[The Chronicles of Riddick]Every Major Movie Role Dame Judi Dench Turned Down | ScreenRant

  While Dame Judi Dench’s successful career is down to the fact that she accepts most roles, there have been a few that she had initially turned down.

  By Ben Hathaway

  Published Jun 15, 2021


  Split image of Emma Thompson, Kate Beckinsale, and Phyllida Law in Much Ado About Nothing, and Judi Dench in The Chronicles of Riddick

  A beloved and prolific figure, Dame Judi Dench is notorious in the industry for accepting a wide array of roles. By her own admission, her agent reads the scripts first then gives her a quick overview of the ones she might be interested in. Fortunately for her fans, she is interested in most. With that being said, perhaps she wishes she hadn’t accepted every role.

  In fact, she has said that the only role she won’t play is a variation of herself. When asked specifically what she would not play, Dench said, “Probably an 86-year-old woman who’s not able to see.”

  RELATED: Judi Dench: Her 5 Best (& 5 Worst) Films According to IMDb.

  Going back over this industry titan’s career,?her analysis is correct.? However, there are films out there that were not—or were almost not—graced by the presence of Dame Judi Dench.



  Dame Judi Dench turned down?a role in?Kenneth Branagh’s well-received 1993 Shakespeare film adaptation. Offered the role of Ursula, the maid to Emma Thompson’s?Beatrice,?Much Ado About Nothing?seemed like a film tailor-made to Dench’s talents. This is especially true considering Dench made her directorial debut with Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company’s adaptation in 1988.

  RELATED: Keanu Reeves: Top 10 Non-Action Movies Ranked, According To IMDb

  The plot focuses on the soon-to-be-married Hero (Kate Beckinsale) and Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard) as they?try to bring together the seemingly mismatched Beatrice (Thompson) and Benedick (Kenneth Branagh).

  Judi Dench Goldeneye M

  While Dame Judi Dench went on to play M in eight James Bond films (including a cameo in 2015’s?Spectre), she took some convincing. She was unaware of the details of the character and was unfamiliar with the franchise as a whole.

  Her late husband, Michael Williams, begged her to take the role so he could “live with a Bond woman.” While Mr. Williams passed on before she could finish her tenure with the series, her grandson?was equally thrilled.

  RELATED: James Bond: Every Way Goldeneye’s Original Plan Changed

  The film focuses on 007 (Pierce Brosnan) on a mission to stop a former MI6 colleague (Sean Bean) from targeting London with financial disaster. Along the way, he runs into the villainous Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) and develops a relationship with programmer Natalya Simonova (Izabella).



  Like?Goldeneye, Dench ended up starring in?The Chronicles of Riddick, but it took some convincing. This time, the convincing came from Vin Diesel in the form of a massive bouquet of flowers. After that gesture and a personal request from Diesel, Dame Judi Dench gladly joined the project.

  Then, upon release in June of 2004,?The Chronicles of Riddick?bombed at the box office. With a budget of $105 million and a worldwide take of $115 million, the film’s more accessible PG-13 rating didn’t prove to be enough. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 29% score with a consensus that reads “As an action movie,?Riddick?offers some thrills, but as a sequel to?Pitch Black, it’s a disappointment.” In short, the film was a mess that appealed to no specific demographic.

  On the run from bounty hunters, Riddick reunites with the surviving members of the crew from?Pitch Black. Then, when an army called the Necromongers invades, Riddick is forced into the middle of the conflict.


  If anything,?Cats?is the film that scored Dame Judi Dench a Razzie nomination. By her own admission, she has not seen the film, but has taken the Razzie with a healthy sense of humor. However, she did label her character “a mangy old cat” upon seeing footage from the theatrical trailer.

  When?Cats?opened in December of 2019, the reviews were crushing. Toxic word of mouth had spread prior to the film even opening. According to audiences and critics, the toxicity was warranted. The 2020 Razzie’s cemented?Cats?standing as a flop when it unveiled nine nominations for the film, including the “award” for “Worst Picture” and Dench’s “Worst Supporting Actress” nomination.

  The plot follows Victoria (acting newcomer Francesca Hayward) the White Cat as she finds herself stranded on the streets of London. There, she meets?some magical cats who call themselves Jellicles. These Jellicles show Victoria their world in anticipation of the annual Jellicle Ball, perhaps Victoria’s best hope at a renewed life.


  Judi Dench as Commander Root in Artemis Fowl

  While Dench may have rejected Kenneth Branagh’s?Much Ado, she jumped on board his adaptation of the 2001 novel?Artemis Fowl. Boasting plastic elf ears after having just donned CGI cat fur, Dench may wish the choice reversed.

  Released directly to Disney+ in 2020,?Artemis Fowl?was trashed by critics and fans of the novel alike. Those in the audience who weren’t fans of the source material didn’t have any better a reaction.

  Kenneth Branagh’s?movie focuses on 12-year-old Artemis Fowl II as he teams up with his bodyguard (Nonso Anozie), a dwarf (Josh Gad), and a fairy to rescue his father (Colin Farrell) from another, more sinister, fairy. When Artemis decides to kidnap Lower Elements Police reconnaissance officer Holly Short, he may find himself running afoul of the LEP, including commanding officer Julius Root (Judi Dench).

  NEXT: Artemis Fowl Review: Disney’s Botched Adaptation Is No Criminal Mastermind


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  Related Topics


  cats 2019

  judi dench

  About The Author

  Ben Hathaway

  (15 Articles Published)

  Ben Hathaway is a TV/movie list writer for Screen Rant. A former Therapeutic Day Treatment counselor, Ben is now a career writer. When not working, he is writing and self-publishing (on Amazon) novels under the name Scott Gray. In his spare time, he’s reading on the porch or watching every film under the sun. Ben can be contacted at scottgraywrk@gmail.com.

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