Daniel Craig talked to Swedish
TV channel DN on what it's like to play James Bond, and how the
is explored in Casino Royale...
Craig On Being Bond
So why is there still a need for James Bond?
1st November 2006
The simple answer is for entertainment, I think. I don't really
know what the answer is, but the fact that it's lasted this long
is incredible, it's the longest running movie franchise.
It's a very simple story. We have a very simple premise
which is of a lone hero going after the bad guys, and that
to many movies. He's British, he has a level of sophistication
that we hanker after.
If it continues to entertain, and continues
to move people in a way, then it's worth doing again. That's
how I approached this role. I thought that if we could make
a movie that you and I would go and see then we've succeeded,
and we've got this great backdrop of a character that was
invented by Ian Fleming all those years ago.
How do you compare your own interpretation of Bond's character
to previous actors?
The conceit is that we are starting at the
beginning. So I've kind of got carte blanch on how he behaves.
But we meet someone
at the beginning of the movie that doesn't really care if he
lives or dies. His duty is just to get the job done and if gets
killed - he gets killed, and that's the end for him. He's not
emotionally attached to anybody. Actually the person he's closest
to at the start of the movie is M.
What appealed to me about this film is that he falls in love,
completely. There's no question. This is marriage, this is the
rest of his life, and he's prepared to give up everything he's
achieved as a secret agent, as a man, to go and be with this
woman. That I find fascinating. That's where we see him become
the human being that we later know - the James Bond that has
the wall up. Maybe he's not got quite such a death wish at the
end of it, maybe he understands life a bit more. But that change
interested me and that's why it's a little different.
The only thing I can do is to do what I do to all the roles
I play, which is that there has to be a truth within what you
do. Audiences know when you're trying to pull the wool over their
eyes. As long as there's a truth within it then it's worth watching.
got a lot of criticism before anyone had even seen you as Bond.
How did you cope with that?
You kind of do and you don't.
I'm not teflon coated, it did effect me. But it gave me a resolve,
and the resolve was that
beforehand I wanted to make a great movie and when that started
happening it was like we've got no choice now - we have to
make the best movie we can. In fact it spurred me on a little
I can't answer criticism like that. Some of it was maybe valid,
but most of it was name calling, it was like playground stuff.
What am I going to do, get involved with tit for tat arguments
over the internet?
What kind of political relevance
do you think Casino Royale has?
Nothing stridently political because it's a Bond movie
and it's foolish to get involved with too much politics. But
you can't help but have it have an eye on the world outside
itself. What I find interesting is that with the world at moment
we're not sure really who the bad guy is and that is what I
think Bond does - sort of clarifies that position a little.
We know who the bad guy is and he's going to go after him and
he's going to get him. That's not a reflection on the world
because the world doesn't work like that, but it's a hope and
without hope we're all gone. So, I'd like to think there's
a little bit of political hope in it.
The bad guys in the movie are non-political,
non-religious, but we do have terrorism and bombing. We
have a group of people led by Le Chiffre - or at least
we think it's led by Le Chiffre - Mad Mikkelsen's character.
They are trying to destabilise the world with money and
by using money as a tool and that's their weapon. The more
money they accumulate the more they can disrupt the world's
economies, so the more they can take over and the more
money they can make. There's a pure evil in it because
they don't care who they kill or who they displace to do
it. That's who Bond is going after. We don't know who the
top man is yet. We will hopefully find out who that is
in the next movie.
Above: James Bond is briefed in
the Bahamas by M about his mission to topple terrorist
financier Le Chiffre at the Casino Royale.
You've said with Bond you wanted to test our
morals. What did you mean by that?
It's a selfish thing. When
you watch the movie I want it to
be emotionally moving. As an audience I like to be questioning
what's going on in the movie as I'm watching it, and afterwards
I like to think about what happened in it. But as I'm watching
it, I want to be moved. He's a dangerous man and he kills people.
He kills the right people, but he does kill people indiscriminately
if he thinks it gets the job done. So we should question his
morals, and then therefore understand what he does. The audience
will be much more engaged if we're involved with his moral struggle.
So if we see some of that, and when he falls in love - which
is another aspect of the story - we go with him... now we get
it. I want to entertain the audience as much as possible and
I think that's the key to doing it.
How would you say Casino Royale differs from the other Bond movies?
in it! Which is one! That's a glib thing to say I know, but that's
the truth [laughs]. Film making has moved on and film
making has gone through a huge change in the past 10 years. CGI
has made anything possible for movies which was impossible before.
But we've made a movie without that and I think we've made an
even more modern movie. I think it's called post... no I won't
even give it a name, I'll get it wrong! We've paired it back
down and made it rougher and edgier. not deliberately as a reaction,
but because I think audiences know the difference now. They know
when they're watching CGI and they know when they're watching
real life. We've tried to make this as much "real-life" as
possible. That's the movie I like to make and I think Barbara
and Michael were keen to make this in to that kind of movie.
What was your experience of being on the set
for the first time like?
Well the first couple of days were very
we did is start off with a fight sequence which I had been rehearsing
for two weeks. Basically, I had to go and get thumped, thump
people, throw people through windows, shoot guns... I was thrown
in at the deep-end and that was probably the best way to do it.
There was something in the papers about me getting a tooth [cap]
knocked out, which I did. It was strange because I thought, "oh,
so that's how it's going to be"! I had it stuck back in
and we carried on like nothing had happened. It was a question
of trying to hit the ground running, and I think we did that.
Then it became six months of my life. Six months of every day
doing something connected with the movie. So, it just became "what
I did", or "what I was".
What does the Bond figure say about
the modern man?
I think it's not really about being a modern man it's
about having some honour in life. It's a horrible expression,
but it's being able to step up to the plate. When it matters,
you've got to be able to make a decision. And it's really hard,
we all know that. Being able to make the right decision
when it matters is tricky and that's what defines us as
what Bond does, he usually makes the right decision at
the right time. Sometimes it's a little questionable, but
have that quality in him. If that's what makes a hero,
what it is.
Produced by Michael
G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli (Eon Productions) and directed
by Martin Campbell, CASINO ROYALE is scheduled for release
on November 16, 2006 in the UK. Principal photography started
on January 30th 2006, with locations in the UK, Czech Republic
(Prague), Italy, and the Bahamas. It will be British actor
Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond. He is the
sixth actor to play the 007 role in the franchise.
The film also stars Judi Dench, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey
Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Tobias
Menzies, Ivana Milicevic, Clemens Schik, Ludger Pistor, Claudio
Santamaria and Isaach de Bankole.