An American Bond

by awindram

While Skyfall’s billboard posters and TV trails may be more attention grabbing, kudos to the marketing team at EON in stealthy convincing numerous publications to run tired James Bond articles by peddling today as “International Bond Day”*.

A very brief post that caught and then quickly lost my attention was this one in the Guardian – a look at how Bond could have initially been played by an American. As one of the reasons I started this blog was to record my own development from Brit into nauseatingly transatlantic mongrel, I’m always fascinated at anything showing British and American pop-culture intersecting with one another and the changes that can bring.

Unfortunately, the article was about Bristol-born Cary Grant, who I would contend is not so much American as one of those nauseatingly transatlantic mongrels** that I may one day wake up and find myself transformed into. At least when Gregor Samsa woke he had the good fortune to find himself transformed into a giant bug.

The article did make me think about the occasions, not counting Barry Nelson***, that nearly did bring about an American Bond.

First, there was John Gavin, a future US ambassador to Mexico, who signed on to play Bond after George Lazenby opted not to return for Diamonds Are Forever. Studio heads still wanted to coax Connery back and when he agreed to return Gavin was shunted aside, but not before being paid in full for the film.

Pre-production of For Your Eyes Only, with Moore yet to re-sign in the role, also saw James Brolin screen-testing for Bond. He did so with his American accent intact. Perhaps Brolin’s inability to do a convincing accent led to the producer’s agreeing to Moore’s contract demands?

*Today marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr No.

** We’ve also now seen what Bond is like when played by a transatlantic mongrel. See Brosnan, Pierce

***Technically the first actor to play Bond (or Jimmy Bond in this case) in a US TV production of Casino Royale. Bond is depicted as an American while Felix Leighter (or Clarence Leighter as he is called in this adaptation) is British.