The blockbuster hit “Skyfall” is actor Daniel Craig’s third – and critics say his best – turn as Agent 007. Just two weeks into its release, the latest installment in the James Bond franchise had already amassed nearly $700 million in box office receipts and was still going strong.
In addition to bringing back Craig as the iconic spy, “Skyfall” also features such regulars as Dame Judi Dench and introduces an evil and amusing new villain, played by Javier Bardem. In one widely talked about scene, Bardem’s character caresses a tied-up Bond in a homoerotic way.
The Interview Feed spoke with Craig in New York shortly before the film’s early November release. Wearing a light gray cashmere sweater over a white shirt and dark gray tie, teamed with a pair of dark trousers, Craig, 44, is ruggedly handsome and obviously incredibly fit.
Married to actress Rachel Weisz since June 2011, Craig has homes in New York City as well as London. Like Weisz, he’s tight-lipped about his personal life and doesn’t discuss his daughter from a previous marriage, nor her son Henry, whom she is co-parenting with her ex fiancée Darren Aronofsky.
When was the first time that you ever heard about James Bond?
I don’t remember. I think I’ve always known about (him), it feels like that anyway. I remember seeing him at the cinema from when I was six years old – five years old even.
How was it starting out as an actor?
I’ve been acting for as long as I can remember now. It’s very difficult, you struggle a little bit, you work rarely and you try and pay the rent and try and make a living and that’s all you kind of can do. And eventually I did start making a living, so it worked.
But it took some time.
Kind of. I left drama class and went straight and did a Warner Brothers movie and then I did some television in England and did some theatre. I’ve always worked, so I’ve always managed to keep the bank manager at bay.
Have you ever met any of the other Bonds?
I know Roger and I know Pierce. I have never met any of the others.
Could there be a tine that we could get then all together in the same place?
I don’t know why.
Well, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary.
It would be a bit embarrassing.
I think it would be very awkward and embarrassing. I don’t think it’s going to happen, we are all very separate people, and different people. I don’t think we have any desire to be in each other’s company more (than) to sort of say, “Hello.” But to have it paraded out in front of people, I think would just be slightly embarrassing and awkward.
What about a private poker game?
No, I’m not James Bond. (Laughs.) That guy is somebody else. I’m not him.
Ask.com just selected James Bond as the most influential man, over Obama and real people. What do you make of that?
Well, I hope not. I hope Obama becomes a little more influential. (Laughs.) Maybe that’s because the movie is coming out, so I’m everywhere.
So what is it that you like the most about James Bonds’ lifestyle?
I’m not James Bond. The thing is, I am really, genuinely not him, so therefore, I don’t need any of his lifestyle. I have mine. Really, I mean it’s not something I aspire to be.
No. I love cars, I love the things that everybody else likes, but I don’t want to be James Bond.
James Bond is a really old-fashioned guy. He never touches the Internet or iPad. Do you think that’s an attractive aspect to young audiences?
I don’t know. We will find out, won’t we? I don’t think it’s that he won’t touch them, I just think that he still sort of believes in an idea that he’s a front-line troop, and the idea that you kind of fight a battle on a computer is anathema to him. But that’s why I love the character of Q, because Q is sort of a geek and a computer whiz, and the two of them coming together, there’s a contrast there. I like the fact that the two of them could be a partnership, because I don’t think he wants to know too much about that, he wants to talk to people and look them in the eye and ask them the question and I like that. I think there’s still room for that. Maybe not.
This Bond was different because it’s looking back at his roots and how he grew up. Was that the attraction?
I think in a way. I mean, it wasn’t really a conscious decision, but because it’s 50 years, it really ties in nicely to it. And what I love is also that we go back and he destroys it. So that we kind of move it out of the way and we deal with it. And he was orphaned very young so that the love of his parents is something in the past and he’s moved on and the idea that he is kind of, he is satisfied with his life.
Apparently it was your idea to get Javier Bardem?
I am one of Javier’s biggest fans. I’m a bit of a stalker in fact, because I actually did stalk him to get this part, because I went to a party where he was so I could ask him to do it. And he said, “yes,” so it was great. So I love working with him. And he makes me laugh, so it’s a joy.
Did you learn any Spanish from Javier?
No, the sad thing is I didn’t spend enough tine with him, because we were literally working. We both love rugby and I would love to go and watch some rugby with him, eventually, but, yeah, my Spanish is pretty bad.
Do you know any curse words at least?
Yeah, I think so, but I’m not going to practice them here.
So why do you think women like James Bond so much?
He’s dangerous. It’s as simple as that.
I think one of the themes of this movie is getting older. How long can you play James Bond?
I don’t know. I don’t think about it. I mean, I am contracted to do another two movies, so I am not holding my breath, I will see how this one goes, and then we will see after that.
Are you afraid of aging?
No. I mean, like everybody else, you kind of go, “Hmm,” and then it’s like, “What do you do?” You’ve just got to get over it. You’ve got to kind of enjoy life while you are living it.
The Bond here seems less polished than in “Casino Royale,” the good-looking guy who gets the girl. There’s a bit more roughness about it. Is that something that you were looking into?
It’s just me.
Getting older you mean?
I’m six years older. It’s just the way it is. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s just, that’s me. I certainly didn’t think about “Casino Royale” while shooting this movie at all.
Is it getting more difficult for you to do the stunts?
No, it’s getting easier because I’m doing less. Yeah, the stunts are just an incredible part of the movie, and I am kind of involved with them, obviously, as much as I possibly can be. It’s more to do with geography than it is anything else, if I’m not doing the stunt. And then, of course, the very dangerous ones I am not doing, but the way things are now, it’s so much easier and I’ve got so many good doubles. Robbie, who did all the bike stuff, who is world renowned, we just got to make it good and as real as possible.
With all the physical stuff and this being the third Bond, have you found any skills that you are able to apply in real life?
Nothing. (Laughs.) It’s all make believe, and there it stays. That’s true. I mean, it’s just not anything to do with real life. The skills that I am learning, you don’t see on camera. They are to do with working with people and how you interact with people and how are you going to get a job done. It’s nothing to do with me jumping out of an aircraft. I mean, people spend a lifetime doing those things and getting good at them.
How do you deal with the massive fan base of Bond and the accompanying expectations?
I mean, look, the movies wouldn’t get made unless people liked them, so the most important people in the process are the people who go and see it, and we make the movies for those people. But you can’t think about the expectations, you just have to get on with doing as good a job as you can.
Even though you said that you’re doing fewer stunts, obviously you were still working out a lot and there’s a lot of training involved. Was that more or less true on this one?
I think it was about the same. It was probably a little bit more different. I had to do a lot of running in this one, so I just ran a little bit more.
Do you enjoy that kind of thing?
No. It’s like really fucking boring.
So what do you think about when you are doing all those boring hours of running?
The weird thing is actually you can switch off. So I suppose I can get away to doing something mindless so I can get away from what I am doing and actually kind of relax a bit, so that it’s actually … it’s not unpleasant, but it is boring.
Were you at the gym every day?
No, it’s kind of impossible every day. I mean, I’d just wear myself out. The analogy I kind of use is like, even if you have ever played soccer, just for fun, I play a game of soccer every day and I get injured every day. I mean, not every day but every other day. And there’ s no recovery time, because I have to play another game tomorrow. So what I have to do is I have to train, to keep my level of fitness high enough, and if I do get injured, I can carry on. It’s kind of a weird place to be, because there’s no blueprint for how you stay fit. You kind of get physically down and you have to pick yourself up, cause it’s a six-day week for six months and there’s no really downtime, so you have to learn to pace yourself and you eat properly. Like I said, it was very boring.
Like Bond, you are also very stylish. Do you enjoy fashion?
I like beautiful clothes. One of the perks of this gig is that I get sent nice clothes, but I’ve always liked tailoring. My grandfather was a tailor, so that’s always run in the family. I like nicely designed men’s clothes.
Watching you on “SNL,” I wondered why you haven’t done more comedy? Is that something that you would like to do more of?
Not especially, no. There are comedians who make films today and they have a process and most of it is to do with improvisation. There isn’t a script. I don’t know how to work like that. There’s very few writers out there who write great comedy, and if there is, they get snapped up very quickly. I need a funny script. I can’t just yuck it up and make it up. It’s not where I come from.
In what ways are you different from James Bond?
Every way. I hear that man has nothing to do with me at all.
This Bond wasn’t just about huge set piece but great dialogue and story.
I just think you can combine the two, I think you can have everything. Why not?