Oct 20, 2008

Daniel Craig Interview In November Playboy

There's a marked change in Daniel Craig's interviews between 2006 and now. When Casino Royale came out, he came off as guarded, defensive and generally grumpy. Granted, this was after being assaulted in the press for a year over his hair color and purported inability to drive stick shift (not true, claims the actor). He seemed cagey on the subject of Bond, and didn't particularly want to discuss his future as the character, even insinuating that he couldn't wait to be done with him. Well, now things have changed. Casino Royale was a huge success, and Craig was a critical sensation in the role. And he couldn't seem more different from those early, standoffish interviews than in a breezy, conversational and engaging new interview in the November issue of Playboy. Gone is the apparent disdain for the character that made him a household name; now he claims to enjoy being Bond, and discusses the character with affection and impressive insight. "I'm still quite enjoying myself playing James Bond," he admits, which is good to hear.

He's also got some interesting things to say on the spy genre as a whole, demonstrating a commendable knowledge of it beyond 007. When asked what his cinematic influences were, Craig responds, "The psychological thrillers of the 1960s and 1970s. British spy movies like those with Michael Caine and the early Bonds like From Russia With Love. They have a huge amount of style but are tense and taut and deal with emotion. To make it interesting I had to bring those emotions [to Bond]. Otherwise I'd go insane."

He also knows his more recent spy movies. "Now a pun's a bad joke," he asserts. "In fact in [Casino Royale] we had to be careful of them. They've been sent up in such a way that they almost ring like parody. Austin Powers did them in the extreme. So in making a Bond movie, you have to keep that in mind. As soon as you go that way you're making a parody of a parody. It looks like you're doing Mike Meyers." If only someone had pointed that out to Halle Berry while filming Die Another Day! (Yes, I blame the actress more than the writers; she couldn't deliver a double entendre to save her life.)

Craig, on the other hand, was especially cautious of doing Austin Powers. "I had an Austin Powers alarm," he says. "On set I'd say, "That's Austin Powers. We can't do it."

He also provides some interesting insight into Fleming's Bond's relationships with women, pointing out that, "One thing that remains from Fleming is that the women always leave Bond--as opposed to his leaving them. It's the opposite of the way we think of him, that he beds a woman and says bye-bye and flies out the window. In the books he has relationships and occasionally is nearly getting married when she dumps him because he becomes moody and dark." That's a very good point I'd never really considered.

When asked about the lack of hardware in Caino Royale, Craig insists, "I've got nothing against gadgets," so that's refreshing to hear. As much as I loved Casino Royale, I would like to see the return of gadgets (and Q) down the road. Not invisible cars, mind you, but the occasional trick watch wouldn't go amiss. Those are only a few brief hints of what this lengthy, in-depth interview has to offer. Be sure to check out the issue (or buy it digitally) for the actor's own favorite Bond movies and Bond girl (he has good taste), his views on American politics, his introspective views on stardom and a rather shocking discussion of the merits of owning an Aston Martin!

The November issue also features five pages of lavishly-illustrated "Bond Facts" (a couple of which were actually news to me) and a further six pages of photos of Bond Girls Past from the pages of Playboy (recalling the similarly illustrative spread in the 1987 issue celebrating the 25th Anniversary of 007, with Maryam D'Abo on the cover).

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