In retrospect, Sam Jones is absolutely pitch perfect in “Flash Gordon.” There’s a strange, seductive soap opera quality to the movie that feeds off the general zaniness going on. Jones was perfectly suited to play a himbo NFL quarterback who finds he’s a planet-saving hero on Mongo. Watching the film now, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role.
As for those casting rumors, Jones set the record straight in an interview with Zavvi celebrating the film’s 40th anniversary and 4K Blu-ray release. He also divulged that the audition process was incredibly lengthy (a reality that seems slightly laughable now considering the final product):
“A lot of people said that, but Dino De Laurentiis was very confidential and there were a lot of non-disclosure agreements. As crazy as it sounds, my audition process took over eight months, and the last part of that was when he sent me to London to screen test for 30 days.”
The whole ordeal sounds very clandestine and secretive, almost like De Laurentiis was recruiting a spy into a vast intelligence network instead of holding tryouts for a movie. “I was told at the time that other actors were arriving, they wouldn’t mention any names, and we would enter through one door and depart through another, so nobody really saw anybody,” Jones remembered.