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The pressures of maintaining a screen ready physique can be brutal at times, especially when your lack of physical shape to play James Bond earns a comment from your would-be director. Believe it or not, out of all the people in the world to have that experience, in a role that almost saw actors like Cary Grant and Burt Reynolds cast in its lead, Henry Cavill was once told he was too chubby to play 007.
Revealed in a recent magazine interview that Cavill participated in, the once (and future?) Superman recalled the following details from a meeting with Casino Royale director that didn’t go as well as planned:
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.
Much like Tim McGraw before him, it’s kind of hard to believe that Henry Cavill out of all people would be considered “out of shape.” With so much of his image being defined by roles in the DCEU, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and most recently Mission: impossible-Fallout, this mountain of a man us hard to imagine outside of his usual regimen.
But, as Cavill admitted in his talk with Men’s Health, he didn’t always look like he was carved out of marble. In fact, if you’re really curious as to how Henry Cavill probably looked around the time he was auditioning for Casino Royale’s big 2006 reboot, we have a reference for you to go by. Take a look at the photo below, from the 2005 direct-to-video spectacle Hellraiser: Hellworld.
It’s hard to tell what’s more jarring: Cavill’s babyface, or the fact that he played “Mike” in a Hellraiser sequel that involved MMORPGs. But, as far as the traditional shape that a James Bond actor is meant to keep in the modern era, it’s definitely a distance from that ideal.
That’s not to say Henry Cavill wouldn’t have been a great James Bond, had he beaten Daniel Craig out for the duties in Martin Campbell’s second time rebooting the 007 franchise. But, if Cavill hadn’t lost that opportunity, he’d have never gotten in shape, and eventually become a DC comics hero and Mission: Impossible villain for the world to drool over.
Luckily, Henry Cavill is totally down to become the next James Bond, especially after his experience in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, should Daniel Craig actually leave the role after No Time To Die. And we’ve got a feeling that like Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan before him, his odds at this particular table game will have skyrocketed in the years after he lost out the first time. After all, it’s not like they can hold a Hellraiser sequel against the man forever; can they?
In the meantime, you can see Henry Cavill enter the world of TV sword and sorcery, as he’s the lead in Netflix’s new show The Witcher, which premieres December 20th. Or, if you want to see him playing one third of the best family of consulting detectives, you can see him as Sherlock Holmes in next year’s Enola Holmes.