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James Nesbitt always wanted to play Bond - Lucky Man 'is closest he'll ever get to it'

By Kevin Palmer

Published 22/01/2016

James Nesbitt in the new Sky action series, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man
James Nesbitt in the new Sky action series, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man

James Nesbitt admits he once harboured dreams of becoming Northern Ireland's first James Bond, but accepts his new role in drama series Lucky Man is the closest he will get to playing the world's most famous secret agent.

Nesbitt will return to the small screen as flawed cop DI Harry Clayton, a character blessed with power to control the destiny of those around him, in a big-budget production from Sky.

The 10-part drama was inspired by the work of the iconic American comic book writer Stan Lee and Nesbitt said it has let him live out some of his acting fantasies.

"Five years ago, someone might have said I had a chance of being cast as the next James Bond, but let's be honest, that dream is over," says Nesbitt with a smile.

"This latest role is the closest I will get to being James Bond and one of the reasons why I loved it so much. I have been driving speedboats down the Thames at high speed at 3am in the morning, we have done dramatic scenes at the Shard building in London and the Tate modern.

"This is a city that looks amazing on camera and hopefully we are presenting it in an exciting and interesting way."

This latest role ticks another box in his impressive list of acting credits, with the multi-award-winning Coleraine man admitting luck is very relevant to his own career. "Any actor who is getting regular work can say they are blessed with some luck," he said.

"I very much believe you make your own luck by hard work and being in the right place.

"Other times, luck does come up and surprise you. If you bump into someone you haven't seen in 20 years in a place that you shouldn't see them, that is luck and fate playing a role in your life.

"What we have in Lucky Man in the notion that what is lucky for one person can be unlucky for another. Dropping a pebble in a pool and watching the ripple effect on how it affects so many people. It is a multi-faceted story, and the character that I play has so many sides to him as well."

Nesbitt is convinced he has picked the right role to make his return to work after his successful appearance in hit BBC drama The Missing, and accepts he is fortunate to pick and choose his roles from a wide selection of offers.

"In this role, I was asked to play a Northern Irish flawed character. I have to say it was not a stretch to play this role for me!

"DI Harry Clayton should be a good character, but sometimes he cannot be what he wants to be. I guess we can all associate with someone like that."

  • Lucky Man starts on Sky1 HD this Friday at 9pm.

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