‘Mortifying’ James Bond audition gave Timothy Dalton a shot at 007 | Films | Entertainment

After ‘s lengthy tenure came to an end in 1985, the Bond bosses were on the lookout for a new, fresh actor to take over as 007. In the years that preceded him, and George Lazenby had embodied the suave spy. Eventually, the role was awarded to Timothy Dalton – who turns 77-years-old today, on March 21, 2023 – but bosses originally wanted to take on a new actor from an entirely different country for this round of movies: Sam Neill.

Neill is best known these days for playing Dr Alan Grant in the Jurassic Park and series, helmed by in 1993.

As most of the Bond actors before Neill had been British, it was going to be a big deal for the series bosses to hire a New Zealand star to play the hero.

According to Cinema Blend, Neill was encouraged by his agent to audition for the James Bond role in the late 1980s – but he didn’t want to.

“I did [the audition] with extreme reluctance,” he admitted. “I think that was the last thing I allowed my then agent to bully me into.”

After Neill’s James Bond audition came to an end, he sat down with his agent and had a stern conversation with them.

He angrily told them: “Listen, I do not want to be James Bond.”

The actor specifically pointed out he didn’t want to become some sort of laughing stock for the film industry to point at.

He confessed: “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.'”

Neill confessed that he found the entire James Bond auditioning process to be “mortifying”.

He added: “Luckily, I never heard from them again.”

Despite the fact Bond bosses originally wanted Neill to play 007, his audition persuaded them against it. As a result, Timothy Dalton was brought into the picture.

The British star played Bond across two films – 1987’s The Living Daylights and 1989’s Licence to Kill – before he got wrapped up in some legal trouble.

After Licence to Kill hit cinemas, a lawsuit between EON Productions and MGM brought all ongoing Bond movie plans to a grinding halt.

Dalton recalled: “Because of the lawsuit, I was free of the contract.” Shortly thereafter, in 1994, the legal issues came to an end, so the production of a new Bond movie could begin once again.

But after having so much time off, Dalton only wanted to return for one picture. This decision was met with disdain from Bond boss Albert Broccoli.

He told the actor: “Look, Tim. You can’t do one. There’s no way, after a five-year gap between movies that you can come back and just do one. You’d have to plan on four or five.”

Dalton added: “I thought: ‘Oh, no, that would be the rest of my life. Too much. Too long.’ So I respectfully declined.”

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