The Two James Bond Movies Monica Bellucci Auditioned For (And Didn’t Get) Before Landing Spectre

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Part of the reason the James Bond movies have such good behind-the-scenes stories to share is the fact that there are so many who’ve auditioned to be a part of that world who either didn’t get in or found their way in later. That’s not only true with the men who could have been Bond, but also some of the supporting characters in 007’s adventures. 

No one knows that better than series vet Colin Salmon, who played the role of Robinson during the Pierce Brosnan era of James Bond. What’s even more interesting is in a recent interview with the Spyhards Podcast (opens in new tab), Salmon revealed that was also the case with Bond Woman Monica Bellucci. Before ultimately landing the role of Lucia Sciarra in Spectre with Daniel Craig, the actor had unsuccessfully auditioned for two consecutive films in the Pierce Brosnan era.

Colin Salmon was there for both occasions, and he had some exciting stories from both instances. Here’s how he revealed those experiences, starting with his answer to the question of who he was most disappointed didn’t stick the landing after their James Bond audition: 

It’s Monica. Monica Bellucci came in twice actually. She came in once for Tomorrow Never Dies, and again for The World is Not Enough. She strapped me to the chair, I was strapped to the chair, and she straddled me and licked my face. And I was like … and she still didn’t get it. I said ‘Give her anything she wants, please.’

As you can see in Colin Salmon’s wild story from The World is Not Enough audition, Monica Bellucci was clearly auditioning for the role of Elektra King. The surprise villainess who masterminded the evil scheme driving the 19th James Bond film, it was a role that eventually went to French actor Sophie Marceau. 

Though the casting was absolutely perfect, with Marceau’s Bond Woman standing as an equal to 007, it’s kind of hard not to see how good of a fit Bellucci would have been for this role. The prospect is especially tempting when just a couple of years later, she’d play the morally grey Persephone in 2003’s sequels to The Matrix.

Colin Salmon had noted that this was the second time he’d helped Monica Bellucci test to be a female lead in the James Bond franchise. Both instances came about as the actor was tapped to help test the Bond Women for Tomorrow Never Dies, as well as The World is Not Enough. That experience entrenched Salmon in the franchise’s machinery, and eventually helped Pierce Brosnan champion his candidacy to succeed him as 007. 

In the case of Monica Bellucci, her first time trying out for a James Bond movie was a bit harder than that more confident incident described above. Continuing his story about how he and the Italian actress bonded over their previous meeting, Colin Salmon divulged this sweet tale: 

In all honesty on Tomorrow Never Dies, I went and had lunch with her, because I’d spotted she was struggling. Her English was not up to clarity, so I went and I just asked if she’d wanted to run the lines, and we did. Genuinely, because I know that one, I could feel the strain. And then, like I said, she came back for The World is Not Enough, which Sophie [Marceau] did. Then she was there, like you said, in Spectre. I was so happy to see that, especially in a role like that. It was a great role, and Sophie was amazing in The World is Not Enough.

Whether it’s actors, story ideas or anything else that’s up for grabs in the world of 007, the first or even second time around isn’t always the charm. Several former James Bonds were named on their second tries, as even Pierce Brosnan had to wait his turn

Fortune did smile on Monica Bellucci, and the results were well deserved. Through the stories that Colin Salmon told above, the James Bond franchise’s history of never saying never only rings truer than ever, and who knows where that lesson will be taught next.

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