|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.