James Bond-age: Bonds that might have been

Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond (ChiZine 2015)

Since November is James Bond month (because of the new ChiZine Publications anthology Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond, which I have a small contribution within [click here for purchase information {but only in Canada!}]), I thought I’d fill the month with Bond-related paraphernalia, before my interviews proper with contributors to the new anthology start winning the Internet.

Today, hypothetical Bonds!

Even before Sean Connery cemented his career as the first (and for many, definitive) cinematic James Bond, the chatter over who could potentially portray this god amongst men had begun. Ian Fleming (in the pages of Casino Royale) had described his secret agent as looking a fair bit like American composer/singer Hoagy Carmichael, and was a firm believer in the power of David Niven to take on the role. (Interestingly, Niven would later play Sir James Bond in the oft-maligned 1967 Bond parody Casino Royale; Woody Allen was cast as Bond’s nephew Jimmy, and six other actors [including Peter Sellers] pretended to be Bond throughout the film.)

As pretty much everyone knows, Niven was but one of many actors throughout the decades considered for the role of a conscience-less killing machine. Other possibles (according to Wikipedia) include:

  • Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady) – turned down in favour of Connery
  • Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) – thought the character was too promiscuous
  • Dick van Dyke (Mary Poppins) – could not produce a reasonably accurate accent
  • Michael Caine (Get Carter) – didn’t want to become typecast, particularly after his Harry Palmer spy films
  • Eric Braeden (The Young and the Restless) – producer Albert R. Broccoli believed that no one from outside the Commonwealth would be suitable
  • Timothy Dalton (Penny Dreadful) – yes, he eventually got his chance, but he twice turned down offers for the role before accepting the Living Daylights
  • Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) – he was Martin Campbell’s original choice for Casino Royale, but was deemed too young for the part

Sam Neill (Event Horizon) tested for The Living Daylights, but lost to Timothy Dalton.

James Brolin (The Car) was considered to take over from Roger Moore for Octopussy:

So many people want Idris Elba (Pacific Rim) to take over for Daniel Craig, and considering this concept video, I totally get it.

Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond (ChiZine 2015)

Purchase your own copy of Licence Expired (you know you want one) at: