Matthew Rhys could have been the actor fans know today as James Bond if it wasn’t for a bad joke he dropped while auditioning for the role. The Cocaine Bear star blew up his chance to portray one of the most iconic spy agents of all time in the 2006 film Casino Royale, a part that eventually went to Daniel Craig.
Amid the intense search for a new actor to play the coveted title of James Bond in the near future, Rhys reflected on his failed attempt to snag the role. He recalled dressing the part before heading to the producers’ office in London, only to crack a joke that sent him home defeated.
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Here’s How Matthew Rhys Blew Up His James Bond Audition
In an interview with The Times, Matthew Rhys shared that his meeting with EON Productions was “very intimidating” and that he was asked what unique spin he would give James Bond:
“I just remember going, ‘Ah.’ I was so not anticipating that question. And then I was like, is it a trick question? Are they waiting for people to go, ‘I wouldn’t do anything. He’s perfect’? [I didn’t want to say] ‘Oh, it’s been a bit one-note for a few decades, hasn’t it? I think we can drop the misogynistic jokes.’ I’d give him a limp. I said, ‘Limp?’ Nothing. ‘Eye patch?’ Nothing.”
Indeed, that was the joke that blasted his audition for the 007 role. Rhys was one of the many young actors shortlisted for the part at that time, along with Karl Urban, Goran Višnjić, and Sam Worthington. Casting director Debbie McWilliams previously explained that none of them had a sense of maturity in their auditions. She told Radio Times:
“We did look at a lot of younger actors, and I just don’t think they had the gravitas, they didn’t have the experience, they didn’t have the mental capacity to take it on, because it’s not just the part they’re taking on, it’s a massive responsibility.”
Daniel Craig ultimately became James Bond, and despite many fans contradicting his casting, the actor managed to propel Casino Royale to new heights, earning $616 million worldwide and amassing positive reviews from critics. The actor finally completed his tenure as the British spy agent after four more installments: 2008’s Quantum of Solace, 2012’s Skyfall, 2015’s Spectre, and 2021’s No Time to Die.
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Has The James Bond Franchise Found Its Actor?
It feels like it has been long since the James Bond franchise opened its doors for aspiring actors, yet producer Barbara Broccoli said that casting has not officially begun. Moreover, it is not easy to find an actor committed enough to fill the shoes of such a well-loved character, not to mention dedicate ten years of his life to the franchise.
Over the past few months, many famous names have been attached to the role, such as Henry Cavill, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. At the same time, McWilliams also noted that they will most likely hire an unknown actor as it has become the tradition and trend in the Bond franchise.
So far, James Bond 26 has no release date yet.
Source: The Times, Radio Times
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