Category Archives: James Bond 007

Thanks for the Memories…

Craig DB5

It was recently announced that Daniel Craig had turned down an offer of upwards of $100 million to play the role of Fleming’s Agent 007 for two more films.  Having been in the role for 4 films spanning a decade, Craig was simply done.

The speculation, dream casting and multiple reports of whose in talks with producers has begun in earnest, but no matter who takes up the mantle, Craig’s legacy as James Bond is assured.

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Actors You Didn’t Know Were In Bond Movies

From Yahoo!

When it comes to the Bond movies, there’s likely very little you don’t know: everyone seemingly has the 007 actors, the Bond girls, the cars, the gadgets and the one-liners all committed to memory.

However, the cast doesn’t begin and end with Bond – it takes a wealth of actors to make a movie, and some of the bit-part players occasionally go on to find fame of their own…

Dolph Lundgren in A View To A Kill (1985)

Lundgren publicity still A view to a KillBefore he was Gunner Jensen, before he was He-Man, even before he was Ivan Drago, Dolph Lundgren was mysterious KGB henchman Venz. The mountainous Swede made his movie debut in Roger Moore’s 1985 outing as 007, although Venz didn’t have any lines and wasn’t even mentioned by name. He pointed a gun at Grace Jones when she threatens to break an agent’s back, and he appeared as a blur in the background of a few shots over someone’s shoulder, but that’s about it. Still, it set him on the path to ‘Rocky IV’ and ‘Expendables’ infamy, so Venz secured his place in cinematic history.

 

Benicio Del Toro in ‘Licence To Kill’ (1989)

Del Toro as DarioAll untamed eyebrows and Eddie Munster stares, Benicio Del Toro also made his movie debut as a henchman in a Bond movie (unless you count ‘Duke The Dog-Faced Boy’ in ‘Big Top Peewee’). Not only does he get actual lines and fight scenes (duffing up Bond and coming this close to killing him, like every other henchman EVER), Del Toro’s bad guy Dario even gets a catchphrase of sorts.  When asked what he did with a hostage’s wife, Dario replies dreamily: “Don’t worry… we gave her a niiice honeymoooon!” Sadly he meets an ignominious end at the bottom of an industrial shredder. But 12 years later? Boom: Oscar. Where’s your Academy Award, Timothy Dalton?

Joanna Lumley in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969)

Lumley CameoWe’ll overlook her proper movie debut as ‘Second Robot Saboteur’ in 1969 exploitation action Some Girls Do (we haven’t seen it but we’re thinking Austin Powers and fembots) and consider Joanna Lumley’s brief outing in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ as the real deal.  Playing ‘The English Girl’, part of Blofeld’s harem, Lumley didn’t make much of an impact on screen, but behind the scenes she provided German, Chinese and Norwegian accents for international dubbing – she even taught the other Bond girls how to crochet. Of course, Lumley’s spy credentials would be guaranteed some years later when she joined ‘The New Avengers’, alongside ‘OHMSS’ co-star Patrick Macnee.

Sammy Davis Jr in ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971)

Davis Jr CameoThe erstwhile Rat Pack swinger made a cameo playing himself in ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, Sean Connery’s much heralded return to the role of Bond, but alas it was not meant to be. Just before Mr Wint and Mr Kidd kill Shady Tree, there was a scene with Davis Jr playing on the roulette table at the casino. When Bond shows up in his trademark white tux and bowtie, Sammy quips: “They ain’t ever going to find a cake big enough to put him on top.” Sadly for Sammy, the scene was deemed to ruin the pacing of the film and found itself on the cutting room floor.

 

Charles Dance in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ (1981)

Dance cameoYou wouldn’t think Charles Dance would have a lot in common with Dolph Lundgren, but like the muscular star, Dance also made his movie debut in a Bond movie (they also both like lazy Sundays and long walks in the rain). He played Claus, a – you guessed it – villainous henchman who’s got it in for 007. After several unsuccessful attempts to kill Bond – including a tussle on a ski-slope and an incident with a dune buggy – Claus is terminated via a harpoon to the back. Interestingly, Dance later played Ian Fleming in TV movie ‘Goldeneye’, a biography on the Bond author.

Minnie Driver in ‘GoldenEye’ (1995)

Driver cameoBefore her big break in ‘Good Will Hunting’, Minnie Driver made a small but memorable appearance in Pierce Brosnan’s first Bond movie. She played Irina, the Russian girlfriend of Robbie Coltrane’s gangster Zukovsky, who takes to the stage in a nightclub wearing a red cowboy hat and a low-cut top. After 007 describes her singing as “like strangling a cat”, Irina waltzes off stage in a strop.

Gerard Butler in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1997)

Butler cameoWhat a difference a decade makes. In 2007, Gerard Butler kicked a hole in the fabric of pop culture in ‘300’ as the mighty King Leonidas, fond of yelling, spitting and punting messengers into bottomless pits. Rewind 10 years, however, and Butler was still green, amassing around six seconds of screen-time in this forgettable Bond adventure as a sailor on the soon-to-be-sunk HMS Devonshire. “Sir,” he purrs in his unmistakable Scottish burr. “We’re fourteen degrees down by the stern!” Star quality, that. Out of acorns, mighty oaks grow.

Richard Branson in ‘Casino Royale’ (2006)

Branson cameoWe’re stretching the definition of the word ‘actor’ to its absolute limits here, but yes, that mysterious bearded gentleman on whom ‘Casino Royale”s camera lingers for slightly too long is indeed Virgin benefactor and international playboy Richard Branson. While Bond busies himself with matters of national security in Miami airport, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the flaxen-haired tycoon getting scanned in the security gate. To be fair, it was the least Eon producers could do, given Rich provided a fleet of Virgin Airlines planes for the shoot. In a way, he was the real hero.

 

The roles that got away…

From Fox News

Mel Gibson in ‘The Terminator’?

Finding Sarah Conner

Mel in 1984Ah-nold’s iconic role was reportedly offered to Mel Gibson, who turned it down. And thankfully so, because the words “I’ll be back” just wouldn’t have the same effect coming from Mel.

 

 

 

Robin Williams as ‘The Joker’?

Joker Jack

Robin in 1989In an interview with Sirius XM, Williams revealed he was considered for Jack Nicholson’s role in the1989 Batman flick. “Supposedly at one point they offered [me] the Joker in Batman, and then it went to Jack,” he said.

 

Nicolas Cage as ‘Iron Man’

Iconic

Nic in 2008Nicolas Cage as ‘Iron Man’… It’s hard to picture the Marvel trilogy being as wildly successful without Robert Downey, Jr. starring as Tony Stark, aka “Iron Man.” But this movie was a long time in the making before Rob signed on to play the comic book character.  Back in 1997, Nic Cage was one of the first actors to express interest in the part. Luckily for audiences, filming didn’t actually begin until a decade later and Robert Downey, Jr was there to save the day, literally.  Note: RDJ was almost literally the last choice to play Tony Stark per Marvel/Disney… and still better than the alternative. Cage, a huge comic book fan in his own right, was also cast in a mid to late 1990’s Tim Burton reboot of Superman that never saw production.

Hugh Jackman as ‘James Bond’?

Craigs first kill

Hugh in 2006Before Daniel Craig was dubbed the new Bond in 2006, Hugh Jackman was approached to play the MI6 agent. “‘I got a call from my agent saying, ‘There is some possible interest in you for Bond, are you interested?'” Hugh Jackman recalls. “At the time I wasn’t. I was about to shoot ‘X-Men 2’ and Wolverine had become this thing in my life and I didn’t want to be doing two such iconic characters at once.” On a personal note: If Warner Bros. ever decided to reboot the ‘Dirty Harry’ series, Hugh Jackman would be ‘it’.

Burt Reynolds in ‘Pretty Woman’?

Gere in Pretty Woman

Burt 1990The actor was offered the role of Edward Lewis in “Pretty Woman” but ultimately declined.  He later joked with Piers Morgan in 2012 that after he saw the film and the love-making scenes with Julia Roberts, that he regretted not taking the part.

 

Robert De Niro in ‘Big’?

Hanks wishing Big

DeNiro in 1988The 1988 hit wouldn’t have been the same without Tom Hanks as Josh, but that role almost went to Robert De Niro. Luckily, De Niro was too expensive and the producers gave it to Tom.

 

Frank Sinatra as ‘Dirty Harry?’

Iconic Harry

Sinatra in 1971The music legend was in talks to play the dirty cop, but reportedly dropped out during contract negotiations because the handgun was too heavy. He was cautious to put added stress on his wrist, which he broke on the set of “The Manchurian Candidate.” But that wasn’t the only reason he stepped away from the script. His father had also recently passed away and he wanted to spend some time doing lighter material.  Once ol’ blue eyes dropped out Marlon Brando and Paul Newman were considered for the role before Clint Eastwood was ultimately cast.  John Wayne was one of the first actors approached to play the role, having turned down ‘Bullitt’ just a few years before.

Eric Stoltz in ‘Back to the Future?’

Fox as Marty

Stoltz as MartyFans of “Back to the Future” almost didn’t get to see Michael J. Fox in the starring role as Marty McFly.  When he was first offered the part, Michael was busy shooting “Family Ties” and had to turn down the role. So producers began filming the trilogy with Eric Stoltz. They reportedly weren’t happy with how things were going and eventually found a way to make it work with Michael J. Fox by having him film at night after “Family Ties.”  Who knows if the movie would have been the cult hit it is without Michael as the star.

Tom Selleck as ‘Indiana Jones’?

Doctor Jones

Selleck in 1981The 1981 movie was almost made with Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones instead of Harrison Ford. Unfortunately Tom had to turn down the role due to his recently signed contract to star as “Magnum P.I.”

Bond. James Bond… North by Northwest (1959)

North by NorthwestCary Grant, who had turned down an early opportunity to play Ian Flemming’s suave super spy did in fact play a version of the character here. Cool, calculating and turning back the superior villains at every turn, Roger Thornhill made for a great anti-hero. So well-played in the trademark gray suit, Connery may have almost been playing off this role.

Though shunning the 007 role due to the prospect of having to do sequels, Grant helped to generate the run of Bonds to come without really even trying.

Grant as the Spy

A Hitchcock triumph (MGM rejected his original title.. ‘The Man in Lincoln’s Nose’), bring the popcorn and no bathroom breaks.

4 Stars

One two punch… Octopussy (1983)

OctopussyNot since the initial release of ‘Dr. No’ and ‘From Russia..’ had two Bond films been back to back epic, never mind 007 epic. But following Roger Moore’s best Bond vehicle in ‘Eyes Only’ came a near perfect follow-up on ‘Octopussy’.

Released to trail Sean Connery’s ‘Never Say Never Again’ unofficial Bond film for Warners, the two went head to head for bragging rights. As many figured Connery would win, Moore’s film held its own… and though many will always have a differing opinion, the two films raced neck and neck to a photo finish… Moore, though, won the title by playing a better storyline, even if Connery played a better Bond.

With a better supporting cast than one had seen in a while, on the coattails of ‘Eyes Only’, ‘Octopussy’ sported a mature and more memorable Maude Adams, Louis Jordan in a villanous turn, and a Q who easily branched out even further… with a title alone that begged interest. Moore’s second best vehicle, he reaches Bond Epic for the second straight time.

Octopussy girlsIf only he had kept this his farewell Bond performance.

5 Stars

Slightly different from the norm… For Your Eyes Only (1981)

For Your Eyes OnlyUntil this role, Roger Moore had played James Bond in 4 films, but he had yet to portray 007. With ‘Eyes Only’, Moore proved he was indeed the successor to the 007 franchise, not just a placewarmer for the next guy.

Suave, sophisticated and a ladies man who did indeed save the world, Moore’s Bond was an adventure hero… now he was the world’s greatest secret agent. Connery, portrayed Bond before the gadgets and set the bar. Lazenby played a non gadget toting super-spy and nearly broke even with Connery’s 007, in his only outing. Finally, Moore’s Bond not only shook off Connery’s past (the opening montage was result of the Warner Bros./Kevin McClory legal battle) but stood poised to take him on, as he would just two years later.
Shark Bait Duo‘Eyes Only’ represented an Ian Flemming throwback Bond, no gadgets, just cunning, guns and girls. ‘Moonraker’ had pushed the gizmo envelope, and the films needed to step back to some old school spy caper… mission accomplished. Moore’s cold, dedicated agent harkened back to a Bond not seen since ‘OHMSS’ or ‘From Russia..” before it, and the change was good for all. Moore’s sequel of ‘Octopussy’ (which ran head to head with Connery’s ‘Never Say Never Again’) combined with ‘Eyes Only’ to deliver a one two punch of Bond films not experienced since the first two films in the series were released, ‘Dr. No’ and ‘From Russia..”.
Bond Deadly
This film qualifies as Bond Epic.  Bring the Sno-Caps and no Bathroom breaks!

5 Stars

James Bond in space… You Only Live Twice (1967)

You Only Live TwiceOK, so 007 doesn’t actually get to space till Roger Moore’s ‘Moonraker’, but it’s still pretty close. With the Cold War in full swing and the Space Race fueling the fire, Bond saves the world, one Apollo mission at a time.

The plot is sluggish and a bit convoluted, relying on old tricks of the trade we had just seen in Thunderball, but it does set a pace and gets us there in one piece. Highlights include Donald Pleasence’ delayed debut as Blofeld (if only he remained in the role), awesome use of production miniatures and some well done action… only to be outdone by lowlights such as Bond turns Japanese, Bond gets married, and 007 falls into a crappy Japanese SIS booby-trapped floor trick. Tied with Moore’s ‘Moonraker’ as soft Bonds, but still neither of them rank as the worst.

Bond versus Blofeld

Connery’s second softest effort behind ‘Diamonds are Forever’, playing a role he just didn’t want anymore.

Epic in length, plan the bathroom breaks.

3 Stars