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Why Sam Worthington Believes He Missed The Chance To Play James Bond

While the movie world patiently awaits who the next James Bond will be following Daniel Craig's exit from the franchise after five films in 15 years, another high-profile actor has revealed the role was in his crosshairs before Craig made his debut as 007. But while the door never swung open for Sam Worthington to play Ian Fleming's storied superspy, fate was lurking around the corner for the actor in a project that went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide.

Worthington, of course, became a household name thanks to writer-director James Cameron's sci-fi opus, "Avatar," in 2009 with his transformative turn as Jake Sully. A Marine veteran who uses a wheelchair and is paralyzed from the waist down, Sully experiences a vibrant new life when his essence is transferred into the genetically engineered body of a member of the Na'vi — an alien race of 10-feet tall blue beings who inhabit the distant planet of Pandora. But when his fellow earthlings begin to ravage the planet for the invaluable resource of Unobtainium and put the Na'vi in peril, Sully joins sides with his new brethren as well as Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), a charismatic warrior in the tribe whom he's fallen in love with.

13 years after the blockbuster global success of "Avatar," Worthington is back to reprise the role in the film's sequel "Avatar: The Way of Water," where Sully, Neytiri, and their family are trying to adjust to a new setting on Pandora while under the threat of a familiar malevolent force from Earth. With the film already receiving critical acclaim and predicted opening weekend global box office of more than $500 million (via Deadline), it appears Worthington was destined for much bigger things after missing the opportunity to play Bond more than a decade and a half ago.

Casino Royale was not in the cards for Sam Worthington

Time has proven that Daniel Craig was dealt the role of a lifetime when he played James Bond for first time in the 2006 smash hit "Casino Royale" — the first film in the actor's 007 run that also produced the blockbusters "Skyfall" in 2012 and "No Time to Die," his swan song, in 2021.

Before "Casino Royale," Craig was relatively unknown to movie audiences as a busy yet largely unknown actor who appeared in supporting roles in such films as "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" in 2001, "Road to Perdition" in 2002, and "Layer Cake" in 2003. And while the likes of major stars like Hugh Jackman were offered — and turned down — the role of Bond in "Casino Royale" (via Coming Soon), other not-so-familiar faces like Sam Worthington auditioned for the role.

In an interview with Variety about his long road — personally and professionally — from "Avatar" to "Avatar: The Way of Water," Worthington recalled his audition to play Bond. According to Variety, Worthington, who is from Australia, flew to London to do a screen test for longtime 007 producer Barbara Broccoli.

As evidenced by Craig's casting, Worthington's audition didn't cut it; but that's not to say he didn't have the wherewithal to play the character. While Worthington said he seemed to possess the attitude to play Bond, he lacked a certain sense of sartorial elegance. Auditioning for Broccoli in a tux — it is a costume staple for Bond, after all — Worthington discovered that the clothes did not fit the man that the producer wanted.

"I could play Bond as a killer, but I couldn't get the debonair down for the life of me. The suit did not fit," Worthington told Variety. Fortunately for Worthington, the performance capture rig that he wore for Cameron a few years later fit Worthington perfectly.

"Avatar: The Way of Water" is new in theaters Friday, December 16.