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Five MAJOR stars to turn down James Bond and their reasons for doing so
Photo: © ANP

Five MAJOR stars to turn down James Bond and their reasons for doing so

Five MAJOR stars to turn down James Bond and their reasons for doing so
Photo: © ANP

For many movie fans, James Bond is the most iconic film character in history.

To date, six men have played 007 in an official capacity in the James Bond series - Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

David Niven also played Bond, but that was in the spy spoof, Casino Royale.

Due to the status of the Bond character, dozens and dozens of A-list stars have been considered for the role since Dr. No was released in 1962. Huge, huge names like Mel Gibson, Henry Cavill, James Brolin and Oliver Reed were all considered and wanted the role, only to be turned down.

But, what happens when A-listers are considered but they don't want to play Bond?

Here are five stars who couldn't see themselves donning the tuxedo.

Cary Grant

The godfather producer of the Bond franchise is Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli and did you know that in 1959, Cary Grant was actually the best man at his wedding? When the development of Dr. No began in the late 1950s, Grant was considered a major front-runner to play 007. Perhaps the biggest star in the world at the time, Grant was known for seamlessly switching between genres and had the kind of suave and cool that would go on to personify the Bond character.

According to James Bond: The Legacy by John Cork and Bruce Scivally, Grant decided to pass on the role as he felt he was too old at the time and was only looking to take part in one movie as Bond, while Broccoli was eager to kickstart a franchise.

Burt Reynolds

When Lazenby quit playing Bond and before Connery returned, Burt Reynolds was offered the role but turned it down as he believed it needed to be played by a Brit.

“I think I could have done it well,” Reynolds previously said on Good Morning America.

“In my stupidity, I said, ‘An American can’t play James Bond, it has to be an Englishman – Bond, James Bond. Nah, I can’t do it.’ Oops. Yeah, I could have done it.”

The Bond producers went back to Connery and offered him a world-record salary of $1.25m to return.

Clint Eastwood

In the early 1970s, Clint Eastwood was arguably the biggest star in Hollywood and had already solidified himself as an action star thanks to roles in the likes of Dirty Harry and Sergio Leone's 'Dollars' trilogy.

When Reynolds was considered, Eastwood was too, but didn't believe he could live up to Connery.

“I was also offered pretty good money to do James Bond if I would take on the role. This was after Sean Connery left," the Oscar winner told the LA Times.

"My lawyer represented the Broccolis and he came and said, 'They would love to have you.' But to me, well, that was somebody else's gig. That's Sean's deal. It didn't feel right for me to be doing it... I always liked characters that were more grounded in reality. Maybe they do super things or more-than-human things - like Dirty Harry, he has a knack for doing crazy things, or the western guys."

Liam Neeson

Before it became clear that Pierce Brosnan was available to play Bond for the first time in 1994's Goldeneye, producers were busy looking at other actors to replace Timothy Dalton and one name considered was Liam Neeson.

However, quite simply, his fiance at the time Natasha Richardson told him not to take the part.

“I was heavily courted, let’s put it that way, and I’m sure some other actors were too,” he recalled to the Hull Daily Mail.

“It was about 18 or 19 years ago and my wife-to-be said, 'If you play James Bond we’re not getting married'. And I had to take that on board because I did want to marry her.”

Christian Bale

Christian Bale is no stranger to leading a major franchise as he played Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's hugely successful Batman trilogy.

Following his breakthrough performance in American Psycho, he became sought-after in Hollywood and was eventually courted for the lead role in 2006's Casino Royale reboot, but it doesn't seem that he was ever interested.

According to Christian Bale: The Inside Story of the Darkest Batman, the actor felt the franchise was "very British”, and Bond "represented every despicable stereotype about England and British actors."

He also quipped that he already played a serial killer in Patrick Bateman.

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