What if Godfrey Cambridge had played Fleming’s Mr. Big?

The 1973 James Bond film Live And Let Die is noteworthy because it was Roger Moore’s first 007 film and sported a catchy title song written and performed by Paul McCartney.

But it’s far from a faithful adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel. In fact, bits from the namesake novel wouldn’t be used until 1981’s For Your Eyes Only and 1989’s Licence to Kill And the talented Yaphet Kotto doesn’t play Ian Fleming’s Mr. Big. He’s really playing the Dr. Kananga of screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz.

So what would a film version of Fleming’s Mr. Big looked like? Well, we can look to the late Robert Culp, who wrote and directed a first-season episode of I Spy that featured an Oxford-educated Zulu who’s dealing industrial diamonds and stolen radioactive isotopes with Communist China. That villain was played by Godfrey Cambridge, who comes across as quite Flemingesque.

To see what we mean, you can go to Hulu.com or CLICK HERE to watch the episode. Or you can CLICK HERE. Cambridge doesn’t show up until the second half of the episode but he’s quite memorable. Cambridge died in 1976 while playing Idi Amin in a television production about the Israeli raid on Entebbe. His replacement? Julius W. Harris, who played Tee Hee in Live And Let Die.

Brosnan now says he wants out of 007’s shadow

It’s enough to give you whiplash.

Former Bond Pierce Brosnan tells the Los Angeles Times in an interview (to promote a new movie, The Greatest), that he wants to escape the shadow of 007. The article summarizes various recent Brosnan projects then adds this:

The diversity in projects was a conscious choice, said Brosnan, who was dressed immaculately in a crisp button-up and blazer with nary a crease. His face too was virtually without wrinkles — his hair, peppered with just a hint of gray, was the only sign of his age.

“I said to my agents, ‘Look, it’s time to really work, and to find and explore other avenues here as an actor,’ ” he explained. “It doesn’t have to be leading roles. Let’s not be tripped up by past information. It’s time to try and have longevity as an actor.”

That all makes sense. However, last month he told an ABC blog that he still misses the Bond role.

The sentiments aren’t necessarily a contradiction. One can miss part of your past but there’s nothing you can do about that. Also, Brosnan, who turns 57 next month, is being practical in wanting to find ways to extend his career. Finally, it seems like he’s getting asked about Bond while promoting his new films, rather than him bringing it up.

In any case, CLICK HERE if you want to read the entire Los Angeles Times story.

MGM update: another bidder may drop out

On the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. front, another bidder may be dropping out.

Billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries is looking at ending its attempts to buy MGM, according to a March 31 story on Bloomberg.com by Ronald Grover, a veteran Los Angeles-based journalist, and Serena Saitto.

The reason, according to the article is this:

Access Industries, vying for control of the Los Angeles- based studio with Time Warner Inc. and Qualia Capital, hasn’t received a response to its restructuring proposal from MGM or its creditors. The story cites a person with knowledge of the situation.

A few days earlier, Lions Gate Entertainment bowed out of the bidding.

This may be like watching paint dry for Bond fans. Still, MGM controls half of the 007 franchise so it’s unlikely anything happens on the Bond 23 front until MGM’s fate is resolved.