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The Name’s Craig… Daniel Craig 

With all the recent speculation and media rumours about Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond, and whether he will be reprising the role for Bond no. 25, it is perhaps worth reminding ourselves that it has been an amazing (double-o) ten years since Craig’s first debut as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006).

And what an action-packed ten years! The JBIFC takes the opportunity to celebrate both the general career of the highly talented actor and also a decade of Daniel as Double-O Seven, with 7 brief bullet-points of info about his various screen roles – some of it familiar and some of it less so. We sincerely hope he will be back as James Bond in mission no. 25.

007 and Counting…

001: Daniel Wroughton Craig was born on 2nd March, 1968, in Chester, England. He grew up in Liverpool, England, and moved to London, England, when he was 16. In the UK’s capital city, he trained at the National Youth Theatre and graduated from the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama (in the early 1990s). He made his film debut in 1992 in the American drama The Power of One (1992) as Afrikaner Sergeant Botha, a film set in wartime South Africa.

002: Craig also carved out a healthy acting C.V. in the world of television. He appeared, for example, in an episode of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1993), and also in a Series 2 episode of the hard-hitting BBC police drama Between the Lines (1993). But his ‘breakthrough’ TV role arguably came in 1996: he played ‘Geordie’ in the award-winning BBC TV drama Our Friends in the North. Critics began to really notice and praise the young actor.

003: He shot to international fame after playing supporting roles in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and Road to Perdition (2002). He also took a lead role in the rarely-seen but heartfelt war film Sword of Honour (2001). He was then nominated for his performance as an ambitious drug dealer, the leading role in Layer Cake (2004), and received other awards and nominations. It is thought that the James Bond producers, when looking to cast a new 007 actor, were especially impressed with Layer Cake.

004: Interestingly, Craig’s growing movie-style ‘leading man’ status was also reinforced around this crucial time in his career in the TV movie Arkangel (2005), which was based on the best-selling novel by Robert Harris. Craig played historian Christopher Kelso and – in hindsight – amply demonstrated his confidence in snow-bound physical action scenes.

005: Craig was named as the sixth actor to portray Ian Fleming’s James Bond in October, 2005, just weeks after he finished work on his role in Munich (2005), where he co-starred with Eric Bana under the directorship of Steven Spielberg. Although the choice of Craig for Bond was controversial at the time, numerous actors publicly voiced their support, inluding four of the five actors who had previously portrayed James Bond – Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery and Roger Moore. All of them called his casting a good decision.

006: It was soon clear that Craig was very determined give his version of the character real gravitas. Speaking to Esquire magazine in 2015, Craig commented: ‘I’m a huge Bond fan. I love James Bond movies, and I love all the old gags and everything that goes along with that’. He said he wanted to see some of this in his own 007 films. But he also explained that, with his particular approach to Bond, he also tried to show something more – the ‘consequences’ of Bond’s actions: ‘He has to be affected by what happens to him’.  

007: Interviewed at a Spectre press call in London in October, 2015, Craig was asked about some previous comments he had made not long after completion of his fourth Bond movie, comments which had led some journalists to conclude that the film was his final one as 007. Craig explained that he had said things like that because he had just finished shooting after 8 long months: ‘I said what was on my mind. That’s the way I’ve always spoken’. He said that it was up to him whether he returned as James Bond: ‘There is no contract. It is up to me’. But he added: ‘I love making these films’.

Bondography:

Daniel Craig’s ‘Bondography’ has included adding his voice to various 007 computer games and, needless to say, starring in four of the most financially successful entries in the EON James Bond movie franchise: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), SkyFall (2012), and Spectre (2015). Will this list include Bond 25 in the future? Watch this space.

Did You Know?

The powerful movie Layer Cake (2005) saw Craig’s character come to a sudden and bloody end at the hands of a young Ben Whishaw (who later played ‘Q’ in Skyfall and Spectre). Craig and Whishaw had first acted together in the war movie The Trench (1999), which was written and directed by William Boyd. Boyd, of course, is also a highly successful novelist, as well as something of a Bond scholar, and penned one of the recent James Bond continuation novels, Solo (2013).

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A publicity pic for Craig’s upcoming New York stage version of ‘Othello’, with David Oyelowo, and directed by Sam Gold.