Daniel Craig: The beloved Heath Ledger movie actor almost starred in before being cast as Bond

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<p>A Knight’s Tale director recalls Daniel Craig’s ‘fantastic’ audition</p> (Getty Images)

A Knight’s Tale director recalls Daniel Craig’s ‘fantastic’ audition

(Getty Images)

Before he was cast as James Bond, Daniel Craig almost appeared in a beloved Heath Ledger film.

In a new interview, writer-director Brian Helgeland has recalled an audition with the British star in which he was trying out for the medieval-set romantic comedy A Knight’s Tale.

Speaking toVariety around the 2001 film’s 20th anniversary, Helgeland said that Craig “came in to read for Count Adhemar, and he was fantastic”.

“This was long before he was Bond, obviously,” he continued, before disclosing how he ultimately decided to go with actor Rufus Sewell for the role.

“He was just amazing. But I had already taken to Rufus Sewell for the role. I came close to changing my mind but it ultimately came down to Daniel was blond and Heath was blond and I though the contrast in looks with Heath and Rufus was better. And they became best friends, those two, they would carouse through Prague together.”

Helgeland also reminisced about casting James Purefoy, who at the time was rumoured to be in the running to play James Bond.

Daniel Craig almost starred alongside Heath Ledger before being cast as James bondGetty Images
Daniel Craig almost starred alongside Heath Ledger before being cast as James bondGetty Images

“I cast James Purefoy as Edward, the Black Prince, and I was like, ‘This guy is going to be James Bond.’ When he’d walk on the set, we’d all start singing the theme to James Bond, the ‘dun-dun-dun-dun.’ And he’d say, ‘Oh, stop!’”

Craig would go on to inhabit the Bond role, appearing in Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015) and the forthcoming No Time to Die.

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