With the release of Spectre so close, we had the pleasure of sitting down with a rather important member of the cast – discussing the project with the title character himself, Daniel Craig.
Having (just) got over the excitement of sitting down next to 007, we went on to discuss how his operation affected the shoot, his role as a co-producer, the challenges in making Bond new and original while abiding by the conventions of the franchise. And finally, the question that’s on all of our lips; is Craig gonna stick around for many more, and if not, why?
I try to avoid them, just because I don’t want to think about them, but they’ve been positive and that’s all that matters.
Does it help you forget all of the stress that’s gone in to making this movie?
I forget about that very quickly. I just love the process of making these films. It’s a massive collaborative process. It’s hard work, but the best things are.
Was this film made extra hard because you had to take time out for an operation?
Frankly it worked out quite well because we got two weeks off in the middle. I had to go and get a little bit of surgery but it allowed Sam [Mendes] to get into the editing room and look at the movie, which he would never normally get to see until right at the end. So he looked at rough cuts of the movie and get an overview. So I like to think it was deliberate on my part, just to give everybody a break.
Do we see the stunt that caused it in Spectre?
It is not in the film, sadly. I wish it was but I had to stop half way through, because my knee was like “woah”. But the scene was the one on the train with Dave [Bautista].
What did that mean to be co-producer on this film?
It was one of the proudest moments of my career, quite simply.
As co-producer do you have more of an investment in the project, so that you care more about the box office stats and the reviews coming in?
What can I do? I’m not in control of that. I have been as involved as I possibly could in every single movie I’ve made, it was just very generous of the producers to say that they wanted me to be part of this team. When it comes up in the credits I get a really big kick out of it, because I’ve been involved in this from the conception, and the first meeting me and Sam had, when we sat down together and said, ‘what are we going to do?’. But it’s about the audiences and about them seeing it, which is the next thrill, and hopefully they’ll enjoy it.
Would you one day like to see a credit that says, ‘directed by Daniel Craig’?
Oh God no, I couldn’t do that. That’s the worst job, I mean, you never get any sleep, and I need to sleep. Plus, you can’t follow Sam Mendes, are you joking me?
Someone has to.
One of the things we’ve seen in Bond since you joined the franchise, is a more vulnerable, human side. We went back into his childhood in Skyfall and in this we go to his apartment in London – is that something you’ve been keen to bring to the character from the moment you started?
I just don’t know any other way of doing it. When you play a character you’ve got to try and give them as many dimensions as possible. Obviously it’s James Bond and he gets the girl and all of these things that everybody expects of the film, but I kinda wanted some humanity in the part. I don’t know how else to do it, I literally don’t – he’s a man with conflict in his life, and I think that’s interesting to discover.
Spectre follows on from what came before – how much of this continuity was planned right from the beginning? Was there a game plan?
There was a pretty strong game plan. But it’s just a question of, you sit in a room, much like this one, with writers and you think of ideas and whether they’d work. You’re just trying to link it all together – and with a Bond movie there’s the whole added thing of needing an action sequence in there. You don’t want to just have a film, and then an action sequence, and then get back to the film again, you want one film.
Is it ever a hinderance when you’ve got abide by the tropes of the Bond franchise, or is that actually all part of the fun?
You have to make it fun. In a way it’s your Bible, we’re not making another movie, we’re making a Bond movie and therefore it has to stay within certain lines. But then you try and free fall and mess around with the convention.
What has to be in a Bond film, do you think?
Everything that is in this Bond movie, obviously! I’ve always said from the beginning, I wanted to get all of those things into the movie. Casino Royale was a way of starting again but I wanted the fun and the celebration back in. I couldn’t have planned this but it has felt very natural and I hope Spectre is a real celebration of Bond.
But are there any sacred cows that you wouldn’t touch? Say, throw a hat on the hatstand?
We don’t wear hats anymore. I would love to walk into the office and throw the hat, and we did discuss it at one point because we have gone back to that office and it’s there, and I would love to do it – but there are things that just don’t work anymore. But that’s part of the fun of it, thinking of what we can do, and how we can do it. Making it of this moment.
How far has this movie pushed you physically? Because you’re always trying to top the previous movie…
Look, it’s what I started doing, I can’t not do it now. Like I said, I did get injured halfway through which slowed me down, but it didn’t actually stop me doing what I wanted to do, and that was all that mattered to me. There was this terrifying thought that we’d have to shut down filming while I go off and have surgery and everybody has to wait around, and that would have been awful, as we were right into it at that point – so I had to protect myself a bit more. But you know, it’s movie making, you fake it as best you can and they’ve done an amazing job of making the opening sequence as seamless as possible.
So what’s the first thing you do once you’ve finished?
I used to go and get drunk, for about a month. I don’t do that anymore. I don’t need to do that anymore. I just want to get home, I’ve been away from home for eight months – and everybody is in the same boat on the film, that’s the biggest strain on doing a film like this, everybody is away from their family. So like everybody else, I just wanted to go home and spend time with them.
Did you happen to keep any souvenirs from this film, or from the previous three?
Well I’m wearing this watch today, which was presented to me by Barbara [Broccoli] and Michael [G. Wilson] at the end of Casino Royale and it’s a really precious thing as I actually wore this all the way through that movie. I got it out this morning and thought, that’s what I’m going to wear today.
Have you got a car yet?
Oh, I’ve got a car.
Finally, what would make you walk away from Bond?
Um, I don’t know really. In spite of what’s been written and what’s been in the press about it, I have the right to change my mind at any time I want to. Sometimes I say things like I did, two days after I finished shooting for eight months, about whether I’d do another one, and I said what was on my mind, that’s the way I’ve always spoken. But as I said, I reserve the right to change my mind.
Spectre is released on October 26th – and you can read our review here.