Daniel Craig’s latest interview is a walk down memory lane as he says goodbye to his stint as 007

With the release of the latest James Bond film postponed, Daniel Craig talks about how it all started to a leading men’s magazine.
Daniel Craig’s latest interview is a walk down memory lane as he says goodbye to his stint as 007Daniel Craig’s latest interview is a walk down memory lane as he says goodbye to his stint as 007
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We are in the midst of a global pandemic and it has gravely affected our ways. The next James Bond which was slated to release this summer is now releasing in November 2020. This though wasn’t the only obstacle that the movie faced. ‘No time to die’ marks the end of Daniel Craig’s tenure as the charismatic secret agent, James Bond. 

As he took to the cover of GQ looking like his dapper self, clicked by photographer Lachlan Bailey, he spoke to Sam Knight about the bittersweet experience.it was shooting for his final instalment. He began by saying that he was ready to let 007 go. It has been a long journey for the British actor, “He was 37 and blond when he was cast as the world’s most famous spy, in 2005. He is 52 now, his hair is dirty gray, and he feels twinges of arthritis,” writes Knight. With things going visibly wrong, the director quitting, Craig getting injured, a set exploding, they were unsure of how they were going to get this done, “And that was before a novel virus swept the globe, delaying the movie’s April release by seven months, to November,” he adds.

Daniel Craig is completely ready to explore what lies ahead for him. But as he bids adieu it only seems fair to look back at what a marvellous journey it has been. Little did we know Craig really is like the rest of us; when he took his first meeting at the offices, he convinced himself that this wasn’t going to happen and that he would never be able to be Bond. He went on to talk about how he was afraid of the meeting itself, “He had an image of his washed-up older self in a pub, telling strangers that he could have been Bond,” Knight said. 

As soon as he had the part, he hit the books, Fleming’s novels. He researched the character, the book and the movies. The studio demanded a screen-test and while he was appalled at the idea, he knew he wasn’t going to mimic his predecessors. “The Bond of the books was someone Craig could relate to (a) cold, messed up, human,” Knight writes. He wanted to embrace the flaws of the character and understand that the job he had, being a secret agent, could really mess you up.

All of this hard work, and it still wasn’t a smooth casting process. The director, Martin Campbell—who shot GoldenEye in 1995 and went on to make Casino Royale—asked Craig to walk over to a fruit bowl and toss a grape into his mouth. Craig refused. “I just went, ‘No.’ I said, ‘No, I can’t.’ ” The two men argued. “I’m not going to do it. You do that,” Craig said. “It was about ‘How am I going to be James Bond?’ ” Knight says now 15 odd years later it could be easy to laugh this off, but at that time seeing how James Bond was practically royalty, it almost seemed like Craig was just not the right guy. Fans thought the same, while the character could be interpreted however one perceived, there was one unmissable detail that was missing when Craig was unveiled as the sixth 007, the dark hair. 

“Outraged fans set up websites—​blondnotbond.com, danielcraigisnotbond.com—to register their displeasure. “The Name’s Bland—James Bland,” ran the front page of the Daily Mirror. There was talk of a boycott. When shooting for Casino Royale began, paparazzi stalked the set. In the Bahamas, photographers buried themselves overnight on the beach, like turtles’ eggs,” Craig recalled to Knight.

 

When Casino Royale came out, there wasn’t a person in the world who was as tense as Daniel Craig. He was nervous and was having meltdowns, “Casino Royale was a hit around the world. It became the biggest-grossing Bond film to date. But the relief that Craig felt upon being accepted by a skeptical (sic) British public was particular. Britain has a complicated attitude toward its heroes, even fictional ones,” writes Knight. 

Post this, there was nowhere to go but up, “Making his first two Bond films, Craig experienced, at times, a suffocating sense of responsibility. When he accepted the part, he had insisted on having a say in the creative process, but this sometimes left him feeling like he had to control everything. Skyfall made a billion dollars. It also had a solid script,” said Knight. He also noted that there was immense focus on the preservation of the way Craig looked. His body and physique became a point of conversation and also a requirement for the new Bond. His journey was rife with injuries, “Over the years, Craig has caught himself swaying, 60 feet in the air, wondering what the hell he is doing. He burned out on Spectre. In March 2015, he blew his anterior cruciate ligament—heard it go boink—while fighting with Dave Bautista, a former professional wrestler, on the set of a train at Pinewood” he recalls. 

The physical toll was also the reason why the hiatus between Spectre and No Time To Die has been the second-longest in the history of the franchise. Through everything, all the turmoil (and now another delayed release date) Daniel Craig is finally singing off from playing 007 and the only thing he wants to say… Hallelujah!

The excerpts and information in the article are derived from the original cover story in GQ magazine; Written By Sam Knight, photographed by Lachlan Bailey and styled by George Cortina.

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