Daniel Craig admits he 'preferred going out to gay bars'
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After five James Bond and almost 3 billion dollars made at the box office, Daniel Craig has finally bowed out as 007 following No Time To Die’s explosive finale. When the 53-year-old was cast in his mid-thirties, he was barely a household name, being best known for gangster flick Layer Cake. But upon accepting the iconic role he knew that there would be no way to return to his previous way of living.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Craig said: “I did it knowing it would change my life. I knew that it would flip it and that there would be no going back to who I was or what I was, either personally or professionally. And that was very, very, very scary. It felt like I was risking something — I didn’t know what that was, but I was risking something.”
Producer Barbara Broccoli had spotted him early on in 1998’s Elizabeth as John Ballard, admitting she’d never seen a man swagger into a scene like he did. She said: “He just ate up the screen, he just exploded on the screen.”
In 2005, Craig was invited to take part in a secret screen test for Casino Royale, filming a scene from the new Bond movie, but also a classic one in 1963’s From Russia with Love. The latter famously sees Sean Connery’s Bond in nothing but a towel, walking into a bedroom with a gun and approaching a woman in bed. Dressed without his trademark black tie, such a moment is a great way of determining if the next Bond contenders can still carry the role in such a vulnerable position.
The Layer Cake star was up against the likes of future Superman Henry Cavill, who was barely into his twenties. But despite the coveted opportunity, Craig had his doubts about taking on 007 as he didn’t want to retread what had come before and had even turned down Broccoli’s initial approaches to audition.
Luckily for Craig, that’s exactly what Broccoli and co-producer Michael G Wilson were looking for.
The star shared he even had a chance meeting with Steven Spielberg, who once wanted to direct a Bond movie but ended up making Indiana Jones with George Lucas, and showed him Casino Royale’s secret script.
The out-going 007 remembered: “He was desperate to read it and he read it very quickly and just said ‘You have to do it.” Of course, in the end, he knew he had to take the role when offered it.
The 53-year-old said: “But the decision I made, at the end of the day, was that if I didn’t do it, I would regret it. I had this joke with a friend that [if I passed on the role then] in 20 or 30 years’ time I’d be sitting at a bar in a corner going, ‘I could have been Bond, y’know!’ And that’s not the person I wanted to be.”
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Instead, having initially got smashed on martinis alone to celebrate his casting, Craig now sits in bars hoping to go undisturbed despite his megastardom. In the years since he’s admitted to meeting journalists for an interview only to find a complimentary vodka martini put before him by the staff.
When it came to the big announcement that he would be replacing Pierce Brosnan as Bond, Craig arrived at the press conference in a Royal Navy speedboat. However, it was required that the new 007 wear a lifejacket, which wasn’t exactly seen as in keeping with Ian Fleming’s character. And on top of that, London’s grey skies didn’t help make it the entrance he’d hoped for.
The No Time To Die star described the event as a “f***ing train wreck”, before facing a lack of support in the press, being called “James Bland” on one front page. Nevertheless, he would prove his critics wrong and deliver what today is considered one of the very best Bond movies.
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