Rivalry is a recurring thread in the almost 60 years worth of James Bond movies we’ve seen released. The greatest of which was the contemptuous relationship between producer/Thunderball collaborator Kevin McClory and the folks at EON Productions; which resulted in the legal captivity of SPECTRE for quite some time. That legendary beef almost spawned another spat, and at the head of it all would have been former 007 actor Pierce Brosnan. In fact, I’m almost shocked Brosnan was still allowed to play Bond after courting McClory to start his own rival franchise.
That Time Pierce Brosnan Made Plans To Compete With The 007 Franchise
Thanks to an interview done by Gil Dylan (that’s resurfaced on Twitter), it’s now come to light that the actor was ready to pull a Never Say Never Again and become Commander Bond on his own terms. A notion that totally would have altered the Pierce Brosnan era of James Bond even further, it’s enough to spin one’s head and ask if it’s real. That’s what Dylan had done, and you can watch Brosnan confirm his actions, while promoting 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies:
The actor’s attempt to play the “remake Thunderball into a rival Bond franchise” card isn’t the first, or even the last attempt that saw Kevin McClory’s talents enlisted. Only Sean Connery before him would pull off that feat in 1983, “giving the Broccolis a run for their money” as Pierce would put it, by competing with that year’s official EON offering, Octopussy. That said, there’s a pretty crucial difference at play that separates Pierce Brosnan’s actions from those of Sean Connery.
Why I’m Almost Surprised Pierce Brosnan Still Got To Play 007 After These Events
As 007 history has shown us, Pierce Brosnan was pretty much cast in The Living Daylights when Roger Moore left the franchise. Were that to have gone through, we’d have seen the actor become the iconic spy way earlier. No one would begrudge Brosnan for having some hard feelings, as he was literally about to be announced as the fourth 007 before Remmington Steele’s surprise renewal took him out of the running.
Those feelings considered, it’s still not exactly the wisest move to go against your potential future bosses, especially with a rival who was known to keep pulling the same move in order to gum up the works. When Sean Connery made Never Say Never Again, the die had been cast, and he was already on the outs with the franchise. Pierce Brosnan, on the other hand, had everything to lose thanks to an action that probably looked like a very specific sleight against the main James Bond saga.
Maybe in some slightly twisted sort of way, Albert R. Broccoli, Barbara Broccoli, and Michael G. Wilson saw this move as a bold calling card. Clearly, the British actor wanted to be Bond, and he pulled a rather rogue 007 move by pursuing an avenue he thought would give him the chance. It is better to have your potential enemies at the table, rather than outside the fence; so perhaps his eventual debut in Goldeneye has something to owe to this tactic.
Again, I’m almost surprised Pierce Brosnan still played James Bond after all of this wrangling. The franchise had entered a tenuous state where refreshing modernization needed to happen, and Brosnan was the right face for the job. Though now that this story has been told, I can add another “what if” that’ll haunt my mind for some time to come: what would a “rogue Brosnan” Bond movie look like? Even that question isn’t entirely new, as that thought will rest next to the story of how Quentin Tarantino and the 007 alum pitched their own version of Casino Royale.
Getting back to things that do exist though, Amazon Prime subscribers can revisit all of Pierce Brosnan’s 007 movies, as well as almost the entire James Bond collection, through that platform’s streaming library. Brosnan fans can also catch his entry into the DC Extended Universe as Doctor Fate in Black Adam, which is set to hit theaters on October 21st.