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


  • 3
    Because they haven't yet hired an American for the role?
    – DA.
    Feb 2 '15 at 2:43
  • 31
    Because the stories of James Bond are predominately set in a British Spy Agency with British Spies/Government Agents?
    – Robotnik
    Feb 2 '15 at 3:39
  • 5
    James Bond was played by an American actor, Barry Nelson, in his first video outing. But that wasn't a cinematic film. Feb 2 '15 at 3:51
  • 14
    Because, unlike American Bonds, these can speak with an English accent. (ref) Feb 2 '15 at 13:10
  • 11
    Because it's an English series based on an English Agency which happens to be in England. Why would they have an American in that role?
    – pt18cher
    Feb 3 '15 at 13:57

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.

  • I would have said that, too... but for the Australian.
    – Catija
    Feb 2 '15 at 16:41
  • 1
    @Catija The exception that proves the rule? After all, Lazenby only did one JB-movie! Feb 2 '15 at 17:40
  • 7
    @Catija Australia is still part of the Commonwealth, while the USA is not. Feb 2 '15 at 18:32
  • 5
    @VedranŠego Ireland isn't in the Commonwealth.
    – Catija
    Feb 2 '15 at 18:39
  • 2
    @ catija, also many Americans can't tell the difference between British and Australian accents, and we are the main market for Bond films.
    – user43097
    Jun 30 '17 at 18:33

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?

Slate: Why are Americans so bad at British accents? A dialogue coach explains.

YouTube: Ten Worst British Accents

YouTube: Actors with the worst fake British Accents

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......

  • 1
    Actors with the worst fake British accents : I just instinctively know that the name Dick Van Dyke is floating in the air here. By a longstanding tradition in the UK, he is always included - unfairly - in this category. I say unfairly because he actually gave a great performance for Disney in Mary Poppins. There his accent didn't count against him, because the movie was a comedy. So it's always struck me as unfair to judge his performance, given in a musical comedy, as if it was given in a drama.
    – Ed999
    Oct 29 '18 at 1:09

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.

  • The character you're talking about already exists: Felix Leiter, the CIA agent who works alongside Bond in Doctor No (where he's played by Jack Lord) and in Diamonds Are Forever, and later on reappears in the second of the Timothy Dalton films.
    – Ed999
    Oct 29 '18 at 1:16

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.

  • With the budget of the James Bond series, and the routine filming of US movies in the UK with American actors .... I'm sure this is a very minor factor.
    – iandotkelly
    Nov 30 '18 at 5:22

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