Despite his long and successful career in Hollywood, actor Sam Neill was recently left flustered by some old audition footage, proving that even a seasoned actor can be caught off guard.
During a recent appearance on the TODAY show, Neill was left a little red-faced after hosts surprised him with some old footage of his audition to play James Bond.
Although he was initially caught off guard by the clip, Neill eventually laughed off the embarrassing moment before admitting that he was relieved to have not been offered the role.
“Oh, my God, no – That is so cruel to play that, so cruel,” Neill told the hosts as footage appeared on the screen.
“I felt so awkward all the day that we made that thing and it just went on and on and on.
“I am so relieved they offered it to someone else, they are welcome to it – you don’t want to be the Bond that no-one likes, you know – that is a fate worse than death.”
In the resurfaced footage, Neill enters a hotel room as Bond, sporting an unbuttoned shirt and brandishing a pistol.
“My friends call me Bond. James Bond,” he says to a partially clothed woman reclining on a hotel bed.
Did you know SAM NEILL was once up for James Bond (for The Living Daylights)? Well, he did, and here’s his audition… pic.twitter.com/qnnTF06AlQ
— FilmFrame (@FilmFrameATRM) May 17, 2020
Although Neill didn’t land the role of the super spy he did go on to enjoy a stellar entertainment career with appearances in a number of major blockbusters over the years.
Despite his success, Neill admitted to the TODAY hosts that he “never really imagined” a career in Hollywood, “let alone a career as an actor”.
“At the rather advanced age of 30 I suddenly realised I could make a living at what I loved best and I never looked back until I wrote (the memoir) and it has been good to look back – it has been really good for me,” he said.
Neill made an appearance on the morning show to discuss his memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This? in which he no doubt shocked his legion of fans when he revealed his recent battle with stage 3 blood cancer.
As concerns for the star’s well-being quickly grew, the Jurassic Park star took to social media to assure fans he is doing fine.
Neill posted a video to Instagram in which he shared further details regarding his health status and that he is currently in remission.
“Hi I’m Sam Neill, actor of sorts, vintner, and an author as it happens. And my news seems to be all over the news at the moment, and it’s sort of ‘Cancer ! Cancer! Cancer !’ Which is slightly tiresome because as you see, I am alive and well and I have been in remission for eight months, which feels really good,” he began.
“And I’m alive and kicking and I’m going to work. I’m very happy to be going back to work. We start filming in seven days time. I’m doing a thing called ‘Apples Never Fall’ with Annette Bening , and a really wonderful cast.”
Neill then implored fans to focus less on his latest health news and instead get excited about his new book.
“So I hope you enjoy it, and let’s not worry too much about ‘all that’ because I’m fine . Okay !”
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Neill’s impressive career spans more than 50 years and encompasses prominent roles in both dramas and blockbusters. Renowned as an “international leading man”, he is widely recognised as one of the most adaptable actors of his generation.
Following his breakthrough performance in the 1977 movie Sleeping Dogs, Neill went on to take on leading roles in films such as My Brilliant Career (1979), Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), A Cry in the Dark (1988), Dead Calm (1989), The Hunt For Red October (1990), The Piano (1993), and In the Mouth of Madness (1994). Neill gained global acclaim for his portrayal of Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park (1993), a character he reprised in Jurassic Park III (2001) and Jurassic World Dominion (2022).