Rupert Friend turned down James Bond as he felt he was too young for the part. The 41-year-old actor was approached about playing 007 when he was just 22 but believed that he lacked the “hard knocks” to take on the role of the iconic spy.
Rupert told Variety: “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.’
Rupert Friend continued, “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.”
The ‘Asteroid City’ actor continued: “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.”
Rupert confessed he is “grateful” that he turned down the part – which went to Daniel Craig – as he feared that he could have sunk the Bond franchise altogether.
He said: “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 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.”
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