The entertainment industry has witnessed rare moments when an actor finds the role that defines their career and leaves an indelible mark on both the screen and their own legacy. For Henry Cavill, that role has undeniably been Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher. However, if circumstances had aligned differently, the British actor could have easily portrayed the immortal British spy, James Bond, in what is widely regarded as the finest cinematic portrayal of the iconic literary character to date, currently inhabited by his contemporary, Daniel Craig.
There is a certain allure to issues that are considered forbidden or marked with a sense of finality, drawing even more attention from the masses. Recent examples, such as the conclusion of the DC Extended Universe known as the Snyderverse and the surprising casting of Liam Hemsworth as the Witcher (both coincidentally involving Henry Cavill), have demonstrated how such subjects become even more intriguing to contemplate. Cavill, in these instances, has often been viewed as a victim or martyr, adding to the allure surrounding these projects.
Yet, these instances are not the only times when chance and opportunity have conspired to remove Cavill from prominent roles. In 2005, following Pierce Brosnan’s departure from the James Bond franchise in 2002, casting began for one of the most coveted roles in the industry. The competition narrowed down to two final contenders: Daniel Craig and Henry Cavill. While Cavill impressed during auditions, the director present at the time felt he was a little too young and inexperienced to take on the iconic role.
The verdict on Cavill’s chances in the Bond franchise differs among the filmmakers involved in the production of the 007 films. Director Martin Campbell, who helmed both GoldenEye (1995) and Casino Royale (2006), spoke about Cavill’s audition, acknowledging his tremendous acting skills and impressive physical appearance. Campbell expressed that had Daniel Craig not existed, Cavill would have made an excellent Bond. However, at the time of the audition, Cavill’s youthful appearance became a deciding factor.
While Cavill’s prospects of portraying James Bond may be favorable in the eyes of some, the filmmakers involved in the 007 franchise have presented a different perspective. They believed that Cavill, despite his undeniable talent, looked too young for the role during that particular casting period. As the years have passed, Cavill has matured, and now at the age of 40, he may still have the opportunity to take on the role of Bond. However, considering the typical timeline of Bond films and the aging process, it is speculated that Cavill’s age may become a limiting factor for his portrayal of the iconic spy beyond a certain point.
He looked great in the audition. His acting was tremendous. And look, if Daniel didn’t exist Henry would have made an excellent Bond. He looked terrific, he was in great physical shape… very handsome, very chiselled. He just looked a little young at that time back then.
[Now] Henry’s 40, so by the time he’s done the third one he’s going to be 50 and anything beyond that’s two, three years per Bond. He’s in good shape Henry, he’s a good guy. He did very well in the audition, but ironically he was too young.
Despite the missed opportunity to portray James Bond, Henry Cavill has undeniably left his mark on the entertainment industry through his portrayal of Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher. Whether destiny had a different plan for him or not, Cavill’s talent, charisma, and dedication continue to captivate audiences, leaving a lasting impression on the characters he brings to life on the screen.