Back in the 1980s, after Roger Moore had wrapped his final James Bond film with “A View to a Kill”, numerous actors auditioned for the role of 007 that ultimately went to Timothy Dalton.
Among that group was Sam Neill, who revealed in a new interview with CinemaBlend that he really didn’t want to be Bond.
“I did that with extreme reluctance,” said Neill of his audition.
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“I think that was the last thing I allowed my then-agent to bully me into,” he explained. “Because I said to her, ‘Listen, I do not want to be James Bond. And 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.”‘ So I turn up to Pinewood, I do this audition, the entire thing was mortifying, and luckily I never heard from them again.”
According to a mini-documentary about the making of the first post-Moore Bond flick, “The Living Daylights”, Neill actually came close to being cast as Bond when nearly all the key members of the Bond creative team deemed him to be the frontrunner.
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There was one dissenting vote, however: the late Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, who’d been producing the Bond film’s since 1962’s “Dr. No”, who decided to go with Dalton.
For a look at what might have been, Neill’s Bond screen test can be seen in the video above, just after the 2:30 mark.