James Brolin was Insanely close to becoming James Bond until it happened

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There are many intriguing stories about close castings for the main role in the legacy of James Bond films. However, the most interesting stories are the stories of actors like Pierce Brosnan, who practically take on the role only because of circumstances that put an end to all this at the last minute. Acting legend James Brolin has such a story, as he was chosen for the role of James Bond in “Octopuses”, but at the last minute lost the role to Roger Moore.

How and why James Brolin got the role in “Octopus”

During our interview on Brolin’s role in “Lightyear”, we talked about the moment in Bond’s history when he almost became the first American 007. He was definitely not the only Yankee who was considered for this role, as the history of the actors shows. Among those who almost played James Bond were the likes of Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds.

However, the story told by James Brolin resembles the one in which Pierce Brosnan lost “Live Daylight” on the goal line. Starting his story with the circumstances under which he first auditioned for this role, Brolin told CinemaBlend about the time when Roger Moore almost refused to participate in two films before he eventually did:

Interested — Roger Moore said that’s it, he doesn’t do more Bonds. And so they chose who was good, and, as you know, in the past they have made some strange decisions. The guys who made one picture, and then disappeared. Anyway, I go shopping and dress up like James Bond could watch a party, and I fly to meet [Albert] “Cubby” Broccoli, and he takes me with him. We get along great, from the very beginning. We had a discussion about dialect, and I said, “Well, you know, as a New York theater actress, do you know how they’re a little arrogant?” I said, “We’re just going to be kind of [Mid-Atlantic] with this. We will not fix it.” And he said, “That sounds good.”

As the story goes, Roger Moore’s James Bond era could have ended after the release of the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, as this was the limit of his original contract with Agent 007. Nevertheless, Moore maintained an interest in games, working on film after film throughout the remainder of his tenure. The year 1983 was particularly fruitful for this, as Sir Roger had another proposal on the table.

It just so happened that this offer was also on Sean Connery’s desk, and one conversation between the two Bond commanders defined a huge year in the history of James Bond. Who would have thought that “Never Say Never Again” would really be important to the fate of the main line of the EON Productions 007 franchise.

Sitting in thought about whether he really wanted to leave after the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore and Sean Connery discussed their joint job offer. As producer Jack Schwartzman worked with Kevin McClory on one of his several attempts to remake “Fireball,” the position of a rival James Bond required someone in command to step into the role.

Who better to ask than two potentially sociable 007 agents to play the other guy? However, Sir Roger’s decision depended on Sir Sean’s decision. As he told The Today Show (via YouTube) while promoting the 1983 release of Octopussy, Moore allowed the first Bond to drive:

Of course, Jack Schwartzman came up to me and asked if I wanted to do it or if I wanted to do it. So yes, of course, it gave me some leverage. I said to Sean, “What do you want to do?” and he didn’t want to do the one with Cubby, so I’m here and he’s there.

While Roger Moore was debating whether he would take on the role of James Bond in a rival adventure from the non-EON Agent 007 canon, James Brolin was working hard. After auditioning to become a potential fourth actor in the role, he ended up taking two screen tests to prove that he was worthy of the job.

Just as Sam Neil reluctantly tries Bond on screen, Brolin filmed a version of the dating between Bond and Tatiana Romanova in the 1963 film From Russia with Love. In fact, he had a slight advantage when it came to Octopussy, as he was testing Mod Adams, who was chosen to play the role of a titled smuggler. The chemistry and, surprisingly, the emphasis in this segment of the frame work pretty well.