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 the 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?

"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 U.K.], 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?'"

 

So action sequences aren't Craig's cup of tea. "I'm not a fighter," either, he adds. "I pretend to be one, but it's called bulls-- boxing," he says of the stunt work. Perhaps he's more interested in another aspect of a Bond movie that fans eagerly anticipate: 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 ... 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."

Bond on Bond




So what makes Daniel Craig happy? Really, truly happy? Being Bond. Being an icon.



“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.”

Director Sam Mendes on missteps of the Bond franchise




“The thing about Bond for me is that there was a point around ‘Moonraker’ where it lost some of its thriller roots and went into a sort of action-adventure, almost travelogue type of feeling,” Mendes admits. “He almost, from that moment on, had no journey at all. I’m being unfair to some of the movies in between, but I felt like in ‘Casino Royale,’ Bond was back at the center of the movie. He actually had a journey, he had some emotional stake. So to try to find that kind of personal weight in the center of the movie was really important.”


Test your Bond knowledge




‘Now pay attention, 007!’

1. What drink does Bond order in the poker scene in “Casino Royale” (2006)?

a. Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred

b. The Vesper: Three measures of Gordon’s gin; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet vermouth. Shake it over ice, add a slice of lemon peel.

c. Death in the Afternoon: 3 tablespoons of absinthe, ½ cup of Champagne

d. Rum and coke

2. Which was the first Bond film to feature the famous Aston Martin DB5?

a. “From Russia with Love” (1963)

b. “Goldfinger” (1964)

c. “Thunderball” (1965)

d. “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971)

3. Which Bond movie sees 007 wear a Scottish kilt, meet some brainwashed beauties and get married?

a. “Dr. No” (1962)

b. “Goldfinger” (1964)

c. “Thunderball” (1965)

d. “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969)

4. In “Live and Let Die” (1973), how does Bond kill drug-trafficking bad guy Kananga (aka Mr. Big)?

a. Poisons him with a dart gun

b. Throws him in the Louisiana bayou, then eaten by crocodiles

c. Forces a shark gun pellet into Kananga’s mouth, causing him to blow up like a balloon and explode

d. Falls in a coffin filled with snakes and dies from venomous snakebites



5. In “Die Another Day” (2002), which celebrity cameos as a fencing instructor?


a. Tina Turner

b. Britney Spears

c. J.K. Rowling

d. Madonna



(scroll down for answer key)

Answers

1. (b) 2. (b) 3. (d) 4. (c) 5. (d)

Scorecard

• 0-1 correct: Agent Zero

• 2-3 correct: Double O-K

• 4-5 correct: License to Thrill