After four films as 007, British actor says if he did reprise role, ‘it would be only for the money’
For actors of a certain masculine bent, James Bond has long been viewed as a career pinnacle. But after four films as 007 Daniel Craig says he has had enough, and would “rather slash my wrists” than reprise the role.
If that wasn’t enough, the 47-year-old admitted that if he did return as Bond it would be just for the money. He took a similarly dismissive opinion on that staple of British conversational life, who should take over in the role: “Look, I don’t give a fuck.”
During a brief but open interview with Time Out magazine before the release this month of the latest Bond title, Spectre, Craig also confirmed his torso gets an airing (“Yes, I’ve been working out for six months. Of course I’m getting my kit off!”), while noting that the focus on Bond’s physical appearance was “a drag”.
The strongest words came when Craig was asked if he could imagine another film in the role. “Now? I’d rather … slash my wrists,” he replied. “No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”
Craig added a slight caveat, saying this would be his view for “at least a year or two”. He added: “I don’t know what the next step is. I’ve no idea. Not because I’m trying to be cagey. Who the fuck knows? At the moment, we’ve done it. I’m not in discussion with anybody about anything. If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.”
It’s worth noting, however, that only last month Craig said he would continue in the role “as long as I’m physically able”.
Craig was initially seen as a somewhat risky choice for Bond before his debut in Casino Royale in 2006, viewed by some as insufficiently debonair and arched-eyebrowed, even too blond. But his tougher, more brutal take on the rebooted character has proved vastly popular, with 2012’s Skyfall, Craig’s third film, proving the highest-grossing Bond of all time.
In the Time Out interview, Craig said he and Sam Mendes, who directed Skyfall and Spectre, “butted heads a lot” during the first film, but have become very close. On Spectre, Craig added, he contributed to elements of the script.
“The way it works is that I’d wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and write it down and send it to Sam and he ignores me or doesn’t ignore me, or talks to me the following morning and we develop it from there,” Craig said. “So I’m not physically writing things down.”
If Craig does retire as Bond he will do so relatively young compared with some of his predecessors. Pierce Brosnan was 49 in his last appearance, Roger Moore, was 58 as he wheezed through A View to a Kill, but Timothy Dalton escaped at 45.
Some Bonds have seen their profile dip after the role. Dalton, for example, admittedly more of a stage actor, is possibly best known since for voicing a thespian toy hedgehog in Toy Story 3.
Craig said he did not worry about being typecast because Bond had “changed my working life in an incredible way”. He added: “There are more opportunities. I could do many, many things. But it takes an awful amount of time. If anything, the restriction is that it is incredibly time-consuming. That’s the restriction.”
And while Craig professed no view on who should take over from him, he did have some sage, if arguably obvious, advice: “Don’t be shit. You’ve got to step up. People do not make movies like this any more. This is really rare now. So don’t be shit.”
This article was written by Peter Walker and Nancy Groves, for theguardian.com on Thursday 8th October 2015 08.13 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010