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    007 Facts About James Bond Movies

    It's not all martinis, girls and guns. Or is it? (This is for the Editorial Fellowship.)

    Since 1962, the silver screen's James Bond has dazzled audiences with thrills, spills and chills in 24 films.

    With the upcoming release of No Time To Die looking like a game-changer for the franchise, it's time to take stock on little-known facts that'll leave moviegoers shaken and stirred about the James Bond franchise.

    Michael Caine, Burt Reynolds and Henry Cavill were all considered for James Bond

    EON Productions / Via Garrett Mitchell

    Six actors have donned the tux, driven a flashy car and uttered "Bond, James Bond" onscreen. Beginning with Sean Connery in 1962, the character embodied a certain type of idealized 20th century masculinity. Connery, plucked from relative obscurity, brought a dashing, domineering and dangerous quality that informed the character. He set the template for five others to follow.

    Each actor, though, has brought their own style and flair to part, no matter how brief their tenure. Connery was followed by George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

    Numerous actors have been considered for the part. Ian Fleming originally wanted David Niven for the role (he later played one of several James Bonds in the 1967 spoof Casino Royale).

    Others who've been considered over the years include the likes of Cary Grant, James Mason, Michael Caine, Terence Stamp, Ralph Fiennes, Sean Bean, Henry Cavill, Sam Worthington and Goran Visnjic.

    American actors who were considered include Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, and even Adam West.

    Reynolds told USA TODAY that he felt the public couldn't accept an American Bond. "It was a stupid thing to say," Reynolds told the newspaper. "I could've done it and I could've done it well."

    Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, and Catherine Deneuve were considered for 'Bond Girl' roles

    Paramount Pictures; 20th Century Fox; Paramount Pictures / Via Garrett Mitchell

    For the part of oracle Solitaire in Roger Moore's debut, Live and Let Die, screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz envisioned Motown superstar Diana Ross. But United Artists balked at the idea of a Black leading lady; studio head David Picker reportedly told Mankiewicz that the movie would lose distribution in some markets if the main love interest were a Black woman.

    So, Jane Seymour, then an unknown, was cast as the alluring female lead. The filmmakers swapped the race of supporting character Rosie Carver and cast Gloria Hendry in the role.

    According to Mankiewicz, Catherine Deneuve (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Repulsion and Belle de Jour) was interested in starring in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me but producers were unwilling to pay her fee.

    Mankiewicz was reportedly told by Broccoli that no Bond actress had been paid more than $100,000. American-born model-turned-actress (and later Mrs. Ringo Starr) Barbara Bach was cast as the female lead instead.

    Dunaway, an Oscar-winning actress who is best known for her performances in Bonnie & Clyde, Chinatown and Network, was considered for the titillating titular role of Octopussy. She, like Deneuve, was allegedly deemed too expensive for the franchise. The role ultimately went to Maud Adams.

    Other actresses who were reportedly considered for roles include Julie Christie, Raquel Welch, Sybil Danning and Jane Fonda.

    The movie plots have nothing to do with their book counterparts

    EON Productions / Via Garrett Mitchell

    From the jump, Ian Fleming's James Bond novels were deemed too violent and too sexy to adapt to the screen. So, changes had to be made. Original series screenwriter Richard Maibaum is often credited with injecting the serious material with some humor. Much of that tongue-in-cheek nature turned into absolute farce by the '70s and later had to be reeled in by the time Roger Moore left the role.

    Most of the early films contain fleeting glimmers of their original plot lines. Characters had to be added or dropped. Settings were changed. Villain's plots were completely replaced to be fit for audiences.

    Many of those early film adaptations include only character names and piecemeal plot devices despite sharing titles with Fleming's literary works, save for From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

    Upon the 1964 release of Goldfinger a notable episodic formula had been established and was noted by subsequent filmmakers, including author-screenwriter Roald Dahl.

    Dahl's version of You Only Live Twice bears very little resemblance to Ian Fleming's novel. He once quipped that he was given a blueprint to write the movie; there had to be three women in Bond's life. The first two get killed and the third one winds up with him by the movie's end.

    Fleming himself only gave producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli permission to use the title of The Spy Who Loved Me for a future adaptation. The 1962 novel is an anomaly in Fleming's series as it's told through the perspective of a female protagonist who encounters Bond about two-thirds through the book.

    Vesper Lynd's missing child and Goldfinger's twin brother are abandoned plots

    EON Productions / Via Garrett Mitchell

    From secret volcano lairs to clones and a laser fight in outer space, the James Bond franchise is no stranger to over-the-top spectacle. Suspension of disbelief is always required with these movies, but some plot lines were too much for filmmakers to seriously commit to screen.

    According to "Nobody Does It Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond," filmmakers once considered reviving Goldfinger...well, sort of.

    Screenwriter Richard Maibaum at one point pushed to make the villain of 1971's Diamonds Are Forever Goldfinger's twin brother seeking revenge against 007, the book says. Blofeld, the villain from the previous entry, was the baddie instead.

    2008's Quantum of Solace nearly included a plot that would have had Bond attempting to track the late Vesper Lynd's unmentioned child over the course of the film.

    Director Mark Forster told Vulture that the filmmakers weren't sold on the revelation.

    "They felt it wasn't particularly Bond — him looking for the kid. I think Paul [Haggis] thought he just leaves the kid, he doesn't deal with it. But [the producers] thought that would be really nasty, too, because Bond was an orphan himself. If would find a kid, would he just leave it? They were so vehemently against it."

    Radiohead, Blondie and Johnny Cash recorded rejected theme songs

    EON Productions / Via Garrett Mitchell

    No James Bond film is complete without a theme tune to coax audiences into a world of intrigue, espionage and excitement. Plenty of songs have transcended the films themselves — look no further than "Live and Let Die" or "Nobody Does It Better."

    But for every iconic tune like a "We Have All the Time In the World" or "You Only Live Twice," there's plenty of lesser-known entries that stand as testaments to what's evolved into the Bond sound.

    Some iconic artists have recorded theme songs that were ultimately rejected. Even Shirley Bassey's rendition of "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" was sidelined in favor of Tom Jones' theme for 1965's "Thunderball." Bond staple Bassey re-recorded a tune that was originally sung by Dionne Warwick but neither artist made it to the screen. Bassey was, of course, later recruited again to sing "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Moonraker."

    Other well-known artists whose renditions were turned down include Johnny Cash (Thunderball) Alice Cooper (The Man With the Golden Gun), Blondie (For Your Eyes Only), Ace of Base (GoldenEye) and Radiohead (Spectre)

    The competition to record the theme to 1997's "Tomorrow Never Dies" was particularly competitive, with entries from Pulp, Saint Etienne and Swan Lee being passed over. Another theme, "Surrender," recorded by k.d. lang and the film's composer David Arnold, was shunted to the end credits while Sheryl Crow's breathy track played over the opener.

    Madeleine Swann is the first love interest to return since the '60s

    EON Productions / Via Garrett Mitchell

    No Time To Die will see the return of Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), who was introduced in 2015's Spectre. As the daughter of mysterious SPECTRE terrorist Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), Swann's upbringing was dramatic and dark. She finds a kinship with James Bond as he unmasks the "author of all his pain" — Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz).

    Swann's connection with the secret agent develops over the course of the film, which includes a harrowing mountain escape, a trek through the desert and Blofeld's unraveling.

    By the film's end, Swann and Bond ride off into the sunset in his Aston Martin DB5, providing the only happy ending of Daniel Craig's tenure.

    That doesn't seem to last long as indicated by the No Time to Die trailer.

    Swann is the first love interest to return to the franchise since Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson) in first two installments, Dr. No and From Russia With Love.

    It's through Trench that the audience is introduced to Sean Connery's James Bond, who mimics her greeting with his iconic and nonchalant, "Bond. James Bond" line.

    Trench was the first "Bond Girl.". Though she's overshadowed by Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), she makes a return as Bond's steady girlfriend on the home front. Originally, it was meant to be a recurring gag in the movies that Bond would be whisked away from her clutches just as things were getting interesting.

    The character was cut by Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton in lieu of a revolving door of women.

    Other actresses like Maud Adams, Martine Beswick and Nadja Regin appeared in several Bond films but didn't play the same character. Adams famously played the ill-fated mistress in The Man With the Golden Gun and was later cast in Octopussy.

    Is James Bond a codename?

    EON Productions / Via Garrett Mitchell

    Time to put on your tinfoil hat, folks. Some fans have concocted a theory that the cinematic James Bond isn't a person but a codename instead.

    That should explain why there's six dudes who've portrayed the same character across 24 missions over five decades, right? Just like his codename 007 or his MI6 compatriots M or Q, "James Bond" is just a replaceable position in the intelligence organization, some suggest. Once one agent retires, another takes up the mantle of James Bond.

    As intriguing as the possibility is, the codename theory capitalizes on the loose continuity of most James Bond movies but doesn't consider brief references to previous adventures.

    For instance, For Your Eyes Only in which Roger Moore's Bond visits the grave of Tracy Bond, the woman who married 007 (as played by George Lazenby) in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service. If this James Bond wasn't the same man, then why would he be mourning his dead wife?

    Tracy is again alluded to in 1989's Licence to Kill, this time in reference to Timothy Dalton's brooding Bond.

    Daniel Craig's five movies, from Casino Royale to No Time To Die, exist in their own continuity. The 2006 reboot wiped the slate clean of the films that preceded it.

    With the Craig era expected to wrap up in 2020, the question remains if whoever takes on the role next will continue in the same timeline or start fresh.

    One thing's for certain: James Bond will return.

    What's your favorite James Bond movie? Will you see No Time To Die? Who should replace Daniel Craig?

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