Sir Roger Moore
- Donald Houston, The Blue Lagoon, 1948. Seen for the second of three versionsof the shipwrecked children growing into lovers on a desert isle. Children? Jean Simmons was 19, Moore 21 and Houston. 25!!!(Molly Adair, the firstEmmeline, was 17 in the 1922 silent version.For the 1980 ”story of natural love,” Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins were 15 and19).
- James Cagney, Love Me Or Leave Me, 1955. MGM tested their contract players willy-nilly - for any film or reason. This is how Metro’s lightweight Brit found himself playing Chicago hoodlum Martin “Moe the Gimp” Synder (!) in a test with singer Joanie James as Ruth Etting. Cagney rated the film in his top five and insisted that his Ruth, had top billing - Doris Day.
- Tyrone Power, Witness For The Prosecution, 1957. American stage and screen director Joshua Logan recommended the baby-faced Roger (after his Hollywood period) to director Billy Wilder. Trouble was producer Edward Small wanted one star to top both this Agatha Christie trip and...
- Yul Brynner, Solomon and Sheba, 1958. ... the Biblical Solomon saga. Power died during shooting.
- Alain Delon, Christine, France-Italy, 1958. Too old - at 31 - for the lover of Romy Schneider in her first French film. So it was Delon, 23, who greeted the Austrian star with a huge bouquet of red roses at Orly airport on April 10, 1958 - the start of the impossible love story of Delon and “ma pupelle,” erupting on and off her 1982 death.
- Sean Connery, Dr No, 1962.
- George Lazenby, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969.
- Sean Connery, Diamonds Are Forever, 1969.
- Edward Fox, The Day of the Jackal, 1973. Producer John Woolf asked if he’d like the lead. Absolutely! Director Fred Zinnemann said: Absolutely not! “The Jackal moves seamlessly through crowds... unnoticed. You are 6ft 2ins, dashingly good-looking and internationally famous as Simon Templar and Brett Sinclair - how inconspicuous will you be to audiences?” So, Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford were also rejected as Fred got his way about Fox, who had impressed him in the UK film, The Go-Between, 1969.
- Michael Caine, A Bridge Too Far, 1976. For Moore, it was a A Bond Too Far a because of his third 007 venture, The Spy Who Loved Me. Thereby spoiling director Richard Attenborough’s publicity coup of having two Bonds in the same film – Moore as Lieutenant Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur and Sean Connery aas Major General RE Urquhart.
- Edward Fox, A Bridge Too Far, 1976. When the Bond film was delayed, Moore became available. There was just one leading role left: General Brian Horrocks. “He has approval,” said director Richard Attenborough, And apparently, he didn’t wish to be played by 007. (General R.E. Urquhart had no problem - and his daughters were ecstatic - about being portrayed by Sean Connery).
- Richard Chamberlain, Shogun, TV, 1980 .“When I was doing Moonraker, James Clavell was calling me all the time about doing Shogun.” It finished as an NBC mini-series. Bond #1, Sean Connery was also in the frame. As was Albert Finney, who finally made a Bond film, the 23rd and with the 50th birthday special, Skyfall, 2012.
- Tom Selleck, High Road To China, 1983. Director John Huston was due to make it with Moore and Bo Derek. (Rather down-market names for such an A List icon). Then, Moore had 007 duty. Just as well. As he always said: "I can take a star part and turn it into an insignificant role." Selleck did not do any better.
- Bryan Brown, Tai-Pan. 1985. Nearly 20 years in the making... MGM cancelled its 1967-68 plans - too expensive. Steve McQueen quit a $10m deal in the 70s when his second $1m payment never turned up. And Moore’s new beard for James Clavell’s hero, Dirk Struan, in 1980, turned up only in The Sea Wolves. “It’s the biggest acting challenge I've ever had,” said Roger of another James Clavell book. "I've got to act!"
- Val Kilmer, The Saint, 1997. Moore played Simon Templar for 118 tele-chapters, stayed with the company making Return of the Saint with Ian Ogilvy and was due for sainthood again as 80s and 90s plans had Moore set to produce a St Pierce Brosnan (!). Or be the ageing hero, finding his illegitimate son - nearly Ralph Fiennes for director Sydney Pollack. “It was a troubled production,” said Moore. Final director was Philip Noyce and Moore was out - “first time I was paid not to act in a film” - and junior Saints were in. Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Ralph Fiennes, Mel Gibson, Hugh Grant... and, finally, Kilmer, who later admitted to Moore: “We really screwed that up, didn’t we?”(Moore supplied the voice of a radio newsreader).