If you think the debate of who should play James Bond is contentious now, think of what it was like before Bond hit the screen.
Ian Fleming's novels are seldom taken into account anymore, and to some extent hardly were - although Daniel Craig takes Bond to a Fleming-esque almost psychopathic, on-the-edge place.
Interestingly, when two producers, an Italian and a Canadian - Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman - secured the rights to all Fleming's books except Casino Royale, Fleming's own choice for Bond was David Niven.
Now Niven (some of you may have to ask your grandparents) was a suave British actor who specialized in witty repartee, but he was no action star. Inappropriate old-school Brits like Niven, Rex Harrison and James Mason all turned down the Bond role, usually because they only wanted to do it once.
Cary Grant - nearing 60 at the time - was also under consideration, as were Richard Burton and Stewart Granger.
In the end, however, the choice came to Roger Moore (of TV's The Saint fame) and a rough-hewn young Scot named Sean Connery, who legend has it, was made to wear bespoke suits to bed to get him used to wearing them.
Fleming was a Moore fan. But Broccoli thought him too pretty. The producers won out (Moore, of course, would get his chance later).
Bond changes since then have been like beauty pageants, with runners-up littering the landscape. When Connery quit in '69 and George Lazenby was hired for On Her Majesty's Secret Service, also-rans included Oliver Reed, Adam West (!), Roger Moore (held back by his TV contract) and young future-Bond Timothy Dalton.
A disillusioned Lazenby quit after that one movie, and with Moore in another TV series (The Persuaders with Tony Curtis), it looked like there might be another cattle call. But The Persuaders bombed, and Moore became the longest-running Bond, giving up the role in 1985 after A View To A Kill.
Cue the audition room! A TV contract got in the way yet again, when Broccoli/Saltzman's first choice, Pierce Brosnan learned that his series, Remington Steele was renewed and the producers refused his pleas to be released. In some parallel universe, Timothy Dalton was never Bond, and Brosnan broke Moore's record.
But Dalton it was, beating out a young Mel Gibson, Christopher Lambert, Simon MacCorkindale and Sam Neill.
After two films - License To Kill and The Living Daylights - Dalton resigned his posting and Brosnan finally got his own license to kill. It was pretty much his job to lose, but other applicants included future Dr. Who Paul McGann.
And then came Daniel Craig, and the biggest star-search/guessing game in Bond history. Let's end with actors Craig reportedly beat out: Clive Owen, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Heath Ledger, Eric Bana, Colin Firth, ER's Goran Visnjic, Ioan Grufudd
Ioan Grufudd, Dougray Scott and the soon-to-be-Superman Henry Cavill.
If they'd licensed them all to kill, it would be the best MI6 convention ever.
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