Casino Royale director thought Daniel Craig 'was really a superb actor, but he wasn’t a traditional handsome guy' for the role of James Bond

Campbell recounts his hesitations about Daniel Craig and the selection process for the Iconic 007 Role.

Published on Sep 19, 2023   |  11:55 AM IST  |  174.9K
Daniel Craig (imdb)
Daniel Craig (imdb)

Key Highlight

  • Martin Campbell shared his initial reservations about Daniel Craig's suitability as James Bond
  • Despite these initial concerns, Campbell ultimately chose Craig for the role

In a recent interview with Express UK, Martin Campbell, the director of Casino Royale, shared his initial reservations about Daniel Craig's suitability as James Bond. Campbell, who had previously directed Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye, returned to the Bond franchise to cast a new 007 following Brosnan's departure after Die Another Day. Campbell revealed his concerns about Craig's perceived lack of traditional "sexy" appeal compared to previous Bond actors.

The quest for a traditional bond

Campbell acknowledged Daniel Craig's exceptional acting prowess but expressed doubts about his fit for the iconic role. He noted that legendary Bonds like Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan had all possessed a traditional, handsome charm that made them highly attractive to women. In contrast, Craig's rugged and tough appearance deviated from the established Bond archetype. However, despite these initial concerns, Campbell ultimately chose Craig for the role, emphasizing that Craig's qualities outweighed any reservations he may have had. “Daniel was obviously tougher and rugged, but he wasn’t a traditional handsome guy,” he added. “So I just thought about that for a minute and apart from that, absolutely it was always him.”

ALSO READ: Did you know Pierce Brosnan was fired from the James Bond franchise? Here’s what happened

A democratic selection process

The decision to cast the new Bond was a collaborative one, involving several key stakeholders. Campbell explained that a panel of decision-makers, including producers and casting directors, assessed eight potential candidates for the role. Each participant expressed their opinions and cast their votes until a unanimous decision was reached. Among those considered for the role at the time was Henry Cavill, who would later become famous as DC's Superman. While Cavill impressed with his audition, he was deemed too young for the role at that time.

Daniel Craig's casting as James Bond in Casino Royale was met with mixed reactions, as longtime Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams revealed in a previous interview. The press was highly critical of the choice initially, with doubts about Craig's ability to embody the iconic character. Despite the early skepticism, Craig's dedication and performance eventually won over both audiences and critics, leading him to portray Bond in five films.

ALSO READ: Luke Evans to be the next James Bond after Daniel Craig's exit? Former says 'That’s part of the fun of it all'



How did they pick Daniel Craig for James Bond?
While many critics saw Craig's 2004 role as the nameless drug dealer determined to go straight in Matthew Vaughn's Layer Cake as his “audition piece” for Bond, Broccoli insists it was his performance as Jesuit priest John Ballard in Shekhar Kapur's 1998 period drama Elizabeth that convinced her Craig was the one.

Did Daniel Craig quit James Bond?
I suppose I should be so lucky if they were to ask me back, but the fact is I need to move on from it. The sacrifice that he makes in the movie was for love, and there's no greater sacrifice. So it seemed like a good thing to end on." Craig had previously decided to leave the role after 2015's Spectre.

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