“It’s a small group of men who’ve made this role. More men have walked on the moon than have played James Bond.” – Pierce Brosnan
So how did these six lucky men end up playing the oxymoronic title that is “the world’s most famous secret agent”?
- Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman famously said they liked the way the young Scotsman moved. They thought we walked like a panther. Whatever the hell that means! The film that really sold them on taking a chance on this unknown actor, was his supporting role in Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1952).
- He may have only played 007 once, but this Australian’s story is the most fascinating of them all. Not really an actor, but he acted like he could. This former car salesman and model, really pushed his way into the auditions to replace Sean Connery. The only bit of acting he had was starring in a commercial for a chocolate company.
- This charming Brit was always on the producers’ minds when it came to casting Bond in the 1960s. Unfortunately, his schedule never opened up thanks to his hit TV show “The Saint”. Think of Moore’s role in the show as 007 training.
- This Welsh Shakespearean thespian actually turned down the role in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, citing his youth and inexperience. His role in films like Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell, and specifically The Lion in Winter, kept him on the mind of Albert R. Broccoli. He finally got his shot at Bond when he was hired in 1986.
- Take everything I mentioned about Roger Moore in The Saint in the 1960s, and swap it with Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele in the 1980s. This Irishman missed out on playing James Bond in 1987’s The Living Daylights due to his contract for Remington Steele. His hard work finally paid off in 1995’s Goldeneye.
- There weren’t many people who believed in Daniel Craig when he was announced as the 6th James Bond actor. Barbara Broccoli never backed down from her belief that he was the right man for the gig. She was 100% correct, and I, and most of the world were so very wrong. What did it for her? She saw his starring role in a British gangster flicked titled “Layer Cake”.