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Daniel Craig bites back at critics and untrue rumours

05-Nov-2006 • Casino Royale

New James Bond actor Daniel Craig has had enough. Stirred and a little shaken by a tidal wave of criticism over his choice as 007, Craig is fed up of biting his lip while everybody has a pop - reports The Sunday Mirror.

Too blond, too short and too delicate were some of the kinder comments. He was even accused of being seasick when he stepped off a speedboat in in London during the announcement that he would be taking over the role from Pierce Brosnan.

Now, as the world waits to see if he measures up in the soon-to-be released Casino Royale, Craig has decided to have his say.

And you can forget about any suave Bond one-liners. Craig is angry, f**ing angry.

According to one report Craig, 38, couldn't drive a car with a manual gearbox, prompting jokes of Bond kangarooing away from the bad guys in his Aston Martin.

"Of course I can drive a manual car," he says. "I flogged the arse out of an Aston Martin DBS around Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear track.

"And in the film I got the car up to 170mph. When I braked, we had those brakes just f**king glowing. Will that do?

"Sorry, but most posh cars are automatic. I think someone leaked that I drove one which gets changed to, 'Ha, ha! You can't change gear'!"

He's also peeved about those seasick-on-the-Thames jokes.

"You know, normally I wouldn't answer these questions, but f**k it, no I didn't get queasy on that boat."

He adds: "Some of the stuff that's been said is as close to playground taunts as you're going to get. 'You've got big ears'... f**king hell! But it's not right. Ask anyone who's been bullied... it hurts. There's a part of me that would love to turn around and shove it up their arse."

Understandably Craig's a little nervous as he awaits the reaction to Casino Royale and says it's a bit like Russian roulette.

"If it's a huge success, I'm f..**ked," he says. "And if it's not a huge success, I'm probably f**ked as well.

"I asked Steven Spielberg, 'Would you employ me again if I was Bond', and he said, 'Course I f**king would'. But he's a huge Bond fan. Taking the part has divided my friends a bit, some of them said, 'You're going to f**k yourself here'. And they might be right."

Casino Royale, which opens on November 17, is the first of a three-film deal which will earn Craig £15million. But his critics are yet to be convinced he has the physical presence to be Bond. They say he could not be more different than author Ian Fleming's original description of an "Eton-educated son of a Scots father and a Swiss mother, with a full head of black hair that fell across his brow like a dark comma".

Among the more bizarre criticisms he has had to face are accusations that he is too short to play Bond and he pointedly refuses to reveal his height. "I'm five to six feet... I'd like to think tall enough," he says. "But I'll never be tall enough in some people's eyes."

But he shouldn't worry. According to most biographies he is 5ft 11in, just an inch shorter than Fleming described his secret agent.

Stripped of the gadgets and the characters of Q and Moneypenny, Casino Royale promises to be a darker, raw Bond movie. There's a vicious torture sequence that was included in the novel which Craig still remembers with a shudder.

"The bad guy takes the bottom out of a chair," says Craig in his interview with GQ magazine. "I'm sat in it naked and supposedly my nuts are hanging down there, although I think in that situation they would kind of go north.

"The bad guy gets a spliced piece of rope and he swings it under the chair and does me with it.

"It all has fibreglass protection but it did crack at one point and we stopped filming quite rapidly and I ran over the other side of the room. Woah!"

Craig also damaged his teeth during shooting in Prague, as the Sunday Mirror revealed.

"I got a cap knocked out, but that was the least of my problems," he says. "You have no idea of the f**king injuries I was picking up during that movie. "But then the whole of Casino Royale was a painful experience. I was in pain throughout the whole movie.

"But you can't show pain. They say you're not doing it right if you're not getting hurt.

"The stunt boys were going through pain levels that I couldn't even imagine and still carrying on. Compressed spines, all sorts of things."

Craig believes that Casino Royale could be the most violent Bond film ever.

"That's the thing with Bond, he bleeds, goes down and gets up again," he says. "There's a bathroom sequence that still makes me wince when I watch it. All my knuckles were split and my hands were in bandages after it.

"I had a fight double named Ben. I did the bits that hurt and he did the bits that really f**king hurt."

Craig says he had doubts about playing the role when he was first approached by producers and demanded to see a script before he made a decision.

"I read it and I loved it," he says. "It engaged me, it made me laugh, it did all the things you want. So then I thought I've got to throw myself into this."

And part of that was keeping himself fit for the action sequences. "I started training when I knew I might get the part," he says. "I work out three or four times a week. But I take weekends off and drink as much Guinness as I can get down my neck!"

Providing the love interest in Casino Royale is sexy double agent Vesper Lynd, played by French actress Eva Green - who was described by one critic as looking "so perfect that it hurts".

And off-screen Craig lives up to Bond's ladykiller reputation, having been romantically linked with Sienna Miller, Kate Moss and film production executive Satsuki Mitchell.

But Craig's love life is definite off limits in this interview. "I'd never talk about a previous relationship even if I wasn't with somebody famous and so I think the same rule has to be applied. The only reason why I'd ever talk about that would be for my own advantage and that's really bad news. That's as low as you can go as far as I'm concerned."

Craig is determined to keep his feet on the ground, although he has admitted a change in the way he is viewed since landing the role.

"Some people think that you're suddenly this multi-millionaire while some fans do think that I'm actually James Bond and they even write to me with plans of action," he says.

The full version of this article is in the December issue of GQ, on sale now.

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