The famous super spy is notoriously fussy when it comes to his automobiles and martinis but the producers behind the film series are even pickier.
- One of the most talked about parts of every Bond movie is its theme song. Dozens of famous recording artists (Duran Duran, Adele, Carly Simon, a-ha) have contributed songs over the years, and in 1965, Shirley Bassey and Dionne Warwick both recorded a song titled “Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” for Thunderball. Both were rejected by producers, who wanted a song called “Thunderball.” At some point in the process, country legend Johnny Cash recorded a version but it was ditched because it reportedly sounded like something out of a spaghetti western instead of a spy movie. Eventually, Tom Jones’ “Thunderball” was accepted and appeared over the opening credits.
- The Man in Black isn’t the only singer who received a cold shoulder from 007. Alice Cooper recorded an unused song for The Man With the Gold Gun (1974). Blondie’s track for For Your Eyes Only (1981) was shelved. The Pet Shop Boys’ tried and failed to land a song in The Living Daylights (1987). The British rock band Pulp put together a track called “Tomorrow Never Lies” for Tomorrow Never Dies that didn’t make the cut, as did songs by Saint Etienne and the Cardigans. Amy Winehouse was considered to do a song for Quantum of Solace but her substance abuse problems discouraged the film’s producers from giving her a shot.
- There are lots of rejected Bond songs, but lots more rejected Bond actors. Rex Harrison was turned down for the first film, Dr. No (1962), in favor of Sean Connery. When Connery left the series for the first time in the ‘60s, Dick Van Dyke tried to become his replacement but his English accent wasn’t considered good enough. Terence Stamp, who would go on to play General Zod in Superman II, also auditioned. In the ‘80s, Timothy Dalton beat tons of better known-actors for the role. Among them: Mel Gibson who was tossed out because he wasn’t British. Other wannabe Bonds who didn’t make the cut: Michael Caine, James Brolin, Sam Neill, and Clive Owen.