James Bond Frontrunner Explains Why He Turned Down Audition To Play 007, And It’s Giving Me Marvel Vibes

Film News

It’s almost an unwritten rule that if you’re competing for the lead role in the James Bond movies, multiple try outs can only boost your odds. As Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan’s hirings came after previous attempts had failed, that lesson is pretty well enforced in 007 lore. Which is probably why Rupert Friend turning down an audition for Casino Royale feels more like a good luck charm than an albatross. 

The Asteroid City star’s reasons for passing on that opportunity remind me of the same vibes that came from Elizabeth Olsen’s comments on working with Marvel. I gathered as much while looking over comments that Friend had made to Variety while promoting his gig in Wes Anderson’s eclectic film. In his own words, this is why Rupert Friend let the other fellas in contention battle for 2006’s James Bond reboot: 

I met Barbara Broccoli and her brother Michael [G. Wilson] 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.

Admittedly, the 007 legacy can be a very “seat of your pants” experience, especially after what we saw with Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies. Scripts can change in a multitude of ways, and directors can even be dismissed due to “creative differences” at what feels like the 11th hour. 

All the while, contractual obligations have you locked in, whether your next script happens to be a Skyfall or a Spectre in the eyes of the fans. Which leads to one of those moments where Elizabeth Olsen got honest about Marvel about why she felt restricted in pursuing other projects outside of the MCU.

The Scarlet Witch actor’s comments about how multi-film commitments prevented seeking out more of the indie productions that Olsen is more comfortable with are a spiritual sibling to what Rupert Friend had to say. 

That vibe was even more pronounced as The Death of Stalin actor continued to recount how he declined Casino Royale’s audition process:

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.’

As for where Rupert Friend stands now, further along in that same interview he sounded ready to tackle the 007 challenge in his current career phase. Even when I interviewed him for Asteroid City, Friend revealed his ideal James Bond tone for the character; with series vet and Asteroid co-star Jeffrey Wright throwing his support behind him. Judge for yourself, as you can see both men discussing that very subject below: 

Though the 41 year old actor may technically be outside of the age range that has recurred in conversation about the next Bond actor, if people still keep hope alive for Henry Cavill then you can be sure Rupert Friend’s fans will continue to do so as well. In the meantime, you can catch Friend as a part of the head trip known as Asteroid City, which is currently available for streaming with a Peacock+ subscription.

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