Following my post about who might be the next Bond, here are a few people who could have been Bond. I have stuck to British and Irish actors who have been in contention or mentioned since Timothy Dalton hung up his dinner jacket and Walther PPK in the late 80’s.
Ralph Fiennes: There was a time, around 1993 to 1996 (Schindler’s List – Strange Days – The English Patient) when Fiennes came from almost nowhere to become one of the best actors around. In the last few years he has also added comedy to his repertoire. He could have been the perfect Bond. He was under consideration in both 94 and 04. Did his appearance as John Steed in the terrible The Avengers 1998 end his chances? He eventually became M, a character with enough hints at his back story to warrant his own movie.
Colin Firth: I have never considered Fiennes’ English Patient co star a contender for Bond, however, I was wrong so wrong. Anyone who has seen him as Harry Hart in Kingsman will wonder what he he would have been like as Bond.
Idris Elba: Still in contention and would made a great Bond but as I mentioned in my last post, I think he is too old to get to get the chance now.
Clive Owen: Made his name in the TV show Chancer (1990-91). He was allegedly on the short (or possibly long) list when Pierce Brosnan got the part in the mid 90’s. His name came up again in 1998 when he donned a dinner jacket for the film Croupier. The part as The Driver in a series of BMW commercials cemented him as a fan favourite. Now 51, he is probably too old, his last chance came and went when Daniel Craig was cast a decade ago.
Hugh Grant: His name came up a few times but he was never a serious contender. Had he not become a star playing light comedy he could have been a good dramatic actor, the failure of Extreme Measures (1996) put an end to roles like that. The Man From Uncle is a close as he is ever likely to get to Bond.
Liam Neeson: Reported to have turned the role down in 1994 because he wasn’t interested in making action movies. He must have had a change of heart when he was offered Taken.