It's time to move on - Cubby Broccoli on his search for Sean Connery's replacement in 1967...

He'll Have To Be British

5th January 2011

On Saturday 29th July, 1967, the world's press reported that the next James Bond film would not be starring Sean Connery - the man who launched Ian Fleming's spy on the silver screen to record-breaking box office success.

With Connery's dissatisfaction with the direction of the series and his fear of being forever typecast well known, it was on Friday 28th July that producer Albert R. 'Cubby' Broccoli spoke to the press and made the announcement official. "We are going ahead with the series without Sean", said Broccoli. "We don't want an actor to appear in films he is not enthusiastic about. Even if Sean changes his mind, that will not affect our decision. We are looking for a new James Bond".

Above: Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli inspect the massive volcano set on 28th October 1966, constructed for "You Only Live Twice" (1967)

If Connery's well publicized desire to distance himself from the franchise was not enough, the influx of spy-fi imitators, including the spoof "Casino Royale", had become a matter of contention for the producers, although the fifth official outing "You Only Live Twice" left it for dust at the box-office. Even the Motion Picture Academy's lack of Oscar's for Bond had left Broccoli tweaked. "Oh, they throw us a bone with an award for special effects or sound," he scoffed. "Nobody seems willing to recognize the injection the Bond pictures gave to the whole industry, which is prospering with imitators like Matt Helm and Derek Flint."

With the latest official Bond outing having only been released a few weeks prior (12th June, 1967), Broccoli confirmed their plans for the next installment in the series. "Our next one will be 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', and we will shoot in Switzerland, England and France. We won't start filming until August of 1968, so that will give us plenty of time to find a new James Bond."

"I think the audience is ready for a new one. Sean Connery has been a great James Bond, but it is time to move on. We're getting lots of applicants; in fact, I get phone calls every day. Just yesterday I heard from a man in Vancouver who looks pretty good. One thing is certain: whoever he is, he'll have to be British. That is a necessity."

Almost exactly one year later, a screentest of George Lazenby, an Australian, was sent to United Artists for approval. He was cast as Connery's replacement in September 1968 - a month after shooting had been planned to start.

Recent Articles - James Bond 101
  • Roads Not Taken
  • Bond At 60: The Deal
  • 10 Questions
  • Most Read 2020
  • James Bond Turns 100
  • Bond Myths 001
  • Bloodless Coup