Rebel Wilson has revealed that she auditioned for the next James Bond movie after producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson saw her host the 2022 BAFTA Film Awards.
The “Pitch Perfect” star is currently at the Cannes Film Festival to launch her directorial debut, “The Deb,” a big-screen adaptation of the titular Australian musical comedy. Variety caught up with Wilson to discuss her turn in the director’s seat, and reflect on her no-holds-barred hosting duties at the BAFTAs, where she roasted Britain’s Royal Family.
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Wilson explained that she had to clear some Bond-related jokes with the producers ahead of the awards, which put them in direct contact and ultimately led to an audition.
“What was really cool was getting to audition for Bond,” said Wilson, who stressed that the role she went for wasn’t actually James Bond, but rather another character in the movie. The audition took place last year, though the star played coy about whether or not she landed the gig.
The next instalment of the famous franchise is currently in script stage. Broccoli and Wilson last year told Variety that finding the new Bond is “not just about casting an actor for a film. It’s about a reinvention.” One frequently discussed frontrunner for the role is Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Wilson said that hosting the BAFTA awards was one of the “hardest gigs” she’s done due to last-minute changes to the script hours before the show began.
“It’s one of the hardest gigs,” said Wilson, “because two hours before, [they were like] ‘Let’s just change everything.’ So I had to get up there and wing it. There was so much chaos in that show. Certain people don’t come and then they change the order for the show.”
Wilson continued: “I don’t think people understand because when they watch the show they don’t know that two hours before [the ceremony began], half of it was thrown out and I had to start over. I was literally in my dressing room at the Royal Albert Hall going, ‘What do I write? What do I write?’ I was lucky I had a live theater background.”
The Aussie actor will take the director’s chair for “The Deb,” which is being made as an independent feature, backed by billionaire investor Len Blavatnik and produced by Unigram and AI Films.
Of her decision to look outside the studio system for her directorial debut, Wilson said her experience with previous movies convinced her to try something different.
“As a business woman, I guess I was — I don’t want to say the word victim — but I’ve been in situations before where you’re asked to defer fees and then it gets sold to a streamer, and you never see any of the profit or any of the upside.”
Wilson said her 2022 film “Senior Year,” which she also produced, was watched by 89 million unique Netflix users in its first 10 days on the platform. She put her law degree to good use in working out the licensing deal with Netflix.
“[It’s] amazing, but as a creator, you don’t get any upside from it,” explained Wilson. “A lot of people don’t know I have a law degree and I’m quite entrepreneurial. So as a business woman I was like, for this project [‘The Deb’], I can film it really economically in Australia and then I own 50% of the film. For me, that was very attractive offer and I’m so glad that I get to partner with Unigram and AI and just go 50/50 … I thought it was a good deal.”
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