Pierce Brosnan was "just getting the hang" of playing James Bond when he was axed from the movie series.
The 61-year-old actor - who played the suave spy in four films, ending with 'Die Another Day' in 2002 - was asked to extend his contract for a fifth outing after getting to grips with the iconic role, but studio bosses then changed their minds.
He said: "My contract was for four movies, I was invited back for a fifth, and I said yes, then somewhere in the middle of negotiations they changed their minds.
"Just as I was getting the hang of Bond, the door closed."
However, Brosnan has returned to the spy scene in latest movie 'The November Man', in which he portrays veteran CIA officer Peter Devereaux who comes out of retirement, and he insists he might not have taken on the role had he never been a part of the Bond film franchise.
He added to Loaded magazine: "I've got nothing but gratitude for my days as the character and without Bond, there wouldn't be a 'November Man'.
"It feels good. I always thought that one day I would try to find a grittier kind of spy to play again after my services as Bond were no longer required."