James Bond (Daniel Craig)
James Bond played by Daniel Craig
Born in Chester, England on 2nd March 1968
Starred in Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012)
After the release of Die Another Day in 2002, Pierce Brosnan was reported as being enthusiastic about appearing in a fifth film. However as time moved on, he decided that in 2005 he would no longer continue his role as Bond. Consequently the hunt was on to find a new younger actor to star in a much grittier Bond film. Many actors were considered, or wanted to play the famous role, but eventually this was given to Daniel Craig in October 2005.
The casting of Craig brought about a controversy not seen for many years. Many fans, the media and critics all picked holes at the casting choice with many headlines and rumours circulating from the start all the way throughout production. Criticism was made of Craig's appearance, his previous acting, even Internet websites were set up encouraging fans to boycott the new film. With such intense scrutiny, the Bond series was under threat, and the pressure was certainly on everyone connected with Bond for Casino Royale to be a success.
Any naysayers were put in their place when the film was greeted with critical acclaim, both for the Craig's performance and the for the film itself. Casino Royale would also go on to become one of the top grossing Bond films up to that point. Craig's next outing as Bond, Quantum of Solace, didn't fare so well however. While still earning over $500 million dollars at the box office, the response was decidedly mixed. Fans and critics complained about the weak plot and characters, the overuse of jarring editing and trying too much to turn Bond into an action hero.
Luckily 4 years later with the release of Skyfall, things were substantially better. After becoming the first Bond film to earn over $1 billion dollars, the highest grossing film in the UK (as of May 2013) and the 8th highest film of all time, Bond was truly back in action once again.
Daniel Craig moved from his home near Liverpool to London, when he was 16 to join the National Youth Theatre and attend drama school. After appearing in a few theatre shows, Craig got a break in some early TV series before starring in a number of films, leading to him playing the leading roles in a number of them.
When Craig accepted the role of Bond in 2005 he wanted to bring more emotional depth to the character. With Casino Royale providing a 'reboot' of the Bond series, it was the perfect opportunity to do so with Craig portraying Bond in a new and refreshing way. With previous films genuine suspense, fear and helplessness were rare. It was expected that Bond could deal with any situation he faced in a smooth way, almost without messing up his bowtie. Not so with Craig, he rolls up his sleeves and gets right in the heart of the action.
Starting at the beginning of the series as Bond earns his 00 status, the casting of Craig is indeed an excellent choice. Gone are the smooth one-liners, double entendres and innuendoes. In come Craig's raw toughness, vulnerability and icy steeliness. There are numerous scenes where there are close-ups of his piercing cold blue eyes and rough exterior, and it's a welcome return to danger and unpredictability aplenty.
Craig's performance continues to be impressive in Quantum of Solace, with Bond becoming darker and more violent as he is out for revenge for the death of his lover Vesper Lynd. This is taken in a different direction in Skyfall, where for the first time in the series we see a drunken, depressed, bedraggled Bond.
With Craig doing a lot of his own stunts, his shear presence and edgy persona, you can really believe in the character he's portraying. Whether he’s chasing terrorists through building sites, involved in nasty punch-ups or being tortured in a most unpleasant way, you feel and believe his pain. The slower character building scenes are also excellently played, with even the occasional one-liner and comedic elements delivered with a rough aplomb. §