James Bond has been portrayed by seven different actors over 27 films spanning nearly six decades. Among these stars, the most popular portrayals include Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, and more recently, Daniel Craig. Craig became the first Blonde Bond after Pierce Brosnan’s exit with the 2006 film, Casino Royale. Since then, Craig played the character in a total of five films before retiring from the role in 2021 with No Time to Die.
With Daniel Craig announcing his departure, numerous speculations arose regarding who would be the next 007. The same was the case when Pierce Brosnan announced his exit, and several actors were rumored to take on the iconic role.
This English Actor Refused To Play James Bond Multiple Times
In a public poll in the U.K., Clive Owen emerged as the people’s number one choice to play James Bond following Pierce Brosnan’s departure. Owen gained global recognition with roles in Sin City, Derailed, Children of Men, and The International. Owen received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the 2004 romantic drama, Closer. More recently, he played Bill Clinton in an episode of American Crime Story.
However, during the time of these speculations, Owen denied the rumors that he was being considered as Brosnan’s successor. In a 2012 interview with Glamour Magazine, Owen revealed that he had turned down the role multiple times, more than any other actor. He shared that he did not want to get stuck in the role and firmly believed that no one could play it better than Sean Connery. Owen told Glamour (via Evening Standard):
“Playing James Bond would have been like entering a golden prison, and I doubt that would have suited me. I may be the only actor who consistently said, ‘No, no, and no’. I never understood what I would have been able to add to the role, or how I could play a character who has already been defined in the past. For me, Sean Connery is the real James Bond.”
However, Clive Owen made contradictory statements in an interview with Details Magazine in 2007. He told Details that he was never approached for the Bond role.
Clive Owen’s Another Movie Role Included James Bond Reference
Despite Clive Owen’s refusal to play the role of 007 in the James Bond film series, he did play a secret agent, Agent 006, but not in a James Bond movie. Owen played a cameo role in the 2006 comedy-mystery film, The Pink Panther. When Owen’s character introduces himself to Steve Martin’s Inspector Clouseau, Martin makes a humorous remark that Owen is “one short of the big time”.
Owen was partially correct in assessing Sean Connery’s portrayal as the best James Bond ever. However, Daniel Craig could offer more to the character with a distinguished portrayal, unlike Owen stated. Craig is often regarded as the next best Bond after Sean Connery. The Knives Out actor’s Bond films alone grossed nearly $4 billion at the box office.
Another consideration for the role before Craig’s casting was Sean Bean who had already played a rogue agent in Golden Eye. Following Daniel Craig’s exit, the speculations are now favoring actors like Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Henry Cavill.
All Daniel Craig James Bond films are available for streaming on Prime Video.