James Bond: Mel Gibson turned down playing 007 because of Sean Connery

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Back in the 1980s, Mel Gibson was one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars with heavy-weight blockbuster franchises like Lethal Weapon and Mad Max. At the time, Roger Moore was still playing James Bond, having originally been cast in 1973’s Live and Let Die. After 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, his fifth 007 film, the star’s contract was up and he was considering retiring from the role. As a result, producer Cubby Broccoli began a semi-public search for the next Bond which included some big stars of the time, including Gibson.

Speaking previously with JoBlo, Gibson confessed: “I got offered the James Bond movies when I was like 26, which is like 40 years ago, okay? And they said, hey, we want you to be the next James Bond. And I thought about it; I was in Australia, I was working with Peter Weir [on Gallipoli]. And I did think about it, and I sort of turned it down – for that reason.” It turns out original Bond star Sean Connery was why he said no.

Gibson admitted: “I thought, look what happened to poor Sean, he got stuck there for like three decades.” What the star meant was he was worried about being typecast, something that Connery didn’t really shake off until his Oscar win for The Untouchables.

Lewis Collins and future Bond Timothy Dalton were suggested for Octopussy at the time. Additionally, Michael Billington, Oliver Tobias and James Brolin actually screen-tested. However, when rival Bond movie Never Say Never Again was announced for 1983 starring Connery, Moore was persuaded to reprise 007 once again in what would be his penultimate mission before 1985’s A View To A Kill at the age of 57.

Express.co.uk spoke with Brolin, who claims he had been cast as Bond, only to be left devastated when he was dropped upon this news.

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Brolin told us: “I literally left Cubby Broccoli in London, came home to get all my stuff to live in England for a year, when Roger Moore said, ‘Oh I’ll do one more!’” Asked if he was really disappointed to be dropped after being cast as the first American Bond, he replied: “Yeah! I really was up for that.” The star went on to share details from the hugely missed opportunity.

He added: “When I heard I was going to go over and meet with [Cubby], I dressed to the hill. I spent more money on clothes than I ever thought I would, all at the wrong places. But I looked good! I showed up there and I did two screen tests, which I think are both available on YouTube now. Anyway, good or bad I got the job and Cubby took me to his clubs and I thought, ‘This is the life here in London!’ Just that was terrific whether I got it or not. This business is a crapshoot and a bit of luck anyway, so…”