James Bond villain star who screen tested as 007 himself: ‘Cubby Broccoli was impressed’

Licence to Kill: Timothy Dalton stars in 1989 trailer

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Many stars have almost been cast as James Bond, but to date, only six have officially bagged the role of 007 himself. Nevertheless, when late 1980s star Timothy Dalton was unavailable to do a screen test with some potential Bond girls, his nemesis in 1989’s Licence To Kill stepped right in.

Speaking exclusively with Express.co.uk, Bond villain star Robert Davi – who played Franz Sanchez in Licence To Kill – liked how his character was a literal match for the star’s gritty take on the role.

The 71-year-old shared: “We were more of a spicy, realistic Bond. I call Timothy Dalton the father of Daniel Craig. I remember Cubby and Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson talking about bringing Bond into a new world because the action films in America had taken off as well. And also we had gone back to Casino Royale. Both Timothy and I were fans of that book where Bond was the mirror image of the villain and vice versa. Most of the Bond villains don’t match up to the lethal-ness of Bond, even physically. But this was something very interesting getting back to Ian Fleming’s idea.”

Davi shared how he had the opportunity to choose which actress would play Sanchez’s girlfriend and since Dalton couldn’t make the screen test, he dressed up as 007 with all the Bond girl contenders.

The 007 villain star said: “Yes I played Bond, I got to put on the tuxedo and what not.”

After posing and saying, “Bond, James Bond. Shaken not stirred”, both Licence To Kill director John Glen and 007 producer Cubby Broccoli were very impressed.

One said, “Y’know, Robert would make quite an interesting Bond” and the other replied, “Yes I think so too!”

Davi responded to them, “Yeah right!”, but admitted it was all very funny.

And after testing with the actresses and models he suggested Talisa Sota for the role of Sanchez’s girlfriend Lupe Lamora, one of Licence To Kill’s Bond girls. Glen and Broccoli had been thinking the same and the rest was history.

Aside from the iconic 007 movie, the actor is well known for playing Big Johnson in Die Hard, which is part of The London Action Film Festival this weekend. To get tickets and find out what else is on, click here.

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