Daniel Craig Recalls Drunken Pitch That Landed Sam Mendes Bond Directing Gig: ‘I’m in Sh*t Now’

Craig phoned producer Barbara Broccoli the next morning and said, "I think I offered Sam Mendes the directing job last night."
SKYFALL, Daniel Craig as James Bond, 2012. ph: Francois Duhamel/©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection
Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Daniel Craig recently hung up his suit and tie as James Bond after five films, starting with 2006’s “Casino Royale” and ending with 2021’s “No Time to Die.” Two of those films, “Skyfall” and “Spectre,” were directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes, who handed off the directing reins to Cary Fukunaga for “No Time to Die.” Craig recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for an Awards Chatter podcast episode (via The Playlist) to discuss his Bond swan song — and a particularly saucy origin story came up involving Craig and Mendes at Hugh Jackman’s Christmas party.

Craig said he’d had a few drinks at Jackman’s party when he approached Mendes and boldly offered him the directing job for “Skyfall” after Marc Forster’s “Quantum of Solace” (which was a critical disappointment).

“I was definitely a little drunk, Sam turned up late and I hadn’t seen him for years, I hadn’t seen him since ‘Road To Perdition,’” Craig said. “Sam sat down and we were having a drink together and it just dawned on me, it was just like one of those [moments]. We were [already] having conversations about directors…and it just became glaringly obvious to me sitting opposite him. I thought, ‘Of course.’ And so I just basically went, ‘I’m probably not supposed to say this, but do you want to direct the next Bond movie?’”

Craig went on to say, “And he just did this thing, he kinda just looked at me [and squinted] and said, ‘Yes.’ And then I went, ‘I’m in shit now.’ I’m sure there is someone I have to talk to about that before I go offering directors jobs. It’s not my responsibility, but I was drunk!”

Craig said that the next morning brought a rude awakening when he had to phone up Barbara Broccoli to preemptively apologize and explain what happened. “I phoned up Barbara the following moment thinking, ‘Oh god, here we go, I’m going to be in shit now. I said, ‘I think I offered Sam Mendes the directing job last night.'”

Her response, he said, was “Amazing, great.”

After directing the two Bond films, Mendes went on to direct Best Picture nominee “1917.” A new James Bond director (or actor) hasn’t been set.

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