Few things must be more complicated for a movie studio than face the replacement of the interpreter who has spent a good season giving life to a character as iconic and long-lived as James Bond; and we only have to look at the secrecy and the time that has elapsed since Daniel Craig put aside his double zero status after the fantastic ‘No time to die’, released two years ago.
no time to joke
But today we won’t focus on speculating yet again about who will be next to step into the boots of Her Majesty’s Secret Service Agent, but rather going back a few years in time to 2002, the year in which ‘Die Another Day’ was released and Pierce Brosnan’s stage as 007 ended —with a title that is probably among the worst in the franchise.
At that point, the people of EON Productions got down to work to find their new Bond, calling a casting process for a good assortment of actors among whom was found Matthew Rhys. The star of ‘The Americans’ and the brand new ‘Perry Mason’ confessed in an interview with The Times that the experience was “very intimidating” and? he lost the role, pure and simple, for being funny.
At one point in his interview with the producers, they asked Rhys What would I do with the character to improve it?. A question that caught him off guard.
“I just remember saying, ‘Oh.’ I didn’t expect that question. And then I thought, is this a trick question? Are they waiting for people to say, ‘I wouldn’t do anything, that’s perfect’?”
So, Rhys, who had no intention of letting the EON people know that 007 had become something “monotonous” and that it was time to “stop the misogynistic jokes” he chose the path of comedy which, as good old Ignatius Farray says, always makes its way. His response was priceless.
“It would make me lame. I said, ‘Lame?’ Nothing. ‘An eyepatch?’ Nothing.”
And so, Matthew Rhys was left out of one of the most prolific and profitable sagas in cinema history. In his place landed a Daniel Craig who, in my humble opinion, has given us the best run on the character yet. We will see what the future holds for him.
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