Hollywood veteran Sam Neill, best known for his roles in Jurassic Park and The Hunt for Red October, has recently opened up about his experience auditioning for the iconic role of James Bond while sharing his top pick for the next actor to take up the mantle of the suave British spy.
During a recent interview with The Telegraph, Neill reflected on what he described as an “excruciating” audition for the highly sought-after role.
“It was one rather excruciating moment in a long career but people keep asking me about the Bond thing,” he told the publication.
“And I can only say I’m very glad I’m not an ex-Bond but I do have a couple of recommendations.”
Neill then offered up who he thinks should take on the role of the super spy, throwing Scottish actor Jack Lowden’s name into the ring in addition to a local talent.
“[Rob Collins is] an indigenous actor, extremely handsome, and really good. He’d shake things up a bit,” he said.
While Neill’s adoring fanbase never got the chance to see the 75-year-old appear on screen as Bond, they did get a peak when the actor’s audition footage for the role was leaked.
During a recent appearance on the TODAY show, Neill was left a little red-faced after hosts surprised him with the footage.
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 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.
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.
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).