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ALMOST JIMBO

Sam Neil - screen test
Sam Neill's screen test for 007

“Over my dead body is Bond going to be anything but British,” vowed Cubby Broccoli. But then he signed (and paid off) the wooden John Gavin, as first reserve for Diamonds and offered 007 to both Clint and… Dick Van Dyke!! In his moment of folly, Harry Saltzman suggested Burt Reynolds. “I’ve stood next to Burt Reynolds, Harry,” said Cubby. “And he’s a shrimp.”
Over 58 years, 007 was nearly… Robert Campbell, George and Stanley Baker, Eric Bana, Sean Bean, Michael Billington (six times), James Brolin, Jeremy Brett, George Clooney (“I’m not British”), Charles Dance, Clint Eastwood (“No, that’s Sean’s deal”), Ralph Fiennes (now M), Jon Finch, James Fox, Rupert Friend, Michael Gambon, Julian Glover, Cary Grant, Hughs Grant and Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Sam Neill (The Living Daylights and GoldenEye), Ian Ogilvy, Adrian Paul , Christopher Reeve, Oliver Reed, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers John Richardson, Dougray Scott, Terence Stamp, Rod Taylor, Richard Todd, David Warbeck, Dominic West, Lambert Wilson, Sam Worthington… even Batman Adam West, M’s cousin, Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes… and the missing peer, Lord Lucan!

Guy Peters calls Lambert Wilson

Calling 007. Guy Peters up for Live and Let Die and the French (!) Lambert Wilson tested for The Living Daylights and GoldenEye.

HE SAID

“What do you think? Two films? Three? Then, the joke will be over.”– Ian Fleming.

“Bond’s a good idea and I like it. Just one - no sequels.” – Cary Grant, best man at Cubby’s third marriage. And he did just one. Charade.

“Nobody expected it to last 25 films.” – Sean.

“I always felt - even now - that the roots of Bond movies… is not Fleming but Hitchcock. It was North by Northwest.” – Sam Mendes, a fan since Live and Let Die; his favourite is Russia.

“He suffers from this thing… called accidie, a moral malaise or confusion which makes him thoroughly like us.”  Timothy Dalton.

“The fact that I couldn’t act seemed irrelevant.” – real life adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes (Ralph’s cousin) in the final six for Live and Let Die.

"He had it all, The looks, the breeding, the pride. I seriously wanted to test him for Bond, but all he'd say was: Good heavens!" – Cubby on Lord Lucan in 1980.

“They took the swagger out of me and made me walk like Prince Philip.” – George Lazenby.

“A lot of people turned it down, and so did I,” – Guy Hamilton on Dr No.

“I’d rather do chicken farming! He’s an unlikable, immoral bully.” – that’s why Patrick McGoohan refused. Twice.

“Remove the exotic touches and what have you got..? A dull, prosaic English policeman.” – Sean.

“I’ve no desire to watch myself as James Bond. It's just never good enough.” – Pierce.

“I was so right for Bond, I would have been wrong. Sean was so wrong for the part, he turned out to be right.” – Richard Johnson.

“‘I want to play James Bond.” – Michael Jackson to his agent, who managed to not to laugh in his face.

CRITICS SAID

“The school bully is replaced by the school prefect.” – Alexander Walker on Roger’s debut, Live and Let Die.

“The worst film I ever enjoyed.” – Donald Zec on Casino Royale, 1965.

“Shot to shot, this movie is beautiful in a way none of the other Bond films are,” – Steven Soderbergh on OHMSS.

“Bond is re-Bourne, Jason Bourne.” – TC on Daniel’s Casino Royale.

“Please understand: James Bond is not an action hero! He is too good for that. He is an attitude. Violence for him is an annoyance. He exists for the foreplay and the cigarette.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.

 

Title image - 007 by CCC

All the Bonds gather around the gaming table

AND THE 007th BOND IS?

No one knows. No one even knows the future of the Bond franchise. Daniel Craig’s successor might be a robot. He could be a toon. And Bond is a he, we have Barbara Broccoli’s word on that. "He can be of any colour, but he is male."  Meanwhile, Paramount intends cashing in on the non-007 years with The Saint. (Yawn).

“No, Mr Bond, we expect you to
quadruple our fortune.”

The bigger question is whether Eon Productions, 007’s home since 1962, can survive the $8.45bn MGM takeover by Amazon. (Their motto must be: The World Is Not Enough). You can be sure that they’ll snap up the Young Bond books - set in the ‘30s. Some good titles: By Royal Command, A Hard Man To Kill. If they go for Bond Jr, why not… wait for it… Baby Bond, worked with wot’s’isface.  Except Disney never bought it, as was the rumour 18 months when this page was first compiled; they would have been wary of one non-Ian Fleming book… Solo.

Daniel Craig and Lashana Lynch

Oh, oh, heaven. Daniel Craig and Lashana Lynch - “a disarming young woman.”

THE GOLDEN AGE

Age is important for Bond. Eon likes to run with the same guy for a few years, no more Lazenby slip-ups or Tim Dalton’s duets. The always touted Idris Elba, is 49 (well, Roger started at 45). Craig was already too old (to last) at 38. Connery began at 32. Lazenby was 29 and acted like 19.
Pierce suggested Colin Farrell and Tom Hardy (both 45), could "put a bit of wiggle” into Bond. Farrell had the 007 panache in the Total Recall re-hash. Tom is too pricey. Unless his mate, Christopher Nolan, is directing. Anyway, Tom is Mad Max
The BBC’s Mr Everyone, James Norton, 36, continues to deny the possibility of being chosen. (As much as Idris). McMafia was seen as Norton’s test - hah, more like for The Crown. “It’s bizarre and very flattering to be part of the conversation,” Norton told Aussie journo Helen Barlow. “I know less than anyone else about it. Daniel Craig has been incredible… Suddenly we had a human being. I was so intrigued by his performance - less than by burning everything up and running down corridors.”  Not that keen then. 
Some artificial intelligence gizmo, packed with actors’ (and Bond’s) professional DNAs, etc, spat out Superbloke Henry Cavill (38).  Well, no. He lost Casino Royale, won “the world’s greatest spy” (hah!), guy called Argylle.  (Richard Armitage was second - despite being 50. Wotta clever gizmo!).

IF YOU TALK ABOUT IT, YOU AIN'T GOT IT
... TOM HARDY

 The UK tabloids still fancy… Christian Bale, 47; Orlando Bloom, 44; Welsh Luke Evans, 42, except he’s in several series; Jamie Dornan, 38, has too many shades of grey, Christian Grey.  At 44, Michael Fassbender’s 15 minutes are long gone. Henry Golding, of The Gentlemen, 33, thinks “stranger things have happened.” Matthew Goode, 43, and Tom Hiddleston, 40, are too posh. At 31, Nicholas Hoult is too pretty - as they said about Roger in ‘62. Black Panther’s Daniel Kaluuya is 32 and needs to know “‘cos I need a new kitchen!"  Counterpart’s Harry Lloyd is 38. James McAvoy, 42, has been there, done that (with Angelina Jolie, no less) in Wanted, 2007. Peaky Blinder Cillian Murphy, 46, insists “not on my radar.” (Unless, again, Nolan directs). Robert Pattinson, 35, was stylish inTenet but has relocated to Gotham. Irish Aidan Turner, 39, was the Beeb’s topless Poldark. David Oyelowo, 45, best actor of this group if a trifle short. As for David Beckham, 46, singer Harry Styles, 27 -  aw c’mon, be real.

THE SHORT LIST

 Nu-folk singer Johnny Flynn (David Bowie in Stardust and Ian Fleming, no less, in Operation Mincemeat… the Scottish Outlander Sam Heughan, after Everest with Ewan McGregor…  Sean Teale, from Pierce’s spy thriller, Survivor, 2014. They are 30/38 but look twentysomething. (There’s a Flynn family legend that his father, Eric, 1972’s Ivanhoe, was offered Jimbo in the 60s). Then, of course, Mr Bridgerton, Regé-Jean Page. “If you’re a Brit and you do something of any regard,” he told Jimmy Fallon, “people are going to start saying the B word. It’s a merit badge. I’m very glad to have the badge, I’m very glad to be in the company of such people who have the badge, but it’s just a badge.”  

My money’s  on Sam. It had been on Regé. But he burned for a badge with a halo on it.  He’s the new Saint in a re-boot of the 1996 Val Kilmer disaster. Regé’s also in Dungeons & Dragons at the same studio which appears to see him as its next Tom Cruise.  So bye-bye 007. You can’t be Simon Templar one day and James Bond the next. Roger had to wait four years to do that.

You may know Sam as Jamie Fraser in Outlander.  However, this shot comes from… wait for it… The Spy Who Dumped Me

Sam Heughan would be an interesting choice for Bond

Sam Heughan doesn't wear braces.

I have a new French book out, Les 8 visages de James Bond (The 8 Faces of…), from Les éditions de l’Histoire. My co-authors are the #1 Bond experts in France: Kevin Bertrand Collette and Frederic Albert Levy - both reserving their bets on who’s next.
Whoever gets it, here’s Daniel’s advice: "Don't fuck it up. It's a beautiful, amazing thing.”

THE WRITE STUFF

No matter what you may read, the wondrous Phoebe Waller-Bridge is not the fjrst woman to help write a Bond film. Roger Moore put the record straight in his 2014 memoir, Last Man Standing, with much delayed praise for… Joanna Harwood. “Her involvement has been overlooked and her pivotal role clouded by the vagaries of film history and the egos of those within it.” Having started in film continuity in her native Ireland, Joanna became Harry Saltzman’s secretary, script-reader... and writer. ”When he optioned Ian Fleming’s books and was trying to create an interest in making a film, I adapted Dr No for him. It was a first draft script.”

BEST BOND?

“Sean remains the best; he had that glimmer of violence in his eyes,” said Tom Mankiewicz, who wrote Diamonds, Live And Let Die, Golden Gun, started Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me. “Roger was Fleming’s Bond and did a great job. Brosnan was neither great nor terrible. He was just Bond. The best actor they ever had… was Timothy Dalton. Daniel Craig is just terrific.” A Radio Times poll got it right. 1, Sean, (44%), 2, Dalton (32%), 3. Pierce (23%).

A REAL DAME

In his memoir, My Life as a Mankiewicz, Bond scenarist Tom Mankiewicz said the series’ best actress was Dame Diana Rigg. We all know she couldn’t stand her OHMSS Bond, George Lazenby. Mank said that on her final day shooting, she kept checking: “This is my last take?” Yes, Diana, the last take of the picture…  She did it, he said, then turned around and spat at Lazenby and walked off the set.”

LAST DAN STANDING

Daniel Craig is ... in the James Bond car

“Daniel? Keep him. Lock him in a cellar and don’t let anybody else have him,” said Tom Mankiewicz.  “He should do 50 of these!” 
“In the first book he was described as a blunt instrument, and that’s how I played it,” said Craig. “What I’m doing is not what Pierce was doing, and Pierce wasn’t doing what Roger... or what … or what Timothy was doing. Things have changed. It’s just the ride of it. Pierce used to say that it’s like being responsible for a small country.”
“The past isn’t dead.” Dan dun good... Despite wearing his little brother’s tight jacket and grandad’s braces!  - or suspenders, as he’s now a US citizen (like Brozzers). His leaving is as sad as Billie Eilish’s title song. He’ll be back (twice) as Blanc. Benoit Blanc. On Netflix (like Ana’s Marilyn), where else?

ONCE UPON A TITLE

With a major fanfare, China’s top superstars, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung Chiu-Wai and Andy Lau, announced their first teaming in the 18 years since Infernal Affairs, for a thriller called … Goldfinger! Surely, the Broccolis own that title? Sure enough, within weeks, it became Once Upon A Time in Hong Kong… seemingly inspired by Jet Li’s classic Hong Kong movie series. Once Upon a Time in China.

ROLL ©REDITS:

All The President's Men montage: Reg Oliver,1976; Ana de Armas: Plan B Entertainment, 2019. Jimbos and No Time To Die: Eon Productions; Sam Heughan, Lionsgate, 2017. Plus huge thanks to The Man: Daniel Bouteiller.

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WELCOME to a unique directory of what you never saw on-screen. The films the stars did not make. The movies that never were. The most definitive collation of casting stories ... Check up on all the films - of yesterday, today and tomorrow - that your favourite stars never made... A cast of thousands - 8,063 actors - to click on... More than 40 years in the making!! And 2,956,335 words of spirited text. The ultimate in movie trivia ... Better! Exactly the kind of history that Hollywood deserves. Back to front. Upside-down. Inside out. Full of flashbacks, close-ups, tracking shots (and, alas some badly edited sequences - sorry about that!) forming a fascinating, new and often bizarre flip-side perspective on your treasured movies and stars.

This is the film that bred this site ... after Robert Redford told me he'd planned a little black-white version - with Robert De Niro, and Michael Moriarty as Woodstein.

FROM CUBA
WITH LOVE

Marilyn ... or is it?

They used to be called Bond Girls, And I never heard any of them complain about it. Now they’re Bond Women. OK, fine. Contenders have included Jessica Biel, Jacqueline Bisset, Julie Christie and Faye Dunaway (three times each), the heterochromiac, Bowie-eyed Alice Eve, Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Hurley (later in Austin Powers), Scarlett Johansson, Thandiwe Newton, Ornella Muti, Freida Pinto, Eva Renzi, Diana Ross, Alexandra Stewart (“Better you should take my friend Ursula”) Rachel Stirling (Diana Rigg’s daughter), Audrey Tautou, Charlize Theron... and Angelina Jolie - “Actually, I'd rather be Bond.”
The latest is Ana de Armas - from Cuba (like Maria Conchita Alonso) and 28 other films including Blade Runner 2049. Craig picked her after their Knives Out to be Paloma, 007’s contact in Santiago. Next, we’ll see her as a blonde from the Joyce Carol Oates novel about Marilyn Monroe… looking more like ScarJo.

SHE SAID

“Sean was a blasted milkman.”  - Honor Blackman.

“I could never understand why George behaved as he did. He was given such a glorious opportunity and he threw it all away. I’m sorry for him, if you really want to know.” - Diana Rigg

“I liked Holly… she was capable of doing everything that Bond could do. A real step forward….” - Lois Chiles on Ms Goodhead,  Moonraker

 “I’m the proudest Bond Girl there is because there are not a lot of us left, and there won’t be any in future. The Bond Girl has to look good in a bikini: that was her role” – Britt Ekland. 

Ursula is all wet

“It's a mystery. All I did was wear this bikini - not even a small one - and whoosh! Overnight, I made it.“ - Ursula Andress.

 

“Obviously, Bond is pretty playful and he’s used women many, many times, But… these new films… prove that Bond can fall in love.” -  Olga Kurylenko Quantum (And then November Man with Brozzers).

“It was one of the biggest votes on confidence and compliments you can be given - one of the coolest gigs you can be offered.” - Rosamund Pike, Die Another Day.

“I was very surprised and delighted they were serious about using me. Incredibly flattering - a woman had never played a title part in a Bond before.” - Maud Adams, Octopussy.

“I don’t think a Bond woman is any more an object of desire than Bond is.” -  Lea Seydoux. And she adds: “Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson are really the ones who decide everything. I don’t think that will change. I’m not afraid of what the future holds.”

SCRIPTS SAID

Goldfinger: “No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!”

007: “Do you mind if my friend sits this one out? She's just dead.”

Moneypenny: “You always were a cunning linguist, James.”

007: “Speak or forever hold your piece.”

Hugo Drax: “Look after Mr Bond. See that some harm comes to him.”

Goldfinger: “Choose your next witticism carefully, Mr Bond, it may be your last…”

Miranda Frost: “I know all about you, 007. It’s sex for dinner... and death for breakfast.”


BREAKING NEWS Spectre’s Monica Belluccii has Fantasies with Carole Bouquet (For Your Eyes Only) and Die Another Day’s Halle Berry is in… Moonfall.


 

Staring down the barrel of a gun


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