It’s been a long road to Skyfall, Bond’s twenty-third outing, and as well as our review and red carpet interviews we had the chance to sit down with the cast and crew of the film and over the next three days we’ll be bringing you the six interviews.
Today we start with Mr. Bond himself and Skyfall has been hailed as Craig’s best Bond yet and here the actor talks about the character, both the past and the future.
Huge thanks to Neil Alcock AKA The Incredible Suit for being our man in the thick of it. If you haven’t been keeping up with his epic BlogalongaBond then now is the time to catch up. When it comes to Bond, nobody does it better.
Is it true that you were at a party with Sam Mendes, and you woke up the next day with –
With Sam Mendes? No! How dare you! No, I was at a party and Sam was there and he doesn’t drink so he was quite sober. I wasn’t that sober. I was picking his brains about the next Bond movie. I wanted to ask him because I respect him as a director and I think he’s got lots of great ideas, and as the conversation went on we talked about the things we loved about Bond movies, and I offered him the job, which wasn’t my job to do!
When you were announced as James Bond, Sam said that it wasn’t the right decision. So when you were chatting with him, how did that conversation go?
(laughing) He apologised, we’ve moved on, that’s it!
You also approached Javier Bardem at a party…
Yeah, I’m an actor, casting director… I don’t know, it just made sense. You can end up skirting around the issue, saying wouldn’t it be nice if we could get so and so, and I’m like, well I’ll ask them, let’s see what they say!
You’re actually quoted as saying you “stalked” Javier…
I talk shit in interviews though! I didn’t stalk him, he was there. I’d never met him but I’m a huge fan of his so if that’s stalking, then that’s what it is.
Do you think the four year break between films was a benefit?
It was in a sense. But we don’t need four years, two years is plenty. We just need a good script. We had a great script on Casino Royale, sadly we didn’t have the time to get one written on Quantum Of Solace but we’ve had the time on this.
There are some quite intense action scenes in Skyfall. Were there any injuries on set?
No, absolutely not. I got bruised and bumped and that sort of thing, but we planned it out very carefully, everything’s worked out intricately and we just took the time. When there was stuff to do that I didn’t feel so comfortable with, we’d just clear the set and I’d rehearse it and rehearse it and rehearse it till I got it right. I did injure myself in training, but that was kind of pathetic, I tore a muscle in my calf but it’s not even worth talking about.
To what extent do you have a say in the way Bond’s character behaves and develops? Do you get involved at the scripting stage, or is it something that happens during filming?
I’ve been working for four years on this, so in a way, every step. I try not to get in people’s way, the writers write something and we all sit down and talk about it, and then we get the actors involved and they’ve got things to say. It’s a very collaborative process but I try to be involved every step of the way. But the character’s on the page, the story’s on the page. I just act it!
In making the character more complex, were you turning the clock back to Connery’s days?
No, just Fleming. It’s in the books. I mean Fleming was conflicted about Bond, he tried to kill him off two or three times. But it’s about when he’s knocked down, how he gets back up. I love the fact that Bond takes a lot of battering, and so he should, he’s an agent, but it’s how he stands up to adversity in situations where he’s one against many. As long as we can keep that interesting, how he deals with those situations, then it’s worth making the movies.
You’re 44 years old now. There are a few references in Skyfall to Bond being older, but how old is too old?
44 and three quarters! Look, I’m contracted for another two and that seems to me to be a fair number, but I’m not going to make predictions because people have got to see the movie, and until they do, we can’t make another one. But I won’t outstay my welcome, somebody else has got to have a crack at it.
Can you talk a little about the comedy elements in Skyfall?
Well, I always wanted to bring the comedy back in, but… I love Mike Myers but he really screwed the pooch for us on a lot of the gags [with Austin Powers]. So for a while the comedy had gone from Bond, but I always maintain that with really good writing the jokes will come, and they have in this. They add a lightness of touch to the movie and it allows the audience to laugh to break the tension, and those are the funniest laughs, I think.
With the recent Bond films, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade write a script, then someone else comes along to do a polish or rewrite – in this case John Logan. What do Purvis and Wade bring to it?
They give us an absolutely solid place to start and they give us a really strong plot to work around. That’s what they’re really good at. When John came in he sat down with the actors and wrote a lot of the really good dialogue. Then with the actors you improve it again and again. It’s a natural process.
All three of your Bond films seem to be based around a theme of trust – Bond’s trust of Vesper works out badly for him, in the second film M doesn’t know if she can trust Bond, and in Skyfall Silva questions Bond’s loyalty to M. Is that something that you set out to do?
I don’t think so, unless somebody just hasn’t told me. I just think that in the espionage game, trust is quite important. Certainly in this film, once M and Bond sort out their differences, they can trust each other because they’re very clear about what they both do for a living and where their loyalties lie, and I think that’s solidified in this movie.