Michael Praed Was (Almost) James Bond

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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 clothes.
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?

- Jake


c 2014 Alternative 007

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