Over the last decade and a half, moviegoers have grown accustomed to seeing Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond. Now, it turns out that that casting choice could have gone in a much different direction. According to Martin Campbell, director of Casino Royale (2006), Henry Cavill—known for his star-making turn as Superman in the DC Extended Universe—gave a “tremendous” audition that could have landed him the role.
Speaking to Express UK, Campbell reminisced about the secret auditions held for a new 007 some 18 years ago, after Pierce Brosnan ended his run as the famed MI6 agent. Cavill was only 22 years old at the time, which may have played against him when performing the seasoned Bond. Despite his age, he made quite an impression.
“He looked great in the audition. His acting was tremendous,” said Campbell. “And look, if Daniel [Craig] didn’t exist Henry would have made an excellent Bond. He looked terrific, he was in great physical shape… very handsome, very chiseled. He just looked a little young at that time back then.”
Though he didn't get the role way back when, his name is definitely on the list of actors that audiences can envision as Bond. According to Express UK, the betting odds have him at 7-2, slightly behind Aaron Taylor-Johnson who is at 7-4.
When asked about Cavill finally getting to play Bond this time around, Campbell said, “Henry’s 40, so by the time he’s done the third one he’s going to be 50 and anything beyond that’s two, three years per Bond. He’s in good shape Henry, he’s a good guy. He did very well in the audition, but ironically he was too young.”
Campbell, who also worked on GoldenEye (1995) dispelled the rumor that he favored Cavill over Craig, and explained the complex process that went into the casting choice. “I wasn’t favoring Henry. The way they work with Bond, and it’s pretty terrific, is when they decide on the actor and you audition—in our case, it was eight people—it’s very democratic. You sit around a table, eight or nine of you. It was myself and the producers, casting director, et cetera, et cetera. And you go through the eight people and you put your hand up as you talk through each person and ultimately everybody has to be unanimous in their decision, if you see what I mean.”
While the choice for the next James Bond is still up in the air, Cavill hasn't missed out on playing other equally iconic characters throughout the years. The British actor is not only known for playing Superman, but has also left his mark on TV as Geralt of Rivia, the main character of The Witcher. On top of that, he joined Netflix's Enola Holmes saga as Sherlock Holmes himself. Only time will tell if Cavill will get to add yet another landmark role to his résumé.