Shaken, stirred: Mark Strong ‘blew Bond audition after drink with Daniel Craig’

The actor Mark Strong has revealed he fluffed an audition to be a Bond villain because he went out drinking the night before with Daniel Craig.

Strong – best known for his roles as Lord Henry Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes, Merlin in the Kingsman films and Daniel Milton in the medical drama Temple – said he was up for a role as a villain in a Pierce Brosnan 007 电影, but a night out with Brosnan’s eventual successor scuppered his chances.

“I had learnt my lines, and I was quite cocky about that,” he told the Radio Times. “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. So I 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.”

Strong recalled that the more he couldn’t remember the lines, the worse his audition got. “I didn’t get the job. It was excruciating.”

The 58-year-old has become one of the go-to actors for Hollywood villains, and also spoke about the importance of playing characters with nuance.

“When you play a villain – of which I’ve done many – you can make them, if not liked, then at least understood,“ 他说. “That’s more interesting than a black-and-white bad guy … multilayered stories are much more engaging for everyone.”

His breakthrough came alongside Craig in the 1996 drama Our Friends in the North, which was how he met his future flatmate.

Craig, whose final Bond film, No Time to Die, has been a recent box office hit, “handled himself absolutely brilliantly”, Strong said.

“But there’s no denying that when you are plucked from being a very cool working actor – and he was doing some great indie movies – and given a role that is universally recognised in a massive franchise, the pressure is enormous.

“You have to have the mental capacity for it, as we’re finding from all these reality shows like Love Island. You think you want fame; you get on these shows, you get noticed, and then the brutal eye of the world’s attention can be really detrimental.”

Strong also discussed the impact of strict Covid protocols on filming the second season of Temple, which included one episode having to be dropped. “Actually, I think it makes it better. It makes that last episode absolutely chock-full of incident.”

The thriller, adapted from a Norwegian series, follows Strong’s character, a surgeon who operates an illicit underground hospital. Strong and his wife, Liza Marshall, are executive producers. The second season is released on Sky Max and NOW from 28 十月.

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