CINEMATIC 007 -- Fresh off the set of Steven Soderbergh's‘ ‘Logan Lucky’ where he plays a character named Joe Bang, Daniel Craig was still sporting the platinum blonde hair as he bonded with his fans in a way that one might not expect from the actor with the reputation for being “prickly” with fans and media. What might surprise the casual fan was just how warm, humble and candid Daniel Craig really came across, and with a self-deprecating sense of humor.
About his ‘prickly’ reputation: “I’m not at all! I love my job and I celebrate what I do! But, I’ve always had pretty strict rules about privacy, so when that line gets crossed, I get pissed off.” Of paparazzi and living in the public eye, “It’s incredibly unnatural!” He added, “2005 was the year the Internet went ‘bah-bam,’ and suddenly I was very exposed online.”
Naturally in a 90-minute forum, the conversation will cover the gambit. Daniel Craig was born on a stack of beer crates in the city of Chester, England. His grandfather was a master tailor, his mother an art teacher, and his father was the landlord of two rowdy pubs in Cheshire. With a background like that, you would think Craig was almost destined to become an actor portraying the world’s best-dressed brawler. But, Craig will be the first to refute any reputation as a pub-scrapper. “Normally, what happens in bar fights is you get two guys who are really drunk and get really exhausted really quickly, swing a couple of times and start gasping for breath.” Craig can recount being approached by self-proclaimed tough guys looking to get into a “dick swinging” competition. “I’m an actor! It’s not real!”
A self-proclaimed “massive Sean Connery fan,” the 48-year-old actor described his early days of sneaking to the local cinema where they showed third run movies. He cited Blade Runner as an early influence, as well as Harrison Ford as an actor, and laments the current generic, focus-group-driven nature of the film industry today.
Craig spoke at length about current projects, including the Broadway production of ‘Othello,’ in which Craig will be starring in, that Barbara Broccoli will be producing, as well as the upcoming TV series, ‘Purity’ currently in production, which is based on the novel by Jonathan Franzen. When asked what drew him the character of Andreas Wolf, Craig look bewildered and responded candidly, “Have you read the book? It’s fucking great!”
Of course, there was no escaping the current political landscape. While Craig confirmed he had donated to Bernie Sanders’ campaign and was a Hillary Clinton supporter (“I’m with her by the way.”), even the most ardent Trump supporter couldn’t feel offended by his mild criticisms. “You can’t run a country like a business. There are losses, and businesses wouldn’t put up with that. But those losses are there for good reason; we need to pick up the slack and we have to look after people.”
Craig was asked why at this stage of his career he would take an uncredited role as a stormtrooper. He once again looked confused, saying, “It’s fucking Star Wars!”
His introduction to the role of Bond has to be one of the most unlikely in cinema history. When a good friend passed away, Daniel was one of the pallbearers at the funeral. It was there that a mutual friend came up and introduced herself. That friend was Barbara Broccoli. Six months later, Daniel was invited out for “a cup of tea.” From there, it took a year and a half of deliberation before he would be crowned the new James Bond.
Craig was carefully diplomatic when asked about where the Brosnan era had left the Bond franchise. “I can’t actually raise my eyebrow, I have to use my hand.” He admitted that if the script for Casino Royale had been similar to the last few films, he would have turned it down. It was Craig’s request to be part of the creative process that prompted him to accept the role and make history.
When the subject of Craig’s future as James Bond finally arrived, the actor was eager to clarify his “slash my wrists” comments. “They say that shit sticks and that has definitely stuck to me. But, that was the day after I finished filming. It’s like you’re 20 yards from the end of a marathon and someone asks if you want to do another one, you’d say “fuck you!”
Finally, Craig was asked about the next Bond film. “Where does that conversation stand?” He replied bluntly, “It doesn’t.”
He explained that it wasn’t his intention to make any announcement at this time, and continued, “There’s no conversation going on, and genuinely because everybody’s just a bit tired.”
With that, the floor was opened up for questions, and right out of the gate, one Bond fan pressed Daniel on the issue of continuing the role, and asked what is most tedious about making a Bond movie? Daniel discussed how physically demanding it can be, but continued, “The things I get to do on a Bond movie, there is no other job like it. And if I were to stop doing it, I would miss it terribly.”
He was then asked about ‘Spectre’, and if throwing his PPK into the Thames and driving off into the sunset represented the end of his character arc? Craig replied, “The answer is, Yes,” but continued on, “At that moment, that’s what he thinks. But, it always says, ‘To be continued’ at the end, doesn't it?”
As the enjoyable evening was reaching its conclusion, yours truly had the opportunity to approach the microphone and ask one question: “Daniel, thank you for everything you have brought to James Bond. Is there something that James Bond has given to you? Something that you have taken away from being James Bond that may have surprised you?”
Daniel Craig literally clasped his hands together with a childlike smile and said, “There is a garage upstate somewhere with an Aston Martin in it!”
To hear the interview in its entirety, check out the link below. (Sorry for the poor audio quality.)