James Bond Villain Actor Admits He Wasn’t Good

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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Andrew Scott has been having a pretty big year: previously, the actor was best known for playing Moriarty in the BBC’s Sherlock and “the hot priest” in Fleabag (and, for our money, a damn good performance as the title character in a stage production of Hamlet). Now, he’s been impressing the festival circuit with his performance in All of Us Strangers and will soon headline Netflix’s upcoming Ripley show. It seems that all this success has turned the veteran actor introspective, and as IndieWire reports, he now admits “I just maybe wasn’t that good” as a villain in the James Bond film Spectre.

Andrew Scott Disappointed With His Performance In Spectre

While Andrew Scott seems willing to take the blame for this, it’s worth noting that Spectre was a very disappointing Bond film on multiple levels. After director Sam Mendes dazzled audiences with Skyfall in 2012, hopes were high that the director would deliver another hit with Spectre. Unfortunately, audiences got the cinematic equivalent of whiplash: Skyfall had been one of the best James Bond films ever made, and Spectre was most certainly one of the worst.

Andrew Scott Playd Max Denbigh In The Film

Still, there is room for actors to have some mustache-twirling fun as foils for James Bond even in the midst of bad films. The late, great Christopher Lee managed to shine in the otherwise very disappointing The Man With the Golden Gun, and creepy icon Christopher Walken managed to make his villain the best part of the otherwise forgettable A View to a Kill. In Spectre, Andrew Scott played a kind of evil lieutenant for the titular Spectre organization, but he wasn’t able to imbue that character with the kind of charisma that helped him shine in previous roles.

Scott’s 007 Villain Wasn’t Complex

Interestingly, Scott has a theory about why that might be. His success in other roles has given him a better perspective on what went wrong here. As he put it, “Now I know who I am a little bit more, I feel like the work that I’m just interested in doing is more in the grey areas.”

He Shined In Sherlock

He may have had a very different role in Sherlock, but analyzing that show helps us see what Andrew Scott is talking about regarding those grey areas. His Moriarty character effectively hid in plain sight, and the character’s brilliance (which made him such a great foil for Sherlock Holmes) meant that each of his schemes had varying levels of complexity. Comparatively, there is no real complexity of shades of grey in Spectre: he’s just another black hat for James Bond to put down, and that ended up being as boring for Scott as it was for the rest of us.

…And Was The Highlight Of Fleabag As The Hot Priest

Andrew Scott played a very different character in Fleabag opposite Phoebe Waller-Bridge, but those gray areas were still at full strength. He played a hot priest whom she fell head over heels for, and there was plenty of onscreen tension about whether their feelings for one another could override his religious vows. 

We’d love to see him in more roles like that, and given the actor’s stated preference for playing more nuanced characters, we can only hope future studios and directors can make better use of the underappreciated Scott. In our always humble opinion, he might just be one of the greatest living character actors in the business.