Sam Neill discusses auditioning to play James Bond
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Back in 1985, a 58-year-old Roger Moore starred in his final James Bond movie after seven outings. Producer Cubby Broccoli knew it was time to have a younger actor take on Ian Fleming’s 007 for 1987’s The Living Daylights. Timothy Dalton, who turns 77 today, did eventually bag the role, but did you know Jurassic Park star Sam Neill auditioned?
Neill, a Kiwi, wouldn’t have been the first Bond from his part of the world since Australian George Lazenby played 007 in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. However, the 75-year-old actor is really glad he didn’t get cast.
Speaking on Lorraine this morning promoting his new autobiography, he said: “Some of the things I catalogue in the book are some of the worst things to happen to me and having to audition for James Bond.” He spoke of being “bullied” into auditioning by his agent who said to him: “Darling you’re going to Pinewood and that’s it.”
Neill continued: “And so I found myself auditioning for a part that I never really wanted to do because no one wants to be the James Bond that no one likes. That’s an unenviable position. And the other thing is, my friend Pierce Brosnan really wanted the part. I wanted Pierce to do it. So I did this ridiculous audition and it was excruciating.”
Of course, fans will know that the Irish actor didn’t play Bond until 1995’s GoldenEye. However, it turns out he was originally cast in The Living Daylights almost a decade earlier.
Brosnan was thrilled to be cast as Bond, however, he couldn’t get out of his contract with the TV show Remington Steele, so Dalton was cast instead. The latter would return for 1989’s Licence To Kill, but a third movie never got off the ground due to a legal dispute between EON productions and MGM that stalled the blockbuster.
Once this was resolved by 1993, Broccoli asked for Dalton to return for GoldenEye. However, the actor only wanted to make one more; something the producer couldn’t warrant after the time gap, so the role finally ended up with Brosnan.
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