Game Of Thrones Star Charles Dance Explains Why He Turned Down Auditioning For James Bond

Charles Dance stands menacingly in an elevator in For Your Eyes Only.
(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

There’s no shortage of stories surrounding the potential candidates to lead the franchise of James Bond movies. In the case of Game of Thrones star Charles Dance, his story is rather interesting, as he was considered as a potential replacement in the ‘80s. However, that candidacy didn’t go too far, as Dance wasn’t so keen on auditioning.

That much was clear as a recent interview promoting Paramount+’s espionage adjacent thriller Rabbit Hole saw the actor revisit the story about why he turned down the opportunity to compete to be the next 007. It’s a fine line that was walked during Charles Dance’s interview with The Guardian, as the previous tale of his passing on the opportunity almost sounded like he was offered the job. 

Much like Liam Neeson’s James Bond story, Dance wasn’t rejecting an outright offer from EON Productions, but merely taking himself out of the running before officially being considered. Here’s how Charles Dance split those particular hairs once and for all: 

No, of course I didn’t turn down James Bond! What happened was, my agent called and said: ‘I urge you not to do it. Just think how you’ll feel if you don’t get it. It will kill your career stone-dead.’ She was probably right. If I’d got it, I would have probably fucked it up.

For context, Charles Dance’s name came up in consideration as a successor to the late Sir Roger Moore’s James Bond era. Strangely enough, that may have been due to Dance’s appearance as henchman Claus in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, which saw the future Tywin Lannister pursuing 007 through a ski village.

Though the one fact that seems to stick out through all of the retellings of the actor’s James Bond chances is the fact that he claimed he’d have “fucked it up” if he had landed the gig. Charles Dance certainly didn't gum up the works for his career by abstaining from the 00-fun he could have had. Everything from Alien 3 to The Last Action Hero, as well as Game of Thrones and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, allowed the legendary thespian to stretch his blockbuster muscles in the long run. 

In the Bond legacy, the stories of people who didn’t exactly want the role turn out to be the more interesting ones. The case of Sam Neill being “bullied” into a James Bond audition is another example where a well-known actor who could have arguably crushed the role, yet wasn’t as hot on the concept as others may have been. In cases like those, history seems to shake out as it was meant to, as both Neill and Charles Dance’s disqualifications and caveats made way for Timothy Dalton’s 007 duology, which helped pave the way for the future in more ways than one. 

Besides, like Sam Neill mentioned in his story, no one ever wants to run the risk of being the James Bond that people hated. So unless you're 150% committed, staying out of the gun barrel isn't a bad career move. Charles Dance, as always, made the commanding decision and ended up winning the game he was playing. 

Having a Paramount+ subscription offers viewers a unique double feature opportunity, and it all centers around Charles Dance. Not only can you catch him in action through the current season of Rabbit Hole, but you can also see his younger self in For Your Eyes Only. As both are currently streaming through that same platform, you can form your own opinions as to whether Mr. Dance was correct in his assumption, or if he’s yet another Bond that got away.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.