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Siobhan Macdonald

Sam Heughan auditioned for James Bond role but bosses said he wasn't edgy enough

Sam Heughan has revealed that not only was he a recent frontrunner to be the new James Bond, but he has also auditioned for the role.

The Dumfries-born actor, who is best known for his role as Jamie Fraser in the historical fantasy series Outlander, was one of the front-runners to play the infamous 007. Sam, 42, auditioned to play Bond when they were casting for Casino Royale but ultimately lost out on the role to Daniel Craig.

"It was quite an experience," Heughan tells EW of the audition. "It was a stage in my life where I probably wasn't ready for it, but I wonder what would have happened if I had got it."

"Look, every British actor certainly has been talked about for the role," he acknowledges. "I would love to see a Scottish Bond. Maybe I'm too old now. I know that they've been talking about making him younger. I feel like that's where they're gonna go, but who knows what's in their mind."

Heughan adds: "But he's a great character. He's a dark character. SAS: Red Notice that I did was very much my homage to the Bond world. We worked very closely with Andy McNab, who is a highly decorated British Special Forces operator.

(Getty Images for ReedPop)

"It's all based on him, the character, so in a way, it's a more interesting role than Bond. That was an incredible experience to study him and to learn about his experiences. So, I feel like maybe I've had my taste of that world."

The Scots actor has previously discussed his chances at the role to play the international spy. Speaking to Sunday Times, he told the publication he believes the next film in the franchise will go “back to where it all began”.

“I think any British actor would. What would I bring? Scottish charm and a slight humour.”

Speaking on Alex Zane's podcast Just The Facts, Sam admitted it would be 'amazing' as he discussed the internet speculation and hype around him joining MI6 in the next Bond flick.

He told the podcast: "It's all media and it's all just... there's no weight to it at all, there's no truth to it. But having said that, you can't help but then think 'God, it would be amazing'.

"I have been up for Bond, I went up when they did Bond 21. It was an amazing experience and I was completely out of my depth. But I think now I feel the right age for it, I feel capable enough to do it, I'd love the opportunity to throw my hat in the ring. Definitely."

Here is an excerpt from Sam Heughan's memoir Waypoints: My Scottish Journey as he discusses his James Bond audition:

As an actor, however, being nice isn't always a quality that opens doors. Even though I am quite capable of playing anti-heroes, or characters with a dark or troubled core, people often fail to see beyond my natural character. During my wilderness years before Batman Live , when I was basically shuttling between fruitless auditions in L.A. and London, I was called in by the makers of James Bond to try out for the leading part. The whole thing was cloaked in so much secrecy I even felt like a real-life agent.

It was so hush-hush that nobody ever confirmed that I was being considered for the main role, but I knew. Of course, it blew my mind to think I might even be in the frame for such an iconic figure. I loved Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights ; he was darker than the other actors.

Sam Heughan reveals the cover of memoir Waypoints (Twitter)

But the real icon was another Scot, Sir Sean Connery, who had it all: charm, ruthlessness, physical presence and the accent to match. 'The names Bond, James Bond.' I had to remind myself to relax and let them see what I could do with the character.

So I went along to the Bond HQ and tried out for the casting director. Afterwards, I was invited to head up to the next floor, where producer Barbara Broccoli was waiting for me, like M, sitting in a leather chair across a large table.

Sam Heughan reveals the cover of memoir Waypoints (Instagram)

A replica gold revolver served as a centerpiece in front of her. The director of Casino Royale , Martin Campbell, was also there. We spoke a little about Scotland and about Bond, read the scene once, then I left. It was all so quick, the sweat beneath my leather jacket just starting to form. It was all just so cool and crowned by the fact that Barbara was charming and delightful.

When I left, I half wondered whether I was about to be tested with a car chase home.

I knew there would be stiff competition, of course, and ultimately Daniel Craig made Bond his own. When I learned the role had gone elsewhere, however, the feedback I received boiled down to the fact that I wasn't edgy enough by nature. I'm always keen to take on criticism so I can improve as an actor, but the suggestion seemed to be that I lacked this quality in my real character.

I could not see what bearing that would have on playing the role, but it was out of my hands, and meant to be.

Outlander series 1-6 are available to stream on LIONSGATE+ in the UK

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