He didn’t want to be James Bond: Daniel Craig, 15 years old and 5 films as 007

Initially, Daniel Craig did not want to play James Bond. He will eventually have spent 15 years and five films in the costume of the legendary spy. For the last time in To die can tendere (released on October 6), before giving way to the next generation.

When he was selected to take over from Pierce Brosnan, this blond with blue eyes of 1m78, at the time little known to the general public, seemed far removed from the character invented by the writer Ian Fleming.

The director of Spectrum (2015) Sam Mendes himself admitted that he thought at the time that it would be a “very bad idea”.

“I thought Bond had turned out to be the opposite of what Daniel is – flippant, affable and courteous comedian, kind of parody of sorts – and I thought that wouldn’t match Daniel’s passion and honesty. As an actor”, he once told the BBC. Before admitting that Daniel Craig, who gave depth to the role, is ultimately a Bond “fantastic”.

Daniel Craig first performed 007 in Casino Royale in 2006. When he learned that he had landed this highly coveted role, the actor celebrated it by drinking vodkas martini, which would not have displeased to 007. “I got drunk (…). I bought a bottle of vodka and a bottle of vermouth, a shaker and made myself three or four vodka martinis”, he told the franchise’s official podcast.

Yet he had to be convinced to accept. Producer Barbara Broccoli explained that Daniel Craig was her first choice but that “the big problem was he didn’t want to do it.” Although a fan since his childhood of the adventures of the famous agent of MI6, the British foreign intelligence service, the actor feared that his personal life would suffer from this immense notoriety, which remains relatively secret.

The tabloids lend him adventures with supermodel Kate Moss and actress Sienna Miller before he married actress Rachel Weisz in 2011, with whom he had a baby girl in 2018. He had a second marriage. already had a daughter, Ella, with his first wife, Scottish actress Fiona Loudon.

Born March 2, 1968 in Chester (north-west England) to a father working in the merchant navy before being a pub owner and a mother art teacher, Daniel Craig spent part of his childhood to Liverpool, where he moves with his mother and sister following his parents’ divorce.

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He began to perform in school plays at the age of six, encouraged by his mother. At 16, he left school to join the National Youth Theater in London. Young Craig then alternates roles and waiter jobs to make ends meet. After several attempts, he managed to enter the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, from which he graduated in 1991.

His big screen debut dates back to 1992 in The power of the angel with John Gielgud and Morgan Freeman. He notably played the French writer Saint-Exupéry in Saint-Ex (1997), the painter Francis Bacon’s lover in Love is the devil (1998) and starred alongside Tom Hanks in The paths of perdition (2002) by Sam Mendes.

Daniel Craig is also known to have given the reply to Angelina Jolie in 2001 in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and for his role as a cocaine dealer in Layer Cake by Matthew Vaughn in 2004 before signing for the James Bond.

After Casino Royale (2006), he starred in Quantum of Solace (2008), Sky Fall (2012) and Spectrum (2015) before bowing out with To die can wait, on screens in France on October 6. For the occasion, the Royal Navy has appointed Daniel Craig Honorary Commander, the same rank as his character.

Even if he risks remaining forever associated with the image of 007, the actor assured in 2015 to Esquire that he was actually far from the spy: “I’m not James Bond. I’m not particularly brave, I’m not particularly cool headed.”

“What Daniel brought to the character of Bond in the saga is his inner life and the complexity of his emotional life which appeared in the books, but had not been relayed to the screen before him”, summarizes the producer Barbara Broccoli.

Daniel Craig will have humanized a character whose writing has focused for decades on showing a cold man with multiple conquests.

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