Richard Johnson with Elke Sommer in the 1967 spy film Deadlier Than the Male - one of dozens of rare stills from the film featured in issue #10 of Cinema Retro.
In Cinema Retro's exclusive interview with Richard Johnson in issue #10, the distinguished actor recalls having been offered the role of James Bond in for Dr. No. Johnson turned down the role, admitting today the name didn't carry the resonance it soon would with the release of the first film. However, Johnson tells interview Ian Brown that he has no regrets because he feels his interpretation of the character would not have been as successful as Sean Connery's. Johnson says, "The producers, Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, asked me - at (director) Terence Young's instigation - and I turned the job down. I was under contract to MGM anyway, so that gave me a reasonable excuse to say no, because they told me I'd have to be under exclusive contract to them for seven years. Eventually they offered it to Sean [Connery], who was completely wrong for the part. But in getting the wrong man they got the right man, because it turned the thing on its head and he made it funny. And that's what propelled it to success."
Ultimately, Johnson did play a 1960s spy guy, Bulldog Drummond in the cult film Deadlier Than the Male.