17 years after he came so close to stepping into the 007 tuxedo, Cavill is, once again, one of the hottest favourites in the race, alongside the likes of Tom Hardy, Aidan Turner, James Norton and Bridgerton’s Rege-Jean Page. Back in 2005, Cavill was extremely young when he reportedly made it to the final two in the audition process. Only 22 at the time, it was down to the future Superman and Witcher star against Daniel Craig, who was 37. But he has famously said it wasn’t just his age and inexperience that may have been a deciding factor.
Cavill said: “I probably could have prepared better. I remember the director, Martin Campbell, saying: ‘Looking a little chubby there, Henry.’ I didn’t know how to train or diet. And I’m glad Martin said something because I respond well to truth. It helps me get better.”
The actor, of course, is now known for his impressive physicality, whether headlining his own TV and screen projects or going toe to toe with the likes of Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible franchise.
Casino Royale director Martin Campbell spoke out recently to give his side of the story, while promoting his new film Memory, an action thriller with Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce and Monica Bellucci.
Campbell told Cinemablend: “I did test him for Bond, as you know. He did a very good test, [but] he was too young, and also he wasn’t as experienced as Daniel (Craig) …
“Daniel just fitted the part from being a superb actor, and probably the best actor amongst them all.”
The director also remembered being struck by the young Cavill’s physical prowess in the test scenes they filmed while he was being considered for the role.
He is also full of praise for the way the actor has grown in stature since then.
Campbell added: “He’s better, with age and his experience. I loved him in (Mission: Impossible – Fallout), I thought he worked great with Tom Cruise.
“He’s always good with the physical stuff too. I remember on the (Casino Royale) test being very impressed with his ripping out phones and belting people. He was excellent at all of that, and he gave a very good performance too.”
Cavill has also remained very vocal about his hopes to have better luck entering Her Majesty’s Secret Service the next time around – and it looks like the time is coming very soon for the Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson to start the process. The daughter of legendary Bond producer Cubby Broccoli spoke out this week.
Barbara Broccoli was at the New York opening of Daniel Craig’s off-Broadway Macbeth. She said: “It’s a big decision. It’s not just casting a role. It’s about a whole rethink about where we’re going.”
Cavill recently said: “It’s an honour to even be part of that conversation. I think it would be very exciting to have a conversation with the producers… We’ll see what happens. But yes, I would love to play Bond, it would be very, very exciting.”
He recently starred in the Apple TV thriller Argyll and his director Matthew Vaughan said: “I needed someone who was born to play Bond — which Henry is — and then nick him before Bond did.”
Although the actor is now the ideal age (he turned 39 yesterday) and in prime action hero shape, Broccoli’s comments may hint that the franchise may go in an entirely different direction.
It will be keen to redefine a fresh start, away from Craig’s particular style. The producers have said they are open to any ethnicities but have categorically clarified that the role will not be rebooted for a female lead.