When producers asked Rhys what he would change about the iconic spy character, he was stumped.
For a handsome British actor of a certain age, auditioning for James Bond is a rite of passage. Another rite of passage: telling one of countless tales of how he missed the part.
Matthew Rhys is the latest actor to wow fans with an embarrassing story about continuing the role. In an interview The Times of Londonthe Emmy Award-winning star of “The Americans” recalled being asked to audition for the part that eventually went to Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale.”
Rhys described the experience as “very intimidating” and explained that after reading it, the producers in the room asked him what he would change about the character of James Bond.
“I just remember saying, ‘Ah. “I didn’t expect that question so much,” Rhys said. “And then I said, is that a trick question? They wait for people to leave, I wouldn’t do anything. Is he perfect?'”
Rhys said his honest response would have been: “Oh, it was a bit monotonous a few decades ago, wasn’t it? I think we can drop the misogynistic jokes.” But instead of saying that, he tried to lighten the situation with jokes that no one laughed at. “I would limp for him. I said, “Are you sick?” Nothing. ‘A handkerchief?’ Nothing, he said.
The actor joked that he imagined Daniel Craig giving a more succinct answer to the question: “Gritty reboot? Job done.”
Rhys’ story should be a cautionary tale for any actor considering telling jokes during the casting process for the next James Bond film. Craig parted ways with the franchise after No Time to Die, making the coveted role his first in two decades. Fans have already started linking actors such as Regé-Jean Page, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Tom Hardy to the role, although producers are in no rush to find an actor. The next Bond film is not expected to hit theaters for at least two years.
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