James Bond: James Brolins devastation of being dropped as 007 after replacing Roger Moore

Lightyear’s James Brolin on James Bond and Westworld

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Over the last 60 years, numerous Hollywood stars have auditioned to be the next James Bond. However, there have been a few who were cast, only to be forced to leave the role before filming on their first 007 movie began. Famously, Pierce Brosnan was cast in 1987’s The Living Daylights, but couldn’t get out of his Remington Steele TV series contract.

Timothy Dalton became the new Bond instead, with Brosnan being given his chance almost a decade later in 1995’s Goldeneye.

The previous had replaced Roger Moore, who played 007 for a seventh and final time in 1985’s A View to Kill, but did you know he was actually recast after five?

The star was considering leaving the role in his 50s, so producer Cubby Broccoli screen-tested American actor James Brolin twice. 

One audition had the Westworld star in a fight scene, the other depicted him seducing a woman while wearing a towel. The latter is a scene in Sean Connery’s From Russia with Love, which is used for Bond auditions to this day.

Brolin was cast by the producer as the new Bond, but sadly for him, Roger Moore returned to make 1983’s Octopussy. To be fair, this made sense commercially given that EON Productions was going up against the unofficial Never Say Never Again starring Connery that year.

Speaking exclusively with Express.co.uk to promote his new film Lightyear, Brolin remembered: “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 the 81-year-old was disappointed to be dropped after being cast as the first American Bond, he replied: “Yeah! I really was up for that.”

James Bond: James Brolin stars in Octopussy screen test

Brolin continued: “When I heard I was going to go over and meet with him, 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…”

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James Bond: James Brolin stars in fight scene for screen test

Nevertheless, the star doesn’t have regrets after a career of over half a century.

Josh Brolin’s father said: “My kids have told me several years ago that I had been on a movie set at work, 9500 days. I think it’s near 10,000 now and they’ve been great days. I’ve really enjoyed my time. I picked the right business for me anyway. The other thing would have been maybe an airline pilot or a building contractor, I don’t know.”

The Hollywood legend plays Zurg in Pixar’s Lightyear, opposite Chris Evans in the title role and shared how the role came bout.

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Brolin, who was unfamiliar with the Toy Story movies admitted: “I knew nothing about it, I was given my first opportunity to do voicing on an animated film and being that it’s Pixar I had to trust these guys, which I do…this film is taking Pixar into the family thriller. They literally gave me the job and said, ‘We can’t tell you what you’re doing.’ And I showed up at a recording studio. I just knew I was in good hands. They had been working on it a long time, so it was important to them.”

On his first day recording at Pixar, he remembered being in a sound booth with five creative executives staring at him from behind some glass.

Brolin shared: “I stumbled around and got stuff done on the first day. I thought I’d be out of there in an hour and four hours later I was dripping wet and my voice was about gone! But with each session and there were probably five four-hour sessions, I learned and I improved on the previous.”

Lightyear is released in UK cinemas on June 17, 2022.

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