Today, in “Things Idris Elba probably won’t be asked to do”: Rosamund Pike opened up this week about the process of getting cast in a James Bond film, and the lines she refused to cross while doing so. Pike’s turn as a “Bond girl” came in 2002's Die Another Day (Pierce Brosnan’s final outing as the British superspy), in which she played eventually-revealed villain Miranda Frost, her first major film role. But before she could take the career-launching opportunity, Pike was asked to provide a little more exposure. Of herself. (She said no.)
Pike talked about the audition recently with Audible, while promoting a new audiobook version of Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility—and, specifically, a request that she strip down for producers during a screen test for the part. “I remember them saying I was to drop my dress and appear in my underwear,” Pike noted in the interview. “On the day, I don’t know how I got the resolve and strength of mind, but I just thought, ‘Actually sod that, if they’re gonna see me in my underwear, they better give me the job.’ So, I thought, ‘There’s no way I’m going to take off a dress in the audition for this tape to be sent around Los Angeles and to be judged on that.’”
In other interviews, Pike has talked about the way the Bond film was her first experience of “sort of having to come to terms with yourself as a woman, I suppose, and also an object, as well.” To be fair, the Bond franchise seem like the perfect place for that sort of learning process; there’s nothing new about pointing out that the series is functionally an extended process of watching aging British men work their way through a disposable wardrobe of young starlets—like some sort of suave, martini-swilling Wooderson—but it’s still a stark reminder of how mercenary a process the Hollywood casting system can be.