James Bond isn’t exactly the kind of role you’d reject. But drama movie actor Rupert Friend maintains that doing so was the right choice for him. In an interview with Variety, he explained why he ultimately decided to pass on leading a series of his own James Bond movies.
“When I was 22 and just out of acting college, I did three pictures back to back: The Libertine, Pride & Prejudice, and Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont,” the Obi-Wan Kenobi cast member explained. “And I was told, ‘We’d love to talk to you about playing James Bond, but rebooting the series. We want to do him basically straight out of college.’ And I met Barbara Broccoli and her brother Michael and Debbie McWilliams, the casting director for Bond.”
He continued, “Obviously, I’ve watched them growing up and just love all the actors and all the movies. Basically, they said: ‘You’ll do a screen test, and if it goes well, you’re signed up for three pictures which you won’t read, and you won’t know who the director is. You’re basically handcuffed to it.'”
The idea of turning down your own trilogy of spy movies might seem baffling, but Friend still believes that it was the right choice for him.
“To be honest, I’m grateful that I did. Because back then, not only could the part have sort of eclipsed me, I felt like the part was bigger than me as an actor or even as a person,” he explained. “That it would sort of swallow me up and I might sink the franchise, or at least be the worst Bond that ever lived. And that was just not an option because I love the franchise.”
So, in short, Friend was concerned that taking on the role of James Bond at such a young age might have led to him not only making the worst movie of all time but also ruining the action movie franchise for good.
Still, it’s reassuring to know that even some of the best actors of all time aren’t immune from imposter syndrome.