Was Cary Grant Offered The Role Of James Bond?

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It has long been rumored that Cary Grant was supposed to play James Bond in "Dr. No," a role famously performed by Sean Connery. Where did these rumors come from — and is there any truth behind them?

Considering that he was a prominent actor at the time, it's clear why Cary Grant would be considered for the role of James Bond. According to Screen Rant, producers thought he could be a good choice to play the adventurous English spy — Grant was stylish, charming, and English-American. Grant's name is actually mentioned in the 1959 "Goldfinger" novel by Ian Fleming, a testament to his status as a household name. 

Grant was close friends with Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, who produced 17 Bond movies (via James Bond 007). He was even Broccoli's best man at his wedding in 1959. Several years later, James Bond 007 reports, Broccoli acquired the rights to Fleming's books, and gained the ability to bring the impeccably dressed spy character to movie screens.

A proposition to a movie star

"Dr. No" director Terence Young has said that he spoke with Cary Grant about the possibility of playing James Bond (via James Bond 007). But problems arose right from the start when Grant resisted a multi-film deal, only wanting to star in a single Bond movie although a series was already being planned out.

He was being considered for "Dr. No," released in 1962 but, according to Stacker, Grant was in his late-'50s at the time, making him slightly too old to be an ideal candidate for a recurring role. He retired from film in 1966 in order to spend more time with his daughter.

Another major factor was Grant's "superstar salary," according to James Bond 007. The estimated budget for "Dr. No" was $1.1 million according to IMDb, which was likely not enough to compete with Grant's reputation.

There were no hard feelings about Grant turning down the James Bond role. In 1963's "From Russia With Love," director Terence Young paid homage to "North by Northwest," the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock film starting Grant (via IMDb). Although Grant never played James Bond, Stacker reports that he was an ongoing inspiration for the famous spy series.