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: