For my money, there have been three James Bonds worth tossing back a martini with: Sean Connery, George Lazenby , and Daniel Craig. Sorry, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and even you, Pierce Brosnan. Charming as you all might be, you just didn't make me want to be you or, rather, Bond.
I got to sit down with the latest incarnation of everyone's favorite super-spy recently to discuss Quantum of Solace, and, as weird as this sounds, I mostly just found myself thinking how cool it would be if Craig kicked my ass or hit on my girlfriend or maybe even shot my car up while wearing a Tom Ford suit. He's just that friggin' badass.
Here's the first part of our conversation.
COLE HADDON: So can I ask what happened to your arm [he's wearing a medical sling]?
DANIEL CRAIG: No! [laughs] I've had a tear in the shoulder, and I think two Bond movies have just aggravated it. Doing this one, [Quantum], it started aching really badly halfway through. Because ... [of] the potential actors strike ... we had a deadline. If we didn't finish, we were screwed. So I went to see a surgeon, and he just said, "Fine, you might damage it more, but you're fine and come and see me when you've had a rest." So ... six weeks ago I had surgery, at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
CH: You've had a few James Bond-related injuries now. Is he chipping away at you piece by piece?
DC: [laughs] No.
CH: There seems to have been a much greater effort with Quantum to get you and your face into the traditional stunts being performed during the movie's astounding action sequences. Almost as if you're scoffing at CGI tricks.
DC: You know, we did. We learned a huge amount when we did Casino Royale -- certainly I did, and the stunt team that I worked with did -- about how much I can do and what's the limit. I think we're getting better, at just, you know, making it look like it's me. I try to get as fit as [my stuntmen] are, cause they're seriously fit, and then, you know, I get my face in there -- and if I can get my face in there in that key moment, and not sort of pull the audience out, that's all I want. I don't want the audience to be watching an action sequence and then suddenly to go, "Oh it's not him." There are moments, if you play it really slowly, you'll be able to find [them], but hopefully they're few and far between.
CH: What about the Bond character you loved as a boy did you want to preserve in your movies, and what did you think could use an update?
DC: [The director] Marc [Forster] and I had a long conversation when we came to do this, many long conversations, which we're still doing. We're big fans of the early Bonds, but also the movies that they spawned in the '60s because they had a direct effect on movies all over. One of the biggest things that the [early] Bond movies did ... is go on location. That was unusual at the time. If it was Hollywood movies, they were shot on the back lot. [But if] Bond went to Japan, he was in Japan, and that's what we wanted to make happen in this movie, the feel that you were transported to these places. Plus, trying to add some of the style that they developed back then ... back [into] the movies. Everybody will be saying, "Oh [Quantum of Solace is] grittier and harder," [but] I think it's a very stylized Bond and I like the fact that it has a look [like the originals].
CH: You've said Quantum should be looked at as a bookend to Casino Royale, but it also feels like the second part of a trilogy. Is it possible that the storyline and even themes of these two movies will carry on into the next?
DC: Personally, I think that we've wrapped up all the loose ends that I wanted to wrap up, which is just the Vesper [Lynd] story and also solidifying the relationships, which is so important, you know, with Felix and with M, and sort of where their place in the world is. Now [that] I think we've got a very kind of stable Bond world, we can just do whatever the hell we want -- and that I find exciting. To my mind, there's no trilogy because we've got to do something different now. There's Moneypenny, there's Q, there's all the other characters that we could conceivably bring in. People have asked, "Well, why is there no Q, why is there no Moneypenny?" I'm like, "Because you need to give them to good actors, and you don't say [to a good actor], 'Remember how Moneypenny was played? Can you do that?'" They'd go, "God, no I want to reinvent this character," and so that's what I'd love. I'd like to sort of hand it on to some people with talent, that's all.
Read part two of Cole's interview with Daniel Craig.