Michael Praed Was (Almost) James Bond
A while back I reviewed Charles
Helfenstein's enjoyable volume about the making of The Living Daylights
and talked about how the early plan for the film was a young Bond
concept with a youthful 007 meeting M, Q and Moneypenny for the first
time. A young actor at the time named Mark Greenstreet was given a
screentest to this end. The other day I was idly channel flipping and
noticed what seemed to be a half-familiar face on Matthew Wright's
morning talk show nonsense. The short grey hair and spectacles threw me
for a second but I suddenly realised it was Michael Praed.
Praed, in case you don't know,
was an eighties pin-up actor best known for starring in the popular
television shows Robin of Sherwood and Dynasty. My timing was
impeccable because Praed (who looks very well preserved and suave these
days) was talking about the fickle nature of fame and luck and the
universe and everything and told a story about James Bond.
When Roger Moore finally stood
down from the part after A View To A Kill, Praed's agent was contacted
by the Bond people and asked if he wanted to do a test. They explained
that they were going to make radical changes to the series and wanted
the 007 actor to be much younger than usual. Praed claims he did a very
extensive screentest (with Fiona Fullerton) and that it was essentially
him and one other chap competing against one another. This would surely
have been Mark Greenstreet.
Praed said that the response he
got from the test on the day was very positive and that about a month
later he was told he had the part. There was something too about being
taken out shopping by Barbara Broccoli to buy some Bondian suits and
Of course, Michael Praed did not
play James Bond in The Living Daylights or any other film in the end.
His dream fell through in a vague way. Perhaps his agent got too
excited and exaggerated how close to the part he was. Still, I have
never encountered much about Michael Praed being a James Bond candidate
in the eighties so it was interesting to hear him talk about it. Makes
you wish you could sneak into the EON vaults and look at all the
screentests they have from down the years doesn't it?