Daniel Craig’s time in the tuxedo has come to an end, so he has been reflecting a lot on his work as James Bond and his decision to take the role.
It is well known that he was a little reluctant to take the role initially. He feared being typecast. It was the producer’s decision to take the franchise in a new direction, and the opportunity to put his own stamp on the character, that made him change his mind. The role had already been offered to another actor for Casino Royale after he said no first time. Barbara Brocolli always held out for him.
He admitted that he knew there would be no going back after taking the role, that it would be life-changing and, at times, scary.
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter for their Awards Chatter podcast, he said he had joked with a friend about regretting turning down the part if he did not take it.
“I did it knowing it would change my life. I knew that it would flip it and that there would be no going back to who I was or what I was, either personally or professionally… and that was very, very, very scary.
It felt like I was risking something. I didn’t know what that was, but I was risking something. But the decision I made, at the end of the day, was that if I didn’t do it, I’ll regret it.”
He went on to say that he took some advice and guidance from friends, and from some people who are a little more famous:
“I had this joke with a friend that [if I passed on the role then] in 20 or 30 years’ time I’d be sitting at a bar in a corner going, ‘I could have been Bond you know’. And that’s not the person I wanted to be.”
Craig is now 53, but was only 37 when cast as James Bond for Casino Royale. He says when he was trying to make up his mind he also sought advice from a higher power. Super-director Steven Spielberg, who Craig had worked with on Munich. He showed him the top-secret script for Casino Royale and let Spielberg read it:
“He was desperate to read it and he read it very quickly and just said ‘you have to do it,’”
His final movie in the role, No Time To Die, is a critical and commercial smash. It was the highest-grossing release of 2021 until Spider-Man: No Way Home came along and was the highest-selling PVOD and home media release since the start of the pandemic. Due to production and release delays, he also passed Sir Roger Moore to become the longest-serving 007.
The movie is shortlisted in several Oscar categories and just won the Golden Globe for best song. All of this comes from an inauspicious start in the role, first of all due to the “Craig Not Bond” movement online, and a poor performance at his first press conference where he admits he was overwhelmed by the scale of Bond and everything attached to it:
“That was a f****** train wreck!”
However, he says he never doubted he had made the right decision. With a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and producer points on the last two movies meaning he is financially set for life, Bond has been good to him.
He also leaves big shoes to fill for whoever follows him into the franchise as the next James Bond.
If you are a James Bond fan then check out our read-through of the novels in Fleming Revisited: Casino Royale, Live And Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love, Dr. No, Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only, Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, Octopussy And The Living Daylights, and The Man With The Golden Gun.