Henry Cavill Gave A Tremendous James Bond Audition

Casino Royale director Martin Campbell says Henry Cavill gave a "tremendous" James Bond audition years ago, but he was simply too young for the part.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

henry cavill

Two years ago, Daniel Craig managed to go out on a high note with the James Bond film No Time to Die, an ambitious epic that made it clear in every possible way that Craig wouldn’t be returning to the franchise. This has led to increased speculation about just which actor will become the next onscreen British superspy. And while we still don’t know who Craig’s replacement will be, Express reports that Witcher star Henry Cavill once gave a “tremendous” audition and very nearly got cast as the next James Bond.

In fact, Henry Cavill came much closer to getting cast as James Bond than most fans know. According to Martin Campbell, the man who made the casting decision, Cavill “looked great in the audition” and had “tremendous” acting skills.

He summed up the audition details with the kind of bluntness that would do James Bond proud: “if Daniel didn’t exist Henry would have made an excellent Bond.”

If Henry Cavill had all the qualities that would make him a great James Bond actor, then why did the part ultimately go to Daniel Craig? According to Campbell, Cavill certainly looked the part in most respects: he was, as they were hoping for, “in great physical shape… very handsome, very chiseled.”

However, there was one thing holding Cavill back that no amount of time in the gym could fix, and that was that “He just looked a little young at that time back then.”

henry cavill
Henry Cavill in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

While that may sound like a shallow reason to not cast Henry Cavill, longtime fans of the James Bond movies know that the age of the actor playing the superspy is very important. For example, Roger Moore was certainly too old to play the character in his later Bond films, and we imagine Daniel Craig wanted out of the franchise before that happened to him.

But there is also such a thing as casting Bond too young, and since Cavill was only 22 years old at the time, we can understand producers not wanting a Bond so young he could be fresh out of college.

Additionally, Henry Cavill may have lost out on the role of James Bond thanks to the public perception of former Bond star Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan quickly became a fan-favorite when he debuted as the superspy in Goldeneye, and the actor was 44 years old at the time.

Audiences really responded to this older Bond (one twice as old as Cavill was when he auditioned), which means it may be for the best that Brosnan lost his chance to star as the superspy back in 1987 when he was a decade younger.

Still, fans who want a taste of what Henry Cavill might have been like in a James Bond film can always go watch Mission: Impossible – Fallout, a movie in which Cavill plays a CIA agent who doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. However, Campbell is skeptical whether the modern Cavill could get cast as Bond, and we agree…frankly, Cavill might not want to devote another huge chunk of his life to a single franchise as he did with the DCEU.

Still, considering how Cavill’s performances always leave fans both shaken and stirred, it’s fair to say he’ll always have that James Bond swagger.