Henry Cavill Reveals How Close He Got To Playing James Bond For Casino Royale

Henry Cavill in The Man from UNCLE
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In the run-up to casting the lead role in Casino Royale, there were a handful of actors who led the pack to take over the role of 007 in the James Bond movies. Though we know him mostly as Superman and Sherlock Holmes these days, actor Henry Cavill was one of the frequent names to circulate during the contest that would eventually lead to Daniel Craig’s era of 007. Thanks to a new interview, Cavill has only stoked the fires of the past even hotter, as he revealed just how close he’d previously come to slipping into the tuxedo.

During a live taping of Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused (opens in new tab) podcast, the recently returned Superman actor chatted about some interesting tidbits from his past. Things like Cavill’s reaction to Stephenie Meyer wanting him for Edward Cullen in Twilight certainly cropped up, as well as further talk on the Man of Steel actor’s time as Superman.

When it came to James Bond however, Cavill had a pretty solid story to tell. Starting things off, he shared how close he’d actually gotten to starring in Casino Royale. Even more exciting was the reason why he was kind of glad he didn't land the role, which can be read below: 

They told me I was close.They told me it was ultimately down to, and this is what I've been told, it was just down to me and Daniel (Craig), and I was the younger option. They obviously went with Daniel and I think it was an amazing choice to go with Daniel. I probably wasn't ready at the time. I think Daniel did an incredible job over the past movies, so I'm happy they made that choice. It was a fun adventure at the time, and definitely gave a boost to my career. That was the key element of it. I was getting a lot of auditions, which I went to, which went really, really well.

Finishing in second place is a pretty exciting feat, especially considering that director Martin Campbell had screen-tested eight actors for James Bond. With a field that included rumored actors like Sam Worthington and Goran Visnjic, as well as confirmed competition like Outlander’s Sam Heughan, narrowing things down to Daniel Craig and Henry Cavill is quite impressive.

One could definitely see how age was a factor though, as at the presumed 2005 audition for Casino Royale, Henry Cavill would have been around 22 years old at the time. For reference, Daniel Craig was roughly 37 at the time he auditioned for the film. Just as James Bond producer Michael G. Wilson has said about 007’s ideal age-range in recent weeks, a thirty-something Commander Bond is where the role would ideally go.

That fact didn’t dampen Cavill’s memories of this competition, as he went on to further discuss what his Casino Royale candidacy did for his career on the whole. Recalling some frustrating auditions in his acting past, the Mission: Impossible alum shared these silver linings:

It was a fun adventure at the time, and it definitely gave me a boost to my career. That was the key element of it. I was getting a lot of auditions which I went to, which went really really well, and the casting director and the producer would call me and say, ‘You were the best person who came in the room. We loved you, but you’re not a name. … You hear that enough times, you’re just like ‘Aaaah, ok.’ Whether that’s true or not, it could have been a complete lie. It could have been terrible. Once I’d screen tested for Bond, and I was on a shortlist, and my photo was in Variety, then it was, ‘Oh! Ok, this guy might carry some kind of name now.’ And so, it started to help things build a bit more.

During awards season, the common phrase that’s thrown out is that it’s merely an honor to be nominated. With Henry Cavill, his Casino Royale audition story actually lives up to that oft-repeated phrase. Sitting as around the same age as Daniel Craig was when he started his James Bond journey, and with plenty of opportunities lined up for the future, one has to wonder if he’d actually do it all over again for this next round of 00-madness.

At the moment, fans of Cavill’s can see him in a short end-credits cameo for Black Adam, which is in theaters now. However, if you want to catch the return of his less-spoilery Sherlock Holmes, you can see him in Enola Holmes 2 when it debuts on November 4. That is, if your Netflix subscription is active and ready to stream by that particular date.

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.