“Stuff my orders! I only kill professionals.”
BOND 17 . THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
Enter: the fourth 007 - the tallest Bond of them all at 6ft 2in.
“Our 007,” decided Cubby Broccoli and step-son Michael Wilson, “hadto look young and virile enough to match Fleming's hero and the new ideas we had for the future.” MGM's new chief, Jerry Weintraub (producer of The Karate Kid, no less) pushed for Mel Gibson at $5m a pop for two outings.
For Broccoli, the Gibbo moment had passed .Soon enough Weintraub was gone, too.
007 . David Warbeck wasback in the running (for the fourth and last time in 19 years), British Mark Greenstreet remained in TV, Michael Praed (succeeded as TV's Robin Hood by Jason Connery!) landed instead into Dynasty.
The Broccoli children voted for Sam Neill, impressed with his Reilly, Ace of Spies. Yes, well, he gave good tuxedo but as the London Sunday Times TV critic AA Gill said in 2008, Neill was “about as far away from being an actor as it’s possible to be and appear on a screen at the same time.”
John Glen looked towards France and
ex-Tarzan Christophe Lambert. Cubby preferred
the perfectly bilingual Frenchman Lambert Wilson. Again.
He was never really interested. “That kind of typecasting can be fatal.”
That sounded like someone warned offby Connery. And it was. They had sharedFive Days One Summer, 1982.
Despite the Lazenby experience, Albert R Broccoli's daughter, Barbara, went walkabout down-under, auditioning many a Bruce... notably Bryan Brown (“keen on just one”) and model Finlay Light. Cubby rejected the former Australian balletdancer Antony Hamilton because he was blond. They both agreed that Antony's unhiddenhomosexuality would work against him. (He died before Cubby - from AIDS complications in 1995 at age 42).
* Roger Moore had gone by now. And for some reason,
Danjaq looked down-under for his successor:
Bryan Brown, Mel Gibson, Finlay Light, Sam Neill, David Warbeck.
Then, back home for a chat with beefy Sean Bean -
finally cast eight years later as Pierce Brosnan's first foe in
GoldenEye... the treacherous 008.
[Photo: © Eon Productions, 1987]
Sean Bean was another blond... He missed Dalton’s debut - but won Brosnan’s as his colleague 008, turning (as often happens to Bean’s characters) to the other side in GoldenEye. Bean later won his own TV franchise as the Napoleonic Wars hero Richard Sharpe, in 16 tele-films during 1993-200, joined Lord of the Rings as Borom and was another warlord, Ned Stark, in HBO’s Game of Thrones., 2011-2013.
But he never really deserted Bond City… He ran Ian Fleming's 30 Commando unit in an Ever So Clean Dozen called Age of Heroes, 2010 (James D’Arcy was Fleming), joined the UK Secret Service for Cleanskin, 2011, and by 2014, he was very Bondian in the mini-series, Legends, as a deep-cover operative transforming himself into a different people for each job.
With the release of the SAS thriller, Who Dares Wins, speculation passed to its action-man star, Lewis Collins. The producer Euan Lloyd and director Ian Sharp agreed Collins would have made an excellent Bond were both surprised when he didn’t. (Chicago critic Roger Ebert didn’t rate him), Lloyd chose Collins because of his good work in TV’s The Professionals - and felt he could clean him up, the way Terence Young had re-booted Connery. However, lightning did not strike twice and Collins quickly disappared from view. (One of his co-stars in Wins, Edward Woodward, was apparently rung up the Eon flagpole for the new Q in The World Is Not Enough).
Then, there was a certain Andrew Clarke... a definite Lazenby bis!
Five years into his 17-year career that embraced top down-under series and an infamous affair with Steve Martin's wife, Victoria Tennant, the Adelaide actor survived to the final three.Then his ego blew the huge breakhe was offered. “I looked at the contract and said: ‘Double this and halve that.'It was still ridiculous. I wasinterested in playingBond... but they wouldn't accept my terms.”
* Finally free of Remington Steele, Irish Pierce Brosnan signed on as the 004th 007 after tests with future Bond Girl Maryam d'Abo. And then with a bound, he was caught in the steel grip of Remington yet again... His time would come. And he'd be better suited when it did.
[Photo: courtesy Daniel Bouteiller/Telé Ciné Documentation]
Pierce Brosnan, Moore's long rumoured successor, was delighted with his terms. The Irish Pierce had first met Broccoli on the 1980 set of For Your Eyes Only, which featured Mrs Brosnan, the late Cassandra Harris. Now he did wardrobe tests and posed with Broccoli signing the contract...and then waited on MTM, makers of his Remington Steele series.
MTM had a 60 day clause, allowing for time to sell the cancelled show to another channel (or Brosnan to Danjac for the highest possible compensation!). Or, as it turnedout, sell moreto NBC - impressed with theratings of the summer re-runs once the Brosnan-Bond news had broken. And at the eleventh hour,
MTM won a new deal. Broccoli said they could
have Brosnan for six episodes, “after that he's mine.”
MTM insisted on a full 22 episodes. Cubby walked away.
In fact, all MTM managed was six episodes before the show was cancelled anew.
“My first reaction,” recalls Brosnan, “was to tell them to shove the Remington contract... It was a knife in the heart. And not just for me, for my family, because we moved our children back to England and got fucked over by very short people. They had me by the short and curlies and there was absolutely nothing I could do. They’d nailed me to the wall. I went out and played a lot of tennis - to get the anger out of my system. You get over it. It's just being an actor. Shit happens like that. As painful as it was then, I wasn’t ready.”
If not Pierce, who...?
Fiona Fullerton recalled helping test five different guys in a day. “I got to do a love scene with every single one - it was great!”As per Bond tradition, the test scenes derived from the Bond 2 script, From Russia With Love. Maryam d’Abo also played the Tatiana role - and would be rewarded for her diligence.
Mrs Broccoli - the Dana of Danjac SA - said: “Have another look at Tim Dalton.” This time he was keen. And all signed up by August 6. Having by now read all the books, he wanted to return tothe way Ian Fleming had written him. Fine. Let’s go. Well, he was tied up forsix weeks... He finished Brenda Starr in Jacksonville, Florida,ona Saturday,flew to London on the Sunday and was playing 007 on Monday morning…
“A transitional film,” felt Timothy Dalton.
“A real and very valid responsibility to the past.”
"But I couldn't see myself taking over and not doing it my own way... to try and capture Fleming's Bond.” He asked about this and Cubby told him: “You must bring your own interpretation to it.”
Difficultwith script, written for Moore, slightly adjustedfor Brosnan...
Kara Milovy . Maryam d’Abo, Brosnan’s co-star in his Bond tests, ran into Barbara Broccoli. “I’d cut my hair for another film, and she barely recognised me. I looked very Slavic. She asked me to meet Cubby and soon after they offered me the role of Kara - opposite Brosnan, when she signed. Her golden-haired cellist (“There was something almost indecent in the idea of that bulbous, ungainly instument splayed between her thighs”, Bond reflected in the book). was based on Ian Fleming’s cellist half-sister,Amaryllis Fleming - who would arrange, and play at his memorial service. Inevitably, Kara was more than a cellist. She was also a sniper. Amaryllis was not. As far as we know…
Miss Moneypenny . Caroline Bliss succeeded60-year-old Lois Maxwellas Moneypennyafter 14 films in 23 years.“I realized it would be silly making goo-gooeyes at Timothy Dalton!”
The last movie to use an original Fleming title until the Broccoli gang finally got around to Casino Royale almost 20 years later,Kill markedthe 25th year ofBond films. Dalton was certainly tougher than Moore. (Maryam d'Abo was tougher than Moore!).
Cubby was delighted with Tim. “A vanishing breed:a gentleman actor with a highly tolerable ego.” Closer, added the Q man, Desmond Llewlyn, to Ian Fleming’s hero in the books than the previous three 007s. Andgood in the serious scenes, noted Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert. “But he never quite seems to understand that it’s all a joke.”
Cue the Jaws music…Kevin McClory was back on the Bond scene… cheekily (what else?) offering Brosnan $1m to be 007 in Warhead, latest variation upon the Thunderball theme. Naturally, MGM and Eon/Danjaq could not countenance such a move and, eventually, McClory hung up his Walther PPK on August 21, 2001.