He's back as Bond, yet Daniel Craig happily admits he is glad No Time To Die will be his final outing as 007.
"It’s time for someone else to have a go,” he says. “I’ve hurt myself on every single Bond movie."
Daniel’s catalogue of injuries across his five James Bond films is pretty catastrophic. In 2006 he lost two teeth filming a fight scene for Casino Royale. Two years later during Quantum of Solace, he sliced off his fingertip and dislocated his shoulder.
And while filming Spectre in 2015 he injured his knee and had to undergo arthroscopic surgery.
His gory list of wounds grew during No Time to Die.
Shortly after filming began in Jamaica, Daniel slipped while running down a wet dock and his ankle, he says, "exploded."
The shooting schedule was altered while he underwent surgery in London and took 10 weeks to recover.
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Despite all the accidents, Daniel, 53, has no regrets. He says: "I’m really, really happy I did this movie – that I did one more. It’s been, as they always are, incredibly hard work.
"But it’s a massive collaboration and one of the most moving things for me about finishing this film is some of the people that I have worked with on five Bond films. And for me that’s what it was all about – it was those people and saying goodbye to them."
As soon as filming wrapped, Daniel did what he always does as soon as he’s free from the set.
"After finishing a film I like to relax on a beach, especially if it’s been a very long shoot. And I finished Bond on a Friday and on Monday I was on a beach."
But his injury was the latest in a series of setbacks for the movie, beginning when director Danny Boyle walked off after disagreeing with Daniel and producer Barbara Broccoli.
They cited "creative differences."
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Cary Fukunaga, who had directed TV’s True Detective, was hired to replace Boyle. The original script was scrapped and previous Bond screenwriters and Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was brought in to punch up the dialogue.
Then the Covid pandemic struck, pushing the film’s release date back from October 2019 to April 2020 and now, finally, October this year.
The revamped film shows Bond some time after he left the espionage world at the end of Spectre to begin a new life with Lea Seydoux’s French psychologist Madeleine Swann.
He is retired and living in Jamaica but when his romance falls apart he is lured back into the spy game by his old CIA pal Felix Leiter, played by Jeffrey Wright. Felix asks Bond to help rescue a kidnapped scientist.
It leads 007 to Cuba and on to the trail of Remi Malek’s scar-faced villain Safin armed with dangerous tech.
There, Bond meets Paloma, a CIA agent played by Cuban actress Ana de Armas, with whom Daniel had worked in his previous film, Knives Out.
Image:2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM)
"I’d seen Ana in Blade Runner and gasped and wondered who she was because she lights up the screen,” says Daniel, talking at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
"She’s got it. I weep when I watch her scenes with Christopher Plummer in Knives Out because they are so moving and so touching.
"Later I was sitting down with our Bond director Cary Fukunaga when we were working out the Bond movie and we had a scene in Cuba. And he said, ‘Do you know Ana de Armas?’ and I went ‘Yeah I know her, I just worked with her’.
“And he said, ‘I want to cast her in this part’. And I went, ‘You have my vote’. So that’s how simple it was.”
In No Time To Die, stunning location shots which are always a hallmark of the Bond franchise include the historic Italian city of Matera.
“Matera feels like it’s got such a dark past in many ways and such a history attached to it,” says Daniel. “And as a backdrop for a Bond movie, it couldn’t have been better.
“We kept them up all night driving cars fast, so I hope they’ll eventually forgive us. What is wonderful about this kind of movie is to be able to afford to go on locations that use a backdrop as an extra character in the film. I opens our movie, so it’s a big deal. It takes a huge part of the movie.”
Other scenes were filmed in Norway, the Faroe Islands, Aviemore in Scotland and of course, London, where Bond visits Q’s house.
Although he has holstered his Walther PPK and handed in his 007 licence for good, Daniel has plenty to keep him busy.
A lifelong supporter of Liverpool Football Club, Daniel watches their televised games when he can at the New York home where he lives with actor wife Rachel Weisz and their two-year-old daughter.
He has a 29-year-old daughter from a previous marriage and Rachel also has a teenage son.
But although he has an estimated fortune of £200million, it is unlikely his children will get much, if any of it. He says he finds the idea of inheritance “distasteful” and says: “Isn’t there an old adage about if you die a rich person you’ve failed?
“I mean, you should not leave anything. Get rid of it or give it away before you go if you can. I think Andrew Carnegie gave away something like $300billion in today’s money, which goes to show how rich he was.”
After pocketing £25m for No Time to Die, Daniel has also finished Knives Out 2, signed up for a third and will soon begin filming period crime drama The Creed of Violence.
"There isn’t any kind of plan,” he says.
"I’m very lucky to be in a situation where I get to read scripts and be sent scripts and offers and I have a really good team around me who filter out a lot of what isn’t right.
“I don’t know, I’m at a stage in my career where I just want to work with people I like. So the only plan I have is to work with nice people.”
He has no desire to become a director. “Oh God, no,” he says.
"I go home at night and I eat something and I go to bed. If you’re the director, you go home at night, you try and eat something, but the producer is on the phone and then the producer in the US is on the phone.
"Maybe by three o’clock, you will get to sleep and in two hours’ time you have to be up again."
It’s clear Daniel knows exactly what he wants from life and his career – and that includes ending his era as Bond.Read More Read More