James Bond film No Time to Die: Sheffield's Sean Bean got close to taking on the iconic 007 role

The current speculation over who will replace Daniel Craig as James Bond as he bows out in new film No Time To Die has brought back memories of when Sheffield’s own Sean Bean might well have taken on the role.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 9:29 am
Sheffield film and TV star Sean Bean, pictured arriving for the Game of Thrones eighth and final season premiere in New York in April 2019 in New York
Sheffield film and TV star Sean Bean, pictured arriving for the Game of Thrones eighth and final season premiere in New York in April 2019 in New York

Sean starred in the 1995 film Goldeneye as Bond’s colleague 006 Alec Trevelyan, who appears to die at the beginning of the film but has actually faked his disappearance and eventually resurfaces as Janus, the head of a Russian crime syndicate.

Bond and Janus then do battle during the rest of the film, which saw the first appearance of Pierce Brosnan in the role, as well as Judi Dench as Bond’s boss M and Samatha Bond as her secretary, Miss Moneypenny.

Goldeneye director Martin Campbell told The Star’s sister paper the Sheffield Telegraph that Sean had been considered to play Bond before he became 006. “He could easily have done so, though despite all the speculation we knew in our minds we would go for Pierce Brosnan,” he said.

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The director said that they chose Sean to be the Bond villain in Goldeneye because they wanted to appeal to younger audiences. Traditionally, the baddie roles in the films were taken by older actors such as Worksop-born Donald Pleasance, Curt Jurgens and Charles Gray.

In the event, Daniel Craig was next in line after Pierce Brosnan, taking on the role for 15 years. Now, the Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page and Tom Hardy - of Inception, Mad Max and Peaky Blinders fame - are named as the hot favourites to take over from him.

Then, when Pierce Brosnan decided to walk away in 2004, Sean Bean talked to The Star about the prospect of a return to the world of 007.He said: “I’ve played a few bad guys, including in the James Bond film Goldeneye a few years ago... First of all, I think Pierce is really good in the role so I don't see why he doesn't do one more.“As to me playing James Bond, well, getting killed as 006 in Goldeneye, I think that sort of puts me out of the picture, wouldn’t you say?“So I think I'm not in the running. Not that I’d mind playing James Bond at all. It’s sort of a complete fantasy, isn’t it?"

The Star's pretty scathing review of Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye, when he starred opposite Sheffield actor Sean Bean as villain Janus

The Star’s review of Goldeneye was pretty cutting about Pierce Brosnan’s debut, saying: “Remington Steele is no match for Sheffield steel” (TV crime drama Remington Steele was another of Brosnan’s famous roles) and dubbing him as a ‘pretty boy’ and “handsome in a Next Directory sort of way”.

The review goes on to say that the ‘bland Bond’ is “easily outclassed by the villains – Sheffield’s Sean Bean drops the local accent and emerges as an accomplished villain, a cool killer with much more charisma than his prettier rival and boasting a snarl that James Mason would have been proud of”.

If you want to see No Time To Die in a memorable fashion, Cineworld Sheffield has ViP tickets for the opening night on Thursday (September 30) and the first weekend.

Staff in bow ties will escort ViP guests through a red-carpet entrance to an exclusive lounge, with white-tablecloth dining, photo opportunities and gifts.

Daniel Craig, who is about to make his last appearance as James Bond

Opening night guests also get a glass of champagne on arrival. Book at www.cineworld.co.uk/vip#