Legendary director James Cameron helmed 2009’s Avatar and changed the scope of cinema. On top of introducing a 3D aspect to the cinema, the film also became the highest-grossing film of all time – a record it still holds to this day. The movie starred some incredible actors including Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, and Stephen Lang. But long before Sam Worthington became the hero of the movie, he threw his hat in the ring to become James Bond.
Worthington was second in the Bond odds running from Ladbrokes at the time, just behind the now-Superman actor Henry Cavill. The star reportedly got to the final three of the Bond casting in 2005, but was beaten at the last hurdle by Daniel Craig, who later went on to star in five films (the latest being No Time To Die).
At the time, Worthington recalled: “I held off and held off doing the audition because I couldn’t find a way into the character. And when I finally did I went for it. I got a half a day of acting with Casino Royale director Martin Campbell. I got to do some scenes with some great actors, gave it my all, and it wasn’t right for me.”
Years later, the Australian star confessed how he was not disappointed about missing out on the role.
In fact, Worthington spoke candidly about how a James Bond film starring him would not have worked. He said: “I wasn’t gutted at the time, man. It didn’t bother me in the slightest because you can learn from it and go: ‘Do you know what? I wouldn’t want to see a James Bond movie with me in it anyway.'”
What’s more, the Aussie star pointed out how someone else from his country had already been 007, and he didn’t like how that went.
Worthington was of course talking about George Lazenby, who claimed the role of Bond in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The actor – who simply walked into the MGM offices and demanded a Bond audition – only stuck around for one movie, however. He promptly quit and left the Bond bosses to re-recruit Sean Connery as the titular hero once again. On Lazenby, Worthington said: “The last time there was an Australian as James Bond it was George Lazenby and he f****d it up. I don’t want to be the new f****ng George Lazenby.”
Despite these comments, he added that the Bond audition wasn’t completely useless for him.
Worthington continued: “But you know, I learned a lot from that, which I took into the Avatar auditions.” And, three years later, Avatar director Cameron begged the actor to audition for the role of Jake Sully. The rest is history, as he went on to become one of the most successful actors around at the time, going on to star in Clash of the Titans and Terminator: Salvation.
He wasn’t the only actor who had a bad time at the Bond auditions, however.
Cavill was told he was too fat to be Bond at the time in 2005. He told Men’s Health last year about a disastrous scenario with Casino Royale director Martin Campbell, who berated him. He recalled: “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.”
Avatar is available to watch on Disney Plus now.
Avatar 2 hits cinemas on December 16, 2022.
Avatar 3 does not yet have a release date.