Many actors have moments that change the course of their careers. Sometimes, it’s because they land a certain role. Other times, it’s because they don’t. Altered Carbon's James Purefoy has first-hand experience with this, because he came close to securing the role of 007 -- and he knows what it’s like to face a decision that he knew would alter his life forever.
James Purefoy has built a solid resume over the past few decades, as he’s taken on prominent roles in series like Rome, The Following and Sex Education. His career might have looked quite a bit different, though, if he’d taken a different path -- one that was presented to him on two separate occasions.
There have been jobs, Bond being one of them, where you get very close to getting something and then you start pulling away because the ramifications of what would happen if you got it become a little troubling. The closer I got to Bond, the more I wasn’t really sure.
Pulling back from arguably one of the biggest roles imaginable is a choice not everyone can understand. James Purefoy knows he’s not the only one who had a hard time coming to terms with the idea of being 007 and that even Daniel Craig had reservations:
From what I gather, he turned it down two or three times because of a similar thing – being uncomfortable with being locked into a massive corporate world where you’re gonna spend more time publicising the movie and wearing watches and suits and having to go to photo shoots and publicity drives… and you end up having to deal with a lot of stuff that you’d just really rather not deal with because it’s not your job. It’s not what you do. What you do is exist as somebody else between action and cut. That’s the purest and most interesting part of the job.The Bond thing… I kind of wish it had never been found out that I’d gone up for Bond. It has plagued my life – the job that I didn’t get.
It is pretty easy to see why James Purefoy still feels conflicted. Even though he didn’t get the role, it’s something that influenced how some people perceive his career.