critics didn’t dig deep. Critics have the game helped kill it. The reviews came so quickly I knew the critics didn’t play the game for any length of time. A few days of avid play brought players into guilds where there was great conversation and group strategy and tactics. I’m not an avid smartphone gamer but I liked JBWOE and it gave a fix of 007’s world after Spectre left theatres.

Blondie’s Pass At Bond

80`s punk band Blondie submitted a theme song for `For Your Eyes Only`. When the producers weren`t satisfied with the song and asked Blondie to record it again, they declined, so Sheena Easton recorded another version of the song. They put it on their album `The Hunter`. The lyrics are listed below.

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY – (Harry/Stein)
Don`t look over my shoulder I`m trying to read
Remember these intimate moments; don`t forget my privacy
We both have our orders and a trick up the sleeve
There`s no use pretending you`re asleep
The subject was roses quine geology
Deliberate notice you`re taking of me
Caution and danger are not family
Don`t try turning the tables on me!
Too long and too lonely
For your eyes only secretly

Enjoy the paradox: you thinking I`m the fox
Can`t ya see you personally?
So many people know who you are
and they know you`ve been looking for your counterpart
We`re chasing an echo in sonic 3-D
and if I laugh without joking make believe
Too long and too lonely
For your eyes only totally
I like what you`re showing
For your eyes only secretly
For your eyes only

More Folks Who Almost Were 007

PLEASE NOTE: list includes numerous producers’ candidates…many of these were not considered worthy of a screen test!

1962: Richard Johnson, Patrick McGoohan, Roger Moore, William Franklyn, Patrick Allen, Ian Hendry, Richard Burton

1967: (Casino Royale) Laurence Harvey, William Holden, Peter O`Toole, Stanley Baker

1968: Robert Campbell, Anthony Rogers, Hans De Vries, John Richardson, Roy Thinnes, Adam West (finally confirmed by Dana Broccoli on the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER Special Edition DVD)

1971: John Gavin, Simon Oates, John Ronane, Mike McStay, Michael Billington

1978: David Warbeck, Oliver Tobias, Gordon Williams, Michael Billington, Gary Myers, Michael Petrovitch

1980: Lewis Collins, David Warbeck, Michael Billington, David Robb,Michael Jayston, Ian Ogilvy, Nicholas Clay

1982: James Brolin, Dave Warbeck

1984: Lewis Collins, Anthony Andrews

1986: Pierce Brosnan, Lewis Collins, Lambert Wilson, Sam Neill, Finlay Light, Andrew Clarke, Oliver Tobias, Simon McCorkindale, John James, Mel Gibson, Michael Praed, Mark Greenstreet, Neil Dickson, Anthony Andrews, Bryan Brown, Steve Adler, Ben Cross, Charles Dance, Tom Selleck, Michael Nader, Marcus Gilbert

1984: (McClory`s SPECTRE) Lewis Collins, Sam Neill

1989: (McClory`s Warhead 1989) Pierce Brosnan, Lewis Collins, Christian Burgess, Jason Connery

1994: Clive owen, Jeremy Northam, Greg Wise, Colin Wells, Ralph Fiennes, Mark Frankel, Jason Isaacs, Sean Bean, James Purefoy, Nathaniel Parker, Adrian Paul,Hugh Grant,

1999: (Warhead) Liam Neeson, George Clooney.

1999: EON (Ioan Grofudd, Jonathan Cake, Linus Roache, Paul McGann).

See viable Bond candidates on our Almost Acted and Sung posts under “almost Bond”.

Patrick Mower, Michael Gambon On Bond

Sir Michael Gambon is a well respected star of stage and screen who has worked under the Artistic Directorship of Sir Laurence Olivier. and is considered to be one of the British theatre`s “leading lights”. In an interview recorded on 7/11/2000, Sir Michael Gambon revealed that he had tested for the role of 007 in 1970.

Here is his account: “I had coffee and bagels in this house in Mayfair, then I had a nice chat with Cubby. He asked me to do various scenes and after each one he said `be more romantic`, `be more assertive` or whatever.

Eventually I said: “Y`know Cubby, it would help if I knew which part I was auditioning for”. Cubby looked aghast and said “Bond of course”. (gasps of disbelief from audience) I couldn`t believe it. It was ridiculous.

“But Cubby I`m bald!” “Doesn`t matter, so was Sean. We`ll just slap a wig on you”. “But Cubby, I`ve got terrible teeth! My teeth are like a horses.” “Doesn`t matter. We`ll take you to Harley Street…you`ll have a perfect smile by Friday”. “But Cubby, I`m in terrible shape. I`ve got tits like a woman!” “Doesn`t matter. So had Sean. We used to wrap him in ice packs before every love scene.”

Anyway Cubby talked for a while and eventually I was completely convinced that I had the part. I went bounding downstairs only to find 19 other actors there to audition as well.”

Eventually Sir Michael revealed that Cubby`s first choice for the role was Patrick Mower, a young British actor. Patrick was 6`0″ with black hair and blue eyes. Unfortunately after what Sir Michael described as “the George Lazenby fiasco”, UA were opposed to hiring an unknown and went with John Gavin who was eventually replaced when Connery returned. Patrick Mower went on to huge success in Britain in the 70`s. He starred in several horror films (including the classic THE DEVIL RIDES OUT) where his suave yet sinister air was put to good use. When ITV had huge success with the tv series THE PROFESSIONALS, the BBC responded with TARGET which starred Mower as Steve Hackett of the Regional Crime Squad and his sidekick played by Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett).The series was a huge hit but was cancelled after 2 seasons when the BBC were criticised for its graphic depiction of violence.

Mower worked extensively and was recently starring as suave superspy Jason Dane in CI5:THE NEW PROFESSIONALS. He currently has a starring role in the British prime time soap EMMERDALE. I had the pleasure of seeing Patrick Mower on stage in WHO KILLED AGATHA CHRISTIE. Ironically his co-star was Lewis Collins who was also a frontrunner for Bond and is alleged to have been offered the role in AVTAK when Moore`s pay disputes appeared to have ground to a halt. Both men gave excellent performances and it is fascinating to note how the two stars reflected the direction that the Bond filmes were moving in: the dashing and urbane Mower was a sophisticated actor who would have been in the mould of The Saint and the witty 70`s movies while Collins was a tough brooding actor with a dry wit, which is surely similar to the Bond of the late 80`s.

As James Harris exclusively revealed a while ago at 007Forever….The Friday, June 22nd, 2001 edition of The Mirror reveals that he (Patrick Mower) lost out on the chance to play Bond 5 times:

Pat’s comment: “…now we live in Lincolnshire where Anya keeps her horses. I have quite a lot of land, a tennis court, a snooker room and a river. To be honest I lead a pretty idyllic life. So bugger Bond.

John Frankenheimer Flirts With Directing Bond

John Frankenheimer, the director of such films as `Reindeer Games`, `The Manchurian Candidate` and `Ronin` has his own connection to the Bond world. He spoke with Oregon-based journalist Shawn Levy on a promotional tour for `Reindeer Games` and the subject of 007 came up.

SL: Here`s a crazy thought. Back in the `60s, were you ever approached to do a Bond movie?

JF: You know what? I was offered the role of James Bond in 1962. I was at a nightclub in London, and (Bond producer) Cubby Broccoli saw me. And I looked just like what Ian Fleming had written, and he asked me would I do it? And I turned him down. But I wouldn`t direct one. Those action sequences are bigger than life, and I don`t do action sequences that are bigger than life. You have to sublimate yourself to the style of the movie, and I can`t do that.

Ironically, his 1976 film BLACK SUNDAY appears to have inspired Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum when writing LICENSE TO KILL. BLACK SUNDAY ends with Robert Shaw being lowered from a helicopter onto a blimp that is being piloted by terrorists. Shaw hooks the blimp to a cargo line and the blimp is pulled up and away from a stadium packed with Super Bowl attendees. In LICENSE TO KILL, Bond is lowered onto the back of a light airplane piloted by a drug czar, where he then hooks the plane to a fishing cable and the plane is pulled up and away to be reeled in like a fish.

John Gavin As James Bond?

In 1970 Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman found themselves with the daunting task of having to re-cast the role of 007 yet again. Lazenby had made it clear he wasn`t coming back and Connery`s antipathy towards the role was well known by this time. After numerous screen tests of lesser-known actors, Broccoli and Saltzman agreed upon one promising man: John Gavin.

Gavin was a former American naval intelligence officer whose film resume included work with Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho) and Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus), as well as a role in the French/Italian knockoff thriller OSS 117 DOUBLE AGENT (1967), where he co-starred alongside future Bond villain Curt Jurgens. After a successful screen test, Gavin was given a holding contract.

With one Bond waiting in the wings, United Artists executive David Picker made a personal, last-ditch effort to get Connery back by making an offer too good to resist. Connery accepted the offer and Gavin, though he never got the role, was paid $50,000.00 to compensate him for his trouble.

A View To A Kill: Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck was one star name casually thrown about for the “new 007”. How serious he was looked at is unknown. He was originally approached for the role of Indiana Jones in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK but could not take the role because of his commitment to MAGNUM P.I.

People who would discount Selleck as a legitimate contender because he is American need to remember that James Brolin was screen tested opposite Maud Adams for Octopussy before Roger Moore finally settled his contract dispute and played the role for the sixth time.

Sting, David Bowie, Bond

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.”

Hauer, Rutger Hauer

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.

Priscilla Presley: Opposite Roger Moore?

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.

Lewis Collins – Run With Bond

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.”