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Famous Actors Who Were Almost James Bond

Updated July 13, 2020 55.4k votes 4.3k voters 150.9k views75 items

List RulesA list of notable people who were (somewhat) close to being 007. Vote up the ones you would love to see play the secret agent.

Skyfall once again showcased Daniel Craig as one of the most suave and simultaneously vulnerable Bonds in the history of the James Bond franchise, but there were plenty of other famous actors who almost got the part of James Bond.  a list of famous actors who were almost James Bond, as voted on by experts and fans alike.

The James Bond films have been around for fifty years and many of Britain's top actors have been considered to play the world's most famous character. Some of these performers haven't even been British. Some of the stars on this list include Irishmen (Liam Neeson), Americans (Clint Eastwood), and even Australians (Hugh Jackman).

What actors were considered for the role of James Bond? Has there ever been an American James Bond? Now, many of the top actors on this list would have made pretty awesome James Bonds. Can you imagine Liam Neeson kicking some enemy butt as 007 instead of in the 'Taken' films? Or Denzel Washington bringing the same gravitas he brought to 'Malcolm X' to P***y Galore? Or Sean Bean being 'Ned Stark'-honorable instead of of the villain in 'GoldenEye'? It's fun to come up with scenes that could have been with the caliber of talent you'll be ranking.

There are also some pretty interesting almost-Bonds on this list. Clint Eastwood? That would have been too aggressive, too 'American'. Adam West? Too campy. James Mason? Way too old. But still, it's interesting nonetheless.

Please rank the top notable James Bond runner-up and if you don't see an actor who should be on this list, feel free to add him -- or her -- so that others can vote for him -- or her -- as well.

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  • Interestingly enough, the rumors that Colin Firth would be playing James Bond actually came from Firth himself
    • Credits (TV): Pride and Prejudice, Conspiracy, Lost Empires, Nostromo
    • Birthplace: Grayshott, United Kingdom
    • Nationality: England
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    Would he make a good James Bond?
  • In an interview with some Australian radio DJs, Jackman exposed that he was approached to play Bond before the producers went with Daniel Craig. When asked if he would take over the franchise he said, "I’d seriously consider it."
    • Credits (TV): Viva Laughlin, The Academy Awards, Tony Awards, The Man from Snowy River, An Aussie Goes Bolly
    • Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
    • Nationality: Australia
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  • Liam Neeson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Actors Who Were Almost James Bond
    Photo: Georges Biard / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Way before Liam Neeson was trying to save his daughter by being an action hero he was doing whatever he could to stay away from the action genre"I was approached very heavily, but I wasn't really interested."
    • Credits (TV): Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Big C, Liberty's Kids, A Woman of Substance, Play for Today
    • Birthplace: Ballymena, United Kingdom
    • Nationality: United Kingdom
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  • Clive Owen was so close to being James Bond that he could almost taste the martinis. But things got stirred, not shaken, when a rumor circulated that he wasn't chosen due to asking for gross profit points. Owen doesn't seem too distressed, saying, “Am I going to be the next Sean Connery? No, I’ll just be the next Clive Owen.”

    • Credits (TV): The Knick, Hemingway & Gellhorn, The Hire, Chancer, Sharman
    • Birthplace: Keresley, United Kingdom
    • Nationality: England
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