Mel Gibson Turned Down Playing James Bond?

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Mel Gibson was approached in the 1980s to play James Bond, but he declined the role.

By Chad Langen
| Published

The hunt is on for a new actor to take up the mantle of James Bond, following Daniel Craig’s departure from the role after 2021’s No Time to Die. When it comes to casting the character of 007, it’s always been a grueling and drawn-out process, with several names being tossed around before the studio eventually makes up its mind. According to ScreenRant, Golden Globe-nominated actor Mel Gibson was approached for the part in the early 80s, but he turned it down out of fear of committing to the role long-term.

He told JoBlo, “I got offered the James Bond movies when I was like twenty-six, which is like forty years ago, okay?” He continued, “I was working with Peter Weir, and I did think about it, and 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.”

Mel Gibson is no stranger to the action genre, having appeared in two highly successful franchises including Mad Max and Lethal Weapon. Of course, when he was offered the chance to play James Bond during the making of 1982’s The Year of Living Dangerously, he was just beginning to make a name for himself in the industry. In a recent interview, the A-list star, who was 26 years old at the time, revealed that he opted not to take the role because of the dedication required to portray the character.

Mel Gibson is obviously referring to Sean Connery, who portrayed fictional British secret agent James Bond in seven movies between 1962 and 1983. Connery, who passed away in 2020, was the first actor to play the character on film. He portrayed 007 in six of Eon Productions’ entries, and he made his final appearance in Never Say Never Again.

Oddly enough, Mel Gibson has played the same character in multiple entries in two separate franchises over the course of his acting career. He appeared as Max in 1979’s Mad Max, and he reprised the character in two sequels, 1982’s The Road Warrior and 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Additionally, he’s starred as Martin Riggs in four Lethal Weapon movies, with a fifth entry announced.

For some actors, landing the part of James Bond would be the opportunity of a lifetime. Having said that, Mel Gibson isn’t likely losing any sleep or having second thoughts about his decision to turn down the role. In addition to his robust resume as an actor, Gibson is also an Academy Award-winning director who has helmed various pictures including Braveheart, Hacksaw Ridge, and The Passion of the Christ.

Looking ahead, Mel Gibson has several projects in the works. In addition to Lethal Weapon 5, which will likely see him reunite with series co-star Danny Glover, he’s been tapped to appear in a television series based on the wildly popular John Wick franchise called The Continental. He recently completed filming a new thriller entitled On the Line, and his long-awaited Passion of the Christ sequel is currently in pre-production.

As far as James Bond is concerned, there’s still no word on who will replace Daniel Craig in the role, but it’s probably safe to say it won’t be Mel Gibson. Several names have been thrown around including Idris Elba, Jon Hamm, Tom Hardy, and Henry Cavill, but none of them have been confirmed for the part. Considering the next 007 flick is targeting a 2025 release date, the studio has plenty of time to ensure they find the perfect man for the job.