The New 007: Craig, Daniel Craig

By now, you should already know the name Daniel Craig and that he’s the sixth actor to take on the role of James Bond, agent 007 of England’s MI6 Secret Service, and that he has the unenviable task of reinvigorating the franchise by telling a story of Bond’s early days as a 00 agent in Casino Royale.’s James Bond Hype! spoke to Craig while he was still filming the movie in the Bahamas, but we had another chance recently to catch up and see how he’s doing as his debut as James Bond gets closer.

James Bond Hype!: How did you feel about the negative reaction after you were cast as James Bond?

Daniel Craig: It happened. People’s passionate belief in this and what they feel, how connected they feel with Bond, that’s fine. The fact is there was nothing I could do. It did affect me. It affected me for a couple of days, but I got into myself and said, “We have to make this brilliant, the best it can be, or the best I can make it”. And that strengthened my resolve. Throw the computer away and don’t look on the internet. That’s the best thing to do.

JBH!: Did you want to tell your doubters to “f**k off”?

Craig: No, that’s not the way I am. That doesn’t interest me in the slightest. I set out to make a good movie. That was never an issue. I stand by that, I’ve got better things to do.

JBH!: Did you have a chance to speak to Pierce Brosnan or previous Bonds before taking the role?

Craig: I spoke to Pierce. He’s been great. He’s been very supportive. He said, you have to go for it.

JBH!: You have to do more action in this movie than all of your previous movies combined. Was that you doing a lot of that running after Sebastien Foucan?

Craig: Sebastien’s been doing this all his life, but that’s what I loved about this. Sebastien is skillful, some of these things are phenomenal, that lift-job thing he does. It’s about him keeping up. And I like this idea, you got this human being that suddenly takes off, and that’s how Bond deals with that, using the crane to get up as opposed to climbing up. I think that makes the scene much more interesting and much more exciting.

JBH!: With all that running in the film, did you have to work extra hard to keep fit?

Craig: I’ve always kept to look fit. I quit smoking, which was actually the best thing…

JBH!: Did you stop drinking?

Craig: No, God almighty no, I wouldn’t have gotten through a week. That was Saturday night, I had to have that. I kept fit. I got into the gym. I started running, started bicycling, and I pumped weights. It was twofold reason really, because I wanted it to look like he was physically capable. I wanted it to look like it was possible. Plus the fact that I knew that if I was going to do many of the stunts I wanted to do, I had to be physically fit to do them. I don’t think I would have survived. I was getting injuries all the time, but everybody was, the stunt guys were getting injuries. You have the painkillers, you have the strapping, you have the physiotherapy, then they pat me on the backside and say, “C’mon, get on with it.”

JBH!: Was it your decision to do as many of the stunts yourself as you could?

Craig: Not mine alone, it has to be safe. Gary Powell, the stunt coordinator, basically tested me out as we went along. He said, “I think you can do this.” I nodded and said, “Okay, I’ll have a go.”

JBH!: What are some of favorite Bond films and what did you take from those characters?

Craig: “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love,” they’re great, just the best, they’re two of my favorite movies. Sean Connery being physical, scary, complicated, bad, all those things about that character. Besides whether it’s Bond, it’s a great character, it’s something that he created that’s lasted this long. Those two are very special.

JBH!: Was it difficult to walk the line between being tough and being emotional in the movie?

Craig: What do you think? (laughs) You have to answer that question. I tried to walk the line very carefully. The moment that SPOILER!!! has to be an emotional moment. To not make it emotional would have like screwed everything that had gone on before. It’s a Bond movie. I was keen on the idea, this is James Bond, he is somebody, but it’s how he is in that situation that’s interesting. It’s how closed off he is that’s interesting. The fact that he’s alone at that point, it affords him, if somebody walked up, he’d dry his eyes and walk away. But the fact is he’s alone and we catch a private moment. As an actor that’s my bread and butter. It fit, and that seemed to be the right thing to do. There were other takes that maybe were a little less emotional, but we played around it. There were five or six takes of that scene, and there’s one that absolutely nothings going on. That’s the first take.

JBH!: Did playing an intelligence agent in “Munich” help to inform you playing Bond?

Craig: No, it’s a different deal. There are things about guys who are in the army. There is a vanity to these guys. They’re very particular, they have to be. Bond is kind of like the exaggeration of these things, down to the cufflinks. But it’s a particular thing, because there has to be a sense of order to these things. Then he can react to it. With that character, there was a sense of that. I promise you I wasn’t trying to do something similar, though Spielberg would sometimes play the Bond theme.

JBH!: Can you talk about shooting the poker scenes? There was very little dialogue, so I wondered what kind of direction you were given for the reaction shots?

Craig: I can’t tell you how complicated that was. Thankfully, to Michael Wilson, he is a really keen card player and he rehearsed everyone on the tables, so everyone knew what they were doing. We had like five packs of cards, all in the right order. They were all coded, so we start the game at any point we want, and the cards are going down in exactly the right order. I just went, now let’s play poker. Mads and I, he’s fantastic, a great actor, it was like sparring, it was great fun to do, just to get that dynamic going between the two of them, just looking at each other and saying, it was a fight. We never have a physical fight in the movie, that was our physical fight. The card game, Martin and the editor, getting that together, making that believable. Not everybody knows about cards in the audience, but that’s poker. That’s really what it is, pushing those chips, bringing up the tension of it. A whole bunch of people made that happen.

JBH!: Barbara Brocolli said she didn’t care for “Die Another Day” because it went over the top, so was it important for you to avoid that?

Craig: It’s that thing again, isn’t it? Again, all I’m concerned about is that we cast the right people in the roles. Being able to top this, Christsake, Mads weeps blood! It’s quite over the top, but it’s done in a way that’s great because it’s such a beautiful Bond moment. I want it to be as stylish as it possibly can. All I ever wanted to maintain is that you can do anything, if it’s in the plot. If it’s right and if it feels good, and not there because it’s self-consciously there, then you can do it, because we are in a fantasy world. That’s the fact, this isn’t real life.

(NOTE: The next question discusses a part of the film that might be considered a spoiler)

JBH!: So the torture scene…how did you prepare for that and was there actual pain involved?

Craig: The honest truth is that it was one of the simplest scenes to shoot. It was on the page. It was a great scene in the book and had been adapted so well. Basically, a chair is set-up up, I sat in the chair, it has a fiberglass bottom to it and I’m ensconced in that. It did crack. I hit the ceiling and left. (laughs) Martin and I talked about it a lot. We’ve got to make it real. It’s got to be a scene that gets guys squirming and that was the first thing. And then I said to myself that I don’t want him to lose. Even though it’s all over, and it appears to be, Vesper’s over there getting tortured, there’s nothing he can do, so the only thing that can happen is that he still beats this guy. I have no idea what that feels like and I never want to find out, but the assumptions is the more you get hit the less its going to hurt. By that point, you pass out, you’re past caring. At that point, I just listened to the Foo Fighters and got myself amped up.

JBH!: Were you self-conscious being naked?

Craig: Absolutely…have you seen my other movies? (laughs) Self-conscious doesn’t really come into it. No.


JBH!: Are you ready for the fame that comes with being Bond?

Craig: I don’t know. I don’t know how you prepare yourself for that. I’ve never been in this game for that, I’ve never gone looking for it. I’ve not tried to physically avoid it, but I’ve been more interested in the work. I get it. There are some very pleasant things, but also some negative things that go along with it. It’s sort of juggling those things. Privacy is important. Privacy is important to everybody. Anybody who doesn’t think that, they’re crap. But I know I’m going to lose some of that and that’s something I’ll have to deal with.

JBH!: How do you feel about becoming a sex symbol because of this role and having women swoon after you?

Craig: As far as I’m concerned, the sexiness, the sex symbol, it’s not a consideration. I didn’t go out to play sexy in this film. It’s nice…I don’t know, I’m embarrassed, I don’t know what to say. The important thing in the movie is to see what that’s about. He’s a driven guy. He likes tasting things, (laughs) that’s the best way to put it. If he can, he will. Given the opportunity, yes, that’s part of his character, that’s the risk he takes, combined with the way he enjoys life.

JBH!: Now that you’re Bond, are you obligated to dress up nice and be fashionable?

Craig: These are very lovely things to wear, and I’m very happy to wear them. It’s nice to dress up, but I don’t wear this all the time. I don’t get up in the morning on my days off and wear a suit and tie.

JBH!: What’s your drink of choice?

Craig: Depends on how drunk I want to get. I love vodka martinis. I know it’s a cliché. I love them, but they have to be good. They mix very good vodka martinis in this town, as I’ve found out.

JBH!: What were your biggest disagreements with Martin and Barbara while on the set?

Craig I’m not eating this lunch, how dare you serve this! (laughs) There was plenty of stuff. You’ve met Barbara, she’s very emotional. We didn’t have arguments. We had big discussions about stuff. I was very adamant, and still do, about certain things. We had loads of discussions. Every day, we had discussions about something. Is this right? Can we make this better? How do we do this? I honestly can’t think…I love them.

JBH!: There was a rumor circulating that you were bothered by the suicide bombing plot in the script. Is that true?

Craig: I think that kind of got out of hand. The important thing is that this is a Bond movie and there’s no religious or political motivation with these guys. It’s purely evil, money, these guys are Bond villains. But I like the idea that by disrupting the world’s economy, you can take control of it. That’s what these bad guys are about, disrupting and taking control, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process. We had to set them up in the right way.

JBH!: This role will stick with you forever. Your obituary will probably say James Bond…

Craig: Jesus Christ! That IS a problem! (laughs) Of course, but it’s a very good problem to have. It’s not bad. I say that with gusto now, but it’s why I made this happen. I’m very proud of this movie now. I’m very proud of what we achieved. It was a lot of pressure to get it right. We all set out–Michael, Barbara, and Martin–to make a good movie, and I think we have, and the Bond aspect of it was all in place anyway. I dunno. I don’t want to talk about my epitaph just yet. I’ve got some other things to do in life.

JBH!: Considering that you can’t really do the poker thing again and SPOILER is dead, where would you be able to go with the next movie?

Craig: We can’t bother then (laughs), I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re going to get this movie out, we’re going to sit down in January. We’re all going to have a few drinks hopefully to toast the fact that we actually got this one done, then we’ll start talking about it.

JBH!: Where would you like to see Bond going with his character?

Craig: I don’t think he’s kind of rounded yet. I don’t think he’s actually finished. I think he’s got some more lessons to learn yet. That for me is where we take it now. I’d like to see him get into situations we might not possibly have imagined him in before. That’s going to be the difficult thing, trying to find situations and scenarios to do that. In June of this year, when I finished this movie, the last thing on earth I wanted to do was to make a Bond movie. I was like, forget it, it’s not in the cards. I now feel more pumped up about the idea of taking this somewhere. It’s going to be interesting.

JBH!: How many of these movies do you think you’ll want to do?

Craig: I’m signed for three films. Now I actually feel we’re ready to do another one. What we’ve set up in this one, we set up this idea that there is an organization out there, maybe there’s one person who’s responsible. The fact is now he has to go and get them. Obviously there’s an element of revenge because the woman he loved had to die because of him. It’s all those things that hopefully we’ll take into the next movie. Hopefully all those things will make it as rich an experience as this one.

JBH!: There were rumors of Roger Michell coming on board for the sequel. Having done two movies with him, was that something you instigated?

Craig: I’m certainly going to work with Roger again, but not in this. Look, I’ve had conversations, we’ve talked about it. Roger and I have other things to do. It probably won’t be in these films.

JBH!: Would you consider making another movie with Martin even if it’s not a Bond film?

Craig: I would do that. I don’t think we’re ready to do it just yet, but I can see that.

JBH!: What does Bond do to your schedule considering that you’ll have to do one of them every other year?

Craig:Yeah, I don’t think we’ll start shooting until the end of next year. So next year is clear. I don’t know. That’s what I do. That’s my job. It’s not exhausting. I like to think of myself as a moviemaker and a moviemaker makes movies.

JBH!: Is there an understanding that if Scorsese or Spielberg calls, they’ll wait for you before starting the next Bond movie?

Craig: Nothing is stopping me from doing anything. I haven’t got a golden handcuff. I’m under contract, but I’m not under exclusive contract.

JBH!: What do you do in your spare time?

Craig: Very little, I like fishing, I like painting, I like painting fish. (laughs) I get away. I try to go somewhere. There are a couple of places, which I won’t tell you about, that are very private and very nice, just clear my head. I don’t see family from one month to the next, so I have to go back and reconnect and make sure they still like me. Do those sorts of things.

Casino Royale opens everywhere on November 17.

Source: Edward Douglas