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.
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.”