Actor Mark Strong has revealed he auditioned to be a Bond villain because he was 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 villain role in a Pierce Brosnan 007 film, but a night out with Brosnan’s eventual successor thwarted his chances.
“I had learned my lines and I was pretty arrogant about it,” he told Radio Times. “Because when I started auditioning, you didn’t learn your lines, you just read them with the director. But the day before, I went out for a drink with Danny – that was long before he was Bond.
“And unfortunately, I drank a little too much. So I arrived for the audition the next day, thinking it would all come back to me. But when I entered the room, I dried off.
Strong recalled that the more he couldn’t remember the lines, the worse his hearing got. “I didn’t get the job. It was atrocious.
The 58-year-old has become a staple of Hollywood villains and has also spoken about the importance of playing characters with nuance.
“When you play a villain – which I’ve done a lot of – you can do them, if not loved, at least understood,” he said. “It’s more interesting than a black and white villain… multi-level stories are a lot more engaging for everyone. “
His breakthrough came alongside Craig in the 1996 drama Our Friends Up North, which is how he met his future roommate.
Craig, whose latest Bond film, No Time to Die, was a recent box office hit, “handled it perfectly,” said Strong.
“But there’s no denying that when you’re ripped off being a really cool working actor – and making great independent movies – and being given a universally recognized role in a huge franchise, the pressure is huge.
“You have to have the mental capacity for that, as we see in all of these reality shows like Love Island. You think you want fame; you get on these shows, you get noticed, then the brutal eye of the world’s attention can be really damaging.
Strong also discussed the impact of strict Covid protocols on the filming of the second season of Temple, which included an episode to be scrapped. “I actually think it makes him better. That makes this last episode absolutely jam-packed with incidents.
The thriller, adapted from a Norwegian series, follows the character of Strong, a surgeon who operates an illicit underground hospital. Strong and his wife, Liza Marshall, are executive producers. The second season airs on Sky Max and NOW starting October 28.