Alex O'Loughlin and Opening the Book on Bond, James Bond
Jenkins: "Alex is a terrifically sexy, masterful, and take-charge guy
-- just the type who can make you remember that James Bond is a
seriously dangerous man."
The search for a worthy replacement for Pierce Brosnan as British
screen icon James Bond held both filmgoers and the media captive in
2005. The unknown Alex O’Loughlin (then 28 years young) was
shortlisted for what he described as "the biggest screen test of my
life". Although he didn’t get the role, being tested for it
certainly bumped up his hotness factor in Hollywood by several
significant notches. Alex told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph in August
"People’s ears prick up and they do take me a lot more seriously here now."
In their 2006 book 'A Star is Found: Our Adventures Casting Some of
Hollywood’s Biggest Movies', casting directors Jane Jenkins and
Janet Hirshenson from The Casting Company shed some light on the search
for Bond #6.
The Casting Company came on board when Roger Moore was still 007. The
search for his replacement in the 1980s was shrouded in more secrecy
than a mission for your eyes only, and the cover story at the time was
that they were casting a new US TV pilot that required a leading man
with Bond-ish qualities. In the end, Timothy Dalton became Bond #4,
although Pierce Brosnan was the producers’ first choice. Brosnan
was unavailable due to contractual obligations, but when his TV series
Remington Steele was canceled and Dalton called it quits after two
movies, he was finally able to join the franchise. GoldenEye was
released in 1995.
Ten years later Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson decided that a new
license-to-kill holder was required, one that would appeal to a
trendier and younger audience. The next feature, after all, would cover
Bond’s early career. And so the hunt was on for someone who was
ideally in his mid-twenties. A Bond charismatic enough to compete with
today’s new crop of film, TV, and video-game action heroes.
Although this opened the door for just about everyone in the
English-speaking nations, the new 007 had to be perceived as an
Anglo-Saxon Englishman with an accent to match the looks. Among the
actors who were screen tested comprehensively were Alex
O’Loughlin, Henry Cavill, Sam Worthington, Ewan McGregor and of
course, Daniel Craig. The producers spared no expense: set, lights,
film (instead of the less expensive video), makeup and tuxedos.
After all, they needed to see how the candidates handled "a girl, a
gun, and a martini" and of course it was imperative that they looked
fabulous in a tux while they were doing it.
About Alex O’Loughlin, Janet Jenkins wrote:
"The age issue turned out to be stickier than we’d expected. We
were all very excited about Alex O’Loughlin, for example, partly
because he was so young. Alex is a terrifically sexy, masterful, and
take-charge guy - just the type who can make you remember that James
Bond is a seriously dangerous man."
According to Ms. Jenkins, other actors who were considered were Julian
McMahon, Karl Urban, Colin Farrell, Orlando Bloom and Heath Ledger.
McMahon withdrew because of sequel possibilities for The Fantastic Four
and Urban was never available to be tested. Like McGregor, Farrell,
Bloom and Ledger were too well-known, because "when you look at the
sexy, powerful secret agent, your view shouldn’t be clouded by
memories of the actor as a lovelorn husband or drug-ravaged youth. You
just want Bond - pure Bond."
The choice eventually fell on craggy Daniel Craig even though he was thirty-seven.
Alex admitted in November, 2007 to Media Blvd magazine:
"I think I was a bit young, to be honest. I think in five years I’ll be a good Bond."
Janet Jenkins concludes her evaluation of Alex with:
"And he might make a fabulous Bond in a few years, but when we saw him,
he just didn’t seem old enough for that 007 sense of command."
Alex O’Loughlin’s self-imposed five-year wait will be up in
2012, when he is in his mid-thirties. And Daniel Craig has stated that
he’ll "keep doing [Bond films] for as long as it takes, or until
my knees go, whichever happens quicker."
By that time, will Alex either be too old or too famous to be considered for the iconic role again?