Almost James Bond

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Henry Cavill was the face and voice of Dunhill fragrance campaign


Henry Cavill in Dunhill AdsHenry Cavill in Dunhill Ads

In 2005, Henry Cavill came close to landing a dream part as James Bond – Casino Royale director Martin Campbell was keen for him to play Bond. In the end he was too young and lost out to Daniel Craig. “I obviously wasn’t right for Bond,” Henry admits now, secure that he gave it his all. “I did, and I wasn’t right. That’s all.” 

More humble than ever, and given the fact that at the time of Casino Royale he was only 22-years-old and he could have easily played the role of the son of James Bond, he adds: “I think it was a good decision, they [the producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Faith] made that choice to maintain the trademark and the level of quality of the film, and it worked perfectly. Bond has that type of unique class, and Daniel Craig incarnates it very well. He modernizes the character and shows everything a spy knows how to do while keeping his fantastic ‘coolness’ that every guy dreams to have.”

When Bond didn’t happen, it is a bit of a sting. But then you look at the result. Daniel Craig did an absolutely fantastic job…

  Henry Cavill

Henry still savors the memory of his audition, which included an all-day fight sequence after hours of training. “It was really painful,” he recalls, grinning. “I felt like I had been genuinely beaten up by the end of the day.” 

Henry Cavill may not have played Bond, but he does drive the character’s famed car. In a 2009 interview, Henry opened up about his biggest splurge, which he said was an Aston Martin DBS — the same sleek, high-end ride that’s been associated with Bond. “It was one of those things that just ended up happening, like, ‘Right, okay, just treat yourself.’”

He didn’t, however, lose out on modeling contracts – in early 2008, Henry Cavill became a model/spokesperson for the new Dunhill fragrance. “They called my agents, and negotiations started soon. The experience is very positive because in addition to get into fashion for Dunhill, I play a character that reflects both a new facet of the brand and of my acting.”

Why Dunhill choose Henry for the new fragrance campaign? “The Dunhill’s spirit is very ‘James Bond’ in terms of fragrance. To succeed Pierce Brosnan in the role of the latest James Bond, it was between Daniel Craig and me, we know the end of the story,” Henry responds with a smile. “I guess they knew it too.”

Robin Harvey and Blaise Douglas, creative directors of the emblematic British brand, wanted to create with this campaign a new image of the English gentleman, a modern representation of the cool Londoner. “We were looking for someone beautiful who would appeal to females as much as men, someone with a marked personality and a great self-mastery.”

Chosen to represent the new Dunhill fragrance for men, Henry portrays the new English elegance wonderfully. This campaign offers a beautiful idea of what could happen if Henry Cavill would play James Bond…


Amid rumours Daniel Craig’s set to hang up his gun within the next few years, does he have any interest in playing Bond? “Of course,” Henry says, grinning. “That's the other one to get.”


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