Rugged Englishman Daniel Craig has become synonymous with the 007 handle over the past 15 years. However, he had to fight off competition from bigger names, such as Hugh Jackman, to wear the coveted Bond suit.
With the end of Pierce Brosnan’s reign as Bond, producers wanted to bring the series into the 21st century. With so many big franchises like Spiderman NWH battling for moviegoers time and money, this meant huge changes and risk.
It seems crazy now, but many complained about the casting of Craig in 2006. He was seen as too rugged, too muscular, less debonair and worst of all: blond!
In fact, Craig brought much more to Bond than bringing him into a new century. He brought emotion, depth and a rawness that hadn’t been seen in the character before. Daniel Craig was born in Chester in the North of England in 1968. He was drawn to the stage early and was accepted into the National Youth Theatre in London aged 16.
He won a place at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama a few years later. Other acting greats who studied alongside him in his three years at the academy, were Joseph Fiennes and Ewan McGregor.
Despite his acting pedigree, he didn’t make it on the silver screen immediately. It was the role of Bond that made him a household name.
He gained some smaller TV and film roles, playing a drug dealer lead in Layer Cake, before being cast as 007.
Craig leaves Bond as a bankable action hero, but his acting chops have been exercised in other areas. Here, we take a look at his biggest movies, and why audiences loved them.
Table of Contents
First up has to be the movie that catapulted Craig into the spotlight as Bond. With a metacritic rating of 8.6, fans were surprised and delighted by Craig’s brusque style. The film had many stand-out moments, including the gritty opening bathroom scene, where Bond kills an MI6 agent. This is how he earns his 00 status, and the audience sees the clinical side of him.
However, it is probably the casino scene that stands out most, particularly for those who love 888poker UK. Bond has to beat villainous banker, Le Chiffre, in a high stakes poker game in Montenegro.
Bond wins with a straight flush, but it is Craig’s cool delivery and steely blue gaze that movie fans remember.
Craig also got involved with the stunts for the movie, even getting two of his teeth knocked out. It happened while filming a fight scene, but the pro simply had them fixed and got on with it.
Road to Perdition
This powerful movie was released in early 2003, and may have drawn some viewer’s attention to Craig. It garnered a rating of 8.6 on Metacritic, satisfying many movie-goers, if not all critics. The movie’s central character is played by Tom Hanks, going against type in an anti-hero role. It’s a dark, brooding movie and Craig’s character is an impetuous, jealous son of a mobster.
His big feat in this movie is taking out a saloon full of men in cold blood. Perhaps here, the Bond producers saw how Craig did this, looking for their grittier Bond?
In this controversial thriller, Daniel Craig was cast as a South African recruit, driven by his belief in Israel. His character, Steve, is brave and tough, playing getaway driver for the group’s terrorist activities. Initially, Steve seems hardened, uncaring. Craig manages to compellingly display the complex emotions Steve begins to feel later in the movie. This is a testament to his acting style and former training. Craig acted alongside Eric Bana in this political movie, released in 2005. It was rated 7.5 on imdb and 7.4 on Metacritic but has stood the test of time.
Often lauded as the best Bond during Daniel Craig’s 007 reign, Rottentomatoes recognises Skyfall as certainly stands out in the series. Slick and stylish, with a huge emotional punch, this brought Bond onto a new level.
Director Sam Mendes had worked with Daniel Craig on Road to Perdition, so perhaps he knew some tricks. The stellar cast that accompany Craig, including Javier Bardem, Judi Dench and Ralph Fiennes also help.
This Bond is sharp, but full of humour, showing vulnerability at certain points. However, he’s still a killing machine, and Craig handles it all with aplomb.
Surprisingly, Daniel Craig’s best role is not considered Bond. In 2019, Knives Out was released, with an A-list cast featuring Craig as an intense detective investigating a murder. Craig plays his role to perfection, heightening the comedy of the film. It layers emotion and deft twists and turns, engaging the audience throughout. This role offers a promise of where Craig might go, will he leave the brooding Bond behind for comedy? He certainly seems to have the timing.
Although Daniel Craig owned the role of James Bond for 15 years, his other outings prove he can offer more. It will be exciting to see what the action star chooses next.
Will he return to his theatre roots, perhaps treading the boards of the West End? Maybe he’ll choose a lighter family film, as he has a young daughter at home?
One thing’s for certain, he’ll never be Bond again.