Mark Strong has built a solid career out of playing a stoic, silent and sinister bad guy in a number of notable productions, ranging from Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes to David F. Sanberg’s Shazam! and Andrew Stanton’s John Carter.
The actor’s name must be near the top of the list for any production looking to cast a villain, but it turns out he missed out on a James Bond role in the most ironic of circumstances.
When Pierce Brosnan was playing 007, Strong was living with close friend and fellow jobbing actor Daniel Craig, but the roommates decided to hit the town the night before the former was set to read for an unnamed part.
As he revealed in an interview with The Guardian, Strong was in the running to act as the antagonist to Brosnan’s Bond in the late 1990s, but he had a few too many with his buddy and messed up his audition.
“I had learned my lines, and I was quite cocky about that because when I started out auditioning, you didn’t learn your lines, you just read them with the director. But the night before, I went out for a drink with Danny – this was way before he was Bond. And unfortunately, I had a bit too much to drink. SoI got to the audition the next day, thinking it would all just come back to me. But when I got in the room I dried. I didn’t get the job. It was excruciating.”
It’s one of those coincidences that you couldn’t make up; Daniel Craig inadvertently had a hand in costing Mark Strong his chance at playing a James Bond villain, which would have been roughly a decade before his buddy was eventually cast as cinema’s most famous secret agent.