There’s no doubt about it, Daniel Craig is one of the best actors to have ever worn the 007 mantle. And as the lead in the “Casino Royale,” an entry which in many ways revitalized the franchise and brought it kicking and screaming into the 21st century, Craig gave us the grittiest take we’d seen on the world famous spy yet. That was followed up quickly with “Quantum of Solace” two years later, and to put it kindly, it was a much lesser effort.
Written by director Marc Forster, Michael G. Wilson and finally Paul Haggis, the script literally arrived two hours before the the start of the 2007/2008 Writer’s Guild strike. And according to Daniel Craig in a recent interview with Time Out London, that left the production in the lurch as nothing else could be done to fine tune the script.
“On ‘Quantum,’ we were fucked,” he said plainly. “We had the bare bones of a script and then there was a writers’ strike and there was nothing we could do. We couldn’t employ a writer to finish it. I say to myself, ‘Never again,’ but who knows? There was me trying to rewrite scenes – and a writer I am not.’”
Pressed about his involvement on writing scenes for ‘Solace,’ Craig reveals that there was really no other option, and adds an interesting tidbit that originally, the film wasn’t supposed to connect to “Casino Royale” much at all. “Me and the director [Marc Forster] were the ones allowed to do it. The rules were that you couldn’t employ anyone as a writer, but the actor and director could work on scenes together,” he explained. “We were stuffed. We got away with it, but only just. It was never meant to be as much of a sequel as it was, but it ended up being a sequel, starting where the last one finished.”
It’s all about the script for Craig, who says it was the material that got him to sign on as Bond in the first place, and he continues on in the franchise, he’s taking a bigger behind the scenes role, which has lately included hiring Sam Mendes to direct “Skyfall.”
“I did, yes, I did,” Craig says about landing Mendes. “He’s English, he’s Cambridge-educated, he’s smart. He’s lived with Bond all his life, he grew up with Bond the way I did. We grew up at exactly the same time, and I said to him, ‘We have to do this together, we have exactly the same reference points, we both like the same Bond movies and we both like the same bits in the same Bond movies we like.’ We sat down and we just rabbited for hours about ‘Live and Let Die‘ or ‘From Russia with Love,’ and talked about little scenes that we knew from them. That’s how we started talking about it. That’s what we tried to instill in the script. He’s been working his arse off to tie all these things together so they make sense – in a Bond way.”
With the great talent behind “Skyfall,” Craig thinks they’ve got a great shot of knocking out a solid entry. “Sam got involved and then we got Roger Deakins [the director of photography], for fuck’s sake, who’s shooting it. The air is rare, and we’ve had the chance to employ some brilliant people. Win or lose, we’ve done the best we can because we’ve put the right people in the job. Pool the best talent you can, give them a good time and do the best we can – now I sound like a fucking politician!”
We’ll soon see how it all pays off. “Skyfall” hits theaters in Europe on October 26th, 2012, with a U.S. release following on November 9th.