The Americans' Matthew Rhys blew his Bond audition thanks to a really bad joke

Matthew Rhys in Perry Mason
(Image credit: HBO)

The Americans’ Matthew Rhys has detailed his excruciatingly awkward audition to be the next James Bond after Pierce Brosnan. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go well.

"I do remember a time just before Daniel [Craig] got it," Rhys recalled in an interview with The Times.

The actor detailed the "intimidating" process, which featured a face-to-face meeting with the producers in London. "We were just told to wear a dark suit and read Casino Royale," he explained.

"They said, ‘What would you do differently with Bond?’ And I just remember going, ‘Ah.’ I was so not anticipating that question. And then I was like, is it a trick question? Are they waiting for people to go, ‘I wouldn’t do anything. He’s perfect’?"

So Rhys did what any of us do in that situation – crack a terrible joke. "I’d give him a limp. I said, ‘Limp?’ Nothing. ‘Eye patch?’ Nothing."

The rest is history. Daniel Craig stepped into the role of 007, shaking and stirring audiences across five movies. Rhys, himself, didn’t do too badly – starring in the critically-acclaimed The Americans and currently appearing in Perry Mason.

The search for the next Bond, meanwhile, goes on. No casting decision has been made yet – though the producers sound fairly adamant that they want a "thirtysomething" to take the role. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is stepping into Sony’s Spider-Man universe in the R-Rated Kraven the Hunter, is reportedly one of the frontrunners to replace Craig.

Now, for your eyes only: our complete ranking of the best James Bond movies.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.