Homeland and Star Wars actor Rupert Friend reveals the reason he originally passed on the opportunity to play James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale. Based on the 1953 Ian Fleming novel of the same name, Casino Royale marked Daniel Craig’s first outing as the famous British spy. Prior to Craig’s casting, over 200 actors were reportedly considered for the role, including Henry Cavill and Outlander star Sam Heughan. After a grueling selection process, Craig was officially announced as the sixth actor to play James Bond in October 2005.


However, in a recent interview with Variety, Friend reveals that audiences might have been introduced to a very different, and much younger Bond. According to the actor, producers had approached him at 22 years of age with plans to reboot the Bond franchise with the main character “basically straight out of college.” Suggesting that he felt as though he lacked the experience at the time, Friend passed on the opportunity for one big reason. Check out his candid comments below:

When I was 22, and just out of acting college, I did three pictures back to back: “The Libertine,” “Pride & Prejudice” and “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont.” And I was told, “We’d love to talk to you about playing James Bond, but rebooting the series. We want to do him basically straight out of college.” And I met Barbara Broccoli and her brother Michael and Debbie McWilliams, the casting director for Bond. Obviously I’ve watched them growing up and just love all the actors and all the movies. Basically they said: you’ll do a screen test, and if it goes well, you’re signed up for three pictures which you won’t read and you won’t know who the director is. You’re basically handcuffed to it. And I suddenly was like, “I just feel at this point in my life and career, I’m too young, I don’t have the experience, I don’t have the acting chops and I don’t have any of the hard knocks — emotionally, psychologically, physically — that a great Bond should have. So I’m gonna politely decline. That was probably a bit of an eyebrow raise for them. To be honest, I’m grateful that I did. Because back then, not only could the part have sort of eclipsed me, I felt like the part was bigger than me as an actor or even as a person. That it would sort of swallow me up and I might sink the franchise, or at least be the worst Bond that ever lived. And that was just not an option, because I love the franchise.

Would A Young James Bond Have Worked?

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time To Die

While Friend should be commended for acknowledging his limitations as a younger, less experienced actor, his comments do raise an interesting question of what Casino Royale might have become with a younger actor in the role. Craig, the actor that producers finally settled on, was 38 years old when he first picked up Bond’s Walther PPK and license to kill, a far cry from the vision for the character that Friend was pitched when he was first approached.

Producer Barbara Broccoli has previously admitted to looking at younger 007s in the past, though she has also gone on to suggest that trying to visualize the idea just “doesn’t work.” Instead, Broccoli insists that the character needs to be a veteran “who has been through the wars, so to speak.” On the other hand, there has already been considerable interest in pursuing a younger Bond with Tom Holland in the role, and Fleming’s estate has also authorized and published a series of best-selling novels focused on a younger version of the character.

Related: James Bond’s Producers Are Right: A Young 007 Would Never Work

Either way, 2006’s Casino Royale would have likely ended up as a very different film had Friend gone on to assume the role instead of Craig. From his own admission, Friend believes he would not have possessed the experience and gravitas at that age to do the role justice, something that Craig excelled in delivering. Whether audiences will ever get a chance to see a young James Bond remains to be seen, but from all accounts producers do not seem keen on pursuing the option any time soon.

Source: Variety

Source link