Daniel Craig: 007 over and out

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Daniel Craig in No Time to Die.
Daniel Craig in No Time to Die.
Photo: Nicola Dove/MGM

  • After 15 years of play James Bond, Daniel Craig makes his last outing as the character in No Time to Die.
  • When he was cast in Spectre, director Same Mendes admitted that he thought at the time that it was a bad fit.
  • The actor soon won over doubters and rebooted the franchise with a harder, more serious edge.

After 15 years playing the legendary British spy James Bond, Daniel Craig is making way for a new generation of actors after his fifth 007 film, No Time To Die, which has its world premiere in London on Tuesday.

The blond-haired, blue-eyed actor was not well known to the general public when he took over from Pierce Brosnan in 2006 and seemed far removed from the character created by writer Ian Fleming.

Daniel Craig is unveiled as the new actor to play
Daniel Craig is unveiled as the new actor to play the legendary British secret agent James Bond 007 in the 21st Bond film Casino Royale, at HMS President, St Katharine's Way on 14 October 2005 in London, England.

Even Sam Mendes, director of 2015 Bond film Spectre, admitted that he thought at the time that it was a bad fit.

"I thought Bond had become the opposite of what Daniel is - a slightly disengaged, urbane, jokey, eyebrow-raising, you know, a pastiche in a way," he told the BBC.

But the intensity Craig brought to the part won over doubters and allowed the multi-million dollar franchise to be rebooted with a harder, more serious edge.

He celebrated landing the role by paying a boozy tribute to the iconic spy, previously incarnated by Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

"I got drunk," Craig told the official James Bond podcast.

"I bought a bottle of vodka and a bottle of vermouth, a cocktail shaker and made myself three or four vodka martinis," Bond's favourite tipple.

Producer Barbara Broccoli, however, explained that Craig had resisted her advances for some time before agreeing, saying "the big problem was that he didn't want to do it".

Although a fan of the famous MI6 agent since childhood, the actor feared that his personal life would suffer from the pressure and fame that come with being the franchise figurehead.

His private life remains relatively secret, although the tabloids have reported he had affairs with supermodel Kate Moss and actress Sienna Miller before marrying the Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz in 2011.

The couple had a baby girl in 2018. He already had a daughter, Ella, with his first wife, Scottish actress Fiona Loudon.

'I'm not James Bond'

Born in 1968 in Chester, northwest England, to a pub landlord father and art teacher mother, Craig spent part of his childhood in Liverpool, where he moved with his mother and sister following his parents' divorce.

He started acting at an early age, attending drama school in London before landing a string of roles in television, art house cinema and on stage before breaking through in Hollywood with films like 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

He has played the painter Francis Bacon's lover in Love is the Devil (1998) and starred alongside Tom Hanks in Sam Mendes' Road to Perdition (2002).

He is also known for playing a cocaine dealer in Matthew Vaughn's 2004 film Layer Cake, before signing for the James Bond films.

After 2006 debut Casino Royale, he starred in Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015).

Daniel Craig poses at the photo call for the 24th
Daniel Craig poses at the photo call for the 24th Bond film Spectre at a ski resort on 7 January 2015 in Soelden, Austria.

Craig, 53, then seemed intent on calling it quits, but Broccoli convinced him to make a swansong in No Time to Die.

He has always insisted his own personality is a long way from the tuxedo-wearing, Martini-drinking Bond.

In real life, he prefers jeans, a T-shirt and a cold beer in the pub.

Shortly after the birth of his daughter with Weisz, he was pictured carrying her in a sling on his front.

British TV host Piers Morgan lashed out at the image, with the Twitter hashtag #emasculatedBond, but his comments sparked a backlash on social media.

Between Bond films, Craig has chosen roles far removed from the suave spy, including an acclaimed 2013 Broadway production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal with Weisz.

"I'm not James Bond," he once told Esquire magazine. "I'm not particularly brave, I'm not particularly cool-headed."

He added: "The day I can walk into a pub and someone goes, 'Oh, there's Daniel Craig' and then just leaves me alone, that'll be great."

 Daniel Craig attends the world premiere of No Tim
Daniel Craig attends the world premiere of No Time to Die at the Royal Albert Hall on 28 September 2021 in London, England.

No Time to Die releases in South African cinemas on Friday, 1 October.

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