James Bond: skilled assassin, notorious ladies man and…professional kvetch? It seems that way when we meet Daniel Craig, star of the new "Skyfall."
In this 23rd Bond adventure, directed by Sam Mendes ("American Beauty"), Bond hits Macau and Shanghai, and battles a villain (Javier Bardem) who’s tech-savvy and dangerously flirtatious. Meanwhile, MI6 boss M (Judi Dench) is under threat in an exploding London.
Mixing old school Bond theatrics with a new school look, this sounds like fun—right Daniel? Right?
Craig: "I had to do a lot of running in this movie, which I hate," Craig says, grimacing. "I end up doing a day’s filming which on paper should look fairly easy. I don’t have any dialogue. It says, ‘Bond goes from to A to B, then he goes from B to C.’ But he goes from A to B at a lick, he runs down the stairs, he runs up the stairs, and we have to do 10 takes at a time, so by the end of it I’m just [gasping]."
"Bond," he summarizes, "doesn’t usually walk through a room."
No doubt. "Skyfall" is filled with adventure, including an underwater fight sequence that Craig enjoyed—between takes.
"Nobody can find you when you’re underwater," he says. "When we’re not shooting, I swim to the bottom—it’s a huge, great big tank at Pinewood [Studios, in the UK], about 30 feet deep. And I just sink to the bottom, put the respirator in and hide. And it’s so great. Sometimes I fall asleep as well. And then you hear a voice saying, ‘Where’s Daniel?’"
Stunts and action sequences aside ("I’m not a fighter," either, he adds. I mean, I pretend to be one, but it’s called bullshit boxing," he says of the stunt work), one of the aspects of a Bond movie fans eagerly anticipate is the new gadgetry. Q (played by Ben Whishaw) is reintroduced in this film, and the villain (Javier Bardem) is into computers. Surely Craig can relate?
Nope. "People talk about gadgets all the time, but if you look at the original gadgets, what was sexy about them was that Bond took out a box, stuck it on a door and pressed a button and a red light came on," he says. "That’s kind of sexy. It did something. But to have Bond at a computer, on a screen, I think is f---ing boring. And I think technology on the whole is boring."
Right. OK. So what makes Daniel Craig happy? Really, truly happy? Being Bond. Being an icon.
"Of course I suppose I was concerned about being typecast," he says, "but when you weigh it up it’s not a bad thing to be typecast as James Bond, is it really?" He laughs, finally. "I can say that now—it’s easier now."