Right now, we are blessed with the fantastic Daniel Craig as 007, who has brought unexpected, yet marvellous depth to one of the corners of British cinema. However, casting Craig had been a tough journey. No one agreed on the actor, causing an outrage from the general public. It seems silly now, but it is always a tough time casting the next Bond.
Sometimes it is interesting to look back on the earliest plans for casting Bond and pondering over what could have been. Today, I shall look back at three actors, who narrowly missed the role. Do you think they would have made the role work? Leave a comment below.
3 – SAM WORTHINGTON
I don’t think much of Sam Worthington. The actor is your typical straight-faced Aussie, who has enough muscle and screen presence to make a charming lead, but brings little else to the film. Imagine a young Russell Crowe with none of the acting talents. Although he does look the part as Bond, I am glad that no one decided to cast him in Casino Royale.
I can see the charm. Worthington would be a dream for those directors aiming at a high-octane action with dangerous stunts. I might even take a liking to the actor, seeing him emotionlessly get through enemy defences, not flinching at explosions. It could work, in theory, I guess. Pierce Brosnan is an average actor and he worked well as Bond. Hell, Roger Moore still holds the longest chain of Bond films and he could be the worst actor on the face of the earth. Worthington might not be the worst choice for Bond, but he should be nowhere near the top of the list.
2 – LIAM NEESON
“I have an unique set of skills…”
Before you shout at the whole age debate, this casting choice was thought of when replacing Dalton, so Neeson lost out to Brosnan. With that in mind, this is an interesting potential Bond we have on our hands. There is no denying that Neeson couldn’t handle the workload. Since Bryan Mills stormed his way through two Taken films, we can see that he has the action chops to bring Bond back to the big screen. He could even bring some ‘acting’ moments to some of the scenes. Pierce Brosnan was good as Bond, but Neeson would have beaten him at the emotional levity.
However, I think it would have damaged Neeson’s career. Would he be getting the same films he is now after seeing him in ‘Die Another Day’? He would also have missed out on his personal classics like ‘Michael Collins’ and ‘Les Mis’. I doubt he would have had time to squeeze Qui Gon Jinn into that time as well. Say what you want about that movie, but Neeson was perfect in it and you can see some of Jinn’s characteristics in several of his other roles. Maybe it wouldn’t be that detrimental for the actor, but it is something to think about.
1 – SAM NEILL
This one threw me. I cannot see Sam ‘Jurassic Park’ Neill as Bond.
Well, until I thought about it. This was back when they needed a Bond for the ‘Living Daylights’. Roger Moore had left the Bond franchise dying on the floor, like a Chelsea Football Club fan after a night out in Manchester. Although I loved Timothy Dalton, I would be happy to consider Neill for the role. He has the charm for the role and sometimes I enjoy seeing a veteran actor taking on a one-off action film. If he isn’t going to be Bond, I would like him to be considered as a villain.
Neill could have been the saviour of the Bond franchise. ‘The Living Daylights’ isn’t my favourite Bond going (although in fairness, Dalton was one of the best things about it). I can see him now, clad in a tuxedo, charming the ladies, while looking elegant with the Walther PPK. I am still of two minds whether it would have worked, although it would have at least been interesting. And at the same time, he couldn’t have looked bad after Roger Moore’s lousy performance. Also, when you need a secret agent, your first choice is a guy that has taken on an island of dinosaurs. Twice. And won.