Sam Neill details “extreme reluctance” auditioning to play James Bond

Sam Neill, auditioning, James Bond, 007, The Living Daylights

Having the chance to get to play James Bond is an exciting notion for most actors that might be in the running but this turned out to not be the case for Sam Neill. While the actor was out and about doing press for Jurassic World: Dominion, Neill told CinemaBlend that he only took the audition out of “extreme reluctance” and he seems pretty happy that he didn’t land the role.

Neill, who was auditioning as the lead-up for The Living Daylights, explains to CinemaBlend that he had to do the standard From Russia with Love scene that most candidates who are up for 007 have to play to test their skills for the part. Neill says that this was the last audition he basically let his agent bully him into and he said he was ultimately reluctant because he didn’t want to be pointed out as the James Bond that everyone didn’t like. You can read his full quote below!

“I did that with extreme reluctance. I think that was the last thing I allowed my then agent to bully me into. Because I said to her, ‘Listen, I do not want to be James Bond. And I particularly don’t want to be that James Bond that everybody says, ‘Look, there’s James Bond in the corner of the restaurant. He’s the one I don’t like.’ So I turn up to Pinewood, I do this audition, the entire thing was mortifying, and luckily I never heard from them.”

It’s hard to imagine Sam Neill being reluctant to take on any role because he has proven to be capable at just about every turn. I can understand that taking on James Bond would be a very daunting task and the time period in which Neill was auditioning was a pretty interesting one for the iconic character. The search for a new James Bond began after 1985’s A View to a Kill marked the end of Roger Moore’s run in the role. It’s presumed that Neill’s screentest came after Pierce Brosnan’s first close call playing Bond shortly before filming began. Of course, Brosnan would eventually land the part years down the line in Goldeneye. We also have a look at Neill’s screentest which can be viewed below! I could definitely see him playing the part, especially back then but this is likely an everything happens for a reason scenario that the actor is pretty happy with.

Neill’s screentest was originally seen in the 2000 documentary Inside The Living Daylights. James Bond series producer Michael G. Wilson recalled in the documentary about Neill’s potential as 007 saying, “All of us were impressed with Sam Neill, and very much wanted to use him. He’d been very successful as Reilly: Ace of Spies. Like a lot of things in life, it was a close race.” Reilly: Ace of Spies was an espionage miniseries that was, oddly enough, directed by Goldeneye and Casino Royale’s Martin Campbell. The end result was Timothy Dalton landing the part after Brosnan lost his shot because there were concerns about him filming his series Remington Steele at the same time as The Living Daylights. Neill was the first person to test for the role and he seems pretty happy that he ultimately didn’t get the part:

“Whereas Pierce [Brosnan], who’s a friend of mine, really really wanted to be James Bond; and I’m so pleased he got the gig. … Pierce really wanted the gig, and he was really good at it. He was terrific. I didn’t want the gig, and I would not have been any good. So all’s well that ends well.”

Things have certainly worked out for Sam Neill, who is enjoying renewed success returning to play Dr. Alan Grant in the just-released Jurassic World: Dominion, which had a massive domestic opening of $145 million over the weekend. That role, in its own right, is also a big part of movie pop culture so he certainly landed a role that continues to be remembered today.

What are YOUR thoughts on Sam Neill almost playing James Bond?

Source: CinemaBlend

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