Spoofs & Satire

You Only Act Once: The Lesser Bonds

Many actors have attempted to wear the mantle of 007—and many have had their licenses to kill revoked, and not just because of suspicious accents. Here are the reasons why they lost the coveted role, with grievances aired by cast and crew.

Credit: ER0L

Bob Hoskins

Too much growling, grimacing, baring of teeth. Harshly delivered rejoinders. Shorter than leading women; also, test audiences believed he was their pedophile uncle. Never comfortable playing character educated at Eton, felt it made him a toff. Excessive use of giant toon magnet and portable toon hole to foil villains.


Tim Roth

Charming voice offset by rat-like smile. Tended to stare sideways wistfully in attempt to add layering to character. Cried out for cold and distant father during escape sequence on Bentley factory’s assembly line. Later delivered soliloquy about illegitimate son. Started pestering director about inconsistencies in Fleming books. Also: too short.


Alan Rickman

Spoke lines as if to idiot children. Refused to run. Emasculated Desmond Llewelyn. Required psychological conditioning to avoid siding with villains. When makeup artist brought baby to set, he pretended to drink its blood. Then he acted all petulant, claiming no one had a sense of humor.


Tom Baker

Refused to wear gigantic striped scarf. Refused to do phone-box gags. Flew into violent rage when love interest’s name changed to Francesca Dalek. Turned out to have really weird head after cutting afro, threw lighting off.


Clive Owen

A surprising disappointment. Replaced jaunty humor with psychotically menacing passive aggression. Impelled Moneypenny to bulimia, suicide. Drank stirred martinis.


Eric Bana

Strange expansion and contraction of muscles during martial arts scenes, as if something inside body attempting to break free. Accompanied by degradation of speech. Kept walking off set hours early citing illness; grip said he looked “a little green.”


Sacha Baron Cohen

Not really his fault. Director chose uneasy mix of characters, resulting in deadpan delivery of lines like “Bond, James Bond, innit?” and ”If you’ll excuse me, I’ve a punani to ride.” Audience had no clue what they were watching. Marketing slogan, “Bond-yakasha,” dead on arrival.


Alan Cumming

Decided that Bond plays the viola and wears orange. Really did make attempts (eventually) at hang-glider chases and gunplay, but hands were always running distractedly over body, mussing hair, or otherwise splayed in a way suggesting nerve disorder. Showed up wearing one of two T-shirts, the first reading “TWAT” and the other “TWIT,” which announced how he would be that day. Brought bubble tea, sex toys for crew.


Paul Hogan

Skin like desert hardpan—airbrushing did nothing. Demerol addiction. Vestigial tail. Marketing slogan, “The Next Lazenby,” scuppered entire PR department.


Marty Feldman

Too short.


TMN Contributing Writer Michael Rottman lives like a lord in Toronto. His miscellany has appeared in print in The Fiddlehead, Grain, and Opium, and online at Yankee Pot Roast, Cracked, News Groper, and McSweeney’s. More by Michael Rottman