How Ewan passed up the chance to play 007

Category: Misc./General Career News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: October 22, 2006 | Publication: Mail on Sunday (London) | Author: BRIAN PENDREIGH
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HE could have been sipping vodka martinis on some exotic beach while turning the charm on a bikini-clad femme fatale.

But the director of the latest Bond film has revealed Scots actor Ewan McGregor turned down the chance to play the world's most famous superspy.

The admission came as Daniel Craig, the man eventually picked to fill Pierce Brosnan's tuxedo, was hailed as the sexiest 007 ever by new Bond girl Caterina Murino.

Craig, 38, becomes the sixth ' official' James Bond when the Casino Royale movie opens next month.

But it could have been a very different face in the role.

Director Martin Campbell has revealed that the filmmakers wanted one of Scotland's top stars to take over the role but Ewan McGregor delivered his own thunderball when he said 'No'.

In the long-running search for the new Bond several Scots actors were supposedly in the frame.

At one time Fife's Dougray Scott was mentioned, as was Glasgowborn actor Gerard Butler.

But, as befits a good spy story, nobody was really sure who was in serious discussions for the role and which names were wild speculation until now.

Director Martin Campbell has revealed he 'wasn't totally convinced' about the brooding Daniel Craig in the role.

He said the man the filmmakers originally wanted was, indeed, Ewan McGregor.

An approach had been made to the 35-year-old actor from Crieff, Perthshire, but it seems the Trainspotting star didn't want to commit to the series.

Campbell sets the record straight in an article in the latest issue of the American film magazine Premiere, where he says the other names being bandied about, which included actors Clive Owen and Hugh Jackman of X-Men fame, 'weren't even on his radar'.

The actor the filmmakers had targeted was McGregor, though this is mentioned only in passing in the eight-page story in the magazine.

'I think he got another job or decided he didn't want to do it,' said the New Zealander, who previously directed Goldeneye.

But Campbell's comments have caused some surprise in the industry. One insider said: 'I have to say I don't see McGregor as Bond and, secondly, I think he's got a greater range than being stuck in that role, which he would be for quite some time.' It is possible McGregor did not want to invite comparison with Sean Connery, the first actor to play Bond on the big screen in Dr No in 1962.

But it is more likely that he simply did not want to commit to another major series, after having devoted eight years to Star Wars in Alec Guinness's role of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

McGregor has been tight-lipped about possible involvement with Bond, though he did say last year that it might be 'fun'. However, he added he would worry about the extent of the commitment.

Daniel Craig, however, seems to have got the hang of the role's demands already.

Miss Murino, 32, said of her sex scene with him in Casino Royale: 'I'd award him at least nine-andahalf out of ten for technique.

'His kiss would suggest he's a wonderful lover.

' Gentle, but not too gentle. Passionate, but not too forceful.' Luckily, Craig has girlfriend Satsuki Mitchell to bring him down to earth.

Last week the 30-year-old took him shopping in London for organic groceries a mundane mission for an international spy.