In 1994, at a press conference in London, England on this day actor Sam Neill announced that he had accepted the role of James Bond in the upcoming film GoldenEye, the seventeenth installment of the popular spy films.
Sam Neill stars in GoldeneyeNeill, who says he has long wanted to portray the suave superspy, was chosen to replace Pierce Brosnan as the latter was trapped in a contract for the production the delay-proned television movie Night Watch.
The James Bond 007 franchise has been in legal limbo for five years, with MGM's parent company Qintex battling Danjaq for the rights to air future Bond films internationally. This, coupled with Timothy Dalton?s horribly-received stint as the MI6 agent in The Living Daylights and License To Kill, had threatened to retire the series altogether. After the production of The Property of a Lady was delayed for four years, Dalton resigned from his contract to star in a third film in April.
Pierce Brosnan was favored to take the role, which he had been prevented from doing in 1987's The Living Daylights due to his contractual obligations to the television series Remington Steele. There was also minor concern over the use of an Irish actor to portray the traditionally British character, despite the fact that Scottish, Welsh and Australian men had played the role. Neill himself is from New Zealand.
Sam Neill, 47, is best known for his roles in The Hunt For Red October (1990), The Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), and last summer's blockbuster Jurassic Park. He also starred in the television mini-series Amerika, about a Soviet-dominated United States in the future. Neill has been an actor and director since 1975, and says that notable British actor James Mason was his mentor.
Goldeneye, the first Bond film since the end of the Cold War, is set for release in 1995, and is expected to take place primarily in former-Soviet Russia.