Not Just Clint Eastwood, These 5 American Actors Almost Became James Bond

American actors have never had the chance to play James Bond, but some almost bnecome agent 007

Not Just Clint Eastwood, These 5 American Actors Almost Became James Bond


James Bond’s role remains elusive for American actors despite some coming close to securing it.
American actor Clint Eastwood gracefully bowed out, affirming Bond’s British charm should never be in doubt.

John Gavin missed out on playing James Bond twice despite signing contracts.
Other American actors who missed the chance to portray Agent 007 include Adam West, Mel Gibson, and Burt Reynolds, among others.

Playing James Bond is often viewed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, coveted by actors worldwide. However, American actors have consistently been denied the chance to portray this iconic character on screen.

Whether due to contractual constraints or the character’s British nationality, Bond has been portrayed by actors from various backgrounds, including Scottish, Irish, Australian, and English, but never American.

Despite this barrier, there have been moments when American actors nearly became James Bond, with some even signing contracts with the production house.

Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood in Bronco BillyClint Eastwood in Bronco Billy
Clint Eastwood, renowned for his portrayal of iconic characters such as The Man with No Name and Dirty Harry, has etched his name in cinematic history with unforgettable performances.

Yet, amidst his illustrious career, one notable role has remained conspicuously absent: that of Agent 007, James Bond.

Despite his charisma and undeniable talent, Eastwood’s journey to the world of Bond was fraught with a pivotal decision.

When approached for the role in Diamonds Are Forever, a chapter in the Bond franchise, Eastwood made a surprising choice.

Eastwood told (via Irish Independent),

“I was also offered pretty good money to do James Bond if I would take on the role. But to me, well, that was somebody else’s gig. That’s Sean’s deal.”

Clint Eastwood declined the offer, citing his belief that James Bond should inherently be British. This decision underscored Eastwood’s respect for the character’s cultural roots and his adherence to artistic integrity.

John Gavin
John GavinJohn Gavin
John Gavin’s opportunity to play Agent 007, James Bond, slipped through his fingers twice, presenting a tantalizing yet elusive prospect.

Initially poised to become the first American to embody the iconic spy, Gavin’s journey was marked by unexpected twists.

His first chance came with Diamonds Are Forever, but plans shifted after On Her Majesty’s Secret Service received a lukewarm response.

Studio executives sought to revitalize the franchise by bringing back Sean Connery, leading to Gavin’s replacement despite having already signed on.

Despite this setback, Gavin’s desire for the role endured, making him a contender once again for Live And Let Die.

However, the production team’s preference for a British actor led to Gavin being denied the chance to portray Bond on screen.

Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds missed James BondBurt Reynolds missed James Bond

Similar to Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds found himself in the spotlight of Bond casting discussions after Sean Connery’s departure. However, it was Reynolds who declined the offer, expressing doubts about viewers’ acceptance of an American Bond.

In a 2016 interview with Business Insider, Reynolds elaborated that he simply wasn’t interested in such a role at that particular moment. Reynolds further stated,

“Now I regret it. I wish I would have done it.” 

Reflecting on his decision, Reynolds later regretted turning down the opportunity, as the role eventually went to Harrison Ford.

Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson in The Continental: From the World of John WickMel Gibson | The Continental
Mel Gibson‘s name has been frequently linked to the James Bond role since the 1980s. However, distinguishing between rumors and actual offers proves challenging, as the specific film for which he was considered remains undisclosed.

According to his interview with JoBlo, he was probably approached for the film Octopussy, during a period when Roger Moore’s commitment was uncertain. 

Gibson admits to contemplating the opportunity but ultimately declined due to concerns about potential typecasting, drawing parallels to Sean Connery’s experience.

Adam West

Adam WestBatman actor Adam West

Television’s Bruce Wayne, famously portrayed by Adam West, found himself on the brink of stepping into the shoes of yet another iconic hero: James Bond.

The opportunity arose when West was approached for the role in Diamonds Are Forever. With his trademark sense of humor and undeniable charisma, West certainly possessed the qualities necessary to embody the suave spy.

However, despite his suitability for the role, West declined the offer as he firmly believed that James Bond should be portrayed by a British actor.

The role of Bond ultimately went to George Lazenby, an Australian actor, following Sean Connery’s departure.

Cary Grant
Cary GrantCary Grant
Grant was reportedly among the initial actors considered for the role of Bond in Dr. No, despite being nearly 60 years old at the time of the offer. However, Grant’s willingness to commit to only one film posed a challenge.

Given the aspirations for a series of James Bond movies, the producers sought an actor who would sign on for a multi-picture deal. As a result, Grant missed out on the chance of a lifetime to portray the iconic character.

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