Many supporting actors, including Bond veteran Ursula Andress and a young Woody Allen (who also scripted Pussycat), were excited, but O’Toole would only accept a fleeting cameo (payout: a case of vintage champagne ), and Sellers initially turned down the role of Bond, calling him a “big idiot”. As the comedian was one of the biggest stars in the world at the time, Feldman redoubled his efforts.
As Sellers says: “I was offered a million dollars to play James Bond. And I said, ‘You must be crazy, because what about Sean Connery, Harry Saltzman and all that stuff?’ The producer said, ‘Yeah, I know, but I have this book and I’m going to do it.’ The screenplay was rewritten, this time by Wolf Mankowitz – who had written a screenplay for Dr No, believed The Movie was terrible and requested that his name be removed from the credits – and Sellers, in the midst of a more relationship. besides unhappy with Britt Ekland, has now accepted the exorbitant fees.
Feldman realized that Sellers needed strong dramatic actors to balance his improvisational tendencies, and therefore attempted to hire Trevor Howard, Shirley MacLaine and David Niven, as well as an unknown actor named Terence Cooper. , who would play a traditional version of James Bond.
Although Niven accepted the role of “Sir James Bond,” Howard and MacLaine turned down the roles, which led Feldman to decide that in the presence of Sellers, Niven, Andress and Allen, and an appearance from Orson Welles, the rest of the film could be done “without stars as such”. The directorial responsibility was offered to former Sellers collaborator Joe McGrath, who had worked primarily in television, and production was scheduled to begin at Pinewood Studios in January 1966.