Woman James Bond Concept Pitched Over 60 Years Ago Linked to Adaptation of CASINO ROYALE at the Time

Lashana Lynch became the first woman to take on the 007 title in the 2021 James Bond film No Time to Die, but it turns out a plan to make James Bond a woman was actually pitched over 60 years before that film.

In Nicholas Shakespeare’s upcoming biography of Bond author Ian Fleming, titled Ian Fleming: The Complete Man, it’s confirmed that producer Gregory Ratoff floated the idea of casting Academy Award-winning actress Susan Hayward in a film adaptation of Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale.

Shakespeare writes in the biography (via IndieWire): “Since the mid-1950s, many well-known actors had been approached [to play Bond].

Gregory Ratoff had the arresting idea of having Bond played by a woman, Susan Hayward. Ian had entertained several possibilities, from Richard Burton (‘I think that Richard Burton would be by far the best James Bond’), to James Stewart (‘I wouldn’t at all mind him as Bond if he can slightly anglicise his accent’), to James Mason (‘We might have to settle for him’).”

Lashana Lynch on 007 role in 'No Time to Die,' Marvel future - Los Angeles  Times

Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. spoke to Variety back in 2012 and claimed at the time that Ratoff was interested in Hayward because “frankly, we thought [Bond] was kind of unbelievable and as I recall, even kind of stupid.

So Gregory thought the solution was to make Bond a woman, ‘Jane Bond’ if you will.”

23 Nicholas Shakespeare Stock Pictures, Editorial Images and Stock Photos |  Shutterstock Editorial

There it is… Bond only could have been a woman if she was stupid. That tracks.

The idea was apparently never a serious consideration for Fleming, who ultimately wanted to make Richard Burton the first on-screen James Bond.

Burton declined. Shakespeare’s book reveals Peter Finch, Cary Grant, Dirk Bogarde, Trevor Howard, Rex Harrison, Richard Todd, Michael Redgrave, Patrick McGoohan, Roger Moore (who did end up playing Bond later) and Richard Johnson were all considered for 007 as well.

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