Why are James Bond roles not played by American actors?
- Sean Connery is British
- George Lazenby is Australia
- Roger Moore is British
- Timothy Dalton is British
- Pierce Brosnan is Irish
- Daniel Craig is British
Well, James Bond is a British/English secret agent - working for the British Secret Service (M.I. -whatever).
The series have been mainly filmed in the United Kingdom (Pinewood Studios), much of it is set in the United Kingdom. Then I guess it's a bit of a matter of patriotism - They may have lost Hong Kong and The Colonies (ie. the USA), but they're not about to loose 007. Besides, James Bond with an American accent? I think not! After all, it's easiest if you already got the correct accent.
Why would you hire an American actor to embarrass himself with his horrible take on a British accent, when there are so many quality British actors who don't have to fake it?
I mean, maybe if there were a lot of movies set in ancient times or mythical times, which always requires a British accent (not sure why ancient Romans always have to sound British), and there's a shortage......
It could work but you'd have a hard time pleasing the British if you made that decision. The role kind of culturally belongs to them. They would take it as an insult to cast an American actor.
Even if you did unless it was a fresh reboot, the actor would have to use a British accent and play the character anyway and play a British man. If you have the right actor and he happens to be from the US then you could go for it.
Personally I don't care what they do. However it may be better to cast an American in a Bond role that is sort of his counterpart, you know a CIA agent that teams up with him. You could even spin that character off into his own series.
To add to Baard Kopperud answer I will toss "why would English film company hire somebody from USA?" Omitting all the patriotic sentiment it's just tax and paperwork safe. Hiring somebody from outside your countr, if they don't have work agreement, need additional paperwork's. Permits, taxations, etc.
Also USA have actors guild that may keep actors market closed keeping USA actors from getting a job in non USA productions.