Daniel Craig Interview - Best Bond Ever? He forced all the "James Bland" naysayers to eat crow after his first Bond adventure, Casino Royale, turned out to be one of the most popular - and profitable - Bond movies ever. As the world prepares to be shaken and stirred by Quantum of Solace, the English actor sits with David Sheff and discusses the evolution of Bond girls, getting in touch with 007's darker side and why he avoids adventure in real life. I Learned a few things I didn't know from this interview. For example, that Craig almost took that rope beating for real when the plexiglass area of the chair designed to protect him got smashed during the scene...
Plus The Ultimate Bond Special: Naked Bond Girls - Diamonds may be forever, but they don't have half the staying power of the women of 007. Essential Bond Facts. Check any calendar: 2008 was the year of James Bond. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of author Ian Fleming's birth and the 55th anniversay of 007's creation, and in anticipation of Quantum of Solace, Playboy looked back at all things Bondian, as well as the peerless secret agent's singular role in the world of Playboy (and vice versa).
All from the magazine that introduced America to 007.
After Casino Royale turned Daniel Craig from a respected character actor into a huge star, the Englishman—who is arguably the best James Bond ever—witnessed media interest in him skyrocket. When he sat down with David Sheff for this month's Playboy Interview, Craig commented on the stories written about him during the production of the new 007 thriller, Quantum of Solace. "The media's general attitude is ‘Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,"' says Craig, but he has learned to ignore it. "There's an expression here in England about the news: ‘It's tomorrow's chip paper,' the paper in which they'll wrap your fish-and-chips. But that doesn't apply anymore. Once it's on the Internet, it's there forever. You have to let it go or you could turn into Howard Hughes and lock yourself in a room and go insane."
A BROODING BOND RETURNS FOR REVENGE
By Stephen Rebello
How do you compete with Casino Royale, the 21st James Bond adventure and the one that reinvented the film franchise? Not only did it introduce Daniel Craig as a leaner and meaner 007, it also won over critics and satisfied audiences to the tune of more than $587 million worldwide. Enter the 22nd Bond thriller, Quantum of Solace, in which the secret agent haunts Austria, Italy and South America to unlock the mystery behind the death of the woman he loved, in a personal vendetta that leads to an encounter with the explosive Camille (Olga Kurylenko) and a deadly clash with a ruthless businessman and environmental terrorist (Mathieu Amalric). Shake in the requisite showstopping action sequences, verbal jousts with M (Judi Dench), cool cars and more world-class beauties and you have a lethally entertaining cocktail of mayhem, Ian Fleming-style.
The most surprising element of this new Bond epic is arguably the participation of director Marc Forster, who made his name with smaller-scale films like Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland. "When they first offered this Bond movie to me, I didn't want to make it," says Forster. "But it's so fascinating historically that, if I was going to do a commercial movie, why not Bond? There is the usual framework—007, the villain, the girl, the car, M—and within that, I wanted to make a film with my own voice. I told Daniel Craig I wanted to go deeper, have Bond question who he is, why he can't sleep, why he does what he does." Forster also tried to create action sequences that offer audiences emotional hooks along with the explosions. "There's this cool chase sequence between Bond and another guy, set in a city's cistern system, and that chase is intercut with a horse race," he says. "As the winning horse crosses the finish line, Bond and the other guy pop up from underground and find themselves in a crowd of 50,000 people. It ends with them crashing through the roof dome of an art gallery. I like it because it has the feel of old-school Alfred Hitchcock."
PLAYBOY INTERVIEW: Daniel Craig
A candid conversation with the best James Bond in years about the new, darker 007, life after a blockbuster and why he's the anti-adventure junkie
Daniel Craig has earned his Licence To Kill. When it was announced that he would replace Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, the near-universal reaction was outrage. Bond fans in the U.K. went so far as to launch a website that included doctored photos of Craig as Vladimir Putin and Al Bundy and called for a boycott of the actor. The press skewered him as "Bland, James Bland. " But then came Craig's performance as Bond in Casino Royale, arguably one of the best 007 pictures. The new Bond was favorably compared to the legendary, adored Sean Connery, who also sang Craig's praises. Craig's former critics ate crow, admitting he was the first to truly capture Bond creator Ian Fleming's dark, occasionally vicious characterization. The Boston Globe wrote, "The most mocked of Bonds is now fast on his way to generating perhaps the best reviews of anyone in the 007 club for his brutal and engrossing performance."
The film grossed nearly $600 million, trouncing earlier 007 films and setting the bar high for Quantum of Solace, the new Bond installment, opening this month. In the movie, which picks up an hour after Casino Royale leaves off, Craig, 40, is back—moodier and more pissed off than ever. Bond's overriding modus operandi: revenge, following the murder of Vesper, his lover in the earlier film.
"I wanted to play around with the flaws in Bond's character. It was much more interesting than having him be perfect and polished and so suave as to be flawless. In the novels he is quite a depressive character. "
Craig is from Chester, England, where his father was a merchant seaman and owned a pub called Ring O' Bells. After his parents split, in 1972, Craig was raised by his mother, an art teacher, in Liverpool. He left school at 16 to study at the National Youth Theater in London. He earned his living as a waiter and enrolled in the Guildhall School of Music Drama at the Barbican, where he studied alongside Ewan McGregor and Joseph Fiennes. He graduated in 1991.
When Craig was selected to play Bond, much was made about his size (at five-foot-11, he's the shortest Bond), his piercing blue eyes and his hair color (he's the first blond). But he has subsequently been crowned one of the sexiest men by Elle magazine. And apparently he'll soon leave bachelorhood behind: He is romantically linked to Satsuki Mitchell, the actress who accompanied him to the Casino Royale world premiere. He has a teenage daughter, Ella, from a previous marriage.
"If I were 20 years younger—even 15 or 10 years younger—and this kind of success happened to me, I would probably have gone out and spent every penny I'd earned. Because I'm the age I am, I don't have the urge to change."
Soon after Craig completed the filming of Quantum of Solace in Italy, Australia and South America, PLAYBOY sent contributing editor David Sheff, who recently interviewed Fareed Zakaria for the magazine, to meet Craig in London. Sheff reports: "When I arrived in the U.K., a customs agent asked if I was there on business or pleasure. I explained I was in town to interview Daniel Craig, at which point her mood swung from chilly and suspicious to swooning. "Oh my God," she said, almost hyperventilating. "His photo's near my bed. He's the sexiest."
"He's also an impressive actor, as I was reminded before the interview when I attended screenings of Quantum of Solace and Defiance, in which Craig plays one of three brothers who hide, and save, hundreds of Belarusan Jews from Hitler's local collaborators. The contrast between the roles couldn't have been more extreme, but Craig rose to the occasion in both the action-adventure and dramatic films.
"And yes, he's charming and suave. He drank coffee, not martinis, but he's Bond-like even in blue jeans instead of a Brioni suit."
"I've had my thrills. I'd happily go and sit on a rock and look at the view, but I'm not one of those people who jump off for fun. I'd say, I'll meet you down at the bottom. I'll drive down, and we'll meet for lunch.' "
PLAYBOY: You had to prove yourself in your first James Bond film, but this time expectations are high. Does that add to the pressure?
Craig: It's a very high-class problem to have, I suppose. The reverse would have been just awful. Had Casino Royale failed, everybody would have been insecure: the studio, the producers—everybody. Me.
PLAYBOY: Is the bar set too high?
Craig: Well, we had to do better. And I was keen on taking it to new places.
PLAYBOY: In Casino Royale your Bond, a brand-new double-0 agent, is less polished and more ruthless than in the earlier films. Was that intentional?
Craig: It was. For that movie my feeling was he should look like the man who had yet to make his first kill. I wanted to play around with the flaws in his character. It was much more interesting than having him be perfect and polished and so suave as to be flawless. I got most of my inspiration from Ian Fleming's books. I reread them. In the books Bond is suave and sophisticated, yes—Sean Connery really nailed it—but there's also a flawed aspect of Bond. In the novels he is quite a depressive character. When he's not working, he's at his worst.
PLAYBOY: How about you? Are you at your worst when you're not working?
Craig: I'm not that bad, but I can relate. What's there when we're home alone with ourselves? The deeper, darker stuff comes out. I'm fine when I'm not working, but I feel happiest working, yes.
PLAYBOY: Is the darkness in your Bond more reflective of Fleming's character or you?
Craig: Probably both. It's probably a reflection of where I am in my life and also my cinematic influences.
PLAYBOY: Which are?
Craig: The psychological thrillers of the 1960s and 1970s, British spy movies like those with Michael Caine and the early Bonds like From Russia With Love. They have a huge amount of style but are tense and taut and deal with emotion. To make it interesting I had to bring those emotions in. Otherwise I'd go insane.
PLAYBOY: Compared with his predecessors, your Bond doesn't rely as much on ejection seats, jet packs and exploding pens.
Craig: We've kept it all a bit more low-fi. I've got nothing against gadgets, but these days we're surrounded by them. If you want gadgets, pick up a gadget magazine. The stuff you can buy-over the counter is insane. For $300 you can listen to a conversation three miles away while watching somebody in infrared. People aren't that impressed with it anymore. It's normal. Whereas with the earlier films, people were stunned to see the fantasy gadgets. In fact, the early films actually influenced technology we now have.
PLAYBOY: Bond also influenced the culture with his sexual double entendres.
Craig: Yes. That's all Fleming. In my imagination, Fleming—sitting in his home, the Goldeneye in Jamaica, with his cigarette holder, his 80 cigarettes 58 a day, drinking martinis—wrote religiously. He'd get up in the morning, write and then have cocktails in the afternoon. His wordplay, including the double entendres, was part of his life. I can imagine the conversation at his dinner parties, the quips thrown about, the jokes. Pussy Galore. These days I don't think you can make puns as easily as in those days. We don't do it naturally anymore. Now a pun's a bad joke. In fact, in the movie we had to be careful of them. They've been sent up in such a way that they almost ring like parody. Austin Powers did them in the extreme. So making a Bond movie, you have to keep that in mind. As soon as you go that way you're making a parody of a parody. It looks like you're doing Mike Myers.
"The Sean Connery movies stand up for me. I like the others, but Connery is fantastic."
PLAYBOY: Were you cautious of doing Austin Powers?
Craig: Especially when I made the first movie, yes. I had an Austin Powers alarm. On set I'd say, "That's Austin Powers. We can't do it."
PLAYBOY: What set off the Austin Powers alarm?
Craig: There is a chase sequence in the beginning of Casino Royale. I run through a room past 10 workers who are sawing planks. These guys had to look as though they were working; they couldn't just look like guys banging nails, There is an explosion, and they look up. We had to go back to the choreography and make it real, because at first it looked like Austin Powers.
PLAYBOY: How have Bond's relationships with women evolved in your movies?
Craig: In Fleming there's misogyny till the end. Rereading the books reminds you of the time they were written. They are sexist and racist. It's time to put all that in its place. One thing that remains from Fleming is that the women always leave Bond—as opposed to his leaving them. It's the opposite of the way we think of him, that he beds a woman and says bye-bye and flies out the window. In the books he has relationships and occasionally is nearly getting married when she dumps him because he turns moody and dark.
PLAYBOY: Not because she turns out to be a double agent who tries to murder him in his sleep?
Craig: No. It's that his true personality comes out, and he's impossible to live with. It suits M, his boss, just fine. M is terrified of Bond actually settling down. His inability to have a relationship keeps him working.
PLAYBOY: Bond films were criticized in the past for being out of sync with the feminist movement. Has that changed?
Craig: Beautiful women are always part of the story. In the past maybe they were more objectified. They were just eye candy. Now they're integral and powerful in their own right. They're beautiful, but now things are almost reversed. In this movie I don't think we objectify women. I'm the one taking my clothes off most of the time.
PLAYBOY: More than Sean Connery- took off his?
Craig: Actually, he took his top off all the time. He was always in these tiny towels.
PLAYBOY: The Bond girls had their fair share of bikinis and often less.
Craig: Yes, but the main difference is that we're genuinely trying to find fully formed characters—fully formed women— integral to the plot. For me, the sexiest thing in a movie is equality in a relationship. It's much sexier when Bond meets someone who's a challenge—someone who says no. There's a sexually charged battle. So I think we've successfully left behind the misogyny. It was something of its time; it's not of this time.
PLAYBOY: When the AIDS crisis hit, Bond films were criticized for the bed-hopping, which appeared irresponsible. Does Bond use condoms?
Craig: Yes, though we don't have to show it. We don't need to see him fling one out the window afterward. I think we've kind of made the leap that you would expect someone to use one now.
PLAYBOY: Reportedly, Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron turned down the Bond girl role in Casino Royale that ultimately went to Eva Green. True?
Craig: Whether Angelina and Charlize were approached I couldn't tell you. All I know is that when Eva came in to screen-test on M's set, I knew immediately. She was incredibly nervous, but when the camera rolled, I knew she was the girl.
PLAYBOY: You worked with Jolie earlier, in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Afterward she said you were a good kisser.
Craig: If she said that, I'm flattered.
PLAYBOY: You worked with Nicole Kidman, too. Once you said, "She turns me on—not in a sordid, horrible way. Well, come to think of it...." Would she make a good Bond girl?
Craig: She'd be more interesting as a Bond villain.
PLAYBOY: Who is your favorite Bond girl from the earlier films?
Craig: Diana Rigg. She was good in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. She was the one Bond girl who was nearly bigger than the movie.
PLAYBOY: How have Bond girls changed from Rigg to the newest one, Olga Kurylenko, who stars with you in Quantum of Solace?
Craig: Olga is very much about her strength. As I said, in the earlier movies the girls were mostly eye candy. We all like eye candy, but things are more interesting now. The character is important to the plot. Yes, she's beautiful, but she's also a good actress and extremely interesting as a woman, and she brings all that to the role.
PLAYBOY: Are you involved in the casting of the Bond girls?
Craig: I don't go searching for them. We screen-test. It's kind of awkward and sort of weird.
Craig: They build a set, and you get the cameras in; then you're introduced to 10 girls. You have to act out a scene with them. It's kind of weird and awkward and strange, but you know if something's working almost immediately.
PLAYBOY: How about Bond villains? How have they changed?
Craig: There's a rich and varied history.
PLAYBOY: Your adversary in Casino Royale has an unusual physical trait. He literally weeps blood.
Craig: That came straight out of Fleming: an overactive tear gland that actually bleeds. It's a pretty good look. If you can do that on call, it's a pretty good party trick.
PLAYBOY: Alice Cooper, the rock star, recently said he wants to take you on as a Bond villain.
Craig: I thought he was a golfer.
PLAYBOY: Apparently, he wants to go up against you.
Craig: Bring him on.
PLAYBOY: You've said, compared with filming the new Bond movie, making Casino Royale was a walk in the park. What's the difference?
Craig: Casino Royale was physically tough; I was in pain for most of it. But I was in pain for a lot of this one, too. The difference was the kind of stunts and physical exertion. This time around it was fairly relentless.
PLAYBOY: Were you in similar shape this time?
Craig: Yes. Both times I got in shape and got big.
PLAYBOY: Is being big a prerequisite?
Craig: I got big because I wanted Bond to look like a guy who could kill. Unfortunately, getting big isn't the same as getting in shape. Last time I picked up a lot of injuries. This time I said, "I can't let that happen again. I've got to get into better shape."
PLAYBOY: How did you do it?
Craig: I ran more. I got my heart bigger and stronger.
PLAYBOY: How often do you do your own stunts?
Craig: There's a balance. I do many of them but nothing compared with the stuntmen. Still, I found myself in more precarious situations this time.
PLAYBOY: Is there a trade-off for the filmmakers, who want authenticity but also don't want you to get hurt?
Craig: For sure. There's a fine line. The stuff that looks good and makes you look as if you're up there has its risks. I picked up my share of in juries on this movie. You pick up your knocks and bangs.
PLAYBOY: We read that you sliced your finger off.
Craig: It wasn't as extreme as all that. I lost the pad. Here. [He shows off his wound, a scab on his fingertip. This is after a month's healing, so it's nothing. It hit the press, though, because I was taken to the hospital. I was bleeding a lot. I had to get it cauterized. Filming stopped and everybody went, "Oh my God! He sliced the end of his finger off!" They went looking for it but couldn't find it.
PLAYBOY: How did it happen?
Craig: I was smashing a door into somebody's face, and there was a sharp edge.
PLAYBOY: What is the most physically challenging scene in the new film?
Craig: A chase sequence on a rooftop. I'm not scared of heights exactly, but I don't particularly like standing on edges 40 feet off the ground. Their idea was for me to jump from building to building. It's literally a leap of faith because you have to run off the edge—throw yourself off—and land on another building. It's as safe as can be. I'm tethered, attached. But it's the nightmare scenario of standing on a slate roof with the slates all sliding off. I had to slide down and leap from that building onto a balcony below. For some people these days who go rock climbing and all this, it may not be a big deal, but for me it was terrifying enough.
PLAYBOY: Similar to the increased difficulty of impressing an audience with gadgets and other technology, is it harder these days to impress with physical feats?
Craig: Yes. How do you impress people when there are couples who go away on weekends and drive up to wherever and meet Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their other friends and camp out on top of a mountain and jump off? They even film it so they can show their friends. "Look at what we did on the weekend." With all that going on—people rappelling and helicopter skiing on holiday—what can you do in movies? Everything has to be bigger, faster and more dangerous.
PLAYBOY: Kurylenko said she would never do anything dangerous in real life. What about you?
Craig: Not normally.
PLAYBOY: Have you ever jumped out of a plane?
Craig: No, but I think I would probably do it now—maybe. But having done six months of this crazy stuff, I just want to stay on the ground for a while. I've had my thrills.
PLAYBOY: Are you the type of person who looks for thrills?
Craig: Some people need them, but I don't. I'd happily go and sit on a rock and look at the view, but I'm not one of those people who jump off for fun. I'd say, "I'll meet you down at the bottom. I'll drive down, and we'll meet for lunch."
PLAYBOY: You made quite a few men squirm with the Casino Royale torture scene. You were stripped and tied up, sitting on a chair without a bottom, being whipped where it would hurt most with an enormous knotted rope. Did you wince too?
Craig: There was a moment filming it when I did more than wince. I was actually sitting on a fiberglass seat that had been modeled to me to protect me. The rope came crashing in and cracked the fiberglass. I flew across the room.
PLAYBOY: Was there damage done?
Craig: No, but it was too close for comfort as far as I'm concerned. At least we shot it in one day and got it right. I'm glad we didn't have to go back and do reshoots.
PLAYBOY: Ian Fleming called Bond "a blunt instrument." Is your Bond less blunt at this point?
Craig: I'm not sure, maybe a bit. Bond is seeking revenge, seeking the people responsible for killing his woman. But hopefully, as you see the movie go on, it gets more complicated than that. He is a blunt instrument, but he's a little more honed, should we say. Blunt but getting an edge.
PLAYBOY: Do you dress like Bond?
Craig: Hardly, though I've been given some very nice clothes. When I dress up, I dress up. I have a nice wardrobe. I've been spoiled. Once you're measured for a suit it's very hard to go back to suits off the peg.
PLAYBOY: You're wearing jeans right now. Would Bond?
Craig: Wait until you see the movie.
PLAYBOY: The U.K. GQ magazine voted you the number one best dresser. Have you always dressed stylishly?
Craig: You can be the best-dressed and worst-dressed person very quickly. I don't dress much differently than I ever did.
PLAYBOY: If not Brioni, what do you generally wear?
Craig: I very much like to wear jeans and sneakers. I don't get up in the morning and get into a pressed shirt with French cuffs and a tie—unless I have to.
PLAYBOY: It has been reported that your exercise regimen now includes yoga.
Craig: No yoga or yogurt. No.
PLAYBOY: Are you amused when you read reports like that, ones that are completely untrue?
Craig: I don't usually read them, but sometimes someone will mention something, and I admit I do go online and look it up. I'll say, "Where the hell does this come from?" It's just that Bond generates enormous interest. A rumor will be started by whatever.
PLAYBOY: You were initially reluctant to accept the Bond role. Were you concerned about the lack of privacy that comes with stardom like this?
Craig: Definitely. I was chronically aware of it.
PLAYBOY: What exactly were you worried about?
Craig: I fall into the category of actor who doesn't want to be famous. I know that can seem like a contradiction in terms.
PLAYBOY: Then the role of James Bond would definitely pose a problem. But some people may find it hard to believe you would accept the part if you really didn't want to be famous.
Craig: Genuinely, I've only ever wanted to act in order to act. But yes, I'm probably being hypocritical. To me, the fame aspect was sort of an inconvenience that went along with acting. It was definitely one of the reasons I was concerned, though. I thought, I've been working steadily; I earn a living from what I do, but Bond will make it something else.
PLAYBOY: Why did you accept?
Craig: Some things come along and you just have to try them. I thought, I can't be afraid of it. I was very brave or very stupid—I don't know which. I did think it through as much as possible. I weighed it from the beginning. I had the fors and againsts. I had conversations with friends and family. It took about 18 months for me to decide. At first I thought, I can't do this. Then I thought, In 10 years I'll be sitting in a bar, drinking, and I'll think, I could have been Bond. I just couldn't turn down the opportunity.
PLAYBOY: You were viciously attacked in the press. How did it affect you?
Craig: I decided I had to ignore it, get on with the job and make sure to do the best I could.
PLAYBOY: Fans and reporters criticized your hair color and height, and you were called James Bland. Did it piss you off?
Craig: I got pissed off for 24 hours. We were away from home in the Bahamas, and I hadn't read the newspapers. I got wind that the press was negative and did that stupid thing of going online and reading it all. I'd prepared myself for the worst because I knew the risk in doing a movie as large as Bond; there was always going to be a backlash. I had to be ready for it, but it smarted for a minute.
PLAYBOY: Is the loss of privacy a problem for you?
Craig: It causes problems you have to work around. I would have been foolish to expect anything less. If the film hadn't been a success, obviously I could have just slipped away and forgotten about it. But this isn't one of those movies. It's a movie that gets out there and gets out there big. I understood it would be open season on me. I've learned to accept it or learned to get around it.
PLAYBOY: Do you sometimes forget you're famous?
Craig: Yeah, and then I'm reminded. I have to have a sense of humor about it. On the whole, people are fairly nice. They're fairly good-humored. If I'm walking through an airport and someone runs over and asks if they can take a photograph, I can either get snotty about it or say, "That's absolutely fine." If I'm having dinner with a friend, I can say, "You see, I'm having dinner with my friend, so it's not a good time." You have to assess the situation and make a judgment.
PLAYBOY: Have you gotten better about saying no or at least "not now"?
Craig: It's always been fairly easy.
PLAYBOY: Do the press and public wear on your personal relationships?
Craig: Relationships are tricky for everyone. I have a fantastic relationship, and we work hard at it. Like everybody else's, it goes through its ups and downs.
PLAYBOY: The papers also had a field clay because you couldn't drive a stick shift.
Craig: I could always drive a stick shift. Everyone in England does. That was just stupid.
PLAYBOY: Do you own an Aston Martin?
Craig: No, though I'm lucky enough that if I desperately want to drive an Aston Martin, the company is just fantastic to me. They'll let me go on a track and drive one all day long. I could drive it faster and more furiously than anywhere on the road. But I live in London. It doesn't make any sense to drive an Aston Martin there. I've nowhere to park it. Also, it wouldn't look good.
PLAYBOY: Are you kidding? Driving an Aston Martin can look very good.
Craig: Me driving around in an Aston Martin? To me, it's kind of like, ugh. So I drive a small car.
PLAYBOY: Does it get good gas mileage?
Craig: Yes, which I'm happy about these days.
PLAYBOY: With the energy crisis, will Bond stick with an Aston Martin or switch to a Prius?
Craig: I don't see him driving anything but an Aston Martin. Maybe now, though, given the global situation, Aston Martin will make its cars more in line with the realities of energy. I don't know if it'll affect Bond. In truth, Bond tends to drive cars out of necessity. His choices often have to do with whatever car is outside the hotel when he's running away, whatever car he can steal.
PLAYBOY: One story line of the new film is an international fight to control oil. Does $4 a gallon for gas in the U.S. concern you?
Craig: We're paying $10 a gallon in England. Welcome to the real world. Americans don't know how good they've had it. Compared with the British price, it's still a good deal in America.
PLAYBOY: We imagine you can afford it.
Craig: That's not the point when it comes to energy consumption, is it? We all want to use less, don't we? We ought to, anyway.
PLAYBOY: Energy is one of the key issues in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Do you follow politics?
Craig: Of course. It's in my interest.
PLAYBOY: What's your interest in our election?
Craig: What happens in the U.S. affects the rest of the world. The U.K. is very-connected to America. There's no separation on many issues.
PLAYBOY: WThat's your view of the campaign? If you could register in the States, who would get your vote?
Craig: I strongly feel there needs to be a new way forward. Barack Obama is pushing things in the right direction. I'm excited about the election. Unfortunately, things will probably get dirty. I hope Obama can stay above the fray. He's a different kind of politician, so maybe he can. I'm hopeful for the first time in a long, long while. It's one of the most exciting elections of my lifetime.
PLAYBOY: Did you ever aspire to politics, or were you always interested in acting?
Craig: I've been interested in acting, not politics, since I was a child.
PLAYBOY: What was it about acting?
Craig: My mother was an art teacher, so an was around and there was interest in the arts. I wanted to act once I saw theater and movies. Art—acting, in particular—was a way out.
PLAYBOY: A way out of what? How would you sum up your childhood?
Craig: I was born in Cheshire, which is not far from Liverpool. Then we moved to Liverpool. I was brought up by my mother and lived with my sister. I had a good upbringing. It was tough because it was a struggle for my mother, being a single parent. She worked incredibly hard. Overall there were ups and downs just like everyone's childhood, but there was nothing that stands out to me that made it particularly more difficult than anybody else's.
PLAYBOY: Did you continue to have a relationship with your father after your parents divorced?
Craig: I had contact at times with my father. Not always, but later on we got it worked out and became closer.
PLAYBOY: Were you a good student?
Craig: I was a really bad student. I left school at 16, to my mother's despair. She knew I wanted to be an actor and actually gave me a little push toward it but only because school wasn't looking good. It was just not happening. I didn't get the qualifications, and I didn't get anything to suggest I would actually have any academic career whatsoever.
PLAYBOY: Was it unusual for a boy in your neighborhood to want to be an actor?
Craig: It wasn't that it was expected, but Liverpool has always had a very strong arts community. It was encouraged to form a band or whatever you could do for yourselves. Like I said, art was always viewed as a way to get out.
PLAYBOY: What was the first Bond film you saw?
Craig: In the cinemas the first one I saw was Live And Let Die with Roger Moore, which is his first one. I eventually went back and watched them all.
PLAYBOY: Who's your favorite Bond?
Craig: The Sean Connery movies stand up for me. They're my benchmark. I like the others, but Connery is fantastic.
PLAYBOY: Did you aspire to play Bond?
Craig: It never really crossed my mind at the time. I was drawn to theater initially, after I saw plays. Movies came later.
PLAYBOY: For a while you supported your acting by waiting tables. Were you a good waiter?
Craig: I was a pretty awful waiter. Actually, I never waited tables after I finished school. I swore to myself I would never wait tables again once I'd left drama school.
PLAYBOY: Did you?
Craig: I never did.
PLAYBOY: Early roles in plays led to parts on television and in movies for you. When you finally landed film roles in Hollywood, you often played villains, including a series of ruthless killers. Did you mind?
Craig: After a while I did. I stopped. I just decided I didn't want to do it anymore. English actors were being offered the bad-guy roles at the time. I don't know why. But after getting some of those parts in Hollywood movies, I decided to stop, no matter how lucrative it was. I concentrated on making movies in England—smaller, independent movies. I made Enduring Love, based on the Ian McEwan book, as well as the movies The Mother and Love Is the Devil. They were much more rewarding. Even since doing Bond, I want to continue to make movies like those.
PLAYBOY: You recently completed Defiance, about World War II. Do you intentionally try to mix it up?
Craig: That would suggest there is some sort of master plan. There isn't. I accept jobs because they interest me when they come along. I'd had a long year and been working hard. Bond was finished, and we'd wrapped the Golden Compass tour. I didn't plan on working right away, but I picked up the script and read it and reread it from cover to cover. It's a good position to be in to be able to make movies like Defiance and also do James Bond and Golden Compass or whatever comes along that strikes my fancy.
PLAYBOY: Earlier you said you tried to anticipate the impact of being Bond. Is it what you expected? Has it changed everything?
Craig: It has. It's changed everything.
PLAYBOY: Similar to the ways you anticipated?
CRAIG: Anticipated is the wrong word. Everything that came along was different than anything I could have anticipated.
PLAYBOY: Have you had difficulty handling it?
Craig: If I were 20 years younger—even 15 or 10 years younger—and this kind of success happened to me, I would probably have gone out and spent every penny I'd earned. I would have changed my life in a way that would have—well, it probably wouldn't have been the healthiest. But because I'm the age I am, I don't have the urge or the need to change much, and I haven't. The important things haven't changed at all. The important things in life have less to do with the amount of money I earn. It's the simpler things.
PLAYBOY: Has your fame been difficult for your friends and family?
Craig: I've always tried to protect my family and friends. I had a choice, but they didn't make a choice about my being famous.
PLAYBOY: How have your relationships held up?
Craig: They've solidified. They're better now than they ever were.
PLAYBOY: Has it been especially difficult for your daughter?
Craig: I think she's been protected from most of it. Protecting her was my highest priority.
PLAYBOY: How did becoming a parent change you?
Craig: It changed me completely. It changes me every day.
Craig: It's constant discovery. Ask any parent. It makes you look deeper and in a different way. You think differently about yourself, about the world.
PLAYBOY: Will it be difficult for you when your daughter gets older and begins dating?
Craig: It's not something I'll publicly talk about. It has to be between me and her.
PLAYBOY: How will you respond if a James Bond type arrives in an Aston Martin to pick her up?
Craig: I guess we'll see.
PLAYBOY: Ready access to Aston Martins notwithstanding, is your life anything like Bond's?
Craig: I'm living a pretty glamorous life, though I don't publicly live a glamorous life. If I were younger, I would have lived a glamorous life publicly. The changes I have made I've made slowly. I've consciously done it. I'm trying to do this for the long term. Maybe I've got it wrong; maybe I should just go and move to Monte Carlo and live on a yacht.
PLAYBOY: Are you occasionally tempted?
Craig: It doesn't tempt me at all.
PLAYBOY: Since your divorce, are you better at relationships?
Craig: You do get better, hopefully. I think if you apply the simple rules of taking care of each other and looking after each other and making sure the other person is experiencing as much as you are and you're part of each other's lives as much as you possibly can be, it'll figure itself out. Just because I make Bond movies doesn't mean things are different for me. Things are exactly the same for me as they are for everybody else.
PLAYBOY: Even with paparazzi and tabloids and the speculation and the Internet?
Craig: Yeah, if you're strong about who you are and who you're with. I mean, if you're not, then yes, it's a problem. Your life is open. If you're not strong about who you are, you can be affected by the newspapers, in which you can be married, have three children and get divorced in one afternoon. The papers can quite happily suggest all that. The weird thing is that for some people, it can almost be predicted in the press. People may not be having a nervous breakdown, but the press can make them have one. It can make marriages split up. There can be a rumor going around that somebody's marriage is on the rocks, and it suddenly can be. It's almost as if that forces it to happen. It's really testing for a couple. If you're not strong about who you are, you can be affected by the newspapers, in which you can be married, have three children and get divorced in one afternoon.
PLAYBOY: People often speculate about actors and their co-stars on movie sets.
Craig: So the thing is, you don't have an affair with somebody in your movies.
PLAYBOY: Does public scrutiny intensify any existing problems? It seems it may be true for Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse.
Craig: Maybe, because your problems will come out. If you're an artist—a singer, an actor, a painter, whatever— you show your emotions; it's what you do. That's what's appealing about you. If you have problems, the problems will come out and possibly be magnified.
PLAYBOY: Is the attention itself addictive?
Craig: Possibly, if you don't understand it. That's why I think it's good for me that the attention came when I was older.
PLAYBOY: If you live by the sword, you may die by the sword. That is, if you buy your own press and come to think you're as great as everyone says you are, you also have to buy your own press when the public turns against you.
Craig: And people go down in flames. Something in me admires that.
PLAYBOY: You admire people who go down in flames?
Craig: There's something in me that's from the punk generation that I grew up with that's still there. It's just saying fuck you to all this; I don't give a shit what you think.
PLAYBOY: How has the huge success of Casino Royale influenced your film choices? There seem to be two ways to go: It could free an actor to take on a wide variety of roles, or it may make him less likely to take risks because he needs, or thinks he needs, surefire hits.
Craig: It's not going to happen like that for me. It hasn't really changed the fact that jobs come along and I decide if I'm interested for whatever reason.
PLAYBOY: Are you burned out on action movies yet?
Craig: I'm not looking for them at the moment. But if one came along that was great, who knows? The thing is, I genuinely love what I do. That's what you get addicted to—this huge collaborative effort. We worked on the new Bond movie for six months. You work extremely closely with a great bunch of people. It's incredibly rewarding. That happens on a Bond movie or an interesting small movie. I produced a little movie last year with my best friend directing, because he's incredibly talented; we got that off the ground. I do like the idea of smaller, independent movies because you can discuss subjects that won't necessarily make piles of money. They deal with tricky subject matter. I'm happy to do both kinds of movies. When you're starting out as an actor, you don't necessarily have a lot of choices. Hopefully, if you get any success, you can use it to give yourself the space to think, to make the right decisions. Why do you take the job? For the money? Then that's fine. Because there's a story you want to help tell? That's better. You can do both and make conscious choices. You're happier at the end of the day.
PLAYBOY: You reportedly signed on to make four Bond films. Are two more coming?
Craig: I did sign on for four, including Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. So a piece of paper says there are two more to do. But let's see how this one goes. In the film business everything doesn't always go according to plan. We'll wait and see. If it goes wrong, we'll have to rethink things.
PLAYBOY: And if it goes right?
Craig: If it goes right, then, well, either way we'll see, won't we? At least for the time being I'm still quite enjoying myself playing James Bond. Why not? It's great. If it stopped being fun, though, I'd have to kill it off, wouldn't I? I wouldn't think twice.
Ian Fleming on the Record
At the height of the original Bond mania, in 1964, we sat down with Ian Fleming, the man who created the superspy in his own likeness, for the Playboy Interview. Though he ordered a ginger ale and brandy instead of a shaken martini, the author was as eloquent and cocksure as 007 himself.
I think to be a creative writer or a creative anything you've got to be neurotic. I certainly am.
It's my experience in Naval Intelligence and what I learned about secret operations that finally led me to write about them—in a highly bowdlerized way—with James Bond.
He's not a person of much social attractiveness. But then, I didn't intend for him to be a particularly likable person. He's a cipher, a blunt instrument in the hands of the government.
We live in a violent age. Seduction has, to a marked extent, replaced courtship. The direct, flat approach is not the exception; it is standard. James Bond is a healthy, violent, noncerebral man in his middle 30s.
I enjoy exaggeration and things larger than life. It amuses me to have a villain with a great bulbous head, whereas, as you know, they are generally little people with nothing at all extraordinary-looking about them.
It does disturb Bond to kill people, even though he continues to get away with it—just as he continues to get away with driving conspicuous motorcars.
Strangely enough, many politicians seem to like my books, I think perhaps because politicians like solutions, with everything properly tied up at the end. Politicians always hope for neat solutions, you know, but so rarely can find them.
Facts. Bond Facts.
With Quantum of Solace on the way and the film franchise rejuvenated, we look at the secret history of all things 007
Thunderballs: In the novels, Bond sleeps with an estimated 13 women. In the movies, he sleeps with 64.
The year 1953 saw two auspicious debuts. One was the character of James Bond, in Ian Fleming's novel Casino Royale; the other was a magazine called PLAYBOY. Though they had much in common from the start, the two didn't get together until 1960, when PLAYBOY serialized The Hildebrand Rarity, Bond's first major appearance on this side of the pond. In all, PLAYBOY has run 16 works of 007 fiction—14 stories or serial episodes by the character's originator and two by official Bond writer Raymond Benson.
second chances / Didn't Say Never
Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan were all offered the Bond gig twice. Dalton turned down the role in what became On Her Majesty's Secret Service (he felt he was too young for the part) and accepted it 18 years later, for The Living Daylights—when Brosnan was unable to take the job because of contract issues with his TV show Remington Steele. Moore was also offered On Her Majesty's Secret Service but was still under contract for his TV show The Saint.
146 Is Not Enough: Sean Connery's contract allowed him to keep much of the clothing he wore in the Bond films. He ended up with 147 suits, 23 tuxes, 17 trench coats, 11 other jackets, 41 hats and 68 pairs of shoes from his run as Bond.
camelot, part 2 / Last Picture Shown
From Russia With Love became the second Bond novel made into a movie, after John F. Kennedy listed it as one of his favorites. The film version was the last movie the president saw—it was screened at the White House on November 20, 1963. Its commercial release in the United States was delayed five months in the wake of JFK's assassination, and the film didn't hit cinemas until April 1964.
hit parade / Highest Chart Positions of Bond Theme Songs
"A View To A Kill," Duran Duran: #1
"Live And Let Die," Paul McCartney & Wings: #2
"Nobody Does It Better," (from The Spy Who Loved Me) Carly Simon: #2
"For Your Eyes Only," Sheena Easton: #4
"Die Another Day," Madonna: #8
"Goldflnger," Shirley Bassey: #8
A scan of Bond's wallet in Diamonds Are Forever reveals he is a card-carrying member of the local Playboy Club and Casino.
In this Moonraker scene Bond and an airplane pilot fight for a single parachute in free fall. It lasts two minutes on-screen and took five weeks and 88 jumps out of a plane to film.
poof / Brothers in Arms
All told, Bond parodies and knockoffs outnumber actual Bond films, but few are as impressively brazen as the 1967 send-up Operation Kid Brother (also known as OK Connery). Sean Connery's brother Neil stars in the Italian production alongside Bond regulars Lois Maxwell and Bernard Lee. Also in on the gag are Daniela Bianchi, the lead Bond girl in From Russia With Love, and Adolfo Celi, villain Emilio Largo in Thunderball.
The Rooks of Love: The chess game in the tournament scene in From Russia With Love is based on the Spassky-Bronstein match for the 1960 USSR championship, with the character Kronsteen following Spassky's winning moves.
Big Butt Man: All of Roger Moore's contracts included the right to an unlimited supply of hand-rolled Monte Cristo cigars.
locations / Nyet Set
Goldeneye was the first post-Cold War Bond film. Pro: Soviet location shoots (such as the tank chase in St. Petersburg pictured above) became possible. Con: The Soviet Union was no longer the enemy.
fitness / Muscle-Bond
At five-foot-11, Daniel Craig is the shortest 007 but also the buffest. Pre-Quantum he worked out on the gymnastic rings and is said to do a passable iron cross.
In 1964 body painting seemed foreign and exotic, but was it deadly? When Bond claims in Goldfinger that Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) died from "skin suffocation," audiences bought it—a little too much. For years rumors persisted that Eaton herself had died during filming.
best-seller / Packed Houses
Three films in, the thirst for all things Bond had reached a fever pitch, and fourth installment Thunderball hit theaters like a ball of, well, you know. It still holds the series record for most tickets sold (eclipsing the previous number one—and still number two in ticket sales—Goldfinger). To promote Thunderball Sean Connery consented to just one interview—in PLAYBOY.
Double Fantasy: The two female leads in 1967's You Only Live Twice, Mie Hama and Akiko Wakabayashi, also appear together in 1962's Kingu Kongu tai Gojira ("King Kong vs. Godzilla") and 1965's Koku-sai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi ("International Secret Police: Key of Keys"). The latter was famously recut and dubbed by Woody Allen to create What's Up, Tiger Lily?
home ec / Vesper Martini
How to make the cocktail James Bond calls a Vesper martini in Casino Royale:
3 measures Gordon's gin 1 measure vodka V2 measure Kina Lillet Shake with ice, add a thin slice of lemon peel and serve in a deep champagne glass (as in the book) or martini glass (as in the movie).
The 110-foot speedboat jump made by Roger Moore's Bond during the shooting of Live And Let Die set a world record that stood for three years.
Bond drives an Aston Martin in 11 films. How times change: Die Another Day's V12 Vanquish (below left) has a camouflage function in addition to the usual guns and ejection seat of Goldfinger's DB5.
scouting / Wood and Plenty
Natalie Wood's sister Lana (whose real name is Svetlana Nikolaevna Gurdin) was cast as Plenty OToole in Diamonds Are Forever after appearing in our April 1971 issue.
With all Bond's undersea antics, spearguns are a popular prop, but only once does he use one (the above, from Thunderball) with lethal force. In From Russia With Love, Rosa Klebb tries to kill Bond with a very sharp shoe (left). Who you callin' a loafer?
A man in a tuxedo does not carry a large gun— it's just tacky. Bond's heater of choice in 18 films is the Walther PPK (below). In six novels and four films he packs a .25 Beretta (bottom).
serious issues / Cover to Cover
After infiltrating a Swiss lawyer's office to open a safe in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service, George Lazenby peruses a February 1969 copy of PLAYBOY. The upper part of the Centerfold (Playmate Lorrie Menconi) is briefly visible in the scene. The Fleming novel of the same name was serialized in PLAYBOY in 1963.
All Up In His Grille: The metal teeth worn by Jaws (seven-foot-two actor Richard Kiel) in The Spy Who Loved Me and again in Moonraker were designed by Katharina Kubrick, stepdaughter of legendary American director Stanley Kubrick.
bad guys Blo Jobs
The many faces of villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, clockwise from above left: iconic Blofeld (Donald Pleasence in You Only Live Twice), brawny Blofeld (Telly Savalas in On Her Majesty's Secret Service), surgically reconstructed Blofeld (Charles Gray in Diamonds Are Forever), bearded Blofeld (Max von Sydow in Never Say Never Again) and one of several faceless Blofelds. At right, Dr. Evil, the dead-on parody of Austin Powers fame.
Five Years Before Llv Llndeland Showed Hers: Playboy published Octopussy, Fleming's final Bond story, in March and April 1966.
bondage / View to a Kink
James Bond may seem to be an old-school Lothario, bedding women while armed with only a cocktail and a cocky grin. Yet time and again we find the franchise cribbing from the Fetish 101 syllabus-unsurprising considering Fleming was into S&M.
Clockwise from top left: Claudine Auger's Domino gives good foot in Thunderball; Lola Larson as Bambi wields thighs of death in Diamonds Are Forever; Grace Jones's May Day prepares to chop some lucky guy into submission in A View To A Kill; and enough hog-tying and hair pulling to please Irving Klaw.
big props / Reality Check
Sometimes they get it right: For Moonraker, set designers picked the eventual winner from among several prototypes NASA was developing for a reusable spacecraft. The real shuttle's maiden voyage occurred two years later, in 1981. Most Bond sets aren't nearly so prescient—sea lairs, for example, never quite caught on.
Above, Karl Stromberg's Atlantis from The Spy Who Loved Me; below, Gustav Graves's Ice Palace from Die Another Day.
Bunch of Zeros: Let's not forget that Bond isn't the only spy licensed to kill by MI6. A guide to others and their often brief appearances:
002 Played by Glyn Baker in The Living Daylights.
003 Uncredited actor; found dead in Siberia in A View To A Kill
004 Played by Frederick Warder in The Living Daylights; killed by the KGB.
006 Villain Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), a double-0 gone bad in Goldeneye.
008 doesn't appear on-screen: mentioned in Goldfinger as Bond's replacement should he disregard orders or be killed.
009 Played by Andy Bradford in Octopussy; dies disguised as a clown and clutching a Faberge egg.
The most exotic beauties in the pantheon of silver-screen history—in character and nude in the pages of PLAYBOY
Above: URSULA ANDRESS as Honey Ryder, on the beach in Jamaica in the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962). Critics called her "the most awesome piece of natural Swiss architecture since the Alps" and "the most sensuous and spectacular beauty to grace the screen in years." Left: An outtake from the first of Ursula's five PLAYBOY pictorials, which ran for 12 pages in the June 1965 issue—at the time, our longest pictorial ever devoted to a single woman. Right: The inimitable HALLE BERRY as NSA agent Jinx, re-creating Ursula's iconic scene for Die Another Day (2002). What a pair.
They are the ultimate creatures of fantasy: stunning female spies whose skill at espionage is eclipsed by their sexual appetites. Ever since PLAYBOY published Ian Fleming's The Hildebrand Rarity (March 1960), the first appearance of 007 in an American men's magazine, we've enjoyed a love affair with Bond girls. We've brought them to you in a way the film world never would—naked. With the 22nd "official" 007 movie arriving this month, we pay tribute.
This page, clockwise from top left: HONOR BLACKMAN was, is and always will be Pussy Galore. She followed her Goldfinger (1964) role with an appearance in PLAYBOY's first Bond-girl pictorial a year later. LOIS MAXWELL played Miss Moneypenny from Dr. No (1962) to A View To A Kill (1985). BARBARA CARRERA as Fatima Blush: "Oh, how reckless of me. I made you all wet." Bond: "Yes, but my martini is still dry. My name is James." Barbara scored her part in Never Say Never Again (1983) after appearing on our March 1982 cover. Bond producer Cubby Broccoli saw LANA WOOD in our April 1971 issue and had to have her as Plenty O'Toole in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). MARGARET NOLAN was Dink in Goldfinger. She appeared in our November 1965 issue. DANIELA BIANCHI scored the part of randy Russian cipher clerk Tatiana Romanova in From Russia With Love (1963). Clever twist: Romanova was played by a hottie from Rome. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: MAUD ADAMS appeared in PLAYBOY's October 1981 issue. Two years later she became Octopussy. JANE SEYMOUR plays Solitaire in Live And Let Die (1973)—but not by herself. KIM BASINGER'S portrayal of Domino Petachi in Never Say Never Again cemented her reputation as a leading sex star. Here's an outtake from her February 1983 pictorial. CORINNE CLERY looks incredible as Corinne Dufour in Moonraker (1979). She looked even better in our July 1979 issue.
Ukrainian model OLGA KURYLENKO plays the main Bond girl opposite Daniel Craig in this month's Quantum of Solace. Her character's name? Camille. Not Camille Overthetop, just Camille.
Opposite page, clockwise from top left: DAPHNE DECKERS knows how to handle herself in front of the camera. (Can we help you with those?) The beauty made our February 1998 cover after appearing in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Our review of September 1987 cover girl MARYAM D'ABO as Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights (1987): "Bond's new lady is a sex kitten so seductive, she transforms fickle 007 into a one-woman man." TERI HATCHER literally straddles good and evil as Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies. This page, from top: BARBARA BACH (a.k.a. Mrs. Ringo Starr and PLAYBOY's January 1981 cover girl) sizzles as Major Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). DENISE RICHARDS plays Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough (1999). Bond: "I was wrong about you." Christmas: "Yeah, how so?" Bond: "I thought Christmas only comes once a year."
Vote for the hottest Bond girl ever at PLAYBOY.com/bond
[Source: Playboy USA, Vol.55 No.11, November 2008, P.1,5,8,36,57-60,62,64,72-76,78-83. Copyright © 2008 Playboy. All rights reserved.]