Angelina Jolie may have turned down being a Bond girl, but she went on to become Hollywood’s first blockbuster female action star. Angelina Jolie has taken on a lot of iconic roles — from Lara Croft in Tomb Raider to the fierce warrior, Thena in MCU’s Eternals. But did you know that she once turned down being a James Bond girl? Here’s why.
Angelina Jolie Turned Down Eva Green’s Role In Casino Royale
Back in 2005, there was quite a competition for the new 007 in 2006’s Casino Royale. It ultimately went to Daniel Craig who was a much younger choice at that time. Of course, there was also a tough search for his leading lady, Vesper Lynd. A-list movie stars like Charlize Theron and Rachel McAdams were on top of the list, alongside Jolie who received a personal invitation to play the character without auditioning. With Jolie turning it down, producers started looking at lesser-known TV actresses like Olivia Wilde who was desperate to work alongside Craig. “I screen-tested for that and I wanted it so badly,” she later said. The Conjuring star, Vera Farmiga also fell in love with Vesper that she flew to London to audition for the part.
“He never really got over her, and those emotions started to interest me,” Farmiga said of Vesper’s history with the secret agent. She also recalled that the audition process felt “like visiting some other acting stratosphere,” and revealed that she was given “the same kind of fake breasts that Angelina Jolie wore in the first Tomb Raider film.” She said it was “fun in the end… But I also knew I wouldn’t get the part.
It took a while, but the coveted role eventually went to French actress, Eva Green. Director Martin Campbell picked her because he was impressed by her performance in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. Green immediately jumped into the project after reading for the part. However, she hated being pestered about playing such a major role. “I got very angry when people kept asking me, ‘What’s it feel like to be a Bond girl?’ As if I was soup,” she once told The Guardian.
Angelina Jolie Wanted To Play James Bond Instead
The real reason Jolie turned down the role of Vesper was that she wanted to be Bond instead. We laughed, and then, about a year later, she called back and said, ‘I think I found it,'” the actress-turned-director continued. Like Bond, the movie was written with a male actor in mind. Tom Cruise was offered to play C.I.A. operative, Edwin Salt, but he felt that it was too close to his character in Mission: Impossible.
Turning Salt into a female-led story turned out to be the best choice. However, Jolie said that it still came with some challenges. “You think it would be easy [to change],” she shared. “You just flip the character from Edwin to Edwina. But it was a lot trickier than we thought. For example, the male character had a child. And he knows he’ll be in danger much of the time. And we realized that, as a woman, if you knew your life was at such risk, you’d never have a child.”
The First They Killed My Father creator added that they also had to work around her being “smaller than everybody” in the film. “The physicality had to change, too,” she explained. “I’m smaller than everybody, so how do I go up against a bunch of men without looking silly? How do I fight? We made her meaner than a guy, and dirty. She uses the walls, the fact that she’s lighter and can throw herself around. It’s the Chihuahua up against the big dogs.”
Angelina Jolie Is The First Blockbuster Female Action Star
You could say Jolie has become her own James Bond, despite not wanting to be an actress at first. In 2016, Forbes deemed her the “First Blockbuster Female Action Movie Star.” The magazine noted that she “wasn’t just an actress who happened to star in an action movie or two,” but that she “built up a steady stream of action-specific blockbusters where [the] least part of the draw was seeing Jolie kicking a** and blowing stuff up.”
In 2010, Salt producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura corrected Jolie’s title. “It’s definitely unusual that a female has become an action star. But it’s a funny thing,” he told Reuters. “She’s not a female action star; she’s an action star. She’s really the first female to transcend gender. I don’t think it’s occurred before. Lori Watson, director of women’s and gender studies at the University of San Diego, also told the publication that it’s an “anomaly” that the Oscar winner “is in the entertainment industry and can approach a male salary.” According to Hollywood historian, David Thomson, it has something to do with the actress’ “strong” persona, both onscreen and in real life.
“She’s too strong, she’s too forceful,” said Thomson. “And that’s not just her screen character. It’s her public character, too. She’s not got that sort of availability for romance. She isn’t really sentimentally appealing. She needs to be doing strong things — crazy things, sometimes — to work on screen.” True enough, even after receiving an honorary damehood for her humanitarian services, Jolie said she’s “still a bad girl” and that that part of her is “just in its place now.”