Quite a few actors have starred in James Bond movies, and many more have turned it down or been passed over for the opportunity. Someone who walked away from the iconic thriller movie franchise is Mel Gibson, who did so because of Sean Connery.
Not directly because of Connery, but more what happened to the Scottish actor’s career afterwards. “If somebody scores a few points and people dig it, it’s kind of inescapable at some point. You make your bed and lie in it,” he tells JoBlo. “Poor old Sean Connery couldn’t get away from James Bond for three decades. Then he started doing other stuff, like The Untouchables, and you realise, wow, there’s more to this guy than I thought.”
Connery was the first 007 in 1962’s Dr No. More than just scoring a “few points”, the film kicked off one of the longest-running franchises in Hollywood history. Doing James Bond, or an equivalent like becoming a Batman actor or an MCU character does tend to follow you because of how devoted the fanbase is, perhaps pigeonholing your appeal.
It was for this reason that Gibson decided against working for His Majesty’s Secret Service. “I got offered the James Bond movies when I was like 26, which is like 40 years ago,” he recalls. “They said, ‘hey, we want you to be the next James Bond. And I thought about it; I was in Australia, I was working with Peter Weir. I sort of turned it down for that reason. Because I thought, look what happened to poor Sean, he got stuck there for like three decades.”
Gibson’s referencing the war movie Gallipoli, which came out in 1981 from director Peter Weir. Released that same year was the science fiction movie Mad Max 2, a breakout performance for Gibson, who’d go on to do the Lethal Weapon films, Maverick, Braveheart, and many other highly successful features.
Would we have gotten all that if he was tied up doing Bond? Probably not. Gibson is currently promoting Bandit, an action movie about Gilbert Galvan Jr’s streak of robbing 59 banks consecutively in Canada, a world record that’s still standing. Bandit is out now in theatres in the US and on VOD.