The transition from one James Bond actor to another is usually as amicable, smart and sophisticated as the character himself, with one actor emotionally parting ways before the next one is excitedly announced. Whilst we will soon be seeing the departure of Daniel Craig in his final film as James Bond in No Time to Die, 1985 saw Roger Moore leaving the role after seven long years as Britain’s greatest spy.
After a very brief period of mourning, work quickly started on finding a successor quickly began, with several names being suggested, including New Zealander Sam Neill. The Jurassic Park actor was, in fact, close to being offered the role, with Bond series producer Barbara Broccoli reported as being “impressed with Sam Neill” and very much wanted him for the part. However, Albert Broccoli, Barbara’s husband and fellow producer, wasn’t convinced. The other two actors considered as Moore’s replacement were Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.
First meeting James Bond producer Albert Broccoli on the set of For Your Eyes Only, Pierce Brosnan was the casting team’s first choice, with Broccoli stating: “If he can act … he’s my guy”. Such sparked the rumour mill, with several publications suggesting that Brosnan could be Roger Moore’s replacement, notably heightening Brosnan’s industry significance.
Offered the role of James Bond in 1986, Pierce Brosnan found himself in a contractual nightmare when his cancelled NBC show, Remington Steele, was renewed thanks to the actor’s newfound popularity. Contractually, this meant that Brosnan had to return to the show, meaning that he could commit to the role of James Bond, allowing Timothy Dalton to slip in and star in 1987s The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill two years later.
Reluctant to discuss his disappointment in losing out to Timothy Dalton, Brosnan looked for alternative avenues to express his frustration, appearing in several Diet Coke commercials in 1988 where he played an individual who looked suspiciously like the iconic British spy. “Ours is not a perfect world,” Brosnan announces in both bizarre commercials before pursuing the fruity taste of Diet Coke in surreal circumstances. Finally reaching his goal, he announces, “Tastes great straight, or on the rocks” in a line that certainly gives a boozy wink to Bond’s iconic “shaken, not stirred”.
Following a dispute regarding distribution rights in 1991, the James Bond series was put on hiatus until 1995, whereupon Pierce Brosnan was announced as the fifth actor to take on the character.
With Daniel Craig soon to depart as the sixth James Bond, we have been considering who might be best to take over, from the unlikely outsiders to the ten female actors who would be perfect for the character’s transformation.