Tag Archives: almost bond

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.”

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”