The Men Who Could Have Been Bond

Image result for john gavin james bondImage result for john gavin james bondImage result for henry cavill james bond

For some actors, it’s the role that got away. For others, it was “thanks, but no thanks.” Not every actor is built to take on the role of James Bond. You go from working actor to international superstar as fast as an Aston Martin goes from 0 to 60.

We know the six actors that got the job over the past 55+ years, but what about all the others who were considered and who auditioned. I won’t get into the hundreds and hundreds of past contenders, but here are some of the serious could-have-been Bonds.


DR. NO (1962) – Sean Connery 

Image result for cary grant cubby broccoli wedding

Cary Grant – This legend was a close friend of producer Cubby Broccoli’s, but he was in his late fifties at the time and wasn’t interested in a longterm franchise commitment.

Richard Johnson

Patrick McGoohan

Richard Todd 


ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969) – George Lazenby 

A composite image of the five top candidates (including ultimate choice George Lazenby, bottom right). Published in the October 11, 1968, issue of LIFE.

John Richardson 

On Her Majesty's Secret Service director Peter R. Hunt oversees a test love scene between John Richardson and an actress, moving her leg just so.

Anthony Rogers

Anthony Rogers smokes a cigarette during his James Bond audition, 1967.

Robert Campbell 

Director Peter R. Hunt helps Robert Campbell get into a shoulder holster, 1967.

Hans de Vries 

Hans De Vries and France Anglade, James Bond audition, 1967.

Timothy Dalton – He was offered the role, but felt he was far too young to take on Bond. He was in his early twenties.

Adam West – He was considered, but turned it down because he felt Bond shouldn’t be American.


DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971) – Sean Connery 

Image result for john gavin james bond

John Gavin – Hired after Lazenby left, and then asked to step down once Connery returned. He still got paid.

Burt Reynolds – Considered, but said no because Bond should never be played by an American.

Adam West – Second time considered; turned it down again.

Michael Gambon

Roger Green

Roger Moore – Unavailable due to his TV series The Persuaders.


LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) – Roger Moore

  • John Gavin, Adam West and Burt Reynolds were all considered again.

Julian Glover

Jeremy Brett 

Simon Oates 

Michael Billington – Had the strongest audition, and would have gotten the role if Moore said no.


FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981) – Roger Moore

  • Timothy Dalton considered, just in case Moore didn’t return.
  • Michael Billington, who auditioned for Live And Let Die and played Sergei Barsov in The Spy Who Loved Me, was considered.

Lewis Collins

Ian Ogilvy 


OCTOPUSSY (1983) – Roger Moore

  • James Brolin auditioned and was cast… unless once again Roger Moore didn’t come back.



THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987) – Timothy Dalton

UnknownImage result for pierce brosnan the living daylights

Pierce Brosnan – He auditioned and was cast; promotional materials were made with him as the new 007, but at the last minute he couldn’t get out of his TV contract for NBC’s Remington Steele.

Sam Neill

Mel Gibson – Considered briefly, but that was about it.

Finlay Light 

Antony Hamilton 

Lambert Wilson

Simon McCorkindale  


GOLDENEYE (1995) – Pierce Brosnan

Liam Neeson – Considered, but wasn’t interested.

Sean Bean – Auditioned; ended up as the main villain.

Mark Frankel 

Adrian Paul

Paul McGann – Auditioned and was considered for the role, if Brosnan somehow passed.


CASINO ROYALE (2006) – Daniel Craig  

Henry Cavill – Was the runner-up to Craig. The only thing that kept him from getting the role was his age. He was 22 when he auditioned.

Image result for henry cavill james bond audition

  • Clive Owen, Eric Bana, Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Karl Urban, Dougray Scott were all considered… but either turned down the role or didn’t engage in the audition process.
  • Sam Worthington, Goran Visnjic, Julian McMahon, Alex O’Loughlin all auditioned and were considered seriously for the role of James Bond.




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